Malaysian students in a real time performance for the Innovations Showcase

37 excited and highly skilled students performed to a captive audience of 100 or so educators and adults interested in education at the The Innovations ShowcaseMelbourne Entertainment and Convention Centre in Melbourne. Immediate feedback was provided via twitter.

However, these students were not actually in the room but came from SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia and performed for us over skype (videoconferencing) on the big screen.

Students from SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia

“Little Big Classrooms” was the topic of my presentation for the Showcase. As I wanted the participants to see, hear and feel what global cultural connections can bring to the classroom, my dear e-colleague Veronica Woo  might be able to link up for a short video conference during the  presentation. To my delight, Veronica and another English teacher, Yew Yan Koon agreed and offered to provide a student performance. The 37 students were from SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia and professionally provided an inspiring, entertaining, visually stimulating Capella of ‘The Circle of Life’. The costumes and sets were beautifully put together and both amazed and delighted their virtual audience. They also included an effective and innovative short choral reading of extracts of the dialogue between the Lion King and his son, Simba.

Performing a Capella from the Lion King

Feedback from Veronica 

Thanks Anne for giving us the opportunity to be part of your presentation.  I could see right after the performance how motivated our students were.  I suppose that’s the reality and impact of having performed in real time to a real audience in another part of the world.  And all this despite the fact that they could not see them, the real audience in the hall!

Short choral reading

Feedback via twitter from the audience:-

  • @suewaters Attending @murcha session at #deecdisc watching Skype connecting with class in another country
  • @kmroyds Experiencing #globaled: @murcha just linked us with Malaysian school group performing the Lion King live on skype #deecdisc
  • @kmroyds: Brilliant ‘Circle of Life’ performance by Malay students for @murcha session #deecdisc
  • @lucybarrow:- Just witnessed gorgeous Lion King performance by students in Malaysia, live on skype with @murcha at #deecdisc
  • @ptoosh #deecdisc loving the Lion King … Connecting, sharing and learning globally – surely this is 21st C learning in practise! Well done @murcha
  • @mr_mitch_hughes: Seriously need to get skype unblocked at my school. @murcha great prezo #deecdisc”

The audience - some tweeting feedback

This outlines some of the amazing capabilities of technology:-

  • the chance to connect and communicate across countries/cultures in real time
  • immediate feedback of a performance via eg twitter, where normally the audience will clap and that is the only response.
  • providing students with a real audience
  • students able to perform to a camera without knowing who their audience is.
Potential impact of similar performance in my classroom
  • inspiring and motivating students to aspire to similar outcomes and push them outside their own comfort zones
  • allows my students who rarely attend cultural/musical performances due to rural isolation to see it from peers of their own age grouping
  • exposes them to Chinese culture and artistry – delightful and beautifully crafted sets, costumes and props
  • imparts a sense of bonding and a sense of admiration for other cultures when often racism exists in small, rural, isolated communities.
The setup from my end was:-
  •  ‘skype’ installed on the laptop for VC (from a USB)
  • a borrowed laptop with inbuilt mic and webcam
  • the laptop was plugged into the conference centre digital setup.
The challenges
  • My laptop ‘died’ during the week and I was left without internet access just as  I was away from home, presenting at a seminar and the Showcase. This made communications with Veronica difficult and prevented us from having an ‘e-dress rehearsal’ two days before to test audio and the webcam.
  • the Malaysian students could not see their audience
What worked well:-
  • the fact that Veronica and I have worked together many times before and have built a confidence and trust in each other to “be there” and know that ‘it will work’!
  • knowing that Veronica is highly skilled in the use of video conferencing
  • the responsiveness of the audience
  • the highly skilled performance of the students
  • the full support of the organisers of the Showcase in helping out when my laptop could not make it!
Thanks Veronica and Yew Yan Koon for demonstrating with us what can be done with the  use of technology to break down cultural barriers and share cultures, experiences, skills and learning. Thanks to the audience for being with us. 
  1. What further benefits do you think that videoconferencing across cultures can have?
  2. How do you use videoconferencing?
  3. How could similar links apply or be used in your classroom?
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8 responses to “Malaysian students in a real time performance for the Innovations Showcase

  1. What an amazing experience for the students, their teacher, the audience and yourself. I was several rooms away but watched the twitter stream on my iphone and could see the delight of others during your presentation.
    Yesterday we heard so much about technology, innovation, collaboration, cooperation and multiculturalism. You had it all Anne…congratulations. :)

  2. “@kmroyds: Brilliant ‘Circle of Life’ performance by Malay students for @murcha session #deecdisc” –
    Just to get this right – Malaysia is a multicultural country consisting of the three main races i.e. Malays, Chinese and Indians. The students performing were mainly Chinese Malaysians. And I guess, Anne you will agree with me that one of the best part of being a Malaysian is always the food from the different cultures that one gets to sample or eat here!!
    My students, colleagues and I in Malaysia absolutely enjoyed being a part of 2011 Innovation Showcase, Australia. Our appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the event organiser, the audience and you, Anne!

    • Hi Veronica I think this demonstrates a bit of a difference between the way our countries refer to others. We would call all people who are residents of a country by the country themselves rather than by their cultural background. eg in Australia, so anyone who lives in the USA is American (despite backgrounds and cultures), anyone who lives in England is British, no matter their background and therefore in our ‘eye’ anyone who lives in Malaysia is Malay. At the moment I have called this post “Malaysian students” should I change the title for you? If so, what title would be best?Thank you for showing us that for you, it is important to refer to the different cultures when applauding your work. Did the students who performed come from each of the backgrounds or were they all Chinese?

  3. My sincere apologies for the confusion and thank you for clearing that up. A big thanks to you, colleagues, students and Anne for a fabulous presentation.

  4. Thanks Anne for giving my students a great opportunity to perform in real time to your Australian educators. My students and I had a great time preparing the cappela ‘Circle of Life’ for the Innovation Showcase Australia. You have given my students an opportunity to express themselves and to overcome their fear in performing to such a highly esteemed audience from abroad. This has been a great interesting and exciting learning process for them. The sounding applause from the audience has motivated and given them confidence in wanting to do more of this. Thanks Anne for helping my students realize their potential.

  5. Yes, the term ‘Malaysian students’ as used in your post title is correct. Anyone who lives in Malaysia regardless of their different cultural backgrounds is known as a Malaysian, just like anyone who lives in Australia is known as an Australian. Despite this confusion, I guess this can also be perceived as a form of learning experience for us in a multicultural setting of a borderless world. Hope you don’t mind this clarification.

  6. Pingback: What if? ……. The Innovations Showcase | On an e-Journey with Generation Y

  7. Pingback: So proud and honoured to be a part of SMJK Poi Lam, Ipoh! | e-Journeys

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