A snip of Vijaydashami Celebration in Kerala India


A skype text message was sent by my esteemed colleague, Sebastian Panakal from Kerala, India asking whether I had time to connect over skype. On answering the video call, I was transported into a room where I could hear women singing.

sebastian croppped

Sebastian turned the webcam so that I could watch Women of the Wiki taking part in an initiation into the world of music as part of Vijaydashami, an important Hindu event  and an auspicious occasion for the Indian people.

Upon hanging up on the skype call, I checked my group messages to read a post on using Sway and Skype in the classroom involving another special friend, Stacey Ryan. This article mentioned the new snip. The snipping tool for windows machines has been one of my most used tools but now it has got better and allows recordings and screencastings, embedding and other ways of sharing. See my first attempt at a snip by clicking on this link,  using one of the pics I took when virtually in India.

Tools and Apps for the Connected Educator – Tech Talk Tuesdays in review

As this is Connected Educator Month, the topic of conversation amongst participants at the recent online Tech Talk Tuesdays webinar was “Tools and Apps for the Connected Educator”. As bandwith, access to technology, confidence with technology etc differs across the world and with people we connect to, it is essential that we  have a broad toolbox at our disposal and a willingness to try many options. Those people who are highly connected and techno savvy may have to go back in time to the simple basic tools where other cultures are comfortable. Link to the recording

The following questions were discussed and the responses from all those who attended is featured below.

Who do educators connect with?

  • people they work with
  • teachers, classes and students elsewhere and across the world
  • celebrities, authors
  • experts in topics they want to learn about
  • parents, students, community members
  • people who share information and encouragement

Some different ways of connecting?

  • webinars, virtual conferences (K12 Online and Library 2.0 conferences are on now.), skype, google hangouts, blab
  • google docs and apps
  • backchannel tools eg todaysmeet, backchannel chat, titanpad
  • twitter
  • mystery skype sessions
  • padlet, voicethread, apps on phones eg wechat, whatsapp, viber, remind

Which tools or ways are all cultures and languages comfortable with using?

  • paper and pen
  • drawing
  • email
  • possibly talking if there is a common language.

If connecting with persons from other cultures/languages, the lowest common denominator should always be used until all parties are confident with each other and then explore other digital tools for connecting. (my personal opinion and experience)

What should we consider with email?

  • cannot see the other person’s face, body language, emotions
  • sometimes it is hard to explain things in writing
  • be very aware of the language used, that meaning is clear
  • everyone should have an email account and sharing text is usually low risk and less confrontational to build confidence with each other

Tools and hardware for videoconferencing (preferably look for the free tools, those that are accessible in connecting schools and countries etc)

  • Basic hardware – computer/laptop/mobile device; webcamera; microphone – inbuilt or external, a connected teacher
  • access to internet and free online tools eg skype, google hangouts, zoom, viber, wechat, whatsapp, fuze etc Ones that enable recording may be preferable but check student permisions
  • mobile devices, phones for sharing text, photos and audio, video
  • access to any Education Department licensed tools eg MS Lync, Polycom equipment in Victoria, Australia

Backchannels (online chat tools are usually non-threatening and give everyone a voice) Some suggested tools are:-

  • todaysmeet, backchannelchat
  • padlet
  • skype chat, google hangout chat
  • mobile apps (some of which now have desktop apps) eg viber, wechat. whatsapp, remind
  • twitter messaging or live feed

Interactive and collaborative media

  • google apps eg document, sheet, presentation
  • padlet
  • sway
  • voicethread
  • wikis and moocs
  • livebinders
  • edmodo
  • wevideo
  • voxer
  • titanpad, piratepads etc (online notepads)

Challenges – Multiple Time zones

Language barriers

Best Approaches to Global Collaboration

Global Collaboration Day was celebrated on September 17th. Tech Talk Tuesdays weekly webinar series took place on a Thursday to be part of this great day. The topic for conversation was “Best Approaches to Global Collaboration” and the direction of the conversations were chosen by the participants.

The participants came from five countries – Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and USA but they came from a broad section of educational tiers and layers – community members, universities, schools, special interest groups  including “Gifted Students”, “Toastmasters” etc. This variety of experiences and interests led to rich discussions.  We shared what we could see outside our windows while we were waiting and then shared pictures of what it was like where we live.

share what is outside your window

share what it is like where you live

Some of the topics raised for potential discussion included:

  • how much collaboration is enough!
  • why it is so important to collaborate globally!
  • Is there a taxonomy for collaboration reqirements, that help us map tools to requirements and simplify the choices?
  • breaking down the fear barriers for real time collaboration across the globe
  • best strategies of social media
  • learn more of Yoshiro’s World Museum and Mystery Skype
  • managing of discussions in a global workplace

Why collaborate globally was the first topic for discussion.  Some of the responses included:

  • to understand the many common experiences, issues and concerns we all have no matter where we live.
  • Breakout of the ethnocentric perspective to work together for collaboratively
  • Our  lives are supported by the whole  earth – need to develop gratitude and contributing minds.
  • Learn beyond the textbook
  • To build understanding and empathy between cultures
  • Broaden the experiences
  • we collaborate to broaden our world, if we avoid global collaboration, then our world shrinks.
  • fun, time coverage, interesting people, access specialist knowledge, understand cultural implications, save travel costs, create holiday opportunities

Ideas for “Breaking down the fear factors for collaborating across the world”. (Some of the mentioned fears included: loss of control, accents, languages – not being able to speak eg English well enough, cultural challenges, technology confidence, bandwidth/infrastructure etc)

  • in the World Museum Projects kids love to create interesting fun projects, without using too much language. They can share their projects with people around the world . They get to know each other Scratch. They get interested in each other and feel easier about communicating.
  • turn the camera off – helps them to be less shy
  • practise a videoconference call with just one person
  • watch video recordings, read blogs of people who have already done it.
  • have images and signage ready to share to ensure understanding
  • attend Professional Development sessions with encouraging mentor figures
  • use  text chat where possible to support video and/or audio connections
  • sharing idioms and common sayings to compare languages
  • Always have a support check list along with the training
  • Share quick ‘how tos’
  • Provide easy to follow tutorials
  • side by side assistance in the one place
  • provide alternative times for both hemispheres
  • ask about the different cultural protocols
  • participate in twitter chats
  • show best way to converse in a face book group
  • introduce speech craft lessons before conversing online – breaks down fear of talking in virtual rooms or videoconferencing
  • practise talking to each other – learn from the different languages, accents, cultures. Use any chat feature or signage to ensure understanding
  • Just try it!

How do we get started?

  • find out what others want
  • first step is just wanting to engage
  • where there is a gap in the educational services,  explore how to use it collaboratively.
  • In the World Museum site, Yoshiro starts with a World Friends Project in which the students draw themselves doing their favourite activities as a way of introduction.
  • MOOCs can be a popular way of learning. Seeking out one of these helps to understand collaborative learning.
  • find out what equipment/tools you will need
  • make sure it is within your school’s acceptable user policy to have students on camera
  • Cybraryman has a page for most educational uses/issues.
  • there are many great global projects to be involved in. See these crowd sourced documents for some of them Global Projects for Beginners and Global Projects: Where to Begin?
  • Think about the purpose of connecting with another classroom  and plan your conversations and activities around this.
  • Need to explore what kind of collaborations you need.

Best Practise of Social Media

  • Social media is seen as those online tools that enable connections among many at any time.
  • Using the right tool for the purpose in mind,  eg linkedin for professional connections, facebook for community sharing in groups
  • as educators we need to understand the limitations such as cultural equipment, access etc Once we have an appreciation of this,
  • World Museum uses Scratch website with forums, voicethread, wikis, edmodo, voicethread
  • Cross generational collaboration is useful because older students can support and facilitate the younger students eg students in Ann Marie Park’s university often help primary students work on their projects as well as communicating with overseas partners.
  • understand that you are managing a community
  • be aware that many social media tools may be blocked in some countries

What would your answers be to some of these questions? Which responses do you support, which would you challenge?

Playing it safe with location privacy settings on Smart Phones

phone privacy1

Year 7 and 8 students have watched this  engaging short video Mobile Location Privacy in a Nutshell, that demonstrates how to make sure location settings are set to private when using your smart phone. Great to share with your students  to keep them as safe as possible, explaining the potential dangers of revealing location information.

After watching the video, students took out their phones and checked their location settings. There was a mix of settings on and off. We also discussed when and why we might want the settings turned on, remembering to turn them off immediately after.  Geotagging and why organisations use this, was also discussed. This was an engaging topic for the students.

Do you have any resources to share?

Teaching a practical class online – Virtual Drama


When: Tuesday 6th October, 4-5pm, Melbourne Australia time which is now gmt+11 or utc+11 due to daylight saving having commenced.

Where:   Adobe Connect virtual meeting room

About this session:  Virtual Drama – Teaching a practical class online will look at ways technology can be used to inspire collaboration, innovation, creativity and transform learning in any classroom. The aim of this session is to inspire and excite teachers about being innovative with their use of technology. It is based on a learning experience which saw students from four schools studying VCE Drama via video conferencing and utilising a variety of innovative online tools. This session will explore the triumphs and challenges arising from teaching a practical subject online, as well as showcasing a variety of teaching tools. The resources and strategies demonstrated within this workshop are very relevant and easily adapted across ALL learning areas within a secondary school environment. This session will cover many ways in which technology can be used and adapted to suit your own technical ability and resources within your school. A variety of teaching tools will be demonstrated allowing attendees to walk away armed with a variety of tools to try out for themselves.

This session would be of high interest to teachers who are interested in integrating technology into their classroom. Teachers with all levels of technical ability are invited to attend as the focus will be on demonstrating the tools from a pedagogy point of view rather than purely as a technical discussion. Some of the examples provided will be focused on senior classes however all the resources are easily adapted to suit middle years also.

About Deanne: Deanne Joosten  has been teaching Drama with great passion and enthusiasm for 12 years. Deanne is a Leading Teacher – eLearning at P-12 Phoenix Community College  in Ballarat, VIC.  She has always been interested in technology and this has seen her bring together her innovative use of ICT and her experience as a Drama Teacher to create an exciting learning environment for her students. Deanne regularly presents at conferences on the topic of Technology in the classroom.  Deanne is the first Drama teacher to be teaching VCE Drama and VCE Theatre Studies online to four schools simultaneously through the DEECD Victorian Virtual Learning – Digital Learning Branch.  Currently, Deanne is currently recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 2015. This role sees her working as part of a global network of 35 teachers in Australia and New Zealand teachers who use technology in innovative and engaging ways in their classroom. This network also extends into a global network of 800 Microsoft Innovative Educators.  As a lifelong learner and thought leader, Deanne is very excited about the future as she continues to explore ways exciting ways technology can heighten a student’s experience in the classroom.

Global Collaboration Day – Different Styles of Twitter Chats!

Different styles of Twitter Chats – Global Collaboration Day

Twitter has been used extensively to develop an amazing professional learning network. Although I do not regularly participate in twitter chats, I do find the global classroom chats of high interest. When I became a Master Skype teacher, Beverly Ladd and I started the #skype2learn twitter chat on a two monthly basis and again, when Julie Lindsay founded the ISTE Global PLN network, I help to organise the #isteglobalpln chat. Over the past 7 or 8 years twitter has developed significantly in its power to aid in networking. Hashtags, a translation option, the addition of images, tagged images and short videos etc to tweets has evolved.

On Global Collaboration Day my involvement in moderation spanned across three twitter chats –

  • A 1 hour chat #isteglobalpln “Twitter Chats 101” See the archive
  • Two slow twitter chats: #skype2learn “Learning with the World” and #globalgamechat The Gllobal Game Chat The slow twitter chats were less formal and people could answer questions in their own time. Moderators put out the questions on a regular basis.

Archives for Learning with the world and #globalgamechat

The Global Game Chat #globalgamechat was a multilingual chat instigated by the ISTE Games and Simulations Network. However it became a collaborative effort between two other ISTE groups the Mobile Learning and Global Collaboration network. The initial 30 minute chat was  followed by a slow twitter chat over a 24 hour period. The questions were sent out in English, French and Arabic.

slow twitter chat

Example of a multilinugal tweet


The #skype2learn Learning with the World was a slow twitter chat that spanned the 48 hours that Sept 17th takes to cross the world. It was a true collaborative effort.  As moderators came from Australia, Europe (Serbia and Greece) and USA, we were able to monitor the chats 24/7 (or 48/7)!!!  Jed Dearybury created an image which featured the 12 questions. Master Skype teachers crowd sourced the 12 questions that would be posed. The questions were reversed in order for the second 24 hour period.

questions by jed

Some moderators automated their tweets, and watched the responses evolve, interacting where possible. Participants were encouraged to respond as the questions fell (approx. every 1 or 2 hours) or answer all questions at once.

The addition of pictures and tweeting in local languages was encouraged. Pictures added great value especially when “What can you see outside your window? and “What animals are common in your area?”

The 1 hour #isteglobalpln chat was really fast and intense with co-moderators coming from the USA and Australia. Toni Olivieri-Barton @toniobarton, Anne Mirtschin @murcha, Linda Martin @mrsmartinusa Nine questions were posed and participants responded their answers immediately. However the timing of this chat left out almost half the world as it was not friendly to Europe and Asia for real time involvement.

The #globalgamechat received many tweets in languages other than English – Russian etc Moderators spanned the 24 hours.

Reflections on the experience:

One hour twitter chats

A one hour twitter chat can be intense. Having three moderators helped to lighten the load. We took it in turns to ask the questions. Answers came in chronological order making for easier archiving and retrieval.

Slow twitter chats

  • Requires a number of moderators who can span the time zones, pose the questions and interact.
  • Enables all people across the world to participate in their own time and in their own language.
  • Not all questions will be answered by all participants
  • Answers may not fall in chronological order
  • Far more relaxing to moderate
  • Tweets can be pre-timed in twitter apps like tweetdeck and hootsuite. However if the tweets are simply pretimed, interaction still provides for richer conversations.

Further observations

  • Fascinating to read tweets in different global languages and gain a glimpse into what they look like. I though WOLOF was a teaser but it is an actual language spoken by Jed Dearybury!
  • Images add so much to tweets – we can actually see what things look like rather than imagine through the sharing of 140 characters. The #globalgamechat participants really used the richness of media and is a delight to go back through.
  • Time zones were not an issue in the slow chats as they spanned a period of time.

The archives can be found by clicking on the appropriate links

Twitter Chats 101 #isteglobalpln

Learning with the World #skype2learn

Global Games Chat #globalgamechat

Global Journeys to School

hawkesdale sign
One of the huge successes of Global Collaboration Day was allowing people to discover and use many of the possible tools that can be used for global connection, communication and collaboration. One of my favourite new tools is Sway from Microsoft. This is a simple but really effective multimedia tool that allows professional presentation immediately. What I really love most is that it is collaborative and interactive so that it makes a great tool for global connections and collaboration!


Global Journeys to School encourages people to share their journeys to school so that others around the world can see the space and culture that we populate. This project was one of the possible projects that people could get involved in for Global Collaboration Day. There are already a number of schools, representing many different countries, with their journeys shared on this sway. They include Taiwan, India, Switzerland, Norway, Serbia,Malaysia and Australia

Please check it out by clicking on this link and if you could, please add your journey to school. How can we use this for classroom learning? What would you suggest?