Category Archives: global schools

Online Learning when Schools are closed with CoVid-19

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):-

  1. From the Edublogger Resources for Teaching Online due to School Closures This great post is written by Kathleen Morris. She always shares great things
  2. Lucy Gray – a pioneer in Global Education – has put together this great google document of resources
  3. ATLIS Clearinghouse: Coronavirus Resources for Technology Leaders Scroll through and note the many resources and links shared.
  4. Laurie Guyon has put together resources on a Wakelet
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. COVID-19 Resources for Education and Libraries  by Lesley Farmer
  8. Well being and self care resources for home learning  Wesley Fryer
  9. Great presentation on Teaching Remotely and in times of need  by Torrey Trust
  10. Companies that are offering free access to their tools, apps etc
  11. Amazing Education Resources
  12. Follow this hashtag on twitter #RemoteLearning #covid19edu #distancelearning #remoteteaching
  13. 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.)

 

Those confusing Time Zones

clock

Time zones can be very confusing and can be a major challenge for those who wish to connect globally in real time. Australia is one of the first countries to enter a new day so even though we may get the times right, we may have the wrong day as it can be Thursday for me and Wednesday for other countries eg USA. Then daylight saving is used in many countries. My students are always fascinated with the fact that they live in the future for many!!!

It is important to understand gmt or utc time as all countries can work out the time difference using this measurement. I live in SE Australia so for half the year, I am gmt+10 and when daylight saving starts, am gmt+11 or AEDT.

Following are some apps and tools that can help:

  1. Time on a smart mobile (cell) phone
  2. Time and date  Timeanddate
  3. Doodle  Doodle
  4. World Time Buddy  World Time Buddy

As I use a windows computer and laptop, another option has been brought to my attention from Joe McNaulty in USA.

Here’s how to add UTC to your Windows 10 Task Bar: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-multiple-time-zone-clocks-windows-10 Puts it in the lower right corner when you hover over your clock.

I am going to try doing this as it may be the efiicient way to check when I decisions have to be made quickly.

Connecting with Brazil

Captura de Tela (1913)

This morning, my global ICT were treated to a connection with Brazil. This time, we used zoom to connect. One of my colleagues from HLW Skypers group, Athalo Carrao, teaches English to students in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both of our classes were small in number.

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The lesson was quite informal and organised on the fly, but it worked really well. Each student introduced themselves to the other global class.

We played Kahoot next. Athalo shared his screen so that my students could enter the code into Kahoot on their screen. There were 14 photos of famous landmarks around the world and students from Australia and Brazil had to work out which country these landmarks were found in. There was much laughter and conversation regarding some of these. Athalo regularly asked how we would say the landmark in English as they speak Portuguese eg the Eiffel Tower in France the Colusseum in Italy. His students could read the countries as Portuguese is similar to English at times, but pronunciation of the landmarks was difficult for them.

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One of his students then shared a presentation on the Valley of the Moon which is a an unusual landmark in Brazil.  She showed pictures and talked about what it looked like. Photos were shared of the countryside surrounding which is similar to savannah in Africa. Small local shops sell native foods.

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As some of my students did not know where Brazil was, Athalo showed them some photos of what it is like there, including maps of  locations. We then shared our google tour with them, showing them our location, pictures of our school, Koroit and Tower Hill (neighbouring towns and landmarks).

Further questions included:

  1. What is the time and day there? It was 10 am, Friday here and 9pm, Thursday there.They were 13 hours behind us and still in our yesterday.
  2. If your school has 220 students and the school is situated in a town of 120 residents, how does that work? A: Most of our students come from surrounding farms and small rural towns that are 15-20 mins bus ride away.
  3. Are our volcanoes extinct? (We showed pictures of Tower Hill and Penshurst which both have volcanoes)

What did we learn?

  • where Brazil is
  • the name of the capital of Brazil – Brasilia (and not Rio de Janiero)
  • what people look like in Brazil, how they sound and the first language that they speak
  • some of the landmarks of other countries around the world eg Ukraine (via Kahoot quiz).
  • some of the foods that the Brazilians eat and that they like sweet foods
  • some of their local tourist attractions
  • World famous landmarks for a variety of countries
  • that it is more fun to play kahoot with another class in the world

As we have common lesson times, it is hoped that we can connect again soon and further our learning.

Read Olivia’s post.

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Does anyone need a teacher?

sebastian roshan dwight and christian

skype message

The above message popped up in one of my Skype groups as I was preparing for my next class – Year 9/10 Global ICT. What an opportunity! I hope to connect this class to many different teachers, classes in as many countries as possible. Roshan is a Skype Master teacher from Sri Lanka – a country many students do not know of.

As it was only 10 mins to the start of my class, there was little time for formal organisation. Another message popped up from my long time online colleague, Sebastian Panakal, from Kerala, India. He wanted to be part of the same connection.

sebastian and roshan

Unfortunately, there was so much happening in the school that for much of the time, I only had two students in my class. This is what the lesson looked like:-

 

  1. Played Mystery Skype. Students quickly worked out that Sebastian was from India but Roshan’s country was much more difficult to determine.
    IMG_5045
  2. Roshan shared his screen and a pictorial presentation on Sri Lanka- the country, the culture, the religions, festivals etc.
    sri lankan culture
  3. Students were given an opportunity to ask questions
    elephants
  4. Sebastian, of India, then spoke briefly of his work and his passion for experiencing a peaceful world. He believes that connecting students world wide will develop empathy and understanding, forming the foundation for a peaceful world, free of terrorism.

The class then took on a completely different atmosphere. Roshan talked about the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, the emotions that people were feeling, the environment they were now living in etc. It was with mixed emotions that we listened to a teacher in a school of 3000 where only 200 students are coming in each day. Students are too frightened to come to school. Facebook is still blocked by the Sri Lankan government to keep rumours at bay.

There is fear, disappointment, disbelief everywhere. The community no longer supports some of the Muslim traders. There are swords found in some of the religious mosques leading to even greater fear. Some of Roshan’s friends are Muslim and are wonderful people. They feel that the terrorists were a highly educated group organised from outside their country.

It was with great disquiet, that we left the classroom with much to think and reflect on. How can we help these people? How can we reduce terrorism? What is it really like to survive attacks like this? What impact does it have on the local communities?Will life ever be the same for them again? So many questions!

The highlights:-

  • Having two guest educators in our classroom at once, each from a different, but neighbouring country.
  • Learning about the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka from someone who lives there and experienced it.
  • Being able to interact in real time and ask questions.
  • Seeing the props that Roshan used to add engagement – a smiley face when the answer was ‘yes’ to the Mystery Skype questions and the flag when the students calculated the right country.
  • Experiencing the presentation showing different aspects of Sri Lanka
  • Having access to a recording that Sebastian had made.
  • and so so much more….

all of us

 

 

Towards Problem Free Global Collaboration!

connecting with japan voicethread

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?

global connections
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.

Global Mardi Gras Judging for German Students

the winner

The winner of the Mardi Gras competition – the Penguin!

Reinhard Marx has been an online teaching colleague for many years, and pushes technology use to the boundaries of the world. Each year he organises many activities for his classes and brings other classes and educators in from across the world.

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The class from Croatia, as seen through the Hangout!

Last night was one great example of his innovative work and this is what it looked like.

  1. Students in his school came dressed in costume for the Mardi Gras.
  2. Prior to the event he sent out a google spreadsheet seeking classes and teachers from across the globe to be judges. Interested teachers filled in the spreadsheet, with their name, class (if they had one), country and email contact.

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    The class from Hungary

  3. Just prior to the class, the link to a Google Hangout was shared

    tereza and her cat

    Tereza – a judge from Croatia

  4. Reinhard creatively set up 2 webcameras, one at the front for students to walk towards, showing their costume and also to act out their costume character.

    back of yellow

    The rear webcam allowed us to see the back of the costumes

  5. Another webcam was set up at the back of the room, so that we could see the detail of the back of the costume.
  6. There were three sessions in total. In my session, there were classes/educators from Hungary, Croatia, Russia and Australia
  7. A link was given to a judging sheet setup in Google Sheets. We gave each student a score for A) their costume itself and B)  for their ability to act out the costume character. Each was scored out of 10
    voting sheet
  8. The winner with the highest total received a chocolate bar!

Highlights

  • Sitting in on a German classroom virtually and hearing the German instructions and then often the English interpretations of the character’s costume.
  • watching students being pushed outside their comfort zones to try and act out their character
  • watching in real time, the global judges’ scores coming in on the spreadsheet
  • seeing the variety of costumes

The total time taken was approximately 50 mins. Great work, Reinhard on a very successful competition.

 

Amazing Outcomes from Global PLNs

Video call snapshot 365

One of my special online colleagues, Sebastian Panakal is an educational entrepreneur from Kerala, India, and a tireless worker  who is passionate about his people, their education and their economic future. On many, many occasions he has spoken to students, staff and parents from my school in Australia, using Skype to connect. In turn I have been able to reciprocate and connect with schools, classes, community members etc in Kerala.

Technology enables us to connect in ways never thought previously possible. It’s innovative use is just starting to impact on global education. The ability to learn from others in any country, any time and a variety of ways can help those in lesser developed countries improve their education and expand their learning/knowledge. Nelson Mandela said:

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.

Last week, Sebastian connected me (over Skype) to Mr Ravindran, of Kerala, India. Initially, I spoke briefly to Sebastian who then introduced me to a retired female Principal who is learning to teach online under Sebastian’s tutelage.

Video call snapshot 366

Next, Mr Ravindran was introduced and he spoke of ways that he may be able to help me and other members of our global network, when visiting India. He spoke of his Commerce degree and background which was of high interest to me as that is my academic background and the area that I teach in. I spoke briefly of what I do but it was only when I had hung up that I realised the importance of this friendly gentleman.

Video call snapshot 367

He is an important community member and his business card reads as follows:-

U. P. Ravandran, M Commerce,  a member of the Prime Minister’s 25 circles (Interaction with the Prime Minister, Indian Defence, Indian Railways, Schwachh Barath Mission, Anti-Corruption, Legal Cell, Women Protection, Consumer Protection, etc).

He has direct access to the Prime Minister’s office to report on what goes on locally here in Kerala. This helps the PM’s office localize and customise their work in Kerala.

Sebastian has a wonderful vision – a project to employ one million people as English Language Coaches – each one teaching one program. Those who are fluent in the language will help those who are not, using Skype for educational purposes, accepting an honorarium, if given.

Sebastian has contact with senior citizens who are eager to use their time productively, empowering people who need a mentor in language learning. Read more at the EldersSole. The idea has been work in progress for two year. See Language Learning Circles   and Speak English for Money. This project is about to be launched to help the people of Kerala learn English. Mr Ravindran is supporting this project.

It would be fabulous if the people of Kerala could offer to teach their native language to others across the world. People in advanced countries could be willing to pay for native speakers to teach them. Courses could be setup, including advanced or basic tourist conversational courses, cultural and heritage lessons. Tools like Skype can used for direct interacting and learning. There are  many options available (and many that have not even been thought of) that innovative entrepreneurs like Sebastian (with a fabulous global professional network) and supportive mentors like Mr Ravindran will be able to use, to advance the learning and financial opportunities for the people of India.

All the best in this innovative adventure in global connection and learning!