The Global Education Conference 2014

This coming week features the Global Education Conference -one of my favourite online conferences – an amazing conference involving potentially the world. Presenters and participants do come from across the world. Sessions are predominantly in English but other languages are starting to feature now. See the schedule, choose your own time zone first and spend time looking at all the sessions on offer.

My involvement:-

Sessions of global colleagues who are also presenting. These people are part of my networking groups and special to me.

Which ones have I missed? What sessions can you recommend? Make sure you attend at least a few session of #globaledcon

 

 

 

#globalclassroom Twitter Chat: The Globally Connected Eduator

Global Classroom is three!

Global Classroom is three!

#globalclassroom twitter chats are three years old!   To celebrate this month’s chat will take up the theme of “The Globally Connected Educator”. This also continues the theme of  Connected Educator month which took place during October. Karen Stadler (@ICT_Integrator) of South Africa and  Anne Mirtschin (@murcha) of Australia will c0-moderate this chat. It will take place on Sunday November 16th at 9pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+11) Please check timeanddate for your day and timezone. Dont forget to use the hashtag #globalclassroom with each tweet!

The following questions will be posed.

  1. What does it mean to be a globally connected educator? What does it mean to YOU personally?
  2. How do you become a global connected educator? Ideas / advice for teachers wanting to become global connected educators.
  3. What are the benefits of being a globally connected educator – why would you encourage other teachers to become globally connected?
  4. Ideas/Tips for managing your “connectedness” – one cannot be available online 24/7, so how do you get around this and find the balance? Tips from other globally connected educators.

If you cannot be part of this chat due to timezone constraints, it would be great if you can share your answers either prior to or after the chat. Use the hashtag #globalclassroom, add A1 or A2 etc to whichever question you are answering.

If this is your first experience in a twitter chat, see How to participate in a twitter chat

Please note that these chats will be held on a quarterly basis over the next year. Looking forward to you joining us!

Children’s Day: The first time I heard the National Anthem of India

Singing the National Anthem

Singing the National Anthem

Today is Children’s Day in India. What a wonderful day to celebrate and acknowledge our young and make them feel very special. To mark the occasion, my dear friend, Sebastian Panakal from Kerala, India asked whether I could arrange students to link up with his.
childrens day

 

Sebastian and children

Unfortunately the time was right on our school closing time, so our students were unable to videoconference, but I was happy to be their audience. Teachers and students of varying ages came up, said hello and asked some questions of me. The children were delightful, appeared extremely interested well mannered and spoke clearly.  Balloons were evident in the classroom – a sign of the celebrations.

girl and children

At the end of our 20 minute linkup, the students, teachers and Sebastian sang me their National Anthem with great pride and gusto. And I hate to admit it, it was the first time that I ever remember hearing the National Anthem of India.

children at desks

 

“Lost for Words” – Lest We Forget!

lest we forget wreathr

Katherine Zablatnik is an innovative teacher from Austria who brings textbooks to life wherever possible. She is responsible for creating the Hello Little World Skypers group which won the Edublogs awards for the winner of the “Best Use of Social Media” in 2013.

As a history teacher she is keen to make the centenary of  the start of World War I alive for her students. Today, I linked up with her students and shared how we commemorate Armistice Day at school, here in Australia. However, we call it “Remembrance Day”. Although it is not a public holiday, we hold a special commemorative service in the Reflection Space in the centre of Hawkesdale. Students walk up there and interested community members  join us.

students teachers

The student leadership team together with several staff members organise and run the service. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we hold a minute’s silence across Australia to remember especially those who served in both World War I.

A presentation was quickly put together to show our Student Leadership team at work at lunchtime in preparing for the special service that we hold each year. The reflection space, the school wreath, a summary of the program etc Link to the presentation

I talked about the program for tomorrow which is as follows:

  • Student led Introduction
  • In Flanders Fields
  • Commemorative address (Sarah, one of our student leaders)
  • Wreath Laying
  • The Ode for the Fallen
  • Playing of the Last Post, followed by the Rouse when the flag is again raised to the top of the flagpole
  • Singing our National Anthem

But when I talked aabout the odes and poems we use, they had not heard of them. They wanted to know what the red poppies were about. And I was flabbergasted as I thought everyone knew them.  Then I asked what they did to commemorate this day. The answer was ‘nothing’. I asked about the minute’s silence – they do not have one. Katherine asked what those words “Lest we Forget” signify on the school wreath.

However, they thought it might be an idea to join in with ours and maybe next year we could do something together. This has driven my curiousity further – where was Austria placed in the war, how do they feel about it all, how do Katherine’s students feel about us commemorating those who went away to fight for us. We are an island on the other side of the world and so, so far away from the battlefields.

They asked whether our textbooks and our learning of history was biased. Do we see some sides of the war and the countries as being ‘good and bad’? My response was yes, we do? But maybe that is my age .What do our students think? I am going to ask them tomorrow. Can we rewrite our history books? Can we learn more about each other together and avoid many of these conflicts that potentially exist.

When I asked Katherine further questions via the skype chat, she simply replied: “I am lost for words”. Now I am pondering on that!

The Sound of Music is one of our most popular movies and I guess it speaks volumes about some of the feeling in Austria at the time.

Spring is in the air at school!

roses and treer
bird aviaryr

Hawkesdale P12 College is set in a beautiful rural landscape. It is surrounded by farms, most of our students travel to school on a bus and either live on farms or in small country towns. Spring is highly evident now, as the gardens are blooming, the birds are hatching eggs and the vegetable gardens producing well. There is a “Birds Club” with student representatives purchasing and looking after the birds.

The school bird aviary is like a nursery this week with the arrival of baby quail and diamond doves. The bird aviary is one of a number of special clubs and leadership oportunities that have offered students the opportunity to explore special interests. A pathway has been added to the aviary at a recent working bee and a new chook house will arrive shortly.
eggs and chickens

The 9/10 Agricultural students have placed duck eggs in the incubator and they will soon hatch.

There is a “green thumbs group” led by one of our teacher assistants. Vegetables are growing well in the new wicker containers and will soon be picked.  A section of our school garden has been reworked into a fairy garden. Projects like this aim to build on student interest and builds pride in their school.

primary gardenr

 

fairy gardenr

“That’s weird! We live in their future!”

I woke up this morning to read a skype in education message from a teacher in the USA looking urgently for a class to ‘mystery skype’ with. Knowing that our time zones rarely work, I nearly declined, but checked out the suggested times for connection and ‘hey presto’, I could say that I could find a class to connect for them to connect with.

request

Students love to connect with the USA as many of the TV shows that they love to watch come from America, many of our fast foods are from there etc etc However, I had to find some students as I thought I was not timetabled with a class. Three year 9 girls gladly came out of their maths class and some of my year 11 IT students took part.

Bellingham

The notice was late as Brian, the lecturer suddenly thought “Why teach his pre-service teachers about the use of skype in the classroom, why not actually do it!” and so we did.

group of girls and Bellinghamr

Here is what it looked like:

  1. We introduced ourselves individually to each other.
  2. Next, we played mystery skype. It was easy for us to work out they were from the USA, but then quite difficult to work out exactly where. After several clues, we finally worked it out.
  3. On the US part, the pre-service teachers used their mobile devices – phones, tablets etc to finally work out exactly where we were from (after some clues).
  4. Times of each country were shared, then the date and day of the week we were in. As soon as the girls heard they were still in Wed afternoon at 4:00pm, they responded with “That is weird, we live in their future!”
  5. The US teachers asked what the girls thought made a good teacher. Some of the responses were ‘a sense of humour’, allow students to follow passion projects, take into account different student learning styles, they want to have fun with their learning etc.

monitorr

Student reaction: They had fun, enjoyed learning with them and sharing their knowledge and particularly liked working with older students”

Final Exams

 

examsrAfter 13 years of school, 36 weeks of schooling in 2014, much preparation, revision, completed outcomes etc, students sat their 2 hour VCE Business Management exam today. Although they are a mixed cohort of students – some studied so hard, others just took it all very casually, but they did all get an “S” and complete the subject to satisfactory standards, prior to sitting the exam.

Students sit this exam in a small local church hall where they are assured of a quiet atmosphere in completing the exams.

The exam counts towards their ATAR score for university entrance, should they wish to attend university. This is always a time of stress, nerves and anxiety but I wish them all the best for their exams and their future paths.

Now my students have two to go (subjects I taught this year), Accounting and Informations and Technology.