Category Archives: global classroom

Second linkup with Mariana Ilanos

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As I am teaching an elective called Global ICT to year 9 and 10 students, I asked Mariana if she would have time to connect with them. This is a small class of students, so I was delighted when she agreed to speak to them. Year 7 class really enjoyed the previous connection and it was a great chance to learn about and discuss cultural differences a better understanding of the world we live in and to develop empathy for different ways of life

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Again Mariana spent time introducing herself and explaining her background including the fact she was born in Lima, Peru. By sharing her screen, she read and showed the pages of her book “(Not) Home for Christmas”. Although it was in English the Spanish text could be seen on some of the pages. Once the book was finished, Mariana talked about some of the cultural differences in celebrating Christmas. Students then shared their ways of spending Christmas. Photos of Peru and Peru were also shared.

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I would highly recommend Mariana to any classes around the world. Following are some of the ways in which she makes it engaging for students of all ages.

  • Mariana effectively used objects to capture the students interest – a blown up balloon map of the world to show where she lived in the USA (Oklahoma) and where Lima Peru is located. Students then had to guide her to find where Hawkesdale Australia can be found.
  • By sharing her screen, and showing the actual pages of the book, students could read  the text in case they did not always understand  her Spanish/US accent. The Spanish text could be seen as well.
  • Students enjoyed seeing the cartoon type images of the book as they were highly engaging and it added depth to the meaning of the book.
  • Mariana is a confident and engaging presenter who interacts well with the students.
  • Even though the book was written for younger students, these 15-16 year old students enjoyed hearing it and liked learning about the different cultures.
  • Mariana connects from her home and it is interesting to see what the space around her looks like, to have some of her family members interact with us and to hear her speak Spanish to her children.

Please read some of the student summaries on their blog posts:-

  1. Dwight Skype Linkup with Mariana Llanos
  2. Bayley Skype with an author
  3. Olivia Skype with Mariana Llanos
  4. LachlanS Skype with mariana llanos an author

selfie with year 10 and Mariana

 

 

 

 

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Teaching through an interpreter

The Skype linkup with a class in Germany, tonight has reinforced my belief, that working through an interpreter to teach other international classes is a skill that we need as we become more globally connected.

A message came up on our HLW Skype group from Reinhard Marx, a teacher, asking whether anyone was available to connect with his class in Germany in 2.5 hours time. As I was home and would be online, I agreed to connect. It was to be a mystery Skype with students asking questions to determine which country I was from.

It was a year 7 class and they were quite shy, but I would be too, if I didn’t feel confident with English. After some encouragement, one student came to the webcam and asked me a question. Then other students followed. They each introduced themselves.

The questions included:-

  1. Are you from England?
  2. Are you from Europe?
  3. Are you from Russia? and finally
  4. Are you from Australia? When the girl got my country correct, I immediately showed our flag to the camera for them.

I had quickly put together some photos of our farm to show them, so once they had worked out my country, I showed the pictures which were on a Powerpoint presentation. I had added English text so if they could not understand me, they may be able to read what I was saying.

There were photos of our animals – sheep, lambs, calves,; our flower stall at the front gate and some of the wild animals that we see on the farm, including an echidna and a koala. I was surprised that they did not seem to know what a koala was.

The students were then given the opportunity to ask me questions. There were questions about the time, the temperature (which was 30 degrees today), how hot it gets in summer (43.5 degrees reinhard and his class.jpgwas the highest this last summer) the season, where I actually lived in Australia (unfortunately, I had forgotten to put a map in the presentation to show them), the stars on our flag and a wonderful question about the colour of our sea.

As their English was not strong, I had to often pause for Reinhard to interpret both sections of my presentation and the questions that the students had for me. There is something surreal about doing this and a skill that needs to be acquired as we connect more and more on a global scale.

 

Preparing Blogs to be Global

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Mac’s word cloud for students of Year 8

This year, I am teaching a one semester elective to year 9/10 students called Global ICT. Students will maintain their blogs to share a little of our country, where we live, where we go to school and our culture. To start the school year, they will create word clouds of

  • first names of students in their class (gives an indication of names for our culture, as names vary across countries) See Felicity
  • subjects studied See Mikaylah
  • teachers names See Jack’s post and Harby’s post  Both boys used Wordart
  • towns (all small and rural) that our students come from

Why use word clouds?

  • engaging for an audience – colourful, summarizes, formatting styles
  • it is a visual summary of a topic or theme
  • good for those with lower literacy skills
  • easy to use, great for those who speak English as a second language in my class

Extension

  • 195 Countries of the World in a Word Cloud See Bayleys work in wordart. He copied and pasted the names of the countries, edited the formatting and placed the country names in a globe.

Wordle was a past favourite to create word clouds, but it does not work on Google Chrome and now does not work well with Internet Explorer. Below are some of the alternatives for students to experiment with.

  1. Worditout  See a video tutorial
  2. Abcya Word Cloud Generator See a video tutorial
  3. Tagcrowd
  4. Wordart

Students were engaged and enjoyed using these tools.

See Web Tools for Kids for other interesting tools for avatars, word clouds etc

International Tolerance Day – a global celebration

introductionReinhard Marx is an online colleague from Germany who is always at the cutting edge of using technology for global collaboration. We met through the Hello Little World Skypers Group. Last year, he looked for teachers/classes to be involved in judging a Flash Mob Dancing Spectacular, as part of International Tolerance Day. I readily agreed as it was held during my evening and any projects Reinhard helps organise are always great. A similar event took place this year on November 16th. There is something rather amazing to be down near the southern tip of the world, yet be so intimately part of a school spectacular in the northern hemisphere – a school that is in the middle of Asia – and in a country that I know little about – Kazakhstan which is in the heart of Central Asia.

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The 13 global judges came from Germany, Sweden, Bangladesh, Hungary, USA, England, Greece, Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Australia. Chills went down my spine, when the two student comperes acknowledged the judges, their countries and my name was read out over the youtube live streaming. These comperes were young, yet so professional. Judges were introduced using three different languages. 17 different dance groups performed often to a medley of music that included traditional, folk, hip hop, Asian, modern Western style. It was comforting to realise that these students loved similar music to what my students enjoy.  The dance routines were fabulous, kept an absolute secret from anyone involved and choreographed by the students themselves.

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The online tools used

  1. Skype: a skype group  – the “Shymkent Flash Mob Jury 2018″ – was formed for those educators who were interested in being part of the global judging – either solo or with a class. This gave us a valuable backchannel both before, during and after the actual event. Some teachers were new to the process and were able to work out what they should do and where they should be on the actual online google judging sheet. Begaim, the chief organiser of the event, was able to keep us up to date with which group was performing and translate for us when necessary.
  2. Youtube – for live streaming of the event with the live audience chatting in the backchannel of youtube – mostly in a language I could not understand.
  3. Google sheets – for judging each flash mob. Teachers were given an individual sheet with in the group sheet. Each flash mob had a number and a name. Voting took place for each dance group. The following categories were voted individually on a score out of 10 – dance energy, team spirit, musicality (all movements in the dance must correspond to the specific features of the music), dance synchrony, creativity and appearance.

my worksheet

What the  event looked like::-

  1. Testing of the youtube stream took place one hour prior to the event
  2. Skype group was used as a backchannel
  3. The two student comperes did a great job introducing the school and contestants, and introducing the global, virtual judges.
  4. Their national anthem was played
    national anthem
  5. The 17 different groups performed their flash mob dances (the whole process took approx 2.5 hours)
  6. As each group finished, the judges scores went up on the google sheet and were collated in real time.
  7. The winners were announced at the end
  8.  One large skype group call enabled all the judges and classes across the world to see each other and speak – an amazing finale (although my bandwidth was not stong)
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The global judges meet at the end over a group Skype call

Kudos and hearty congratulations to the teachers and students of Kazakhstan for such an amazing event. Thanks to Reinhard and Begaim for pulling in some of the global network to be judges and part of it all. A great way to celebrate International Tolerance Day.

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It was night time for me!

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Excerpt from the youtube chat on live streaming.

Breaking down Stereotypes with Mystery Skype

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I could hardly believe my eyes when I received a request from  a teacher, named Ben, in the USA to play Mystery Skype with his class as our time zones rarely match. The only way we can usually connect in real time with the US students.

So, I double checked that Ben had his time zone set correctly in his profile in Skype in the Classroom. He assured me that it was indeed 3:00pm Thursday was for him when it was 9am the next day (Friday) for me. And it was! This is what our connection looked like:-

  1. Ben and I quickly tested our connections before our classes came in, as this was his classes’ first mystery Skype call.
  2. Once connected, we tossed a coin to work out who would ask the first question. They said ‘heads’ and the coin fell to ‘tails’. We asked the first question “Are you north of the equator?”
  3. By a process of taking it in turns to ask each other a question that required a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, one of my girls eventually asked if they were from the USA.

They said ‘yes’ but immediately one of the boys said “No, they are not. They are from India”.  The girls who had asked the questions were darker skinned and did not look typically like the US people that we see on our television of computer screens. The class was from Arizona, near the Mexican border so the girls were Mexican in appearance.

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The other thing that threw my students was that many of them did not speak English as their first language. Spanish was actually their first language. Again this was not what my students expected of US students. They thought that they would all speak English! Another lady also appeared on the screen towards the end, wearing a head scarf – something that my students were not expecting either. Many of us have clear ideas where we think people are from but videoconferencing tools like Skype break down the “stereotype” images that we have. We see people. We hear people. No longer do we read about them in our textbooks! The global stereotypes become challenged! Please remember that students in our rural school tend to be isolated culturally and geographically although we are getting some Asian dents from visa workers on the large corporate farms now.

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Ben’s class were well organised and had signs ready for “just a moment” whilst they worked out answers to questions or determined questions to ask. A great idea of theirs was showing a picture book with a page full of their native animals. This was an interesting way of sharing a collection of native animals with another class.

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Lessons learnt: The west coast of USA may actually be reachable and connectable ‘live’, whilst we are in daylight savings time.

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Towards Problem Free Global Collaboration!

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A recent question, for discussion, was put up on our ISTE Global PLN Connects Site, by April DeGenarro and it read like this

“As a preventative tool, I am trying to create a list of things that every global collaborating teacher should do to work towards a problem-free global collaboration experience.  This mostly applies to the teacher-initiated projects where one teacher arranges to work with another teacher(s). What are some of the things you ALWAYS check before and during your projects?

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My responses to this were:-

  1. What is the time frame for the project? (Can it be completed during my school term and school year as we start our Australian school year at the end of Jan and finish in Dec.) Shorter projects are much better to start with.
  2. What tools will be used – synchronous (will it be in real time) or asynchronous (non real time)? eg We are asleep when most of the USA is at school and our school day starts when US schools are finished, so synchronous connections are tricky.
  3. How confident are the teachers with the tools? Are they user friendly and free?
  4. Does my school have access to the tools to be used? ie are they blocked.
  5. What devices can be used by students – can the tools be used cross platform and devices.
  6. Age group for the project? I teach secondary but find that my students have more confidence when they work with younger ones eg using flipgrid pals. Therefore, cross age projects can work.
  7. How frequently will teachers communicate as good communication ensures a successful and completed project?
  8. Time zone differences (always need to be measured in UTC or GMT). This is one of my greatest challenges
  9. Test the connections if videoconferencing is to be used prior to a direct linkup.
  10. What language will be used? Will the tools used allow translation options?

After the project: 

Reflect on the project:

  1. Write a a journal entry, preferably as a blog post (students should do this too)
  2. Share class reflections on a flipgrid and share with the connecting class. Both classes could contribute to the flipgrid.
  3. Promote the activity via twitter and facebook and/or other social media channels.

Maintain the teacher to teacher connections.

Seek further ongoing connections to continue the learning.

Although global connections may not be completely trouble free there are things we can do to make them as engaging and powerful as possible.

The ImpaCT of Global Classrooms

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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
following:
• 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.