Category Archives: conferences

Presenting at ISTE COVID-19 Style

Each year, I have looked forward to attending ISTE, the largest Technology teachers conference in the world. It is always held in USA so quite a bit of budgeting and planning needs to take place to ensure this can happen. However, the face to face conference in Anaheim, Los Angeles was postponed from late June to early December due to COVID-19. As time progressed it was clear that a face to face conference was not possible, so a virtual conference was planned. Presenters who had their presentations accepted were asked to confirm that they were still able to be part of it.

This must have been a huge task for the organisers, co-ordination details, working out what it would all look like, software to be used, liaising with all the stakeholders and ensuring a viable program could run smoothly. There were still 12000 people attending. There was an exhibitors section, playgrounds and the presentations.

The two presentations that I was involved in were:

The Magic of Mystery Skype (a poster session) – with Todd Flory and Amy Rosenstein

The Best Tools for Global Collaboration (initially an interactive lecture but changed to a 5-8 minute Ignite session) – with members of the ISTE Global Collaboration Leaders PLN

Emails and updates to my page on the ISTE Conference site kept us informed. This time of year is so busy, with our school end of year reports, exams, assessements etc all due. In the 2 weeks prior to the conference, practice rehearsals were scheduled. As our Best Tools for Global Collaboration was on the Main Stage Theatre, more complicated access was required. Global Learning was the theme for our Ignite session. There were three other presentations as part of this, including one from Leigh Zeitz who was our Global Collab past President.

For our short presentation, we wanted to involve as many leaders as possible which meant we attended virtually from across the world. This added further complications with access to technology, time zones etc adding to the mix. Our presenters included:- Margret Atkinson (our President from) Louisiana, Dr Shahinaz Abdelrahman from Sudan, Dr Michael Harvey from Malaysia, Sean Forde from Sth Korea, Anne Mirtschin from Australia, Kaylah Holland of Haiti, Ava-Gaye Blackland of North Carolina. It was decided that we could each create two or three slides (or more) to speak to with each of us having one minute to talk to the slide.

Shahinaz is an amazing educator whose electricity and interent access is never reliable. In the event that she could not access the internet, she put together a short movie to share her tools. Ava-Gaye did the same. We added our slides to a shared google presentation, using an ISTE20 channel in Slack to interact and communicate. As I had put the proposal in to ISTE, Margret and I worked together to try and sort out some of the details Google Meet was used for this. It was the week of Thanksgiving in the USA and I was amazed to see Margret (giving up her holiday break to meet and co-ordinate things) in a beautiful looking room overlooking a gorgeous swimming pool. She was at her friend’s place who, as Margret described it, was ‘real fancy’. There is something amazing in using technology to connect countries and feel like you are part of their space.

There were three or four rehearsals just with our team to ensure we could time it correctly. Zoom was used for this and a time was found that suited all countries – some had a very early start to the day ie 5am or 6am and a late finish for others 10pm or 11pm at night.

The best time for most was 11pm, Melbourne Victoria time gmt+11). Then there was our major platform training session with all involved in the Ignite session, to ensure we could access and use the technolgy and gain confidence with ShoFlo the tool used to stream the presentation. This was not a very professional start, as several of us were not added in, had our microphones muted, could not hear what was going on etc but it was another learning journey. There was some angst about how this would all pan out.

The ISTE technical setup rehearsal

The Magic of Mystery Skype

The first presentation was the Magic of Mystery Skype. This was a poster session and again an unknown as to what it would look like. Todd and Amy and I met to record a short 3 minute video to be added to our conference link. Skype was used to do this. A link was provided to us via the program and our login to ISTE conference (Manage Proposals). Discord was to be a backchannel with the technical support people of ISTE. It was 10am for me, so a suitable time except that I was at school. Unfortunately, the year 6s were using Tinkercad and pulled down the bandwidth access, so my audio and video would not work. However, I could be active in the chat and look out for questions from the attendees, answering them in the text. Amy and Todd used their microphone to answer questions and share any screens. This was an interactive session with people coming and going with questions to direct the content. Numbers attending were capped at 20 and if there were more than that, 30 mins was spent with the first 20 and then another 20 could attend the second 30 minute session.

Best Tools for Global Collaboration

Best Tools for Global Collaboration was at 4am my time, 1am Malaysian time and 2am Sth Korea. I nearly pulled out, thinking I needed my sleep and one minute of fame was not worth it. The alarm was set for 3:30am. I put on a jumper over my pyjamas and added socks to keep my feet warm as it was a cool night. We were to login to Discord 30 mins before the scheduled starting time. Our first link sent us to the Main Stage waiting room. We were able to chat in there and organisers could make sure that we were present. Soon after that we were moved the Green Waiting room for speakers. There we had to use voice to state whether on a PC or Mac, using Google Chrome of Edge and whether we were using Discord on our phone (using a separate device was encouraged). I could not logon to my phone as it would not accept my password, so I used my laptop to access everything. That was noted.

A link was then shared in the Discord chat to enter the ShoFlo Main Stage streaming room. I felt that I was transported to a live TV show. Everything was so professional and the excitement mounted. We had our own MC who did a great job – seemed like a professional televesion compere. Again audio was tested and some brief instructions given and hey presto our ISTE Global PLN team were projected via video on to the main stage. Shahinaz was there with us in Disocord, but did not make it to Shoflo. Luckily she had inserted her video into her slide. Margret capably shared our google presentation and our rehearsals played us in good stead as it went so smoothly. I know my voice faltered at one stage with stage fright! but we kept to our time limit. What an amazing event and one that I shall always remember.

One of the other Ignite presenters in Shoflo, with many of our ISTE GlobalPLN Team showing in the videos to the left.

A huge congratulations to the ISTE organizers on running this successful event.

The Global Education Conference 2019 Reflections

This is such a wonderful conference – it is free, online and global. It goes 24 hours a day over 3 days. Again I had the pleasure of being able to moderate the conference with Sue Wyatt from Tasmania for the times that the US educators are asleep. It is fun and quite a learning curve taking on this role as we tend to have the times that are friendly to countries that may not speak English as a first language. This brings in a lot of challenges including misunderstandings,  second languages, accents, uncertainty of procedures, attendees with names that are hard even attempt to pronounce etc.

As I waited to help Vietnamese teachers provide their presentation, I was fascinated to hear them all talking to each other in Vietnamese from each of their geographical locations. It is interesting to hear people speaking their local languages, as too often we expect them to have a go at English so that we understand. Sometimes it was necessary to moderate more than one session at once, and be in 4 or 5 rooms helping to set up and ensure all was going smoothly with the online sessions. Fortunately, my laptop held up to the demands. However, on the second night of the conference, (Australian time) the NBN (our our open access data project) was taken down for maintenance and I was unable to moderate any sessions. A big thank you to Sue Wyatt for taking on the full responsibility. When you have spare time, please look through the list of sessions that were provided and listen to the recordings. There are some amazing conversations, experiences and presentations.

Join the Global Education Conference community to view the following resources: . Recordings are available by clicking on this link. 

If you attended sessions and were a registered attendee, request an attendee certificate here – one per attendee

Global education resources are available by clicking on this link


Online resources and apps to engage students in accounting

comview banner

The title above is the topic that I will be presenting on at Comview 2018 This post is for the participants (and other interested parties) to access the links for the sessions.

Online document of resources.

Link for answergarden

@murcha on twitter

Link to presentation



AnswerGarden: Name some business expenses

Source: AnswerGarden: Name some business expenses

This post is to allow VCTA Comview participants the chance to answer and see the garden grow.

Learning how to use Makey Makey with Scratch


At the recent ACCE conference, I attended as many ‘hands on’ workshops as possible as I am not at all confident with using coding and robotics. One of the sessions involved “Using Makey Makey with Scratch” with Meredith Ebbs, a NSW project officer. See her blog site for more – Observe, Learn, Do and KodeKlubbers


This session showed how to use Makey Makey with Scratch. As we have 6 makey makeys in our school, I was keen to learn more. They are cheaper options to get into for coding and programming than many of the robotic kits.

Possible uses:

  • Setup makey makey as a keyboard convertor, then integrate Scratch to program the Makey Makey
  • Could use  for quick one answer surveys (eg did you enjoy this lesson “yes”/”no” as students exit the classroom)
  • Make artworks and poster interactive (eg enable audio to sound on posters)
  • Can be used to add LEDs etc into the boards
  • Adding split pins to posters, activates storytelling which has been recorded in Scratch and activated by the makeymakey

What I learnt:

A good way to start using Makey Makey is to set up a keyboard using aluminium foil covered cards that are attached to the makey makey with crocodile clips. (Cards are required for each of the arrow keys and one for earthing). Then google for a “pacman game”. Use the foil covered cardboard and appropriately attached crocodile clips to the Makey Makey to play the game.



Some suggested resources:

  1. – fantastic online document including all resources shared together with Meredith’s actual presentation
  2. CSER MOOC – free online open source PD
  3. Follow Colleen Graves on twitter

Some other useful extras

  • buy a caterer’s bulk pack of aluminium foil
  • photo below shows some other useful items


The picture below shows an object useful to use as a voting lever as students eg leave the classroom for evaluation or to vote in a simple survey.


Some code that might be useful




The ImpaCT of Global Classrooms

the races.jpg

The Australian Council for Computers in Education hold a conference in Australia every two years. This year it was held in Sydney at Randwick Racecourse, with the theme of ImpaCT. See the full program 

My presentation was based on The ImpaCT of Global Classrooms and the impact it has had particularly on my classes and students. The session descriptor is as follows and the presentation can be seen above.

By attending this session, participants will explore and gain “hands on experience” in the
• hear inspiring and amazing classroom stories of collaborative global classrooms
• explore online tools for communication, connection and collaboration both synchronously
and asynchronously. These tools are free, cross platform, cross device and accessible to the
majority of classes across the world. Some are proven tools over time and some are the
latest trending tools
• Learn how to get started 😊
• Where to find global projects – both simple and complex mnm  mmmm
• Discuss tips for success
• Explore the challenges of collaborating globally
• How to overcome the challenges including the challenges of cultural and religious
differences, language barriers, accents, time zones and more
• Understand the need for and the power of developing a personal learning network
• How to develop a professional learning network and learning communities to join

Unfortunately, Todays Meet (a backchannel) is no longer available. This would have added interactivity to the session. The time slot was only 30 mins in length, so there was no time for interactivity. An online document of resources was shared.

Involvement at ISTE 2018 – Conference Presentations


ISTE is the biggest conference in the world for technology teachers. This year, it was held at the McCormick Place, Chicago. There were more than 22000 people in attendance a. The following were presentations, that I was involved in.

I was fortunate to represent and present with some of my colleagues from  my most valued personal learning networks:

Global Education Day:  Sunday June 24th, organised by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon (the learning revolution). These two amazing educators lead the fabulous Global Education Conference. As part of this session, I led a roundtable discussion on the Best Tools and Apps for Global Education. See the shared, crowd sourced document. Approximately 20 people crowded around a table, introduced themselves, accessed the google document and as each one shared their favourite tools, Leigh Zeitz added them to the document. What would you add to this document? Either add as a comment below or directly input it into the online document. See the participate portal with summaries of this 3 hour session.

Poster Session: Sunday July 24th

Hello Little World: Teachers Connecting Beyond Borders with David Karnoscak, (Chicago USA) Steve Sherman (of Cape Town, Sth Africa) and a number of members of our HLW Skypers group. See the session summary.

our group.jpg

In 2011 two high school teachers, Katherine Zablatnik (Austria) and Brad Peach (Texas) met via Skype. They wanted to promote building lifelong bridges between students and to enhance cross-cultural awareness. Today the group has over 150 educators and continues to impact the lives of children all over the world. Click here for more information

effie hlw skypers.jpg

As part of this session Effie Kyrikakis of Winners education  stayed up 3am in order to skype in with us, so that those who were interested could play Mystery Skype with her or generally ask questions.

Matt Frattali captured an interview with me and Steve. See it below.

Snapshot Session: Connected Learning in the Global Classroom with fellow Skype Master Teachers Amy Rosenstein and Todd Flory See our session summary

Connected Learning in the Global Classroom
Todd Flory
Go to this Sway

Interactive Lecture: Top Tools for Global Collaborators Tuesday July 26th with Amy Jambor and Makisha Rogers See session details.

This session was submitted as one of the ISTE Global PLN’s presentations. See our full presentation Twitter was used as a backchannel providing participants with the  opportunity to interact during the session, using the hashtag #isteglobalpln. Four questions were asked of them over the session. As Makisha was unable to attend ISTE, she presented virtually via a google hangout, demonstrating the power that technology can give to classrooms through virtual communication.  See Connie Rensink‘s live streaming of our presentation on periscope.

Transforming Education for Humanity Conference – Vizag, India

  • IMG_3151

“There is something culturally humbling about sitting down to a hot lunch, in a foreign country, having intense educational discussions with a fellow teacher who eats with his fingers whilst I use cutlery and serviette.”


The UNESCO_MGIEP inaugural conference took place in Visakhapatnam, Inda and was organised by UNESCO Mahatma Ghandi Institute of Education for Peace (MGIEP). The aim of the conference was to

provide a unique platform for learners and experts from across the globe including Ministers of education, information & communications technology and youth as well as senior policy makers, entrepreneurs, education technology providers, teachers, teacher educators, education psychologists, researchers and neuroscientists to collaborate, innovate and work towards transforming education for humanity.

The conference was brought to my attention when I was invited to a brunch for global educators at ISTE in June this year. Brochures promoting the conference were placed on the tables.  ISTE supported the conference.

“The World is Our Classroom” was the topic of my presentation submitted for approval. It was accepted, so plans were made for travel; and time release, in the form of long service leave from school, was requested.

The conference was inspiring.  For the first time in a face to face environment, fair complexioned skins were the minority and often a novelty. Despite my age, people approached me for selfies!!! The biggest proportion of attendees were from the Indian community, representing many different schooling types, languages/dialects and districts. There were more than 55 countries represented and 1400+registered attendees.

mixed participants in session

Highlights:- There were many but following are some of them:

    • Immersing with so many different cultures, languages, backgrounds and religions.
    • Attending sessions that involved interpreters. It was fascinating to hear the different languages.
    • slides which featured both English and one of the Indian languages – Hindi, Tamil etc.

multi langage slide2

  • being reminded of the poverty and trying conditions that many teachers in India, Bangladesh, Africa etc work under. Many schools do not have electricity. Many parents are illiterate but still want the best for their children.
  • panel discussions from some of the world experts in a many fields involving technology eg gaming, robotics, AV and VR, Makerspaces etc
  • Being a participant in a session that involved both Chinese and Russian presenters. The Russian presenters were sharing their research and experience in Artificial Intelligence.


  • The conference had a mix of Ministers of Education, ICT administrators, entrepreneurs, researchers, neuroscientists, policy makers, educators and best of all quite a number of students – some quite young as participants.
  • Ability to collaborate, innovate and work towards transforming education for humanity with many of the above participants.
  • The mix of topics and choices available to participants.
  • a tour of Vizag on the conference buses with a multicultural mix – Indians, Filipinos, a teacher from Azerbaijan – all eager to learn more about each other as we rode on the bus and stopped at the tourist attractions.
  • The Novotel conference centre is situated on Beach road, with only the road separating it from the sea  and its beautiful views.
    • IMG_0192
  • Meeting people who were also staying in my hotel, Winsar Park hotel, opposite the King George Hospital. Many of these people were also attendees or presenters at the conference.

Staying in hotel that had been highly recommended by Indian people on Trip Advisor. It was clean, had complementary breakfast (predominantly delicious Indian food). kind and helpful staff and a restaurant that stayed open until 11pm at night. (This was useful as sometimes I did not get back until 10pm)


  • coping with the different accents even though the common language was English and trying to make sure each of us understood each other.
  • the queues were long at lunchtime – often 1 hour or more, queues. However,  this did provide an opportunity to meet others and continue conversations on education and backgrounds.
  • determining what name I call people. The name tags showed a first name and last name but sometimes the culture they were from, reversed the sequence of names.
  • working our way around the Novotel conference centre. However, there were many volunteers who did a great job to guide us. Some sessions had to be rescheduled due to inability of participants to find the correct room.
  • overcoming my fears-of getting lost,missing my flights,  making myself understood, suffering gastro from a changed diet, how trustworthy are my drivers (uber, cab and tuc tuc drivers) etc

Cultural differences:

  • hearing a variety of native languages being spoken around the conference centre
  • evidence of tight security. The conference was officially opened by the Chief Honourable Minister for Andhra Pradesh. Numerous police, security guards and the army equipped with large guns were everywhere inside and outside during this time. The volunteers and workers for the conference, formed a human chain as he walked through the exit near the conference participants.
  • Women were clothed in saris, with legs covered either by the saris or leggings. There was little evidence of Western style dresses.
  • Getting to the conference in the local transport – autocabs (or I would call them tuc tucs) and trying to make the driver know where I needed to go.
  • Working out the meaning of the horizontal head nods – was it yes or no or something else?
  • The spicy foods – I was told by those who lived in India that Andhra Pradesh food was amongst the most spicy of foods in India. I did enjoy their food but avoided any that obviously had red chilies in them and I drank lots of water!!!!


Global Classrooms: Connecting your students to the world

Today, I am presenting at one of long time favourite conferences – Comview – the Victorian Commercial Teachers Association of Victoria (VCTA). Below is a list of the best ways in which I have established an amazing global network and where others can readily find others to connect with.  There are many more but these were the ones that helped me. The presentation will be added soon.

Resources to use during session

  1. Backchannel in TodaysMeet
  2. Padlet – what do you see outside your school window?

Sites to find people to connect with

Skype in the Classroom  and  Skypeathon

Classroom 2.0

Global Education Conference and Global Education Conferencelink to recordings


Flat Connections   and the social networking site for the Flat Connections Global Project

Global Virtual Classroom – Our Ocean Project with Taiwan, Wunshan Senior High School, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

ePals – Article Global Learning: Connecting the World with ePals (Edutopia)

Flipgrid: please introduce yourself on this grid and describe your favourite time at work.

Other tools to use to connect

Voicethread – online podcasting/videocasting for collaboration and connecting. Register for the free teacher version

Other sites to find global connections:

  • Facebook groups – becoming increasingly popular with Asia
  • Google+ groups
  • Taking IT Global
  • Edmodo teacher groups

More on twitter: Suggestions to follow on twitter

@skypeclassroom @elemenous @stevehargadon @jaimedonally @TheEdsaneT @murcha @joycebronwyn

Twitter hashtags

  • Skypeathon #skypeathon
  • Sustainable Development Goals – 17 goals to transform our world
  • #SDGs #WorldToiletDay
  • #ditchbook
  • #TeachSDGs #climateaction
  • Global Education: #globaled17 (conference); #globaled #globalclassroom #asiaed #ISTEGlobalPLN #globalgoals #globalmakerday
  • #ABunceeADay
  • General education: #edtech #edchat

Flipgrid: Follow @Joycebronwyn #flipgridfever

Personal Involvement in Global Education Conference 2017


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.