Global Collaboration – great teachable moments and learning

Endang, a valued online colleague, from Pekalongan, Western Java, Indonesia, wanted to share the amazing impact that skype and videoconferencing could have for learning,  with her fellow teaching colleagues – especially those who actually teach English. Endang has developed a powerful network from across the globe through the use of skype. With her astute vision and innovative spirit, she  is determined to help move her community forward.

Videoconferencing with one of the workshop participants

Several months ago, Endang organised three full days of professional development workshops on skype, videoconferencing etc for interested teachers and selected students. The workshop was called Learning English with Native Speaker.  On several of those days, my year 11 IT class and I  were proud to be involved for direct linkups. Students had their individual skype user name and were connected with another from Endang’s session.

My students were excited to be one of the Australian school groups to be part of this despite the internet connections being poor at times. Several students spent their lunchtime and afternoon working with their Indonesian counterparts. It was wonderful to hear them work through the different accents, methods of speaking etc to actually be able to  communicate with each other. See what the students had to say about the connection.

Arriving at school, a week ago, I discovered a box on my desk that was made of materials not usually seen in Australia. Excitedly, I opened it to find some wonderful gifts from Endang, all representing the area she lives in. Several of the products were batik items.

Teachable moments and interrupted learning

Having a busy teaching day, I took my bos along to each class, even to my senior VCE classes, displayed the contents and we discussed  each item. Students were fascinated with the contents and it created a lot of discussion. One small box gave the impression of holding a wooden flute and the first class assumed it was a musical instrument. However, when I took it to my year 11 IT savvy students, one boy stated that it was a food! How did he know? He had googled it! I have so much to learn from my students! Students all wanted to know more about this type of food.

Contents of the box proudly displayed

What was in the box?

  • a thank you certificate from the signed by and  stamped with the official stamp of the mayor of Pekalongan
  • a beautiful batik dress
  • placemats
  • a gorgeous little batik purse
  • a beautiful cloth bag
  • handkerchiefs
  • fan
  • bookmark
  • the ‘little box’ of Brem Suling Gading Asli

A little of what the students learnt!

  1. What batik is! (None of them had heard of batik!)
  2. Where Pekalongan is.
  3. The nature of Brem Suling Gading Asli
  4. The necessity of fans was dicussed, with surprise that the Indonesian people do not experience the four seasons that we, in southern Australia do.
  5. The conditions that many of the students from these areas might live and study in.
Thank you Endang for such a rich treasure box. The contents will proudly go on display in our library as part of our display for Book Week, the theme of which is One World, many stories in 2011. The box disrupted our normal class learning but provided an even richer, engaged learning that will not be forgotten for a long time.  Looking forward to working with you again, learning with you and from you.

Some of the students involved in the skype linkup

How fabulous is this that we can learn in ‘real time’ and network our students one to one with students and teachers in other countries, connecting and communicating in powerful and wonderful ways. How can we extend this networking? What outcomes do you see as eventuating from such activities?

Certificate of Appreciation


12 responses to “Global Collaboration – great teachable moments and learning

  1. A 20 strong 13-14 year old students in India would like to connect with the proactive teacher Endang. How do we do that? The students are from:,_Kaloor Even the Principal Mrs. Saleena is part of the team

  2. Hi Sebastian, let me contact Endang and I shall introduce you. As you say, she is very pro-active and overcoming amazing hurdles. However their infrastructure is poor, she volunteers to work in schools but is determined to bring the best to her people that technology can bring.

  3. Thanks for sharing the story. What an amazing experience you are havin with your students. Can’t wait to hear more.


  4. Hi! Anne
    Tell Endang she’s doing a great job! Could you please help me ask her if she would like to connect with my students and I for our upcoming special project ‘Jom! Let’s Visit Perak’. In fact, any other schools in Australia and anywhere else around the world could also join in. Our focus will be on tourism education. We would definitely love to have them connected with us for this project.

    • Hi Veronica, I will certainly do that. The big problem is that Endang has a laptop and that is the only computer in the school. That makes it very difficult to get students involved on global projects. Videoconferencing is easier as it only requires one laptop.

  5. (skype name) jacque412

    I am a friend of Endang and I am very excited for her. I am an American teaching English in Mexico and have worked with her and her students and I am aslo looking forward to continuing with her and this type of technology in my classes. Keep up the good work my sister….Lets make a difference in this world.

    • What a fascinating network Endang has! I love all the connections and especially your idea of making a difference in this world. Technology gives us the power to do that.

  6. Hi, I am a retired principal from California. I would love to get involved with helping Anne. Do you have her Skype name? I am on Skype and would love to meet with her.

    • Hi Roberta, I shall follow this through with Endang. She has added a comment here as well to say she is keen to connect and work with others further afield. Thanks for commenting and visiting.

  7. Hello world !
    would like to say thank you to super teacher in victoria Anna Mirtchin who always give me support to make it happen in my poor school.. I just do what i can do for them. I and my team still work to make the infrastructure much better so students can get involved on global project. btw about the gifts , it was given by pekalongan goverment for all the native English speaker who joined with my project . thank you for pekalongan goverment too who gave support on the project.
    I am endang from Indonesia thank you for all responds and i would love to join with any project which involved students ,school and global public
    specially pekalongan city of batik
    please contact me on my skype :endangpalupi
    how small the world is on the internet 🙂

    • Hi Endang, I am not a super teacher at all, but thank you for calling me that. However, I love to connect, have great empathy for people who live and manage in third world countries and just am amazed at what you are doing with your poor school. You have the power and the connections to change the face of learning in your region. So, keep up the great work and I would love to stay connected with you. You have taught us so much in so many ways.

  8. Hello, Anne!
    I’m Julia, a teacher of English from Russia, Siberia. I’m very happy to know you and Endang! Your help your students to broaden their mind by communicating with the whole world. Both of you are full of energy and desire to make this world better. Thank you!

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