Some schools are now closing in Australia due to CoVid-19. In Victoria, schools go on their autumn break in 2.5 weeks time and I am taking a week’s long service leave at the end of these holidays to do a tour of Germany with my husband and some of his cousins. They go back to some of the places that their ancestors came from. At this stage we are still going but as the next weeks are unknown, I am preparing for teaching online should I be quarantined on my return or should schools in Australia be generally closed.
In preparation for this, I am collecting as many online resources, blog posts and other information as I can. Many of our teaching colleagues in China and other International Schools have already shared their experiences from the last few months. It is pleasing to note that some tools and apps are waiving their costs to help out those who need to use them.
As I am a teacher in the state of Victoria, I will be constantly monitoring this DET site for updates on the corona virus. The following resources not only cover tools and apps to use but also how to implement virtual classrooms as successfully as possible, emotional needs, parent involvement etc.
Here is what I have so far (others will be added as I find them):-
- From the Edublogger Resources for Teaching Online due to School Closures This great post is written by Kathleen Morris. She always shares great things
- Lucy Gray – a pioneer in Global Education – has put together this great google document of resources
- ATLIS Clearinghouse: Coronavirus Resources for Technology Leaders Scroll through and note the many resources and links shared.
- Laurie Guyon has put together resources on a Wakelet
- Robbie Barber has put this wakelet together to help students separate facts & fiction on COVID-19. Social media posts and updates are not always correct and many rumours spread without substance.
- There are Facebook groups to join. I like these groups as I can ask questions, learn from others, share my knowledge and interact. You can search for tags within the group, so that the same questions are not repeated.
- COVID-19 Resources for Education and Libraries by Lesley Farmer
- Well being and self care resources for home learning Wesley Fryer
- Great presentation on Teaching Remotely and in times of need by Torrey Trust
- Companies that are offering free access to their tools, apps etc
- Amazing Education Resources
- Follow this hashtag on twitter #RemoteLearning #covid19edu #distancelearning #remoteteaching
- Monitoring learning in an Online Environment Sway by Peter Sercombe – particularly for those using MS products
The next post will share what I will use and the criteria I need to address.
(More resources will be added here when I find them.)
It was the second last week of our school year and I had received a request from a teacher in southern California to connect with one of my classes. To my surprise we were both in school at the same time as the US is one of the hardest countries to connect with Australia in real time. It was Thursday last lesson for her and Friday first lesson for me.
However, an alternative program was run that week and when I looked at the class I had, I knew that it wouldn’t work! So as the bell rang, I quickly went to our grade 5/6 class and asked their teacher if they would like to connect with the school in southern California. To Mr Huglin’s credit, he agreed. So I threw him in the deep end, rang the class using Skype and left him to it. First up, they played Mystery Skype. Then it was question and sharing time!
Surprisingly, it worked really well as it was now similar age groups connecting:
- The US students were curious about the fact that ours wear school uniforms. They dont!
- They were surprised that our students don’t eat MacDonalds often as they have to drive 40 mins to get to one. McDonalds is across the road from them.
- Starbucks was also across the road from them. Our students would have to drive 2 to 2.5 hours to get to the closes Starbucks.
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
Over the last three years, I have been priveleged to be a jury member (judge) for the Shymkemt Flash Mob Jury. This is an amazing collaborative event held at a school in the Republic of Kazakhstan to celebrate the UN International Day for Tolerance in November. Students at this school in Shymkemt perform a dance as part of a group of 10 or more students to their choice of music which can often mash and incorporate music from different genres including traditional folk.
Organisation on a global scale – largely led by Begaim, one of the teachers. Each year it improves and allows for many of the judges who speak English as their first or second language.
- a call for jury members (or judges) is sent out world wide through a variety of Skype group lists.
- a link is provided to a google sheet for educators/classes to add their names as jury members.
- A Skype group is formed as a backchannel prior to, during and after the event.
- The Flash Mob is live streamed through Youtube, with a test connection prior to the event.
- Prior to the official event, a professional and highly engaging video showing Shymkemt is played through the youtube channel.
- As the event starts two student leaders welcome everyone and announce the global judges which are a mix of teachers and classes from countries across the world – Germany, Bangladesh, Russia, Vietnam, Australia, USA, Sth Korea, Kasakhstan, Taiwan, Hungary etc
- Thirteen groups performed. Each of them was judged on a number of criteria and given a score from 5 to 10. They were judged on dance energy, team spirit, musicality, dance synchrony, creativity, appearance. Scores were added to the collaborative google sheet after each performance.
- Students chose their own music and made up their own moves. All were of a high standard and scores were close
- A master sheet kept track of the totals
- After approximately 1.5 hours, the final scores and winners were announced
See the video
- it is very special to be a virtual judge of events like this
- live participants in the youtube channel came from a variety of countries so their comments came up in their native language – fascinating to watch and to try and translate!
- the youtube channel showed the name of the group who was currently performing so we were all judging the right group
- however, as a collaborative sheet was worked on, someone was entering their scores on my sheet which threw me out as I looked like I was judging the dance group that had not yet started and not the current one.
This time of year is always so busy, with senior students completing exams, school reports needing to be done and lots of potential to get involved in global events and projects. Our school year is drawing to a close.
However, Nov 5 and 6 were great days to be involved in connecting with others during the Microsoft Global Learning Connections. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of junior computer classes on these days, but we were still able to connect and link with a number of countries including
- Sri Lanka
- Sth Africa
- USA (I connected early in my morning to talk to them at the end of their school day. It was Nov 7 for me and technically the celebrations had finished, but it was still Nov 6 for them).
What did we do?
- Played Mystery Skype with most of the countries and students
- Watched amazing yoga feats by students from India and saw some of their great craft work.
- Saw traditional dancing from Sri Lanka
- Participated in the MS Global Connections Playground with Steve Sherman from Sth Africa. There were educators from Beirut and Phillipines etc. I had students creating Lego robots so they were able to show their robots.
- I was going to share our farm with the US students, but my sound did not work.
Always test the connection As I had been on Skype so much at the beginning of the week, I did not test my audio when I connected with Steve Auslander’s class in the USA at 7am my time. Unfortunately, my audio did not work. Despite trying to mute, unmute and other quick possible fixes, they still could not hear me. So miming got me through with the few active minutes that I had with them, as it was the very end of their school day.
Expect the Unexpected: I had accepted Skype requests through the Skype in the Classroom website, but sometimes when the actual call came through, it was from a completely different Skype ID. Redferns School in India was one example. Their yoga performance for us was amazing as was the craft work they showed us. So glad, I accepted that call.
As I only had one or two classes that could connect, we had a number of sessions booked for that 50 minute period. Oher global classes were often held up and tried to ring us later than we expected. So we had to quickly finish some connections and be prepared for interuptions and delays. One option might have been to do a group call. There were so many educators and classes actively looking to connect and spending a longer time in the call.
Be better prepared: We loved looking at the craft work, the signs made, the dances and yoga demonstrations. Next time we will try and prepare things better to show a little about us.
Having used Skype for many years and found that it is still the one webconferencing tool that works well in my school and the area I live as it is not heavy on bandwidth. Microsoft took over Skype several years ago and instigated an annual 24 hour Skypeathon.
This year, they have changed the title to Microsoft Global Learning Connections which will encompass other collaborative tools eg Flipgrid, Teams etc but all the while encouraging classes across the world to become connected.
It is always a great experience to connect. Some classes sleep over at school for the 24 hours. Some of our past experiences included live linkups with schools in India who showed their traditional costumes and dancing, others demonstrated their outcomes in robotics, some played mystery Skype with us and some just called to quickly say hello.
Flipgrid is a trending tool to use in global connections and collaboration and it can be used with great success when time zones make it impossible to connect in real time.
Will you be involved this year? My classes certainly will. The hashtag being used is #MSFTGlobalConnect For more information check out some of the links below from Microsoft.
Teacher Toolkit: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectTeacherToolkit
Activity Plan: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectPlan
Educator Tips on how to organise an class/schoo event: aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectTips
Social Toolkit (ready-made templates etc.): aka.ms/MSFTGlobalConnectSocial
September 15th was International Dot Day. The ISTE Global Collaboration PLN, of which I am also a member. It was decided that the #ISTEGlobalPLN would create a project for this day to engage our members and other educators. Sean Forde, one of our lPLN leadership team set up a Dot Day wakelet for participants to add their dots. It is still not too late to add yours. Peter Reynolds, the author of the Dot, created a beautiful Dot to start us off.
Here is what it looked like in my classes
- We do not have the book, so we watched the story on youtube.
- As it is during my ICT classes, computers had to be used to draw the dots
- Most students chose to use MS Paint with some having access to Paint 3D
- They were encouraged to share a little of Australian culture in their dots as it was a global project
- All dots were collated into a Powerpoint presentation and then uploaded to slideshare.
- The link to the slideshares were added to Wakelet and this created an efficient and effective way of sharing more than 40 dots. (Rather than have them just listed under one another).
Did you get involved in International Dot Day? What did you do?
This morning we connected with Athalo and his class from Brazil. His students, who speak Portuguese as their first language shared some presentations with us on the following topics about their country:
- Their town
- Tourist attractions
Zoom was used to connect us and screen sharing enabled them to share their screens with us. Students interacted with each other asking and answering questions.
Our boys under 16.5 football team and under 16 girls’ netball team are in the Grand Final tomorrow. To help celebrate this big event, students in our school came dressed in blue and gold (the colours of the Hawkesdale Macarthur Football/Netball teams). A special pancake breakfast preceded school.
We could show the Brazilian students the pancakes and the footy team uniforms. This added extra interest! Athalo prepared a kahoot on Brazil for us to play at the end of the lesson.
See student blog posts on the connection
- Lachlan Linkup in Zoom with Brazil
- Bayley Linkup with Brazil2
- Dwight Zoom linkup with Brazil
- Olivia Video Call with Brazil