Category Archives: global connections

Learning Arabic Online

Year 11 Business Management students will learn basic Arabic in 1.5-2 hours  using a mix of online tools. As the business becomes more global in nature and outreach, cultural understanding and ability to interact with other languages is essential. We have been offered the opportunity to learn Arabic, initially with a Sohpia Aron of  Critical Language Service  in the USA and then, finally with an Arabic native speaker in Egypt. They will initially learn basic language and also view a number of cultural videos. This is to support Sophia with her request for sample videos of students learning Arabic and will be recorded.

The time allocation:-

  • 45 minutes: studying the vocabulary and materials that would be used in the lesson on the platforms Quizlet, Memrise. and Flashcards by NKO.
  • 30 minutes actual class
  • 15 minutes: student reaction and question time.

Tasks Prior to Learning eArabic

Students will obtain a username and password login for the following sites. Use your login code for computer access as your username.

Pre – session

Sophia was online on skype, she helped us  walk the students through the process live of setting up accounts using screen share.  The classes work on a Flipped Classroom/Blended learning model so Sophia pre- teaches the material via online tools and then the face-to- face time with the Egyptian teacher serves as a chance to practice implementing what they already learned.

Here are Sophia’s notes to us

I plan to use 2 platforms to pre-teach materials:

1. Memrise http://www.memrise.com/group/9115/

Memrise is the main platform.The class was divided up into 3 groups.  Inside the group, there are 2 courses. We will focus on the first course; Arabic for All Ages. The second course is simply an FYI about the Arabic alphabet. If  students do study that, then the Egyptian teacher will incorporate writing into her live lesson with them, if not then she will not use any Arabic letters. Inside the course “Arabic for All Ages” there are 4 levels. Level 1 is a video level. The first video in Level 1 is the vocabulary video. It is a section of a cartoon and most of the words we will use in the live lesson are in this short clip. The videos below the cartoon video offer English explanations of basic Arabic expressions and grammar. Level 2 is the where the studying begins. This level is spaced repetition flashcards of the vocabulary words. Students study the flashcards in small chunks. They can opt to take breaks between studying chunks to go back and watch the cartoon video from Level 1. The goal is for Memrise to determine that they have mastered all of the vocabulary words in the list; though due to time constraints this will not likely happen. Level 3 is not relevant for this class. Level 4 is culture videos. These videos will help the students to perform culturally appropriate role plays during the live class. They only need to be watched once.

2. Quizlet https://quizlet.com/_psu61

Sinbad Sets 1 and 2 Transliteration w/D…

I use Quizlet for its games. After the students have been studying the vocabulary for a while its useful to have competitions between groups and individuals using Quizlet Live and the various games built into the platform.

Problems we faced-

  • Logging in to some of the platforms and gaining user registrations.
  • Downloading some of the apps. Bandwidth at home was not strong enough in our rural areas to download the apps on to their smart phones.
  • Student smart phones to not have wireless access at school nor is there mobile phone service.
  • One student did not have a smart phone
  • Finding common times that would suit all time zones. However, amazingly our Egyptian teacher only gets home from work at 1am and is willing to connect with the students after that time.
  • Initially finding a class that I could work with easily. But on reflection, it was easy to ‘tweak’ Business Studies curriculum and fit it in there as it is a small class and I have them 5 times a week which would be possible to work in the time zones.

 

Playing Global Kahoot

the-setup

Victoria, Australia lies neatly in Asian time zones for synchronous connections. We start at 9am, most of SE Asia commences at 7:30 or 8am. With a time difference of 1-3 hours, we can connect synchronously with our classes.

My online colleague, Lin-lin Tan, of Taiwan, wanted a global combination of classes to play kahoot with her students. I thought it would be fun for my year 7 class. Hannah from South Korea involved her grade 5 and 6 class. Lin-lin gave me the following advice:

Hannah and I talked about it this afternoon and we will write our names like this  T01Mary (T is for Taiwan 01 student’s number and the name).  K24Sharon is for Korea, student number 24 Sharon

Prior to the linkup the following took place:-

    1. Students watched the Paper Bag Princess (see below) prior to the linkup

    1. Lin-lin devised a kahoot quiz for the students and shared it on kahoot.
    2. Google hangout was used to connect the three classes. We all logged into the hangout and could see each class
    3. Lin-lin then shared her screen with us so we could see the kahoot code

signing-in

  • Students from the three countries logged in individually to kahoot, entered the code
  • They entered their names using country codes preceding their names. Students from Australia used au_mac (or their first name). students in Taiwan used T then their first name and Korean students used k as the prefix to their name.
  • We proceeded to play kahoot virtually and simultaneously. We could hear each other, see each other etc through the hangout and had a real sense of being one class, each student bent on winning.
waiting-for-kahoot1

Students from my class

The amazing thing was that many of the students from Taiwan or Korea spoke English as a second or third language. How brave were they and what fantastic practise this was for those students. Imagine if my students had to play the kahoot in mandarin Chinese – their grasp of the language is so low in comparison.

taiwan

The class in Taiwan

korea

The class in Korea

 

Technology – an amazing connector

As a member of HLW Skypers, notifications will come through at any time on the skype group chat. One such message appeared 2 hours 30 mins before a special event in India from Sebastian Panakal asking for members to send a video message offering thanks and congratulations to Mr. Hibi Eden, Member of Legislative Assembly of Kerala, Sujathambika, Staff, Students and Parent Teacher Association of S.R.V. School.

I am at the inauguration of SMART CLASSROOM at SRV School, today 2 hours 30 minutes from now. A message from my PLN will go a long way in helping the poor students in Public Schools in Kerala, India.

A quick decision had to be made! What should I use to send a video message. Skype video message on my laptop, was one option as was creating a video using my iphone and uploading to youtube. However, the quickest was a skype video message sent through the group chat. However, the internet in Kerala is not always robust so there is always a chance that it will not work at the appointed time. However, the skype video can be downloaded and shown while offline as long as it had fully uploaded by the appointed time in India. I followed a suggested script from Sebastian, made sure the lighting was okay behind me and found a quiet place away from the noise of the grandchildren who were staying. I usually produce an Australian flag when I introduce myself but in my haste could not find one.

Even though the request came through 2.5 hours before the event,  I only read the feed 30 mins before the due time so there was not time to perfect the video msessage. Soon after sending it through, a group call came through from the Kerala location so I was able to share my congratulations in real time with those in Kerala, together with Tracy Hanson in USA (of Next Generation Global Education) and another teacher from India. The teacher in India had prepared some slides to share with us all by using screen share on skype. (Note to myself: I need a short presentation, sharing where I am from and my school!)

snip_20170112175747

The skype group video call can be seen in the image above. This is rather incredible to think that one of the poorest schools of Kerala, India can connect to so many different educators and classes in Australia.and even more amazing that the Member of their Parliament could witness this.

Watch the following video of one of the other participants.

A message sent by Steve Sherman from Cape Town

The thing that always amazes me is that dedicated educators like Sebastian Panakal can use technology to great effect for poor schools in underdeveloped countries – imagine what all of us could do if we connect further!

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

 

Successfully introducing classes of different cultures

name Sophie

When classes from two different countries and cultures connect or collaborate for the first time, it can be very difficult to determine the names and gender of the students involved.

My school had a Chinese language assistant teacher  from Shanghai for 12 months several years ago. She introduced herself as Wang Yi,so we called her Wang but after she had left we realised her first name was actually Yi!!! We had been calling her by her last name.

There will be differences in the order of names. In Australia we state our first names followed by our surnames (or last names). In China, students’ last names (or family names) come first then their first name. Some Indian citizens do not have even have a last name just their first name or name of their father which is carried down through generations.

When classes do connect and collaborate for the first time, it is essential for success that teachers share student details with clear headings for first and last (family) name. Pronunciation of the name using a audio would be useful. Gender should also be shared, as foreign names may not convey whether they are a boy or a girl.

If using webconferencing software such as skype, polycom videoconferencing, ghangouts, zoom etc, signs or printouts showing the name of the student (and pronunciation if possible) could be used as the student comes up to the camera.

What tips and hints do you have? How else do names differ around the world?

Outside our comfort zone

IMG_8619

School families have been asked to host visiting Chinese students from our sister school in Beijing. Many are reluctant and all are rather nervous. Our community is geographically and culturally isolated so people from different languages and cultures are rare.

Parents are concerned about the following:-

  1. What to feed their visitors? What will they eat and what should they cook?
  2. How will they communicate effectively?
  3. Will the students be bored?
  4. Where should they take the students?
  5. If they go to their room early, are they upset?
  6. How should they fill in the time after school and on the weekend?
  7. Most can only take a single student as they would not be able to transport them in their family car.
  8. Will they mind sharing a bedroom?
    farewell

This certainly pushes many of us outside our comfort zone? How did it all turn out?  Following are some comments from parents on our school Facebook page:

We experienced an amazing week both Max and Chen taught us so much we now have a greater understanding of their culture and country.

We had such a fantastic experience with Jing Jing staying with us. She is looking forward to seeing Chelsea again next month!

saying goodbye

bus

The Global Education Conference

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The Global Education Conference is here again. It is free, online, open to all interested in global learning over a span of four days, 24 hours a day. It is  a space for educators from all corners of the globe to congregate, socialize, network and to learn with and from each other.

There is something surreal about being in a presentation with people who may not speak English as their first language, whose names I cannot pronounce and who may come from countries I have to ‘google’ to find out where they are from.

There is an amazing array of keynotes and presenters, who come from all countries of the world, all passionate about global education, willing to share their experiences. Please make time to join this amazing conference. Check out the conference program in your time zone, put up your feet and enjoy the best that technology can bring.

The twitter hashtag is #globaled. The ISTEglobal PLN has put together a list of their presenters and some recommended sessions. You can see it by clicking on this link.