Tag Archives: events

Clean Up Australia Day

clean up Australia Day1

Each year one day is dedicated to Cleaning Up Australia – Clean Up Australia Day. Although this day falls on Sunday, March 2nd, our students from foundation to year 12 were allocated an area of our school grounds and fenceline to clean up. At 12 pm, the forms and year levels congregated under the bus shelter, were given rakes, gloves and bags and proceeded to clean up their area.

As a form teacher for year 10, we cleaned up the fenceline along the school grounds and roadway. See how beautiful our surrounds are and as we finished the roadside, we heard two kookaburras laugh! They must have been well pleased with our efforts.

If you are from another country, do you acknowledge similar days?


Anzac Day

When connecting with other schools across the world, we are often asked what festivals and holidays we celebrate. One special event is recognized today, April 25th  – Anzac Day which is a public holiday across Australia.

It is  a time where many cities and towns hold commemorative services, often starting at dawn to remember the role that our soliders and their counterparts in New Zealand played in World War I. Parades will also  take place in the morning in many centres, where ex-servicemen and/or their family members proudly march and declare their role in keeping our country safe.

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. On this date in 1915, the Australian and New Zealand forces landed in Gallipoli to attack the Turkish forces. This campaign went on for eight months, during which time there were many casualties.

As there is no school on that day, we held our commemorative service on April 24th. This is a time to remember those who have made sacrifices in the past to enable us to enjoy our great country today. As the weather was inclement, students from grades prep to 6 assembled in the stadium, to hear presentations by the year 12 VCE History students. There was a minute’s silence. Students from years prep to 6 had been asked to bring some flowers. They filed past the steps to the stage. These steps  had been draped with our Australian flag and the flowers were  laid there. Finally, our national anthem was sung, in both our local koori language and then in English.

Hawkesdale hosted a dawn service, at 6am, in their new outdoor reflection area. More than 90 people attended this special event,  including the scouts, our school representatives, community members, shire councillors. Several children and older family members proudly wore the medals that their ancestors received from either World War I or II. The service included the following:

  • an address by our Master of Ceremonies, Graeme Poynton
  • playing of music including the Rouse prior to the lowering of the flag and then the Reveille.
  • a prayer of thanks to those who represented our country and for continued peace. This was delivered by Georgia H. a student, who represented our school and the Moyne Youth Council.
  • Emma H, representing the Hawkesdale Scouts,  read “the Ode”
  • a minute’s silence in between the two musical recordings
  • the raising of the flag by a scout
  • laying of wreaths and flowers

Haddac supplied a sausage in bread,  the scouts cooked lots of anzac biscuits and the Hall Committee provided a cuppa in our War Memorial Hall.

Anzac biscuits

How proud to be a teacher!

Students back at school logon to elluminate

Students back at school logon to elluminate

As a teacher there often few proud moments ,but last Friday was a very proud day for me. Removed from my year 7 class by a 3 ½ drive, I watched them logon to the computers in the lab at school and noted one of my challenging year 11 boys, patiently fixing the audio problems. That class of mine was in  video capture from elluminate on a big screen at the Crown Casino Palladium in Melbourne. Back home, Marg Murnane and our principal bravely supervised the class whilst, I, for a change was with their normal instructor Ajax, from the Ping project.  Jason, a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra member, was waiting to play the saxophone and clarinet, teaching the students about this instrument.

My class was to be presented to the Minister for Education, the hon Bronwyn Pike, as a forerunner to Education Week and the Innovations Showcase, held at the Crown Casino, Melbourne. Nerves were running rather strong as there were technical issues but they were soon overcome. So, as if by remote control I watched 13 of my year 7 students set up, logon and test elluminate. The class began, as the Minister entered and I was so proud to see my students interacting, working the chat and asking questions of the musician. The Minister, in turn, was watching the chat and ensured that questions were answered. After 15 minutes or so, a photo shoot was set up with the Minister against the screen projecting my class at work with pictures taken of Ajax, Jason and me.

The Minister with my online class

The Minister with my online class of students on the Melbourne screen

Teaching my students from Melbourne

Teaching my students from Melbourne

Later in the morning it was my turn to present to an interested audience on my “Flat classroom walls”. either of two scheduled “Tell Me”sessions or to one of the 10 “Show Me” sessions.  This presentation involved working with an online and a face to face audience simultaneously – an innovative addition to the Innovations Showcase. Carole McCulloch, from Mildura, was my moderator and again I had some of my year 11 and 7 students in the chat, plus a parent and fellow staff members, adding rich content and answering questions from the online audience.

Here is how it worked:-

  • Organised  9 students and a parent to be in the school computer lab, logged on to answer the questions in the chat for the virtual audience.
  • Prepare 55 MS Powerpoint slides to engage the two audiences, so that they both could catch a glimpse of what a 21st century classroom looks like.
  • My voice had to reflect as much emotion as possible for the online audience who could not see my body language.
  • It was important to keep informing by microphone, my moderator, Carole McCulloch, who was in Mildura co-ordinating it all.
  • Stopped for questions half way through and at the end. These came from both the f2f and the online audience. Had to repeat questions for the online audience.
  • An onscreen timer reminded me of how much time I had left.


Reflections:- There were several choices for the presentation. I wanted a movie playing in the background but that could not be worked, despite the presence of three screens. I had too many slides and went over time. The slides will be uploaded up onto the innovations ning. Carol downloaded a copy of my MS Powerpoint slides and sent them to my online participants. Presenter needs to multi task with elluminate and I had to remember to switch on my microphone in the elluminate room before talking.

Ping Session

Ajax conducted the session after mine. I had offered to have the year 7 students on with him so that they could add rich content and give an idea of how elluminate works in the classroom. Ajax had asked me to speak as well with him, so I logged onto a computer set up in the pod area and joined the chat alongside my students (who were 300kms away!) Again, how proud I was to see them following the appropriate code of conduct in a chat room, yet adding to comments, asking questions and responsibly working in an online classroom. (I am convinced that this is the classroom of the future.)

Further observations…

The venue was magnificent with views across the Yara river from the River room. Food kept being constantly replenished when it came to lunchtime. All presenters had participants supporting them. Technical help was quickly at hand. Well organised – like the postcard handouts reflecting some othe emerging technology grants Well attended with approximately 500 in attendance. Computer hub was good idea and the RILO staff did a great job, helping participants to sign up for the ning. It would be great to have wireless internet access available for future conferences.

My pride continued as I attended the magnificent dinner for the Excellence Awards, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Holding my curriculum innovation finalist award

Holding my curriculum innovation finalist award

Although I did not win the Innovative Curriculum award, I was proud to be one of three finalists up on the stage.

And to my dear friends on twitter, thank you for your shoutouts and joining me in the online session.

My dear twitter friends shoutouts

My dear twitter friends shoutouts

twitter Innovations conference

The kids from the bush are off to Awards in Town

How exciting is this? Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, in conjunction with Don Tapscott and the NetGenEd project announce the awards ceremony in OpenSim on April 20, by invitation only. All Flat Classroom related project participants are invited to attend.  Net generation education project to hold first of its kind closing ceremonies, April 20, 2009 at 10 am edt on reactiongrid, an opensim virtual world .The students from the ‘bush’ of Australia, Hawkesdale P12 College, have received this invitation to attend the closing awards ceremony in opensim for our amazing netgened project:-

Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay

in conjunction with

Don Tapscott and the Netgened project

request the pleasure of the company of

The Netgened students of Hawkesdale P12 College

To  the very first of its kind

Closing Award Ceremonies

April 20th 2009,
 10am EST (USA)

Where: On reactiongrid
Opensim virtual world

We hope that some of us can attend in our best avatar gowns/suits, despite the late hour of the night or early hour of the morning for the students in the land ‘down under’. Roll out that red carpet…..!

Here  is the press release for the big event, per kind favour of Vicki Davis and published with her permission.

Unique Opportunity for Journalists to be Mentored  by NetGen Students from Around the World in the Creation of their Avatar

Toronto, Ontario, April 6th, 2009 – Don Tapscott, best selling Author and Chairman of nGenera Insight, and Flat Classroom Project teachers, Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, today announce the closing ceremonies of their collaborative project, The Net Generation Education Project (NetGen Ed), to be held on April 20, 2009 at 10 am EDT on ReactionGrid, an OpenSim virtual world. This first of its kind awards show will bring together students, teachers, and educators from around the world to recognize the best videos from the project as well as the winner of the Grown Up Digital Net Gen Education Challenge. The event is jointly sponsored by nGenera Corporation, ReactionGrid, and Flat Classroom Projects and will provide an opportunity to showcase Open Source Virtual World Capabilities.

The event, which is invitation only, will be made available to students, teachers, and educators involved in the NetGen Ed, Flat Classroom, and Digiteen projects as well as select members of the press, and educational bloggers.  Journalists and Educators wishing to attend the event will have the unique opportunity to be mentored by NetGen Ed students and ReactionGrid volunteers on the setting up of their avatars and movement in OpenSim. This partnership will provide first hand insight into the many talents of the Net Generation and continue to build upon the collaborative theme of the project.

The awards show will be recorded and streamed from a NetGen Ed website hosted by nGenera and will be hosted live within ReactionGrid on the F.L.A.T.S. (Flat Learning Area for Teaching &Sharing.) 

The event is the culmination of an eight week project studying emerging technology trends and how education must be transformed to reach students based upon the eight NetGen norms, as shared in Don Tapscott’s book, Grown Up Digital. Throughout the project’s duration students from countries such as Australia, India, Qatar and the United States have been collaborating together via the internet – writing a wiki report, creating videos, and discussing trends with Don Tapscott on the Grown Up Digital Ning, an educational network set up for the project, and participating in live webinars with Discovery Educator Network about movie making and digital storytelling.  To promote increased inclusivity, the ning, as well as partnerships with the Discovery Educator Network and Classroom 2.0, have provided forums for students, parents, professionals and educators not directly involved in the project to engage in a global dialogue on learning and the future face of education. All NetGen Ed student video entries will be considered as part of the Grown Up Digital Net Gen Education Challenge, a video contest presented by nGenera. The contest, which was first announced on the CBC series “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister,” challenges people from around the world to provide their “next great answer” via video submission as to what they would do to change the education system. The grand prize winner, which will be announced during the April 20th awards show, will receive scholarship money as well as a private webinar with Don Tapscott.

For more information on the NetGen Education Project and the Grown Up Digital Net Gen Education Challenge, please visit: http://netgened.grownupdigital.com or http://netgened.wikispaces.com.

Virtual seating for the event is limited to 200 participants. For media inquiries or to request an invitation to attend,

 Joanna Griffiths, Marketing and Communications Manager

The Tapscott Group  Phone: 416-830-1664   email:  joanna.m.griffiths@gmail.com

Alternative excuse to “the dog ate my homework”

How many excuses can students come up with for not completing homework?

  •  I lost it
  • I forgot
  • My computer failed
  • I had to work
  • I wasn’t here yesterday
  • I went into town last night, and stayed at a friend’s house so I wasnt home
  • The dog ate my homework
  • I never do homework or I am too cool for homework
  • I dont know how to do it

My year 11 students have participated in the amazing netgened project organised by coolcatteacher and julielindsay.  The final outcome involved the creation of a digital movie. Strict deadlines were set for completion. As the date approached, many of us had the following genuine excuses for student work not being able to be uploaded on time.

  • the ning just hung as we tried to ‘quick add’ video
  • the wiki is not working at all and we have our technician working around the clock…

but this is the amazing reality of working in a global classroom –

I’m so very proud that my students ALL managed to finish a video and upload it. (Except for three that are stranded out of town by the volcano eruption). ” Eri from Cordova High School, Alaska on the recent volcanic eruption of Mt Redoubt.

It has provided a valuable teachable moment for my students who have commented on the Cordova HS students’ pages, to find out more about the effects and impact of the volcano’s eruption.

What excuses have you had for non-completion of homework?

"The dog ate my homework" mosaic

"The dog ate my homework" mosaic


No school today – or was there?

For the first time in my teaching history, school was cancelled due to impending dangers – high fire risk due to strong winds. It was Monday afternoon, and my double virtual classroom session in elluminate, Ping, with Ajax and the cellist, Rohan from the Melbourne Symphony orchestra had just completed the session. Each week, we logon on quicker, have fewer technical issues etc. Students are becoming accustomed to the routine. Rohan was a particularly vibrant demonstrator with a great sense of humour. I started to hear noise, and realised a student was humming along with the compostition he was playing.  The demonstration session was nearly finished when our principal walked in with a wad of yellow printed forms.

He quietly told me that this was a vital document, to be given to each student and that students MUST take it home and give to their parents, as there was no school tomorrow and possibly the next day. Students had their headphones on so did not hear those instructions. Joseph, our artist in residence, outlined to the students the practical element at the end of the first session. The bell rang and rather than disturb the class now, students continued on. Ten minutes into the lesson, an announcement asked for any students who had not been given a yellow form to come immediately to the office. 28 year 7 students proceed to go out the door, so I stopped them and gave them the sheet. Well, that did upset the class – or should I say, made them extremely happy. After 10 mins of settling them, they finally went back to composing their musical stories.

One boy came to me with his mobile phone and said he had just received a message from the police about high fire dangers! I had not heard of that either and asked how he got that, but he could not answer that either. Due to the late notification, there was no opportunity to catch up with my senior students to give them work to do at home.

Fierce duststorms

Fierce duststorms

Today started out quite pleasantly and in fact some light rain had fallen, but by mid morning, the wind picked up and blew gales around 100km/hour. Dust blew, trees fell down in our driveway and outdoor furniture started to fly. My mother in law who is 89 years old has never seen such dust storms in her life.  I had mulched my garden with newspaper and straw to keep the weeds down but that blew everywhere. See the movie clip of how it looked at home. By mid afternoon a fire had broken out 10 mins down the road, so our local fire tanker was called to fight the fire. Many trucks turned up and it was put out fairly quickly.

So….. today, a day of no school was to be a catch up day or so I thought. First I checked out twitter, which is blocked at school and read this tweet

ffoxworthWhiteffoxworth@murcha Glad you’re getting rain! Our school was closed today because it was supposed to snow, but it never did!

Then I noticed another tweet inviting interest persons to test out tiny chat. So, an interesting discussion ensued with American teachers as to how this could be used in the classroom.

However, as I was online for a good part of the day, I received skpye calls and chats from my global colleagues. Jeff Whipple was one, enquiring whether our school would be interested in participating in the 1001 tales for either the elementary of middle school. The amazing part is that  grade 5 classes in Qatar need partners. So, when I enquired further, I discovered that I had stayed with one of the teachers when at the flatclassroom conference and had met the other. It certainly is becoming a flat world. So finding our literacy teacher online, I asked whether she would be interested in being involved and she has agreed. Last year I organized it and was the contact person but as I do not teach primary year levels this year, the ownership is much better going to the classroom teacher.

In the afternoon, I settled down to catch up on emails etc, when I started to find my students emailing me, leaving comments on the ning and g-talking to me, wondering what they needed to do as they were missing out on class time at school. So, school was on after all. This is the fantastic nature of web2.0 tools, connectedness and an online environment. School can be 24/7/365.

Here are some  reactions from my twitter friends

WhiteRash KathWhiterashkath@murcha hi, Best use of technology!