Category Archives: global schools

Happy New Year to my Chinese friends!

gong xi fa cai 恭喜发财

May You Be Prosperous! May You Earn A Lot Of Money! May you Obtain A Fortune! (used as a greeting at Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese new year)

year of the horse1

Chinese New Year is a special time of year as our school teaches mandarin Chinese as its second language. It is also special to me as I have some very close online and face to face colleagues who are Chinese. One such colleague is Veronica Woo who I have e-worked with over the last 5 years or so. (See cultural eLearning adventures). Veronica teaches in a Chinese school in Malaysia - SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh.

So much of a culture, language, geography and backgrounds can be learned in real time using technology to connect with those who live in other countries….. but nothing beats travel, actually visiting the country and meeting face to face online colleagues. As such my husband and I have visited Malaysia and met Veronica and travelled with her around Ipoh and Penang. To our delight, Veronica and her niece came to visit us, stayed on our farm and vistied my school in December last year.

xhiao wen and veronica

A large parcel  was discovered in our roadside mailbox yesterday. It was full of gifts, cards and red packets or ‘ang pau’ for family and students at school to celebrate  the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse in 2014. There were decorations, photos, Tshirts,  cushion covers, a  horse and much more!


With pride, I took the cards and gifts to school, distributed them to students and  adorned our front office proudly with the decorations acknowledging our association with the Chinese people!  Students were excited to open up their cards and find their laminated photos and of course my grandchildren loved the gifts and cards too.

A snap decision was made to decorate our office window and foyer with Chinese decorations to share this festival with staff, students and community members.


office and lanterns

Festivals are a time for celebrating with families. Thanks Veronica for making the new year special to us at Hawkesdale and Happy New Year to you and all my Chinese friends.

Do you celebrate the Chinese New Year? If so how? Melbourne (my state capital city) celebrates Chinese New Year. Veronica has suggested that the following movie is viewed:-

The Reunion Dinner (回家過年) is a 15 minute short movie written and
directed by Anthony Chen (導演: 陳哲藝) who just won the Golden Horse 2013
Best New Director (第五十屆金馬獎最佳新導演).A simple yet superb film that will surely touch your heart:
The Reunion Dinner 回家過年by Anthony Chen 陳哲藝@

Two other youtube videos suggested by Veronica Woo for the staff and students to watch:-

A site for Chinese phrases

The Global Education Conference – a personal involvement

This is the third year of the Global Education Conference – one of the most amazing conferences – all online, free and open to the world to participate in. Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray are the co-founders of the innovative concept.

You must make the time to attend at least one session. You should also join the ning and participate in the chat as there are many educators from many countries – all wanting to converse, meet each other  and learn from and with each other.  Last night I was in the chat with a teacher from USA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Australia and many others – amazing! Take a good look through the  schedule for the conference and choose sessions that suit your time or interests or take a punt and just go to any of them. There are still three  days of sessions to enjoy. Follow the hashtag on twitter or other social networking sites #globaled13

Following are some useful links for best use of the conference

I am proud to be able to either present or co-present for the following sessions. Please join me if you can and push global education to the fore

  1. Where do we get started with Global Projects Link to recording
  2. Teaching and Learning Across the Globe with Lorraine Leo Link to recording
  3. Keynote: The World is my Classroom Link to recording
  4. Stories from Hello Little World Skypers (HLW skypers) Link to the recording
  5. World Museum Scratch Projects Friday, November 22, 23:00 GMT Presented by: Prof. José Manuel Sáez López, Prof Yoshiro Miyata, Lorraine Leo Link to the recordin

Following is The World is My Classroom keynote presentation

Other sessions that I have a personal interest or passion for:

  • Work with What You Have Tuesday November 20 at 2:00 GMTPresented by: Louise Morgan Link to recording
  • “Window to the World” – a path for the school of the future Friday, November 22, 13:00 GMT Presented by: Effie Kyrikakis Link to Recording
  • Global Classroom 2013-14 Stories & Project Launch Friday. November 22 at 11:00 GMT Presented by: Michael Graffin Link to Recording Repeat session: Saturday, Nov 23 at 20:00 GMT co-moderated by @warwicklanguage and @mrsmorgansclass Link to session
  • A Glimpse Into The Life of a Connected EFL Teacher Friday, November 22 at 9:00gmt Presented: Tatyana Chernaya Link to recording 
  • The Connected Educator in Progress A Beginner’s JourneyThursday, November 21 at 12:00 GMT Presented by: Maria Colussa Link to recording

Are you presenting? What is your topic? What sessions will you attend? What sessions will you recommend?

24 hours in the Life of a Connected Educator

Please note that this post is cross-posted aSmartBlog on Education

A virtual classroom of engaged students

A virtual classroom of engaged students

As it is connected educator month, it is interesting to take note of what life can be like in 24 hours as a connected educator! Following are the sequence of events one 24 hour period last week!

6:30am Perused my emails – mostly content sent whilst the rest of the world was awake. Responded to the most pressing emails. Checked  twitter for any interesting updates, especially those tweets directed to me. Checked for any comments to moderate on my blog posts and respond to them, enabling further conversations and connections. Looked at the day’s statistics. (It is always motivating to know that people may have read posts or that keyword searches have found my blog posts. The search terms added give an idea for further posts that may be of interest to many.)

7:30am Last minute preparations for the day’s classes

8:15am Depart for school, turn on laptop proxy settings and check for any skype group updates

9am       Coach a potential moderator online,  in the use of Blackboard Collaborate (virtual classroom software. Our Education Department provides teachers with a statewide license for PD, meeting and classroom use.)

11am     Activated the school polycom videoconferencing equipment to connect with a teaching colleague in Melbourne  who was with the executive committee of  Parents Victoria.  We demonstrated the potential it has for effective and easy connections via high quality videoconferencing. Discussed various uses of this equipment and other  tools  may have for connecting  eg bringing statewide parents in to virtual meetings from their homes, virtual parent/teacher/school  information evenings, virtual school assemblies

1pm       Noted the emailed link to the virtual room for my year 8 ICT class linkup with Gio and Port Phillip EcoCentre. Gio, a year 11 student in Melbourne, is to share his work on the Nest Box Forum with my students. My class is to be a champion class for Gio to learn how to make effective use of blackboard collaborate as a teaching/learning tool. My students will have the chance to interact with Gio, learning netiquette and appropriate online behaviour and finding answers to their curiosity.

2pm       Year 8 students individually logon and enter the virtual room. Surprisingly, Gio was not there yet. An email alerted us to the problems they were having with their technology back in Melbourne. While we waited, students drew pictures on the whiteboard to share something of where we live. Wondering how long this would keep them engaged, I tried to think of a plan B. However, a skype pop-up window, alerted me to  a request from Lin-lin in Taiwan, looking  for a class to do a mystery skype with her students now!  Thinking this could be a life saver, I immediately said we would – at least until Gio was able to connect with us. Just as I set up skype to display on a bigger monitor, Gio appeared. Not wanting to offend either party, I got two girls to take my laptop in to the backroom to do the mystery skype with the Taiwanese school, allowing me to work with the majority of students. I fleetingly and periodically checked on the two girls, but they seemed to be able to make themselves understood, looked like they were having fun as they communicated and connected, using the chat when there was misunderstanding with the spoken language. At one stage the Taiwanese class could be heard singing a song to the girls. Meanwhile my main class was highly engaged listening to and learning of the bats, possums and birds that used the nesting boxes.  Gio shared some delightful images with them on the whiteboard.

Two countries,two cultures, two languages learn over skype

Two countries,two cultures, two languages learn over skype

3:45pm Staff meeting. Got a viber alert on my ipad  –  a new healthy granddaughter, was just  born in Johannesburg, Sth Africa!

8pm       Checked emails, skype updates, viber messages, twitter feed and wrote a blog post  An Unpredictable Class to share the impact of connectedness!

What does your typical ‘connected’ day involve?  How important is it for educators to be connected? What impact has being connected had on your teaching/learning?

Global Stories through Book Trailers


Book Trailers tempt viewers to read the book that is featured in the digital movie. Creating book trailers with students from other countries and cultures can provide a fascinating insight in to their cultures.

Our students were part of an exciting partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2011 and two schools in Malaysia. Another school from Bulgaria added some of their existing material. A learning activity for creating book trailers with global students follows.

recomend to people who do not like reading

Global Student, Global Stories

(This makes a great follow up to mystery skype connections or other regular classroom contacts over skype.)

Students from several schools create book trailers (digital movies that inspire viewers to read the book featured). The trailers are published online for sharing and global viewing .

The essential learning:-

Students will learn about favourite books of students in other countries. They will collaborate and share stories through the use of computer software and online tools including MS Powerpoint, Photostory, MS Live Movie Maker and a shared online space. See our globalstorytelling wiki. Students learn about the different cultures and more of their own culture. Students will learn netiquette, digital citizenship, virtual communication, privacy and plagiarism through experience. Students will experience real deadlines for their work.


  • Access to computers and software including MS Powerpoint, Moviemaker and/or Photostory.
  • Communicate with the school leadership team and the parents to ensure that all are informed of the intentions and the outcomes.
  • Permission forms (if required)


  • Find other global partners willing to participate. This could be done through the community at MS Partners for Learning or through the Mystery Skype group.
  • Create a teacher skype group for 24/7 conversations, planning the activity collaboratively, sharing problems, technical issues and discussing the outcomes and the collaborative online space.
  • If the classes share similar time zones, regular linkups could be part of the interactive, global approach.

Class requirements

  • Computer access for students
  • Cameras/video cameras/
  • Paper or collaborative documents for brainstorming
  • Sample book trailers (there are many to be found online)

Getting Started

  • Discuss the nature of and reason for book trailers.
  • View existing book trailers online.
  • Brainstorm as a class potential books and the nature of the outcomes.
  • Discuss possible cultural sensitivities, netiquette and digital citizenship
  • Talk about privacy, copyright and plagiarism
  • Ensure students are skilled  in the use of tools such as MS Photostory, PowerPoint, MovieMaker and MS Paint. Teachers who are not confident in these skills could skype in an expert or one of the global partners to teach the class
  • Teach students how to publish their movies and upload to an online space

Developing the book trailers

  • Students create their design or storyline in PowerPoint.
  • Students share design with teacher before commencing.
  • An online collaborative space should  be created by an expert teacher– the space should  allow discussions, school pages, individual student pages, links to resources and the use of a variety of media ie movies, images etc See our Globalstorytelling site  as an example
  • Students introduce themselves by adding an appropriate profile sharing interests on the online space. Add appropriate images to show what it looks like where they live. See sample student pages Rachael ( and Georgia (
  • Students/teachers use the discussion tab for interaction, questions and feedback
  • Student blogs can be used to journalise the learning and should be added as link on their page.

Publishing the trailers

  • Completed Trailers are published, uploaded to youtube, vimeo or other space and embedded in the appropriate student page.


  • Arrange a virtual book trailer premiere. Classes linkup over skype, share screens and watch selected completed book trailers. Invite the parents along.
  • Provide certificates to be handed out virtually by the partner global teacher
  • Setup a student summit where the global classes share the learning.
  • Partner with the relevant Writers Festival in the state or country and suggest to  be part of their annual festivals, bringing in your partner schools virtually where possible. (Students in our school went to Melbourne for the Melbourne Writers Festival and shared their learning on the big stage and screen at Federation Square. The Malaysian students were videoconferenced in through skype and shared their movies and learning virtually. See
  • Promote and share the work of your students with others – tweet out links, promote through blogs, educational facebook pages and other social networking sites.


  • If the books are in the school library add qr codes to the book. Other students can scan the code and be taken to the created book trailers online so that they can see whether they want to read them.
  • Buy some books featured by students in the partner global school(s) and add to the school library.
  • Commence a virtual book club between the schools.

Watch how this was done on Global Stories through Book Trailers and see student reflections on their involvement from both countries.

International Peace Day 2013 through the eyes of the Young!

International Peace Day is today and is one of global significance.

Year 3/4 ICT class have shared what peace means to them by creating images. These have been put on the presentation below together with some of their quotes. Their ideas varied and were often different to mine. At times, I started to advise them, then thought ‘no’, they are young, they see the world in a different light, from a different perspective and limited experience.  One student sees peace as colourful. I see peace as the opposite to war and war is epitomized as black and white colours in my mind.

Some further activities participated in.

    1.  took part in a google hangout and shared their views with the globe.
    2. some students added their feelings about peace onto Tatyana Chernaya’s peace wall. Why don’t you and your students add to this wonderful wall?

Today, Steve Sherman organised a hangout with Ena Hewitt, who had fascinating experiences to share of her family’s time living in a shack in the township in Mamelodi, South Africa. One of her quotes was quite powerful. She had taken peanut cookies to a lady who lived in the township which kick started the notion of living in the township for a month. Ena said “What are your peanut cookie moments? What can you do to build bridges rather than build walls?”

However, this post will finish with a quote from one of my young year 3 students, Nadia:

I think peace means hope, joyful and means no arguing. I also think it is great to have a special peace day and to enjoy yourself on this special day.

What did you do for International Peace Day? What can you share with us?

Starting a School Year in a Global Manner!

The German Science Class

The German Science Class

On Thursday evening, my online colleague Reinhard Marx invited me to his first day with a year 7 Science class at  Staedtische Realschule Sundern, to say hello for the new school year in Germany. What a great idea! Giving students a global introduction from day one and providing them with a glimpse that this is to be no ordinary classroom.

It was a brief skype videoconference call, where those students who wished to, came up and introduced themselves to me and shared conversations. My question generally required a simple answer, as English is not their first language.  It was “Where did you go for the holidays?”. The answers really interested me as I love travelling and two students had actually been to Greece from where I have just come.

Why do this?

  • immediately introduces them to the global classroom where learning can take place and be shared, beyond classroom walls.
  • introduces students to new ways of communication in this 21st century – videoconferencing using tools such as skype – a popular communication and connection tool and increasingly used in the workplace.
  • exposes students to different accents and ways of talking
  • pushes them beyond their comfort zone – it is never easy initially speaking to someone from another country and place
  • encourages them to communicate effectively and articulately
  • shows them that they may need to use both text chat and audio to ensure names are understood and the actual conversation
  • exposes them to different countries, cultures and time zones
  • provides me with an opportunity to introduce myself and encourage ongoing connections for further teaching and learning.
  • accentuates the differing nature of the world – my classes are nearly finished term 3 of four terms of the current school year compared to their new school year.
A student introduces herself to me

A student introduces herself to me

Thanks Reinhard for allowing me the opportunity to welcome them to their new school year. All the best! Have you had the opportunity to welcome students to their school year? Do you think that this is a good idea?

A Glimpse into “A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator”

It started as a normal, fairly mundane school day………

Well connected teachers will  find there are many ways to learn, share and teach, teachable moments arise constantly and interruptions to normal routines may become the norm. Yesterday was one such day, when normal classes were planned and a relaxing night at home anticipated, but….

World Museum Scratch Day Saturday, May 18th

Year 8 students are participating in  the Squares, Circles and Triangles project for the World Museum Project to celebrate World Scratch day. Students take photos of shapes in the real world and add them as a sprite to Scratch, highlighting the shape first and then sharing the whole picture. See an online animated sample.

Circles-Storage  tanks for firewood

Circles-Storage tanks for firewood

However, this project is quite challenging and as I am not confident with the programming elements, we had to impulsively skype my wonderful online colleague – Lorraine Leo from Boston, USA to help us in our dilemmas. My laptop webcam shared the screens of students with Lorraine so that she could see what the student was doing, speak to them and help them solve their problems. The lesson time was not long enough. So a sample student project was emailed to Lorraine for further investigation in consultation with Yoshiro Miyata, the creator from Japan.

Lorraine from USA  (in laptop) virtually teaches Amy how to solve her problem with Scratch

Lorraine from USA (in laptop) virtually teaches Amy how to solve her problem with Scratch

Brendah from Sth Africa shared her lesson on learning cell references in MS Excel with grade her 2s with the HLW Skypers Group in the chat area of skype. Joe McNulty of Pennsylvania USA, joined our conversation. Within 6 hours he had shared a google document containing more mystery picture challenges that his year 7/8 students had created for Brendah’s young students. It was on impulse that I decided to use these tasks with my year 3/4 ICT class after lunch. Students were highly engaged colouring in reference cells to reveal the mystery pic. They discovered a house, faces, a flag, a rainbow etc if they followed instructions carefully.

A rainbow in progress

A rainbow in progress

Images of Brendah’s and my students working on the tasks were emailed to Joe who then shared them with his students, resulting in them being even more motivated in creating further tasks. Joe has now put some of these up on his google site.

Home at last!

Enjoying the last remnants of my evening meal, I noticed a message in my HLW Skypers Group popup seeking people to ‘jump’ in and join a hangout with Reinhard  Marx and a class from Germany. The students were about to share their learning about “German Islands and the drinking water situation”.

The group skype request from Reinhard

The group skype request from Reinhard

I joined the hangout on my laptop as our desktop computer has been playing up and fully expected to be ejected from it due to my poor bandwidth. Surprisingly I was able to stay in but not able to use my video, nor see the screen sharing from Germany, but….. I could hear and speak to them. In the hangout were Endang from Western Java, Indonesia and Linlin from Taiwan. With me being from Australia, the foreign participants all came from islands – some small, some large and learnt about islands in Germany.

where islanders get their water from

Islands of Germany water

Students from Germany had prepared Powerpoint slides. Reinhard shared his screen with us via the Ghangout. Groups came forward and spoke to the slides and their pictures in clear English. Linlin and I then spoke about the importance of water, issues where we live and how we conserve it.

A small group shares with us

A small group shares with us

Next, a skype message came from Endang to see whether I could help her Indonesian students speak English to a native speaker. Two students introduced themselves to me, answered my many questions and then asked me questions. The chat in skype helped ensure that we understood each other reasonably well!

English speaking girl

An ordinary day turned into a very exciting one in an amazing global classroom! How was your day?