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.