Category Archives: global classroom

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 – Different Styles of Twitter Chats!

Different styles of Twitter Chats – Global Collaboration Day

Twitter has been used extensively to develop an amazing professional learning network. Although I do not regularly participate in twitter chats, I do find the global classroom chats of high interest. When I became a Master Skype teacher, Beverly Ladd and I started the #skype2learn twitter chat on a two monthly basis and again, when Julie Lindsay founded the ISTE Global PLN network, I help to organise the #isteglobalpln chat. Over the past 7 or 8 years twitter has developed significantly in its power to aid in networking. Hashtags, a translation option, the addition of images, tagged images and short videos etc to tweets has evolved.

On Global Collaboration Day my involvement in moderation spanned across three twitter chats –

  • A 1 hour chat #isteglobalpln “Twitter Chats 101” See the archive
  • Two slow twitter chats: #skype2learn “Learning with the World” and #globalgamechat The Gllobal Game Chat The slow twitter chats were less formal and people could answer questions in their own time. Moderators put out the questions on a regular basis.

Archives for Learning with the world and #globalgamechat

The Global Game Chat #globalgamechat was a multilingual chat instigated by the ISTE Games and Simulations Network. However it became a collaborative effort between two other ISTE groups the Mobile Learning and Global Collaboration network. The initial 30 minute chat was  followed by a slow twitter chat over a 24 hour period. The questions were sent out in English, French and Arabic.

slow twitter chat

Example of a multilinugal tweet


The #skype2learn Learning with the World was a slow twitter chat that spanned the 48 hours that Sept 17th takes to cross the world. It was a true collaborative effort.  As moderators came from Australia, Europe (Serbia and Greece) and USA, we were able to monitor the chats 24/7 (or 48/7)!!!  Jed Dearybury created an image which featured the 12 questions. Master Skype teachers crowd sourced the 12 questions that would be posed. The questions were reversed in order for the second 24 hour period.

questions by jed

Some moderators automated their tweets, and watched the responses evolve, interacting where possible. Participants were encouraged to respond as the questions fell (approx. every 1 or 2 hours) or answer all questions at once.

The addition of pictures and tweeting in local languages was encouraged. Pictures added great value especially when “What can you see outside your window? and “What animals are common in your area?”

The 1 hour #isteglobalpln chat was really fast and intense with co-moderators coming from the USA and Australia. Toni Olivieri-Barton @toniobarton, Anne Mirtschin @murcha, Linda Martin @mrsmartinusa Nine questions were posed and participants responded their answers immediately. However the timing of this chat left out almost half the world as it was not friendly to Europe and Asia for real time involvement.

The #globalgamechat received many tweets in languages other than English – Russian etc Moderators spanned the 24 hours.

Reflections on the experience:

One hour twitter chats

A one hour twitter chat can be intense. Having three moderators helped to lighten the load. We took it in turns to ask the questions. Answers came in chronological order making for easier archiving and retrieval.

Slow twitter chats

  • Requires a number of moderators who can span the time zones, pose the questions and interact.
  • Enables all people across the world to participate in their own time and in their own language.
  • Not all questions will be answered by all participants
  • Answers may not fall in chronological order
  • Far more relaxing to moderate
  • Tweets can be pre-timed in twitter apps like tweetdeck and hootsuite. However if the tweets are simply pretimed, interaction still provides for richer conversations.

Further observations

  • Fascinating to read tweets in different global languages and gain a glimpse into what they look like. I though WOLOF was a teaser but it is an actual language spoken by Jed Dearybury!
  • Images add so much to tweets – we can actually see what things look like rather than imagine through the sharing of 140 characters. The #globalgamechat participants really used the richness of media and is a delight to go back through.
  • Time zones were not an issue in the slow chats as they spanned a period of time.

The archives can be found by clicking on the appropriate links

Twitter Chats 101 #isteglobalpln

Learning with the World #skype2learn

Global Games Chat #globalgamechat

Global Journeys to School

hawkesdale sign
One of the huge successes of Global Collaboration Day was allowing people to discover and use many of the possible tools that can be used for global connection, communication and collaboration. One of my favourite new tools is Sway from Microsoft. This is a simple but really effective multimedia tool that allows professional presentation immediately. What I really love most is that it is collaborative and interactive so that it makes a great tool for global connections and collaboration!


Global Journeys to School encourages people to share their journeys to school so that others around the world can see the space and culture that we populate. This project was one of the possible projects that people could get involved in for Global Collaboration Day. There are already a number of schools, representing many different countries, with their journeys shared on this sway. They include Taiwan, India, Switzerland, Norway, Serbia,Malaysia and Australia

Please check it out by clicking on this link and if you could, please add your journey to school. How can we use this for classroom learning? What would you suggest?

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?

Breaking down the barriers of language

connected classroom

One of the biggest barriers to global connections can be language! Students from different countries may be very shy and reluctant to communicate when they do they either do not speak the language at all or only minimally. Here is an idea, games or activity that can be fun to use in Skype and may be well suited for those classes connecting who speak a different language.


Memory Game

  1. Collect 10 objects and place them in a bag or box (eg scissors, newspaper, mug, ruler, flag, cultural objects, food etc)
  2. Remove objects from the bag, one at a time, share the object over the webcamera  to the distant class using videoconferencing eg skype
  3. Say the name of the object, hold a sign up to show how it is spelt
  4. Hide the objects back in the bag
  5. Students have to come up to the webcam, name each of the 10 objects in their language and then the language of the initiating class.
  6. The other class repeats.

sharing vegemite

Extending the learning – use skype translator, signs in the written language, google or bing translator or use one of the teachers as a translator etc.

Imagine if you connected with a class from a country

  • that speaks the second language taught at your school!
  • does not speak English at all!

What could the students learn from this? Why should we even try do this?

learning the language

There could be a number of variations on this game. What other games could we play when a common language is a barrier?

The World is My Classroom

Bob Greenberg invited a number of participants at ISTE 2015 to be videoed for his series called The Brainwaves Video Anthology. He produces this series and interviews ‘the thinkers, dreamers and innovators’ of education.

Please check out some of the amazing people he has captured in video. (Not sure how or why I fit in with many of these!! But was certainly proud to be part of the series.)

The instructions were to speak for 5 mins on a topic that I am passionate about in relation to education. It is not so easy to speak off the cuff and fortunately, the editing software removed my coughing fits, and many of my umms and aaahhs.! Below is the video.

Some other interviewed guests at ISTE involve the following. These people have similar interests and passions re global education

  1. Michael Soskil  Global Service Learning
  2. David Potter Make Learning Global
  3. Michael Graffin The Global Education Project
  4. Brandon Wiley Global Education
  5. David Young Global Education for All

Global Communication – Global Etiquette

Participating in a number of global ISTE PLN sessions and meetings has made me even more aware of the nature of appropriate communication when connecting with the world. Discussions took place around the timing of certain events and the words ‘in the fall’ were used. Julie Lindsay  reminded us that we were not to refer to seasons but rather use months.

Appropriate etiquette that needs to be considered includes:

  • seasons eg  as countries experience different seasons wet/dry; summer/autumn/winter/spring, some use different names eg fall/autumn and are hemisphere dependent.
  • certain festival times of years eg Christmas (as many celebrate different festivals. Russian and Greek orthodox celebrate it at different times, other cultures/religions do not celebrate it at all), New Year (which one? – English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Nepal as these all celebrate different times for New Year and will have different calendar months)
  • Time clock – use a global time reference eg gmt +10 or utc +10 and not a local or national time for global connections

    global communication time zones1

  • Acronyms – should not be used or if they are need to be explained in full as only local citizens will know what they mean.
  • If there is no common language, then other forms of communication should be considered eg miming, music, images, sounds, lots of body language, translator etc

What have I forgotten? What would you add in here?