Category Archives: global schools

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 Education Conference Leadership Team Introduction

I have been proud to be part of the Leadership Team with the Global Education conference since it’s inception. Here is a flipgrid video to introduce myself to others, share what I do in education and my experiences with the Global Education Conference.

  1. Click on this link to see my introduction. (The video would not embed into Word Press, Sorry!)
  2. Click on this link to see other members of the Global Education Leadership Team.

My introduction in text format

Hi I am Anne Mirtschin, a technology teacher from Hawkesdale P12 College a small prep to year 12 College in Australia. Technology has allowed us to breakdown our classroom walls so that we can learn with and from the world and beyond the textbook. As my students are geographically and culturally isolated, I am passionate about global education. We connect with others whenever we can and get involved in global projects wherever possible.

One day per week I partner with our Victorian Dept of Education and Training as a web conference coach.  I love to travel. I have been on the Leadership Committee for the amazing Global Education Conference since its inception. It never ceases to astound  me that I can be in a webinar with people from Africa, Nepal, the Middle East, Europe, USA, Asia etc all sharing our passion for global education. I am Communications Officer for the ISTE Global PLN, a Flat Connections, Master Skype and Global Classroom teacher.

My network is now global, my classroom is global and my students are also becoming global.

Behind Closed Doors: Sebastian guest educator from Kerala, India

cropped selfieThis week is Education Week in Victoria, Australia. To celebrate teaching and learning, our school opened its doors today on the theme: “Behind Closed Doors”. Grandparents and parents were invited in to the classrooms between 11:30am and 2:30pm.

Year 7 ICT class demonstrated the power that technology can bring in opening up the doors globally. Sebastian Panakal kindly accepted the invitation to play “Mystery Skype” with the students, then show his wife’s Seena’s wonderful samples of origami and and answer any further questions.

whole class with Sebastian

Students had to think of one question to ask Sebastian, that required only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, whilst I solved the many problems I was facing with my laptop. Sebastian waited extremely patiently whilst my laptop rebooted. Students gradually worked out where Sebastian was from, using visuals and accents as ancilliary clues. Hamish actually worked out the name of the city – Kerala! Students had previously asked if he lived in the northern hemisphere, near a tropical forest, near the Pacific Ocean etc. Once they knew it was India, the next questions were

  • Do you live in southern India?
  • Do you live in a big city?
  • Do you live in Kerala?

showing origami

Sebastian proceeded to share the wonderful origami that his wife Seena creates. I hope he could hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the students as the webcam beamed them back to us. She shares her work over youtube.

As it was breakfast time for Sebastian he told us he was having Chappati & Daal – further learning as to what this actually looks like. Appam (made of rice) and curry was also part of it. Our students had had toast, toasties or cornflakes with banana!

Then he  invited us to Skype with “Sandesh – Be the Change” learners as part of training of a team of social entrereneurs ready to empower poor at the bottom of the pyramid in Kerala. The Prime Minister is eagerly promoting “Make in India” – Kerala Government is keen on digital democracy, empowering the marginalized. What a fabulous event for us to be involved in.

another origami

Read some of the student blog posts and what they thought about it all:

  1. Kiara’s post
  2. Dominic’s post
  3. Emmerson’s post
  4. Tim’s post
  5. Megan’s post

#skype2learn twitter chat – the archive

Questions for the first chat

Questions for the first chat

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first twitter chat for #skype2learn. Special thanks to Bevery Ladd who co-modarted the chat and to the Master Skype teachers for their active involvement.

Participants stayed up late at night (including Siberia and England) or tweeted early before they went to bed (eg Livingstone, a teacher from Havilla Childrens Centre in the biggest slum in Africa, Kenya). There were many conversations, some fantastic resources shared, ideas for using skype for innovative learning and many new connections to make. The chat has been archived at storify Connected Classrooms with #skype2learn

The questions can be found here. question 2 “Why do you use skype?” has some powerful answers. Make sure you look at them.

Solving technical issues on a global scale!

Skype for initial call then keeping contact open

Skype for initial call then keeping contact open

There is a saying that “if your product is good, the market will come to you!” The same saying can be applied to a person who has a strong online presence. If you are interested in global connections, have a strong profile, blog, share what you are doing and push it out there, others will find you and seek connections with you.

I was delighted to get an email from a university lecturer, Mariko Eguchi, from the Shimaine Prefecture in Japan who is working on global competencies with a number of countries including USA, Taiwan and Russia but was seeking interested secondary teachers in Australia. I immediately responded and said yes I would be interested as Mariko offers linkups via both skype and polycom. We get lots of skype contacts but global polycom users are more difficult to find. The visuals can be clearer with dedicated videoconferencing equipment so I was keen to try our school equipment with Asia.

Year 12 dress up day

Year 12 dress up day

Yesterday we used skype to initially connect, and used as a backchannel while we tried dialling each other over polycom. Year 8 girls happened to be in the room as were some year 12 students. It was their final day of school and they had come dressed up! Always a great opportunity to show off their costumes if it is on a global scale!

I could ring Mariko using polycom but she could not ring me. It was decided to test the connection with the school that she wants us collaborate with this Friday.

Skype opens our learning spaces

Skype opens our learning spaces

Polycom videoconference was next

Polycom videoconference was next

Testing is essential and to ensure we covered all possible potential complications, I booked a room for us to meet  through our Education Department just in case. Mariko then used skype chat to tell me that I cannot ring her on her mobile unit when outside the university, I have to ring her! We then tested the room connection immediately through the booked room number, but although Mariko could see me, she appeared as a blue box to me and also to her.

Resolving Mariko's lack of video

Resolving Mariko’s lack of video

Mariko is back on video

Mariko is back on video

Gary Schultz, a virtual learning officer with our Education Department was messaged. He came into the room virtually and immediately to try and resolve the problem. As there was still no solution, the central office digital support technician was contacted who also immediately looked at the back end to find all was well on the Australian side. It was suggested that Mariko’s camera was not working. She contacted her technician who was on site. She came in immediately and resolved the problem. The actual linkup takes place tomorrow so fingers crossed all goes well.

How fortunate were we to have almost immediate virtual and face to face help and that technicians from 2 countries could work together and resolve the problems.

Happy New Year to my Chinese friends!

gong xi fa cai 恭喜发财

May You Be Prosperous! May You Earn A Lot Of Money! May you Obtain A Fortune! (used as a greeting at Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese new year)

year of the horse1

Chinese New Year is a special time of year as our school teaches mandarin Chinese as its second language. It is also special to me as I have some very close online and face to face colleagues who are Chinese. One such colleague is Veronica Woo who I have e-worked with over the last 5 years or so. (See cultural eLearning adventures). Veronica teaches in a Chinese school in Malaysia – SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh.

So much of a culture, language, geography and backgrounds can be learned in real time using technology to connect with those who live in other countries….. but nothing beats travel, actually visiting the country and meeting face to face online colleagues. As such my husband and I have visited Malaysia and met Veronica and travelled with her around Ipoh and Penang. To our delight, Veronica and her niece came to visit us, stayed on our farm and vistied my school in December last year.

xhiao wen and veronica

A large parcel  was discovered in our roadside mailbox yesterday. It was full of gifts, cards and red packets or ‘ang pau’ for family and students at school to celebrate  the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse in 2014. There were decorations, photos, Tshirts,  cushion covers, a  horse and much more!


With pride, I took the cards and gifts to school, distributed them to students and  adorned our front office proudly with the decorations acknowledging our association with the Chinese people!  Students were excited to open up their cards and find their laminated photos and of course my grandchildren loved the gifts and cards too.

A snap decision was made to decorate our office window and foyer with Chinese decorations to share this festival with staff, students and community members.


office and lanterns

Festivals are a time for celebrating with families. Thanks Veronica for making the new year special to us at Hawkesdale and Happy New Year to you and all my Chinese friends.

Do you celebrate the Chinese New Year? If so how? Melbourne (my state capital city) celebrates Chinese New Year. Veronica has suggested that the following movie is viewed:-

The Reunion Dinner (回家過年) is a 15 minute short movie written and
directed by Anthony Chen (導演: 陳哲藝) who just won the Golden Horse 2013
Best New Director (第五十屆金馬獎最佳新導演).A simple yet superb film that will surely touch your heart:
The Reunion Dinner 回家過年by Anthony Chen 陳哲藝@

Two other youtube videos suggested by Veronica Woo for the staff and students to watch:-

A site for Chinese phrases

The Global Education Conference – a personal involvement

This is the third year of the Global Education Conference – one of the most amazing conferences – all online, free and open to the world to participate in. Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray are the co-founders of the innovative concept.

You must make the time to attend at least one session. You should also join the ning and participate in the chat as there are many educators from many countries – all wanting to converse, meet each other  and learn from and with each other.  Last night I was in the chat with a teacher from USA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Australia and many others – amazing! Take a good look through the  schedule for the conference and choose sessions that suit your time or interests or take a punt and just go to any of them. There are still three  days of sessions to enjoy. Follow the hashtag on twitter or other social networking sites #globaled13

Following are some useful links for best use of the conference

I am proud to be able to either present or co-present for the following sessions. Please join me if you can and push global education to the fore

  1. Where do we get started with Global Projects Link to recording
  2. Teaching and Learning Across the Globe with Lorraine Leo Link to recording
  3. Keynote: The World is my Classroom Link to recording
  4. Stories from Hello Little World Skypers (HLW skypers) Link to the recording
  5. World Museum Scratch Projects Friday, November 22, 23:00 GMT Presented by: Prof. José Manuel Sáez López, Prof Yoshiro Miyata, Lorraine Leo Link to the recordin

Following is The World is My Classroom keynote presentation

Other sessions that I have a personal interest or passion for:

  • Work with What You Have Tuesday November 20 at 2:00 GMTPresented by: Louise Morgan Link to recording
  • “Window to the World” – a path for the school of the future Friday, November 22, 13:00 GMT Presented by: Effie Kyrikakis Link to Recording
  • Global Classroom 2013-14 Stories & Project Launch Friday. November 22 at 11:00 GMT Presented by: Michael Graffin Link to Recording Repeat session: Saturday, Nov 23 at 20:00 GMT co-moderated by @warwicklanguage and @mrsmorgansclass Link to session
  • A Glimpse Into The Life of a Connected EFL Teacher Friday, November 22 at 9:00gmt Presented: Tatyana Chernaya Link to recording 
  • The Connected Educator in Progress A Beginner’s JourneyThursday, November 21 at 12:00 GMT Presented by: Maria Colussa Link to recording

Are you presenting? What is your topic? What sessions will you attend? What sessions will you recommend?