Category Archives: events

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

Global Collaboration Day

The Global Education Conference held in November each year is a highlight for me and exciting time for educators across the world when they gather together for an amazing virtual online conference. This year Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon are organizing a one day event, “Global Collaboration Day” #globaled15 on September 17th. An interesting discovery has been that one day across the world actually goes for nearly 48 hours and Australia is one of the first countries to enter Sept 17th. See for more details

At this stage there are over 130 schools and organisations representing about 29 different countries and 25 oranisations. Approximately 52 events are listed so far but more are being added. It is free. You can organise an event, launch a global project, attend many of the events or participate in some of the projects on offer. See the listing of events or check out the  calendar or look for the Participate Tab and link to events. Choose your time zone.

Are you planning any events or hoping to attend any events? What projects will you get involved in?

Australia and New Zealand classes connect for Anzac Day

April 25th marks the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing in Turkey. Australian and New Zealand On the 25th of April 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. April 25th is called ANZAC day – Australia and New Zealand  Army Corps and is celebrated every year, with a public holiday in Australia, special Dawn services and public marches by military veterans and personnel.

150 poppies made by the students

150 poppies made by the students

Each year, we hold a full school assembly to  commemorate this event. Students speak about what the day means. Everyone is encouraged to bring flowers from home to lay on our Australian flag which is draped over the stairway to our stadium stage. Students have  made 250 poppies, one for every member of our school community, and placed them at the entrance to our stadium.

Skype with New Zealand

Skype with New Zealand

Due to the nature of the special centenary, commemorations are even more special this year. Our grade 5/6 class linked up with a class from Auroa School, Taranaki where Myles Webb (our contact) is a deputy principal. The goal of the connection was  to compare traditions associated with Anzac Day.  Students in our school have been making poppies, diaramas, posters and more. These were shared over the webcamera. The NZ students told ours that although they have a special ceremony on Anzac Day, they do not really do much more than that. Our school will plant a lone Pine tree given to us by our Moyne Shire. Read the significance of the lone pine.

The lone pine tree

The lone pine tree

This led to discussions about why there are differences in commemorations, insired each other to further reseach the alliance, the history and what it means today. I wonder whether we could linkup with a school in Turkey and find out whether this day means anything to them? If so, how do they remember it and commemorate it?

Do you share special commemorations with other countries? If so, what and how?

The White Night – and the Melbourne culture

white night melbourne

We often get questioned about our culture. Although we live in a rural area, the capital city of our state is Melbourne, a 3.5 hour drive away. By chance I was staying a night in Melbourne, on the “White Night

flinders street

This event has occurred over the last 3 years and celebrates some of what Melbourne and we, as Australians stand for – music, food, film, art and light. White night starts at dusk and continues through to dawn in the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne, with clever light shows projected onto some of our major historical buildings including the State Library, music/sounds in the streets, outdoor theatres, shops, restaurants and cafes open all night, bands and crowds upon crowds of people enjoying both the free and ticketed entertainment.

It shows innovation, ingenuity and creativity in those who set it up and made me reflect on how such skills could actually be brought across into the classroom. The City Square featured sculptures, clever light shows and sounds that changed regulalry. The lights adaption of the story Alice in Wonderland featured across many of the buildings in the CBD.

alice in wonderland

Melbourne is classified as the Most Liveable City in the World for the fourth year in a row and major events like this show why this may have been achieved. What major events is your town, city or capital city involved in?

Apologies for the black and white photos but my iphone is exporting them from colour into black and white for some reason.

It’s 30 degrees – global weather contradictions!

summer here
path between snow

It is 30 degrees in Boston, USA according to Lorraine Leo, a teacher there but she showed photos of snow. My students related that it will be 30 and 31 degrees here in southern Australia, but that meant it would quite a hot day for us! How could this be?

It was the first ICT class for year 8 ICT – a group of 23 students. I like how Reinhard Marx in Germany introduces his students to global connections in their very first week of school to set the scene for a year of global collaboration and communication.

A skype chat with a great colleague, Lorraine Leo alerted me to the fact that she had just been notified that there was no school that day due to the heavy snow falls in Boston, USA. This was the second consecutive day this week and students had also missed school last week for 2 days due to snow. A couple of nights ago Australian television news actively highlighted the potential weather extremes on New York City.

Always aware of using up online colleagues’ spare time to connect with my students, I asked whether she might skype us the next morning to share the weather and snow falls with my year 8 class.

cars in the snow at night

Lorraine kindly agreed and we discussed the possible tools. We would start with a mystery skype, using skype, then use the virtual classroom software, Blackboard Collaborate to share images, Lorraine’s audio to present and enable students to use the chat to ask questions, provide feedback on the images and generally share. As a backup I created a backchannel in Todaysmeet Whatweather for conversations and skype would be used for the video projection. (we did not use this during the presentation but in the last 8 mins of class time, students quickly answered some questions that I put in there).

Students were quick to work out where Lorraine was from. They then logged into Blackboard Collaborate. However, we faced technical hitches as many computers had to download the launcher and experienced a slow bandwidth, took a long time to do so. We perservered and started with the presentation, with some students sharing desktops!

Lorraine expertly talked about the current conditions and had some wonderful photos to share with the students. Students asked some great questions in the chat, were quiet, engaged and listened intently. The subject of 30 degree temperatures was compared and what a great global lesson – different countries have different units of measurement!

Below are the comments from the students sharing what they liked about this synchronous lesson and some of what they learnt!

Kailyn:  I liked that we are talking to someone from another country and learning a bit about the different things that happen. I learnt that it is snowing there at the moment while here it is rather sunny and that over there it is night time, and here it is morning as we have just started school.

Dharma:- liked the part of the pictures of how big the snow is, and telling us about the schools sometimes being closed off.

Lisa: It was good to see the photos so I could see what Lorraine was actually talking about. Mrs Leo explained things really well.

Kyra: choose where the person was from. She said it really clearly and showed the photos of what the snow looked like especially as I have never seen snow.

Chelsea: I liked how we could see the pictures and I have never seen snow before so it was interesting to see it through pictures.

Sophie: I liked seeing the pictures and seeing what it is like in Boston.

Vesna: I liked using BbC as it is easy to connect with someone rather than skype which can glitch easily. I liked the way she presented it as we had pictures to see what it looked like and not just telling us about it which made it more interesting. I liked the flowers representing spring with the icicles in the window.

Isaac: The snow was pretty cool! It looks pretty fun! I liked the church picture with the person skiing in front of.

Kyle: I liked seeing how much snow there was. I liked learning about what happens in Boston from someone who lives there. The people walking on the pathway to their house with snow piled up on both sides.

Jonas: I liked seeing how much snow there was around the houses and seeing how high the snow was. I liked the people walking to their houses with the snow piled hight.

Zac: I liked the pictures of the snow and the one with the man snowboarding on the hill where a church was located.

Terri, I liked all the pictures of the snow. It was really interesting. I wish it would snow here. I learnt that snow can be very heavy and lie in big heaps.

Skyla: I liked seeing all the snow because we do not get it here. It was interesting to see how cold it gets. I learned that it snowed in Boston. I thought it was always hot. As when I visited USA it was really hot.

Teneika: I learnt that there was snow in America because my Dad’s family live in America and they have never mentioned snow. I liked how she had pictures as she was talking so you could see rather than just listen.

Lucy:  That my technology worked and I got into BbC. Mrs Leo took time to speak to us. I liked seeing the snow as it is a novelty to us. I learnt that it is a lot different over there like weatherwise at the minute.

Taylah: I liked every picture that was shown , was explained by Mrs Leo. I learnt that it is snowing over there, so the students cannot go to school and have 2 days off last week and 2 days off this week.

Caitlin: I liked how she taught us about Boston- the weather and what she does in her spare time and that she is a teacher. I found it interesting that it snows over there and that she has 238 students in her school.

Thank you Lorraine for allowing me to use the photos that you took the time to take for us. As you can see, the students frequently commented on seeing what it looked like rather than hearing what it was like! A memorable photo was this one, of roses (a sign of spring) in a florist shop with the tell tale signs of the current weather conditions (icicles) in the window.

roses with icicles