An excited year 11 student greeted me outside the office one morning at the end of last year and proceeded to tell me all about the fabulous event that he and two others had attended in Melbourne the day before. (Read his post.) It was “Listen to Learners” – an event held to showcase student learning in Melbourne, organised by Innovations and Next Practise, Victorian Education Department. Community members and interested educators attended this meetup. Students were given the chance to talk about their involvement in innovative learning and made to feel important.
To show the importance of their audience, Dhugan produced a business card. It was from Jenny Niven, Program Manager, of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Over the next weeks, the students got on with their studies, but Jenny soon contacted me. She was interested in bringing a global perspective to the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2011 and wanted to know if we would be part of it. Of course we responded with a “yes”. Thinking caps on! What could we do? Book trailers were a fascination and it was decided that these could form a collaborative project with year 8 and 9 the target group.
Marg Murnane from our school took the project on as part of her teaching load. That left me to find some global partners, setup the wiki and share the organisation. Veronica Woo and Yew Yan Koon from SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia were interested as were several other contacts. A globalstorytelling wiki was set up with some resources, links, suggestions etc Students were to create a digital book trailer that would promote one of their favourite books, encouraging their audience to read this book. Pages were setup for the schools involved and it was hoped that the influence of different cultures would show.
However, exams, holidays, tests and the general ‘busyness’of school presented challenges. As time crept up on us, Veronica and Yew decided to work with four students from mixed backgrounds – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Chindian and from two schools. SMJK Poi Lam is a secondary school and SJK (C) Ave Maria Convent is a primary school. The four students set up blogs to document their progress and the discussion tab of the wiki was used, but sparingly.
Here are the Malaysian student blogs (please visit them and leave a comment of encouragement)
Veronica contacted Yusuf Martin, a local writer, who is involved with the Malaysian Writers Festival. The 4 students worked with him for a session and looked at using books based on the theme of culture. Veronica and Evon worked tirelessly with their students.
“We thought this would be interesting as Malaysia is indeed a melting pot of different races and cultures.” says Veronica.
Several weekends were spent visiting places to source authentic resources for their trailers:- a classical Indian dance session, interviewing a Bharathanatyam dance guru.
Here are the books they have chose:-
- Jesmund 16 years – Taman Saujana ( By Mubin Sheppard)
- Maswin,16 years – The Straits Chinese ( By Khoo Joo Ee )
- Tisha 8 years old – The Origins of Chinese Culture
- Eusebia Clement, 8 years old -The Performing Arts ( Indian culture )
Another contact, Rori from 5th Primary School Mityo Stanev Bulgaria who is a co- member of the “little world skypers” group had produced glogs (using glogster) with her students. She agreed to add a page of these to our wiki. Her school is
Global Student and the Writers Festival
We are proud and excited to have a bus load of students taking a 3 ½ ride to Melbourne for the Writers Festival on Sept 1st at 12:30pm. Selected students will be up on the big stage at Federation Square with Veronica and Yew and their four students videoconferencing in to the crowd at Federation Square from Ipoh in Malaysia. Our host or MC is Ed Hoyt. Students from both countries will share their love of reading, their cultures and involvement in a 45 minute time slot. Four book trailers from each country will be displayed on the big screen.
This event will demonstrate innovative classrooms and ways in which classrooms can connect, communicate and collaborate across the world, using cutting edge technology, authentic projects and project based learning. It will showcase the exciting outcomes that students from a variety of cultures can achieve in this flattening world of ours.
Significance to the schools in Malaysia
At the Malaysian end, there will be the local press, students’ parents, teachers, friends, school principals, the State Tourism Chairperson, YB Dato’ Hamida Othman, the State Director of Education and a local politician.
Some of the learning
- What book trailers are
- The nature of other cultures
- A deeper understanding of our culture
- Exploring a number of movie making options
- Using copyright free images and music
- The pressure of time commitment
- The Malaysian students have learnt to blog
- How to add content to a wiki
- The use of a variety of communication methods between us all
- Connecting as a group in skype – Melbourne, Hawkesdale and Ipoh
- the constant need for communication from all parties
- learning about reading habits of students: – likes/dislikes
- Set up a wiki with pages for schools involved, resources, a survey, student pages
- Students and staff ‘joined’ the wiki
- Students added an ‘about me’ section to their wiki page
- Trailers were brainstormed
- Discussion around copyright and appropriate use of images
- Trailers were completed, published into wmv format and uploaded to youtube. The code was grabbed and embedded on each student’s wiki page.
- Our school had to choose four of the trailers to be featured and three students to be up on the stage.
- Veronica’s school got some parts of the electrical connection in the school hall rewired ready for the technical test.
It is hoped that other schools will be motivated to get involved in global projects and/or join our wiki to create and add book trailers.
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