Although I have been involved in many special and almost unbelievable global projects and events for many years now, and feel that nothing would surprise me anymore, last night’s experience, organised by Reinhard Marx and online teaching colleague from Germany, did amaze me.
It was the start of Mardi Gras in Germany and students were encouraged to attend school in costume. In the weeks prior to this event, Reinhard sought global support for teachers and classes across the world to join three classes, view the German students in costume, watch them act out what they were wearing and vote on a shared google sheet. Teachers and classes registered on another shared google sheet and at least 5 or 6 registered as judges for each group.
I helped judge the third group together with students and teachers from France, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and Hungary. It was 8pm my time so I was without students.
How it looked:
- Participants were given a link to a google document with the rules and procedures clearly explained and links to the voting sheets in google sheet
- One day prior we were given the option to test the connections, audio and video
- Google hangouts was chosen to connect us all
- The same link was used for each of the three German classes.
- Even though the class may not have been in the room, the webcam was on the empty classroom, so that we could see when the students walked in and know that we were in the right place. The back of the room featured flags from across the world.
- I entered 20 mins early to make sure I could logon and was surprised to see so many other judges/classes in the room already. Some were a little confused over the times and when it was going to star (one of my biggest challenges is time zones). We were able to introduce ourselves and get to know each other through the chat.
- Reinhard and his class entered at the appointed time. Students were obviously dressed in costumes, some hired, some made at home.
- Students came up one at a time to the webcam, showed their costume, tried to act out in costume and answer any questions. There was a wide variety of costumes – a police girl, Snow White, a zebra, a Unicorn, a martial arts person etc Some were too shy to come up to the webcamera.
- As they finished, the global judges would add their votes to the online voting sheet.
What a wonderful innovative global event. We all had a great time and the chat was to support those when they did not understand. Great work, Reinhard and thanks for organising the event.
Lucy Gray recorded the session for her NLU class. There were two presenters – myself and Mike Muir, Maine Learning Through Technology Policy Director. Mike gave an overview of MLTI and his state’s work on proficiency-based professional development. Follow me on twitter @murcha You can see the recording on youtube at
Feb 7th is Safer Internet Day across the world, not only for students but for all who use the internet – whether beginners or experienced users.
Our Department of Education and Training in partnership with the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commission organised several webinars on Safer Internet Use. Read more here. These webinars were online and free.
Another exciting opportunity was offered to schools in Victoria, to apply for the opportunity to bring 2 female students from year 10 to work with Facebook and Instagram in their new Melbourne offices in the Docklands discussing the topic – Safety in the Age of Disappearing Media. Much to their excitement, two of our year 10 girls were accepted into the workshop and I accompanied them. The hashtag used is #girltakeover with the discussions being on encouraging them to be the power for change and make the internet and even more positive place to be, especially in regard to social media. Facebook and Instagram sponsored this event and were interested in getting feedback from this age group as all too often it is adults who are vocal and dominant.
There were fun activities for them to start with enabling them to get to meet the other students, gain confidence and have fun, in preparation for the ‘hard fun’ about to begin.
Some of the great advice given once the day formally began included:-
- Best filters that exist are between your brain.
- Disappearing media does not happen – it is there forever but it can be rewritten
- be empowered, be fierce, be strong, control your own brand.
- Facebook and other sites create great privacy settings so ues them – block, mute where necessary!
The children’s eSafety Commissioner took an active part in the day.
- the pressures of sharing information,
- why misunderstandings occur, why stories might be change and the trust that goes into the moment of sharing.
- the challenges of sharing media eg snapchat, instagram story.
Trust is put into ‘just a moment’, will people understand the context of what your are sharing, screenshot content which is supposed to be deletable. Platforms are evolving all the time. Instagram has live story now to create real connections. T is all aoubt likes – adds new pressures. Doesnt have to be perfect. Deletaable media. Share moment which are not to be massively shared. Can put lots out there without spamming.Our intentions are temporary and private but can be made public. You are not being humiliated – they are.
A cartoonist captured many of the activities and events of the day.
As we all love social media – there is a need to talk about all that we love in this world. Expectations as women what we want out there, how it should be respected etc. The girls will come back to school and take on a leadership role sharing what they experienced, seeking further feedback and keeping conversations open at school on positive and safe social media spaces.
SticksnStones and Project Rockit and were there to help organise the day.
What did you do for Safer Internet Use Day?
What a contrast these students face in getting to school each day and how fortunate I am to teach in Australia where education is a given right for students.
Today is the start of a new school year for government schools in Victoria, Australia. Teachers return today but students in my school only return on Thursday. Tomorrow has been set aside as a day dedicated to speaking with parents of students in Year 7 and Year 12. Some of the time will be spent in staff meetings, PLT groups and PD and some time will enable planning.
Students from years 7-12 in our school now bring their own technology. The school suggests a range of technology that does not include smart phones as a larger screen and soft keyboard is mandated. This year our school will use Compass as its education management provider. This means that class rolls will be marked electronically, our timetable and school calendar can be easily accessed and student misbehaviour can be easily reported and shared.That is where we will start and then gradually move over to some of its other uses. Start simple enables all teachers to come on board with confidence and relative ease.
What I need to do today to make sure that students can access technology:
- Make sure all students have logins to our school network, especially new students to our school.
- Check out the new study design for VCE Business Management for Units 1/2 and 3/4
- Set up MS 365 accounts for new students
- Ensure all students in years 7 to 10 have Global2 blogs.
- Find videos for introducing accounting, resources and other multi-media resources to engage students with from TES, pinterest, youtube, slideshare etc
Setting up a OneNoteup will help with MS 365
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:-
- Students watched the Paper Bag Princess (see below) prior to the linkup
- Lin-lin devised a kahoot quiz for the students and shared it on kahoot.
- Google hangout was used to connect the three classes. We all logged into the hangout and could see each class
- Lin-lin then shared her screen with us so we could see the kahoot code
- 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.
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.
The class in Taiwan
The class in Korea
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!)
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!
As the Western world and parts of the Eastern World enter 2017, its celebration via fireworks and countdown to the New Year is a great way for all to learn of global time zones.
Living in Eastern Australia, we enter the New Year 2 hours behind our counterparts in New Zealand, who are amongst the first in the world to celebrate the New Year. Tonga is the first country to celebrate New Year. It is fascinating to get up on New Year’s Day and watch the fireworks in other countries and time zones as New Year’s Day arrives. London’s fireworks could be seen at lunchtime on our New Year’s Day and New York’s in our late afternoon of New Year’s Day.
This is a great way to actually ‘see’ time zone differences and gain an understanding of how different countries and cultures celebrate New Year’s Day. Read more about the times in relation to London for global New Year.
How do you celebrate New Year’s Day? When is your New Year’s Day? The Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 28th 2017. This will be the Year of the Chicken.
On New Year’s Eve, we like to go to Port Fairy and watch the annual parade which is part of the Moyneyana Festival. There are a variety of floats and vehicles who take part.