Category Archives: Uncategorized

How I got connected!

As Connected Educator month nears to a close, requests have been made encouraging us to share how educators have  got connected, sharing a journey that others may adopt and be encouraged by. Following are the online spaces  that have had the most impact on my connected learning especially in the early parts of the journey.

  1. Blogging – where it really began. A grant from our Victorian Education Department (DEECD) required the use of web2.0 tools. Blogging looked like something I might like to do and so this blog was born.  Close to this time, an email from DEECD stated that a Global Teacher and Global Student blogging campus, through edublogs, was available for Victorian teachers. This has now become global2 blogging campus. The connections commenced when Heather Blakey who was moderating the blogs encouraged her global network to comment on our class, backyard and student blogs. It was amazing to think that others across the world could visit us, read about our work and share a little of their world. We were off and running with blog entries, highly motivated and engaged. From there, a never ending journey began.
  2. Classroom 2.0 One of my special colleagues, Jess McCulloch a young, tech savvy teacher at my school brought to my notice the existence of Classroom 2.0 which at that time it had 3000 members from across the globe. This global classroom had been created by Steve Hargadon. Here I have met so many wonderful educators who are still part of my precious network. One of the first was Chrissy Hellier, then from New Zealand. I really wanted to do a global collaborative project with someone but had no idea what or where to start. Chrissy saw my request on Classroom 2.0, immediately said she and her class would collaborate and Anzac Connections was the product. Suddenly I was catapulted into wikis, animated text, vokis and other web2.o tools. Read more at Developing a Learning Network.
  3. The Flat Classroom Projects – where my students and I have learnt so many skills and been welcomed as part of a great supportive global network.
  4. Twitter – This is where I met Sue Waters, co- moderator of   edublogs,who mentored me and suggested people to follow as twitter was just not making sense to me! Through twitter I learned of the Flat Classroom Projects.
  5. Hello Little World Skypers group – a group of global connected educators from across the globe who are available for conversations 24/7 and someone is always available to skype with classes, or provide advice and support.

There is much, much more but that will be another post! How did you get connected? Why don’t you write a post and share with us how you did?

The Changing Space of Education – Learning 2.0 conference

The Learning 2.0 conference has now finished, but what a great conference it was with some great online sessions and some fantastic keynote addresses. One of my favourite sessions was a keynote by Lucy Gray - Social Media Tools for Personalized Professional Development. Lucy shared some great tools to use for getting connected, some suggestions of people to connect with and some great blogs to read. Here is the link to the recording of her webinar.

My session was entitled “The Changing Space of Education” and to my delight, one of my mentors and special online colleagues Peggy George, host of Classroom 2.0 LIVE was my moderator. Another of my great online colleagues, Sebastian Penakal from India was a participant. The presentation discussed how learning spaces are changing due to being connected with others. They are becoming:-

  • digital
  • virtual
  • global
  • mobile

and perhaps, importantly, learning has become networked.

with learners having the power to take control and source of their learning. Examples were given from my classroom and experiences. Here is the link to the recording. In order to encourage conversations and help answer any questions, a google doc The Changing Space of Education was set up with resources referred to in my session and an area for questions from those who view the recording or who participated in the webinar.  Alternatively ask any questions as a comment to this post.

Technical issues prevented my presentation being uploaded correctly, so I resorted to app sharing and used a similar presentation that had been uploaded to slideshare. This was disappointing for me as I had added more slides and tailored it specifically for this global presenation. However, here is the link to the presentation or you can see the slideshare at the beginning of this post.

How are your learning spaces changing? What impact is it having on your classroom?

Congratulations to Steve Hargadon on another amazing conference which helps connect us. Thanks to the sponsors of the conference, to the presenters and the moderators.

Meeting our author face to face

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Whilst in New York for the Partnership for Global Learning conference, I was able to meet up with our author, Christopher Herz, who I initially met on twitter and then who came to students over lunchtimes to work with them on a shared passion for writing – Lunch with an Author. There is something very special about meeting an online colleague and mentor face to face – an event that is difficult to put into words. However, it does cement the friendship and spurs further ongoing connections.

My hotel was two blocks from Bryant Park, which became a favourite place to visit in New York. It had shaded trees, lots of seats for relaxing, New Yorkers enjoying the outdoors, table tennis tables, spaces for playing bowls, chess etc,  a huge expanse of grass for picnicking and a large screen for weekly screenings of movies at night time.

Christopher and I met for breakfast in this park. It was here that he sold his first book. The New York library bordered the park and as this is one of Christopher’s favourite places, he took me for a look at the inside of this wonderful place. I love having locals take me to their favourite places. These are often so much more special than the normal tourist routes.

Discussions took place re future collaborative work with the students. After a wonderful meeting of several hours it was time to part. It is hoped that our lunchtime meetings will start up again for interested students – perhaps with a different approach. This is work in progress!

Twitter – a search engine and a networking tool – Tech Talk Tuesdays in review

Twitter was the topic of  conversation for this week’s Tech Talk Tuesday session. With a mix of prepared slides and application sharing, twitter was introduced to those who may be new to its use. It was great to welcome a global audience with participants from Austria, Honduras (Central America), Moscow, Russia and Australia.

Doodling while we waited to begin!

There was a full range of participants from experienced users of twitter through to newbies. A google document was set up for sharing and for further questions both during the webinar and after. There are two major uses of twitter:-

  1. as a social or professional learning networking tool
  2. as a search engine

People can be active participators or passive lurkers (or somewhere in between!). Here are some basic suggestions to simply get started! Twitter as a social or professional learning networking tool:-

  • look for people to follow. Follow the twitter handles on the collaborative  google document – Twitter Tech Talk Tuesdays. Whilst logged on, click on their twitter handles or id’s and see who they follow (ie following link up near the top of the page). Click on some  and choose pnes of interest. Check out some  organisations too eg museumvictoria Look at who they follow  and click follow on appropriate ones. (Note: these organisations are unlikely to follow you  back.)
  • Learn what @ # DM RT FF shortened links etc are
  • Twitter should be a two way conversation so encourage people to follow you back by setting up an informative profile that makes you interesting for prospective followers, sharing a link to your online space or blog etc.
  • if you wish to tweet to a particular person or  draw attention to an individual tweeter use the @ and their twitter id. eg I am alerted to tweets that have @murcha in them.
  • Private conversations or ongoing conversations between individuals, are better as direct messages (DM)  where only those who receive the DM will be able to read them.
  • If you really like a tweet and feel you can push it out more, then choose the retweet option. This will acknowledge that it was someone else’s tweet by having RT, the tweeter’s handle and the tweet itself.
  • Start with twitter, get comfortable then move onto some of the twitter clients to help with organisation and richer research.

As a search engine:-

  • twitter makes a great search engine. Last night there was a second earthquake in Melbourne within a month. Look for the search option (up the top of your twitter page), key in earthquake and any tweets referring to the earthquake can be read. There are details, feelings, queries, links etc to extend knowledge.
  • Look at the trending topics on the left hand side of twitter. Click on the link and read further those that interest you. These change regularly. These can often be useful with the classroom on world wide events. The Olympic games will be of high interest soon.
  • Take care with searches in front of young classes as some tweets may not be suitable for reading.

Listen to the recording to see the ‘walk through twitter’, suggestions etc The chat from this session will be summarized and added to this  google document – Twitter Tech Talk Tuesdays. Feel free to add your twitter id’s and any resources that you can recommend. Do you use twitter? Do you use it as a search engine? If so please add your ideas and impressions as a comment below. What further suggestions would you make? There will be a follow up session on twitter in four week’s time to see what issues people faced and talk more about using it effectively.

Monday continued….at ISTE

Following are brief summaries of further sessions attended on Monday 24th June.

Creating and Collecting Digital Work with Kevin Honeycutt and Tammy Worcestor Tammy and Kevin presented as an inspiring professional team, demonstrating apps that will provide urls or embed code.  These  can then be saved as links  in a google sheet in digital dropbox. From there they can be accessed anywhere for printing or further use in online spaces etc.

Google Treks with Dr Alice Christie
Innovative and effective use of google maps bringing subject matter to life, using pins that feature links, videos, audio, images, notes etc.
Birds of a Feather – Global Education with Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis taking the lead completed the day. This was an informal gathering of like minded people sharing global projects, networking and opportunities and needs. Participants came from a broad range of countries.
The day was complete when an evening meal was enjoyed with Flat Classroom Teachers in one of the restaurants in the Gaslamp area. There is something so special about meeting online colleagues face to face!

Hello Little World Skypers Group

One of my favourite memberships is with a group called Hello Little World Skypers (HLW) Group. This group was started in Skype in Education by Katherine Zablatnik from the alps of Austria. Her passion for videoconferencing with others around the world has been joined with many like minded educators. This group has members from many countries – some highly skilled in technology and some not. All have a strong desire to bring the world into their classroom.

Australian time zones are one of the most difficult for connecting and videoconferencing with English speaking countries eg UK and USA, but ideal for communication in real time with Asia. This group includes educators from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Sth Korea, China etc.

The chat in skype is automatically saved and available for researching back in time. Conversations while I am asleep are accessible in my waking hours. A call will go out to see whether someone is available to videoconference with skype. If anyone is able to skype a class, they will respond in the chat. Videoconferencing with another class can take from 5 mins through to a formal presentation of 30 minutes or more.

Govinda and student from Nepal

Following are some of the elements of the group chat conversations in the last 24 hours :-

  1. From Govinda in Nepal, “Any one love to say Hi to my students now? Waiting” (A teacher in Taiwan helped him out.)
  2. rs-sundern  “anybody else free for a “just to say hello!”- meeting?” I responded to this one.  See more details below.
  3. HLW skypers cook book: Collaborating with the world – one recipe at a time. A recipe book is being compiled from across the countries on google documents. I Love some of the comments on these recipes: eg “ armandovezza: @Theresa- there’s one ingredient in your sugo recipe tht surprised me -vinegar!! Being of Italian origin, I’ve seen my mother make sugo all my life and never seen or heard of her doing that!” and another:- Added a recipe for “Rougail Saucisse” a Creole dish from the Reunion Island. “The Curry Peach soup looks nice, think I’ll try that soon!”
  4. A request from  mariam: hello,every one. If some body knows an address for skypers who r interested in graphic and computer art design .thank u in advance

Global collaborative projects are discussed, technology tips/ resources are shared and there is often sociable chat helping us get to know each other better. Sebastian from India has taught my IT class about vedic maths, using Blackboard Collaborate. I have spoken to students from India about our farm and where I live. Students from Katherine’s class in Austria are intrigued by our Australian farm and its size etc. They were taken aback with our eating habits of eating the biggest meal of the day at night time! British students who were studying the weather asked me what the weather was like where I live and much, much more.

Using screen share in skype

Tonight, and within three minutes of responding to re-sundern that I was available to skype with his class, I was transported to Germany via the web camera to talk to year 7 students about our drinking water on the farm. Water was their topic of study. I had a glass of our fresh rain water, on hand to show via the web camera.

Again the students were intrigued with our farm and the kangaroos. They had many questions, were really well behaved and spoke English with flair. Every now and then the conversation lapsed into German to interpret more closely what I was saying. The connection was not strong, so I had to drop my video at times and make use of the chat for clarification.

Learning really is NOW! Read the press release for HLW Skypers on their first birthday. It explains why such a group is of such high importance for its members.

How have you used teachable moments? Do you use skype for videoconferencing? Have you used groups? What can you share? Are you a member of HLW skypers group? What questions do you have? Email any questions to innovatorofthemonth@gmail.com

FLATs Webinar Presentation – Big Little Classrooms

Today, I am presenting for the FLATs  webinar as part of  the Flat Classroom Projects. It is usual for a student voice to be present in these webinars. As my students have finished their school year, and the year 9 students are out of the school on an excursion, I will share the videos below to show student opinion and what they are learning as part of this presentation. 

Here is the link to the podomatic recording.

The following video is a student reflecting on and discussing the value of the student summit between my class and Julie Lindsay’s class from Beijing China as part of the global education conference in 2010.

Students from Australia linkup with students from Indonesia during their lunch hour using skype. Here is what it looks like!