Author Archives: murcha

Personal Involvement in Global Education Conference 2017

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As always, I am proud to be part of this amazing conference which is in its eighth year. Over this time, it has been a privilege to work with two great, innovative leaders in world education, Steve Hargadon of The Learning Revolution  and Lucy Gray.

As this is a 24/7 conference, Sue Wyatt and I will co-moderate the extended hours whilst much of the world sleeps.

Other sessions that I am presenting or co-presenting in include:

    • Global Ed Keynote Panel: Where in the world is global education? –  the panel comprises many amazing global education leaders. Link to the recording

 

  • Let’s Talk Global Education – an interactive discussion amongst all the participants. Link to the Recording
  • Hello Little World Skypers – the Continuing Adventures – a global presentation of an amazing group of global educators who support each other 24/7 if need be. Link to the recording

There are so many wonderful sessions, make sure you attend as many as possible or listen to the recordings. All sessions can be found at this link  with all the recordings found on this link.

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The Global Education Conference 2017

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The quotes on this tweet by Lucy Gray really resonate with me and those who are passionate about global education. This conference is an amazing one in that it is online, free and truly global. It runs 24/7 over the course of three days. See the schedule and choose your time zone.

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Living in Australia means that I am either asleep or at work for the times when the USA presenters and participants are active, but that also means that I get to connect with some of the other parts of the world eg Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa who are active at this time. It means that a variety of languages are involved with English not always being the first language spoken by participants. This also means fun and trying different ways to communicate if moderating sessions!

Our Australian news can be full of conflicts and problems occurring overseas and it still amazes me that I can be in a virtual room with others who actually live in those countries and are experiencing what we are reading or seeing in our media.

This conference is a great opportunity to

  1. develop or further develop a global network,
  2. learn of what other passionate educators or community groups are doing
  3. get started in global education
  4. learn about potential global projects to be involved in
  5. gain ideas on global projects from simple to complex
  6. find supportive mentors
  7. grab some takeaways to be used back in the classoom

There are opportunities to volunteer and help with moderating presenters.

There has been an noticeable increase in activity on twitter as many of the organisations involved in global projects and collaboration are pushing out the big advantages of and the engaging outcomes associated with going global with education.

Will you join the world in global education? Check out the daily updates and feedback from Steve Hargadon’s Blog

  1. Day 1
  2. Day 2
  3. Day 3
  4. Our Final Day

Remembrance Day 2017

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Whilst in London last week, it was noticeable that red poppies were being sold in a number of places around Banstead – just outside the supermarkets and other places. They are to be worn on Remembrance Day. In Australia, we also buy red poppies to wear as a tribute to those who have fought in World War I. The red poppies were among the first to flower in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium in the First World War. In soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we have a minute’s silence in Australia to remember those who fought in World War I. As part of this commemoration, many schools hold a ceremony with readings, national anthem and laying of wreaths at war memorials. Our school held a service today at the Hawkesdale Reflection Space as 11th November is on a Saturday this year. The nostalgic poem, In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow  was recited by one of the students, together with a number of readings, the singing of our national anthem and laying of wreaths at the centopath by students, shire and community members.
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Amazing Outcomes from Global PLNs

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One of my special online colleagues, Sebastian Panakal is an educational entrepreneur from Kerala, India, and a tireless worker  who is passionate about his people, their education and their economic future. On many, many occasions he has spoken to students, staff and parents from my school in Australia, using Skype to connect. In turn I have been able to reciprocate and connect with schools, classes, community members etc in Kerala.

Technology enables us to connect in ways never thought previously possible. It’s innovative use is just starting to impact on global education. The ability to learn from others in any country, any time and a variety of ways can help those in lesser developed countries improve their education and expand their learning/knowledge. Nelson Mandela said:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.

Last week, Sebastian connected me (over Skype) to Mr Ravindran, of Kerala, India. Initially, I spoke briefly to Sebastian who then introduced me to a retired female Principal who is learning to teach online under Sebastian’s tutelage.

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Next, Mr Ravindran was introduced and he spoke of ways that he may be able to help me and other members of our global network, when visiting India. He spoke of his Commerce degree and background which was of high interest to me as that is my academic background and the area that I teach in. I spoke briefly of what I do but it was only when I had hung up that I realised the importance of this friendly gentleman.

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He is an important community member and his business card reads as follows:-

U. P. Ravandran, M Commerce,  a member of the Prime Minister’s 25 circles (Interaction with the Prime Minister, Indian Defence, Indian Railways, Schwachh Barath Mission, Anti-Corruption, Legal Cell, Women Protection, Consumer Protection, etc).

He has direct access to the Prime Minister’s office to report on what goes on locally here in Kerala. This helps the PM’s office localize and customise their work in Kerala.

Sebastian has a wonderful vision – a project to employ one million people as English Language Coaches – each one teaching one program. Those who are fluent in the language will help those who are not, using Skype for educational purposes, accepting an honorarium, if given.

Sebastian has contact with senior citizens who are eager to use their time productively, empowering people who need a mentor in language learning. Read more at the EldersSole. The idea has been work in progress for two year. See Language Learning Circles   and Speak English for Money. This project is about to be launched to help the people of Kerala learn English. Mr Ravindran is supporting this project.

It would be fabulous if the people of Kerala could offer to teach their native language to others across the world. People in advanced countries could be willing to pay for native speakers to teach them. Courses could be setup, including advanced or basic tourist conversational courses, cultural and heritage lessons. Tools like Skype can used for direct interacting and learning. There are  many options available (and many that have not even been thought of) that innovative entrepreneurs like Sebastian (with a fabulous global professional network) and supportive mentors like Mr Ravindran will be able to use, to advance the learning and financial opportunities for the people of India.

All the best in this innovative adventure in global connection and learning!

The Global Virtual Classroom Project

Although, I had heard much about the Global Virtual Classroom Project, (GVC Project), which was founded by Janet Barnstable, my classes have not been involved before due to the nature of our school years. The original projects spanned 6  months but as schools in Australia enjoyed their long 5 week summer break and then started a new school year, it was impossible for me to have a consistent class that could complete the project.

However, a mini-project was introduced this year and this was more manageable for the school calendar. It did span across semester 1 and 2, and my ICT elective students changed over this time, but we were able to participate due to the willingness of our partner school and teacher Yunchai Chen, Wunshan Senior High School,Kaohsiung, Taiwan to condense the project to fit in with the first term of our semester 2.

What I liked about the project:

  • strong support from the leadership team of Janet Barnstable USA and Lakshmi Srinivas of India.
  • being partnered with a school in a similar time zone. We could actually communicate virtually in real time using skype
  • Yunchai Chen had been part of the project before and was therefore experienced.
  • the tools used were user friendly and free
  • the project was flexible to fit in with specific needs
  • students in Taiwan and Australia could choose their own global topic. They chose Oceans
  • an awards process to acknowledge work completed

Both countries are islands. As we live 25 minutes drive to the closest ocean and seas, and as our beaches are beautiful, students felt comfortable with the topic and had some basic knowledge. As the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s big tourist destinations, Warrnambool’s Logan beach is a nursery for the Great Southern Whales and Port Fairy is a nearby quaint village (which started out as a whalers station), the students had plenty of scope for ideas.

The tools used:-

  • email for teacher correspondence
  • edmodo for sharing of conversations, files and other needs (student and teacher use)
  • google sites – was chosen by Yunchai and me to display the student outcomes
  • skype for synchronous virtual connections
  • Windows MovieMaker to produce the videos – my student choice

The time frame was tight – approximately 6 weeks, but this gave students a sense of real time pressures that they may face in the work place. Three students produced videos – Tim’s was on Ocean Life in SE Australia; Port Fairy, Bethany’s favourite beach and Sophie chose to produce a movie on the Great Ocean Road.

To the delight of the students, a silver award certificate was granted for the collaborative Oceans project. Our certificate can be seen below.

silver award gvc301 Silver Award Australia

Imagina Books – VR/AR for learning

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Imaginer Books on Kickstarter

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality are of high interest to me, but I  am still a little uncertain as to  they can be used in the classroom. I have purchased a VR headset recently. I can place my iPhone into the headset, watch 360 degree videos and use “google card” apps to take virtual tours. But….. is AR just a fleeting gimmick or how can learning be enriched with this technology.

I received an email last week from Hisham Hosni of Livit Studios who, like many of us, firmly believes that education is the most important aspect of a child’s life. Their vision at Livit Studios is to use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in delivering a better and more enjoyable educational experience for our children. Apple has officially supported AR on IOS, so that the iPhone and iPads are AR-Ready.

This week, their Kickstarter campaign was launched at Imagina Books  The Human Body Augmented Reality Book certainly shows how AR/VR can make learning richer.  It can be read on both android and IOS devices. The real value of VR and AR now comes to life as students can see exactly how parts of our human body work, not just through static images but through living, vibrant 3D views, where they can take a virtual tour of human organs and body parts. The book and app  display the actual beating of the heart making  for  deeper understanding how the heart actually looks and works.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website,  see the press kit and some pictures and videos showcasing the product at Imagina Books Press Kit. There is also a Facebook page and  a Twitter account.  This would make a great gift for my grandchildren!

Let’s hope there are many more products like this to aid in learning using VR/AR technology.

The global collaborator: Discussions on #SDG11 – India/Australia

The United Nations have adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG goals) in a bid to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

One of the new ISTE Student Standards is the Global CollaboratorStudents use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

Sustainable Development Goal no. 11  of the United Nations SDG goals is to  “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

Both these goals were put into practice by communicating and connecting over skype  with Anu Sharma a teacher in New Delhi, India and year 8 her students. Her students were studying SDG goals, in particular the Sustainable Cities aspect. They wanted to discuss problems relating to traffic – pollution etc in our countries. The first connection was a mystery skype ( to work out what country each of us were from).

The second  involved discussions about traffic rules, how they work in each of our cities and the road signs that we use. Anu’s students would do some research work and find possible solutions to the prevalent problems, which would then be discussed in the second skype connection. Her students made display boards, PowerPoint presentations and prepared speeches.

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The main road through Hawkesdale

Dirt tracks around Hawkesdale

At first, I was reluctant. Our school is in a town with a population of 220. There is not much traffic and little or no pollution. Some of our roads are dirt, and the majority of vehicles comprise trucks, buses and through traffic. Their city in contrast has a population of more than 21 million, pollution is of high concern and there is high traffic usage.  However, we do have some problems with the health of our roads, slow moving vehicles eg tractors and animals such as kangaroos on the roads and although it is in stark contrast to Delhi could make good learning comparisons.  Australia ranks 20th on SDG index and India ranks 116th.

However, I agreed to connect. As most of my classes are in the morning, this did not match with the Indian times. The ideal connection would have been my year 8 ICT class communicating virtually.  Instead, I asked some students if they would come in at lunchtimes to connect. It was 1pm our time and 8:30am Indian time.

 

The three sessions that we connected were fascinating. My students had to listen intently to the accents of the Indian participants to ensure we could understand their speaking. It was much easier when they shared their screen and showed the powerpoint presentations, with imagery and some text. There were some similarities but many, many differences, some of which shocked us.

Similarities:-

  • many of our road rules were the same.
  • the majority of our road signs were similar
  • each country suffered from major potholes, but ours were caused by trucks, milk tankers, rain, poorly sealed roads, some of theirs were caused by earthquakes.

Differences:

  • sheer population numbers
  • traffic jams of gigantic proportions (their are no traffic jams in our local area)
  • Our traffic is light, theirs was incredibly heavy and busy
  • Pollution was heavy in Delhi, light in Hawkesdale
  • Another gaping difference was the method in which the potholes are repaired. They  showed pictures of 20 – 30 people working on the roads compared with us in Australia, using advance machinery and equipment.