Category Archives: events

Christmas around the world – LIVE!

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Reinhard Marx is an innovative connected teacher in Germany and part of the HLW Skypers group. He organised Christmas Around the World and brought the world to his class as well as to those who participated.
I was registered to be a participant in the first class as it was night time in Australia. Unfortunately, I had no class with me. Kim from International Community School of Abidjan from Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa also joined us with her class.

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We shared how we celebrate Christmas in our countries. Reinhard’s class shared and I used screen sharing to show a presentation with pictures of what it is like where I live. Kim’s class showed a video story. Each of the students individually shared where they are from and how they celebrate Christmas. It was fascinating to learn of our similarities but also our differences.

As the session drew to a close, the German students sang “Oh Tannenbaum” for us. The words for this carol were shared on our screens. The next minute, Kim’s class broke out in energetic singing and harmonies. The passion of both songs brought sheer delight.

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The African class had to move, so I stayed on and showed my packet of Christmas cards and bonbons. The German students did not know bonbons. I opened one, and showed the little toy, party hat and riddle that came with it.

Our friend Maria del Colussa from Argentina also joined us for a few minutes but will be part of the next formal class.

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Christmas Around the World will continue through the next few hours with other classes and students joining in. What an amazing experience for Reinhard’s classes and for us!!

How it worked! Reinhard shared

  • a google document with us so that we could add the most suitable times.
  • a google map so we could add our location using pins
  • the google hangout link to connect

We used screen share to show our presentations and the chat to share questions and comments during the presentations.

What surprised me! The African students were so, so confident and had lots of questions. The German students were rather shy as English is their second or third language.

Other countries involved include Hungary, Sweden, India.

Most amazing is that this connection made the German newspaper. See the article online.

School Trip to China

student-group-at-beijing-no27r

Every second year our school organises a trip to China, as mandarin Chinese is taught as our second language. Part of this trip involves a four or five day visit to our sister school at no 27 Beijing. It is offered to students in years 9 and above.

I am fortunate to be one of the supervising teachers in attendance. There are 11 students, 2 staff and four adults who are related to the students. On arrival at the airport, we were met by Mr Wan who picked us up and took us by bus to no 27 school where we were greeted to our official welcome, early lunch and then attended classes. We were given a home room where most of the classes took place.

On that first day, our classes included:

  • Chinese – the historical and modern day importance of a name to the Chinese people
    chineses-family-names
    writing-family-names
  • Geography – an overview of Beijing. Students then made models of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Tainmen Square
    Model of the hutong

    Model of the hutong 

    forbidden-city
    temple-of-heaven

Students were then greeted by their host familes who came to the school to pick them up and take them to their homes for four nights. This really pushes students outside their comfort zones as English may not be spoken by the parents or may be very limited. Their homes are tiny compared to our large Australian homes and most Chinese students slept on a couch so that our students could have a bed. The girls especially showed some nervousness about this. All but two families had one child.

The school then treated our staff and adults to a sumptuous meal at a local restaurant  where we enjoyed amongst other amazing dishes – the famous Peking or Beijing Duck. The duck was carved in front of us by the chef!

chef-carving-our-peking-duck

 

Contrasting countries/cultures -The things we take for granted!

the group

Hawkesdale p12 College welcomes a visit from our sister school, no 27 Beijing, every second year. Students are placed with host families for 7 nights during their visit to Hawkesdale. They attend school for 5 days of their visit and a special timetable is prepared for them. The aim of their visit is to be exposed to the Australian culture and to be immersed in the English language. Many of the host families live on farms and some live in towns of 150 people or less.

It is not until we host international students that we realise how different we are and how much we take for granted of where we live and learn. Following are some of what we have learnt.

  • Some of the Chinese students have never seen stars
  • A blue sky is a rarity in Beijing and they love our blue skies.
  • Some students have never been exposed to the dark (the lights are always on in Beijing)
  • Many have not eaten with a knife and fork
  • Many have not seen a rainbow
  • Our families are large – most have 3 or 4 children.
  • Our homes are huge cf their small apartments
  • Houses tend to be one storey here – multi-storey there.
  • The countryside and space that we have between houses and farms is the complete opposite
  • There is little traffic ie cars on our country roads but it includes milk tankers, stock trucks and the occasional tractor on the road.
  • Freedom in internet access.
  • Students will be able to ride a horse (which they have only seen in picture books or in a zoo)
  • Many are afraid of dogs and most country families have dogs in Australia.

Australia is a wonderful country to live in and the country areas are great! We were proud to share our country and homes with the students and staff.

in the classroom

 

Open Night at Hawkesdale College

in the library
Each year, our school holds an Open Night inviting interested  families of year 7 students in 2017, to come and visit, see and hear what is offered and be immersed in a number of activities including science, wood technology, sport, technology and cookery.

science room

I was asked to provide a virtual connection with teachers and/or students from other countries so that parents and students could experience the wonderful learning that can occur. Two special colleagues, Sebastian Panakal, from Kerala India and Lin-lin Tan from Taiwan kindly agreed to connect with the groups at the appointed time. As the families were held up, the five students who were helping me, had a special time with Sebastian and Lin-lin asking questions and interacting in conversations. Vesna is studying mandarin Chinese and practiced her Chinese with Lin-lin. The other students also conversed in simple phrases. Skype was the tool used to connect.

vesna and linlin

boys and sebastian

It started with mystery skype. The students had helped set up online maps in the computer room and families were grouped around them, trying to determine the country they were from. Sebastian went on to show his wife, Sheena’s beautiful origami which she had learnt to do from youtube. Families found it more difficult to determine where Lin-lin was from, despite her showing puppets, chopsticks and a video as clues. It was a great experience and many thanks go to the Sebastian and Lin-lin for giving up their time to show the learning that technology can bring.

puppet

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sebastian and swan

My journey to work in pictures

For the first two days of this week I am in Melbourne for one of my favourite conferences – Comview, organised by the Victorian Commercial Teachers Association.

Melbourne is being decked out for Christmas, one of our biggest traditional festivals. The Myer Christmas windows are now open for viewing, the Town Square and Federation Square is being decorated and many of the arcades and laneways feature ornaments. Here is what my journey to work looks like:-

 

Starting from Victoria Market

Starting from Victoria Market

Bourke Street decorations

Bourke Street decorations

Stopping by the Myer Christmas windows

Stopping by the Myer Christmas windows

 A little dog lost amongst the trams in Myer windows

A little dog lost amongst the trams in Myer windows

myer windows tram

Down the Royal Arcade

Down the Royal Arcade

Breakfast in the laneways

The Block Arcade

The Block Arcade

toy soldier in collins street

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station

Destination Comview Conference Flinders Street

Destination Comview Conference Flinders Street

Best Approaches to Global Collaboration

Global Collaboration Day was celebrated on September 17th. Tech Talk Tuesdays weekly webinar series took place on a Thursday to be part of this great day. The topic for conversation was “Best Approaches to Global Collaboration” and the direction of the conversations were chosen by the participants.

The participants came from five countries – Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and USA but they came from a broad section of educational tiers and layers – community members, universities, schools, special interest groups  including “Gifted Students”, “Toastmasters” etc. This variety of experiences and interests led to rich discussions.  We shared what we could see outside our windows while we were waiting and then shared pictures of what it was like where we live.

share what is outside your window

share what it is like where you live

Some of the topics raised for potential discussion included:

  • how much collaboration is enough!
  • why it is so important to collaborate globally!
  • Is there a taxonomy for collaboration reqirements, that help us map tools to requirements and simplify the choices?
  • breaking down the fear barriers for real time collaboration across the globe
  • best strategies of social media
  • learn more of Yoshiro’s World Museum and Mystery Skype
  • managing of discussions in a global workplace

Why collaborate globally was the first topic for discussion.  Some of the responses included:

  • to understand the many common experiences, issues and concerns we all have no matter where we live.
  • Breakout of the ethnocentric perspective to work together for collaboratively
  • Our  lives are supported by the whole  earth – need to develop gratitude and contributing minds.
  • Learn beyond the textbook
  • To build understanding and empathy between cultures
  • Broaden the experiences
  • we collaborate to broaden our world, if we avoid global collaboration, then our world shrinks.
  • fun, time coverage, interesting people, access specialist knowledge, understand cultural implications, save travel costs, create holiday opportunities

Ideas for “Breaking down the fear factors for collaborating across the world”. (Some of the mentioned fears included: loss of control, accents, languages – not being able to speak eg English well enough, cultural challenges, technology confidence, bandwidth/infrastructure etc)

  • in the World Museum Projects kids love to create interesting fun projects, without using too much language. They can share their projects with people around the world . They get to know each other Scratch. They get interested in each other and feel easier about communicating.
  • turn the camera off – helps them to be less shy
  • practise a videoconference call with just one person
  • watch video recordings, read blogs of people who have already done it.
  • have images and signage ready to share to ensure understanding
  • attend Professional Development sessions with encouraging mentor figures
  • use  text chat where possible to support video and/or audio connections
  • sharing idioms and common sayings to compare languages
  • Always have a support check list along with the training
  • Share quick ‘how tos’
  • Provide easy to follow tutorials
  • side by side assistance in the one place
  • provide alternative times for both hemispheres
  • ask about the different cultural protocols
  • participate in twitter chats
  • show best way to converse in a face book group
  • introduce speech craft lessons before conversing online – breaks down fear of talking in virtual rooms or videoconferencing
  • practise talking to each other – learn from the different languages, accents, cultures. Use any chat feature or signage to ensure understanding
  • Just try it!

How do we get started?

  • find out what others want
  • first step is just wanting to engage
  • where there is a gap in the educational services,  explore how to use it collaboratively.
  • In the World Museum site, Yoshiro starts with a World Friends Project in which the students draw themselves doing their favourite activities as a way of introduction.
  • MOOCs can be a popular way of learning. Seeking out one of these helps to understand collaborative learning.
  • find out what equipment/tools you will need
  • make sure it is within your school’s acceptable user policy to have students on camera
  • Cybraryman has a page for most educational uses/issues.
  • there are many great global projects to be involved in. See these crowd sourced documents for some of them Global Projects for Beginners and Global Projects: Where to Begin?
  • Think about the purpose of connecting with another classroom  and plan your conversations and activities around this.
  • Need to explore what kind of collaborations you need.

Best Practise of Social Media

  • Social media is seen as those online tools that enable connections among many at any time.
  • Using the right tool for the purpose in mind,  eg linkedin for professional connections, facebook for community sharing in groups
  • as educators we need to understand the limitations such as cultural equipment, access etc Once we have an appreciation of this,
  • World Museum uses Scratch website with forums, voicethread, wikis, edmodo, voicethread
  • Cross generational collaboration is useful because older students can support and facilitate the younger students eg students in Ann Marie Park’s university often help primary students work on their projects as well as communicating with overseas partners.
  • understand that you are managing a community
  • be aware that many social media tools may be blocked in some countries

What would your answers be to some of these questions? Which responses do you support, which would you challenge?

Global Collaboration Day

vena and korean student

Students (and educators) need to be able to share ideas, and appreciate the similarities and differences in space, place, culture and styles of learning across the globe. As our world becomes increasingly global through consumerism, an international workforce, digital and social media, gameing etc, it is essential that our classrooms become global. Our students are the future problem solvers of world-wide challenges. Global collaboration allows empathy and understanding to develop.

An exciting and unique event is planned for Thursday September 17thGlobal Collaboration Day #globaled15  This day is organised by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, the co-founders of the Global Education Conference. The main purpose of this unique event is to demonstrate the amazing power of connectivity between classrooms, schools, universities and organisations. This enables learning to take place beyond the textbook and into the real world of people who live, work and breathe there. The physical barriers of oceans, hemispheres, time zones, cost, effort and classroom doors are no longer a hindrance to learning in synchronous or asynchronous time.

A day across the world actually spans 48 hours from the time that the first country enters the 17th September till the last country exits. 185+ schools and organisations are offering events, from across 34 countries with more than 80 projects listed. The numbers are increasing on a daily basis. Educators, classes and organisations are hosting the events using a wide variety of tools that are available for synchronous or asynchronous collaborations. The majority of these tools are free and user friendly across all cultures, languages and countries.

There are twitter chats – some multilingual, webinars, global project launches, simple and complex connections between classes in different countries, padlets for collaboration, skype linkups, google hangouts, periscope live streaming of classes and so much more..

Some interesting event titles include: Soundscapes from around the world, Cultural Collaboration, Recess around the World, Global Journeys to School, Getting to Know Each Other Around the World, So Different and So Similar, UNICEF Live! Wash, A Global Education Gateway (from Beirut), The World’s Largest Global Education Collaboration and Challenge and much, much more. See the full listings of events or view the calendar for your time zone..

Some events that I will help administer and moderate include:

Join in and collaborate on a global scale that may change the face of learning, and possibly humanity, as it is currently known! Don’t miss being involved in some way with Global Collaboration Day.

What are you organising? What will you get involved in? What are your thoughts on this unique day?

More posts at

  1.  Join the Celebration for Global Education
  2. All Invited to Global Education Day
  3. Making the Impossible, Possible