Reinhard Marx is an online colleague from Germany who is always at the cutting edge of using technology for global collaboration. We met through the Hello Little World Skypers Group. Last year, he looked for teachers/classes to be involved in judging a Flash Mob Dancing Spectacular, as part of International Tolerance Day. I readily agreed as it was held during my evening and any projects Reinhard helps organise are always great. A similar event took place this year on November 16th. There is something rather amazing to be down near the southern tip of the world, yet be so intimately part of a school spectacular in the northern hemisphere – a school that is in the middle of Asia – and in a country that I know little about – Kazakhstan which is in the heart of Central Asia.
The 13 global judges came from Germany, Sweden, Bangladesh, Hungary, USA, England, Greece, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Australia. Chills went down my spine, when the two student comperes acknowledged the judges, their countries and my name was read out over the youtube live streaming. These comperes were young, yet so professional. Judges were introduced using three different languages. 17 different dance groups performed often to a medley of music that included traditional, folk, hip hop, Asian, modern Western style. It was comforting to realise that these students loved similar music to what my students enjoy. The dance routines were fabulous, kept an absolute secret from anyone involved and choreographed by the students themselves.
The online tools used
- Skype: a skype group – the “Shymkent Flash Mob Jury 2018″ – was formed for those educators who were interested in being part of the global judging – either solo or with a class. This gave us a valuable backchannel both before, during and after the actual event. Some teachers were new to the process and were able to work out what they should do and where they should be on the actual online google judging sheet. Begaim, the chief organiser of the event, was able to keep us up to date with which group was performing and translate for us when necessary.
- Youtube – for live streaming of the event with the live audience chatting in the backchannel of youtube – mostly in a language I could not understand.
- Google sheets – for judging each flash mob. Teachers were given an individual sheet with in the group sheet. Each flash mob had a number and a name. Voting took place for each dance group. The following categories were voted individually on a score out of 10 – dance energy, team spirit, musicality (all movements in the dance must correspond to the specific features of the music), dance synchrony, creativity and appearance.
What the event looked like::-
- Testing of the youtube stream took place one hour prior to the event
- Skype group was used as a backchannel
- The two student comperes did a great job introducing the school and contestants, and introducing the global, virtual judges.
- Their national anthem was played
- The 17 different groups performed their flash mob dances (the whole process took approx 2.5 hours)
- As each group finished, the judges scores went up on the google sheet and were collated in real time.
- The winners were announced at the end
- One large skype group call enabled all the judges and classes across the world to see each other and speak – an amazing finale (although my bandwidth was not stong)
Kudos and hearty congratulations to the teachers and students of Kazakhstan for such an amazing event. Thanks to Reinhard and Begaim for pulling in some of the global network to be judges and part of it all. A great way to celebrate International Tolerance Day.
Excerpt from the youtube chat on live streaming.