Daily Archives: November 28, 2012

The Global Education Conference from a volunteer’s point of view

Presentation from USA on the Global Food Project

The global education is an innovative conference that uses cutting edge technology to connect, communicate with and enable collaboration across the globe in a 5 day, 24/7, free online conference that is open to any people interested in global education. The two co-founders, Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon do an amazing job to organise, co-ordinate and lead this conference, helped by an international team of volunteers.

The highlights

  • connecting and learning with and from people of many different countries in numerous sessions
  • Being in the same conference room at the same time with many of my online colleagues, especially those whose projects I have worked on and with eg Hello Little World Skypers group, World Museum colleagues, Lorraine Leo.
  • finding like minded people who are passionate about global education
  • being a part of the leadership committee with an amazing network of innovators helping to organise and fine tune the conference
  • completing  super volunteer shifts of up to 7 hours, working alongside moderators from Egypt, Belgium, Israel and Australia
  • helping out in up to 5 virtual session rooms at once.
  • attending several of the keynote sessions
  • moderating and co-moderating Spanish sessions where neither presenter or moderator could understand each other but the presentation successfully went ahead.  Images  used in the presentation told the story even if the language could not be understood.
  • watching the energy in the chat window of the Global Education Conference ning and observing people from numerous countries helping and supporting each other.
  • Learning of countries that I did not know existed as people in the chat would share where they were from.
  • Perusing the conference program and schedules with sessions 24/7, often with three or four simultaneous sessions
  • Modearing a session where a mix of languages was used – French and English
  • learning more about the potential and best use of Blackboard Collaborate as an online conferencing tool
  • all sessions were recorded and can be found by clicking on this link.

The setting or location – space and time no longer matter when the conference is virtual.

  • The conference took place in Blackboard Collaborate, a virtual conference tool that is a firm personal favourite
  • Discovering that my husband’s computer would allow me to be in up to 5 blackboard collaborate rooms at once (mine would crash as soon as I opened a second room)

The challenges

  • understanding others when neither speaks a common language
  • co-ordinating the virtual lounge and ensuring that there were individual moderators for all sessions
  • nervous presenters wishing to pre-load their presentations or wanting to practise the
  • helping those who are new to technology navigate the Global Education Confernece ning and find current sessions or sessions they knew they wanted to attend. Their pleas for help were often found in the chat area of the ning.
  • how to continue the conversations and maintain the global networking
  • web based nature of Blackboard Collaborate means that java may have to be updated.
  • ensuring that there are participants in all sessions
  • ensuring sufficient numbers of volunteers especially in the hours when the US is asleep
  • intermittent problems with MS Powerpoint presentations failing to load. Conversion of presentation to jpgs would often throw the order of slides out.

Suggestions for improvement

  • a sandpit room for presenters during the conference
  • encourage further sessions in languages other than English
  • ensure that current sessions and links to rooms are added to the chat  just prior to the session (dependant on numbers of volunteers)