Tag Archives: global classrooms

Mark Wood – Extreme Adventurer

mark wood

It was World Book Day. To celebrate this day schools across the world were given a rare opportunity to Skype with Mark Wood – a Cold Extremes Adventurer. He has trekked across the North Pole and the South Pole and led an expedition to climb Mt Everest, taking millions of students across the world with him, by using Skype webconference in.

boy asking question

I was asked whether our school would be interested in connecting with him as there were still some time slots available.Not to miss any of these wonderful opportunities, I invited the school.  For Mark, it was Thursday night at 10pm and Friday, 9am our time. We were the last school of the day. He had already been to schools in England, India, Croatia and 3 times to the USA.

Approximately 120 students from years 4-11 gathered in the library to hear Mark speak. He shared his stories, especially of his adventures to Mt Everest. His engaging speaking style, sense of humour and easy going manner endeared him to all who listened. Mark was motivating and inspiring. Unfortunately the Mt Everest expedition was called off just as they got to the death zone 200 metres from the top. One of the sherpas fell critically ill and the doctor experienced frozen feet. They made their way down and all survived.

dakota asking question

We see people attempting Mt Everest on the television news, read of it in the magazines or newspapers but here we were listening and interacting with someone who had actually been there. We caught the emotions, excitement, the extra details in stories and felt we experienced the adventure with him. Mark humanized the expeditions.

After 15 mins of story  telling , Mark handed over to the students to ask him questions. This was a wonderful interactivity that satisfied student curiosity and made us think of more questions.The young ones were less shy and asked most of them.

Some of their questions:

  1. What inspired you to be an explorer?
  2. How old were you when you had your first adventure?
  3. What was your favourite thing about climbing Mt Everest?
  4. Have you ever had a life threatening experience?
  5. How do you go and who do you go with?
  6. Was it cold at the North Pole?
  7. Have you ever forgotten anything?
  8. Have you had frostbite?
  9. What food and provisions do you take?

Our literacy teacher wrote new and key words on the whiteboard for discussion later. the older students immediately returned to class and wrote up some of what they learnt. When all the student stories were put together, there is almost  a complete script or picture of Mark’s presentation.

charlotte

His parting sentences reminded students that everything comes from education – if you think differently you will have a better life. The only thing preventing you is yourself. Earth will look after itself, but Mark wants to look after the human race.

Our school will continue to follow Mark on his second venture to conquer Mt Everest and be part of the new emerging stories. If you ever get an opportunity to hear Mark present, do no miss out. He was fantastic.

Learning journey in Introduction to the Arabic Language

Learning Arabic, initially with a fluent speaker from the USA, Sophia Aron of Critical Language Service who has devised a series of flipped learning activities where students can learn vocabulary at home using apps at home which provides a fun and engaging way to learn. Then practising during face to face time with Sophia.

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In our second class with Sophia, she setup a 3 way skype call, where a couple of young American children spoke to us in Arabic and showed us how they would greet each other if they were in Egypt. This was a great demonstration showing my older students what should be done.

Students enjoyed using the apps either individually, in pairs or in small groups. There was mixed reaction as to which they preferred – Quizlet, Memrise. or Flashcards by NKO.

Some of my Business Management class had learnt mandarin Chinese last year and queried why they would want to learn Arabic. However, I reminded them that they lived on farms and some of their beef and lamb would be exported to the Middle East. In fact when I travelled to Qatar many years ago, I saw Midfields vacuum packed lamb in the freezers in a local supermarket. Midfields is our local abattoir.

To supplement the language development, Sophie had added videos into the Memrise app. Students watched some of these to gain a better cultural understanding of the people – another important skill when dealing with global markets.

What a wonderful opportunity my students were given!

Lessons learnt:

  • the importance of hearing accents prior to dealing with them when connecting virtually
  • class room setup. My computer lab is a great setup for normal classes but when connecting online with videoconferencing, it is not ideal. Straight rows in front of the webcamera would ensure better engagement for both sides.
  • how effective videoconferencing can be for learning – and the abolute need for chat, video, audio, screen sharing and recording possibilites etc
  • greater impact of  a charismatic engaging teacher for learning
  • importance of getting to know each other on a simple basis before getting into the nitty gritty of learning.

 

 

 

Christmas around the world – LIVE!

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Reinhard Marx is an innovative connected teacher in Germany and part of the HLW Skypers group. He organised Christmas Around the World and brought the world to his class as well as to those who participated.
I was registered to be a participant in the first class as it was night time in Australia. Unfortunately, I had no class with me. Kim from International Community School of Abidjan from Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa also joined us with her class.

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We shared how we celebrate Christmas in our countries. Reinhard’s class shared and I used screen sharing to show a presentation with pictures of what it is like where I live. Kim’s class showed a video story. Each of the students individually shared where they are from and how they celebrate Christmas. It was fascinating to learn of our similarities but also our differences.

As the session drew to a close, the German students sang “Oh Tannenbaum” for us. The words for this carol were shared on our screens. The next minute, Kim’s class broke out in energetic singing and harmonies. The passion of both songs brought sheer delight.

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The African class had to move, so I stayed on and showed my packet of Christmas cards and bonbons. The German students did not know bonbons. I opened one, and showed the little toy, party hat and riddle that came with it.

Our friend Maria del Colussa from Argentina also joined us for a few minutes but will be part of the next formal class.

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Christmas Around the World will continue through the next few hours with other classes and students joining in. What an amazing experience for Reinhard’s classes and for us!!

How it worked! Reinhard shared

  • a google document with us so that we could add the most suitable times.
  • a google map so we could add our location using pins
  • the google hangout link to connect

We used screen share to show our presentations and the chat to share questions and comments during the presentations.

What surprised me! The African students were so, so confident and had lots of questions. The German students were rather shy as English is their second or third language.

Other countries involved include Hungary, Sweden, India.

Most amazing is that this connection made the German newspaper. See the article online.

Global Skypeathon

class-and-anthony1Many people ask where they should go

  • to start with global education or
  • where to find global projects or
  • how to make global connections.

The global skype-athon is a great way to start. This is a project that encourages people from across the world to connect beyond their classroom walls with other classes, teachers, community and global experts with the user friendly tool, skype. This tool is free and the event is free but the potential outcomes are rich for learning.

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If interested, you will need to

  • join the Microsoft Educator Community
  • search through the Skype in Education community for connections or
  • use the #skypeathon hashtag on twitter to find others to connect with.
  • keep a record of your skype miles and tweet them out, again using the #skypeathon

All you need is:-

  1. internet connection
  2. a laptop or desktop computer with a webcamera and microphone
  3. preferably a white wall, board or whiteboard to project the image onto( but the laptop screen may be sufficient if a small group is involved)
  4. find a class or expert to connect
  5. add them as a contact in skype, using their skype username
  6. agree on a time (check the time zones if it is another country involved), discuss the content of the connection etc.
  7. Discuss appropriate netiquette with your students.
  8. The content of the connection.

The connection can be as long or as short as you like. Even 60 seconds can cover some learning. Mystery skype is always fun. There are many experts willing to come in virtually during the skypeathon. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

What did it look like last year? We connected with schools in India and the USA and were lucky enough to connect with Anthony Salcito. See

Are you going to be part of this project in 2016? What will you do, who will you connect with? What will you do to continue the collaboration?

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Global Collaboration Day

vena and korean student

Students (and educators) need to be able to share ideas, and appreciate the similarities and differences in space, place, culture and styles of learning across the globe. As our world becomes increasingly global through consumerism, an international workforce, digital and social media, gameing etc, it is essential that our classrooms become global. Our students are the future problem solvers of world-wide challenges. Global collaboration allows empathy and understanding to develop.

An exciting and unique event is planned for Thursday September 17thGlobal Collaboration Day #globaled15  This day is organised by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, the co-founders of the Global Education Conference. The main purpose of this unique event is to demonstrate the amazing power of connectivity between classrooms, schools, universities and organisations. This enables learning to take place beyond the textbook and into the real world of people who live, work and breathe there. The physical barriers of oceans, hemispheres, time zones, cost, effort and classroom doors are no longer a hindrance to learning in synchronous or asynchronous time.

A day across the world actually spans 48 hours from the time that the first country enters the 17th September till the last country exits. 185+ schools and organisations are offering events, from across 34 countries with more than 80 projects listed. The numbers are increasing on a daily basis. Educators, classes and organisations are hosting the events using a wide variety of tools that are available for synchronous or asynchronous collaborations. The majority of these tools are free and user friendly across all cultures, languages and countries.

There are twitter chats – some multilingual, webinars, global project launches, simple and complex connections between classes in different countries, padlets for collaboration, skype linkups, google hangouts, periscope live streaming of classes and so much more..

Some interesting event titles include: Soundscapes from around the world, Cultural Collaboration, Recess around the World, Global Journeys to School, Getting to Know Each Other Around the World, So Different and So Similar, UNICEF Live! Wash, A Global Education Gateway (from Beirut), The World’s Largest Global Education Collaboration and Challenge and much, much more. See the full listings of events or view the calendar for your time zone..

Some events that I will help administer and moderate include:

Join in and collaborate on a global scale that may change the face of learning, and possibly humanity, as it is currently known! Don’t miss being involved in some way with Global Collaboration Day.

What are you organising? What will you get involved in? What are your thoughts on this unique day?

More posts at

  1.  Join the Celebration for Global Education
  2. All Invited to Global Education Day
  3. Making the Impossible, Possible

Making International Friendship Day Authentic

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Responses to “What International Friendship Day means to me?” Sample responses from students in Malaysia and Australia demonstrating the wisdom or dreams of our youth!

We are not alone in the world. When talk to people from other counties we realize everyone is the same, with fears, dreams, family issues, school issues and love troubles. When you talk with a group of international students it is amazing how wars could be averted because of the one and one discussions instead of ‘global politics’ I was involved with an international exchange program and the students from around the world created life long friendships and many changed their lives due to this exchange and work to further international relations and politics. International friendship is of the utmost importance, of course! It is to recognise your friends and their contribution to your life. Friendship helps to bring peace and positivity to the globe – a great reason to celebrate! Because it let’s us form new bonds with different people around the globe. It helps us learn how to understand more about people with different cultures. We can make new friends or enhance the bond between friends. Friendship brings happiness to us. This is a chance for us to recognise their contribution to our life. Hence, that is a good reason for us to celebrate International Friendship Day.

International Friendship Day took place on August 2nd. Veronica Woo, from SMK Poi Lam School, Ipoh, Malaysia and I decided at the last minute to do something together with our classes to mark this significant day. We liked the idea of putting them into small virtual groups to discuss questions on friendship using google documents and also having a hangout open throughout the class so we could formally introduce ourselves and give each class a visual perspective of each other. However, technology challenged us and audio and video and the hangout links did not work well until the very end. Here is what it looked like:_

  1. Created 10 google documents. As I only had 10 students in my class, each student was put in a separate group.
  2. Set questions were added eg “How would you formally introduce yourself  in your culture?” “Why is International Friendship day important?” “What do you look for in a friend?” “What questions would you ask of a new friend?”
  3. The documents were shared on a ” public for editing” basis and also with Veronica by invitation email.
  4. The links were then pasted on my class blog for student access and for Veronica to grab if need be.
  5. Veroncia’s class was much bigger so she added three of her students to each group
  6. The google hangout was to start the class off with formal introductions to each group.
  7. Students would proceed to discuss and answer the questions on the virtual document

But………………………the Challenges!

  1. We had big problems with audio and video at the Malaysian end and could not start the hangout
  2. I had forgotten to make three documents public
  3. It took a few minutes to explain to the girls what to do and then had to be repeated for some

Whilst Veronica and I battled with the technology and problems, the students just got going on their documents and used them like a chat room. Many introduced themselves formally and off they went asking each other questions. Some of the surprises came from learning what ‘chewing fats’ was to knowing that our love of horse riding as a pastime outside of school hours, was of high interest to the Malaysian students who only see horses in zoos! The students were highly engaged whilst Veronica and I finally go the hangout to work just as the bell had gone in Ipoh, Malaysia My biggest takeaway:- My students liked not seeing each other initially as they felt there were no preconceived ideas about the students from visual introductions. They really liked getting to know each other in the chat. Why it worked so well

  1. The students were in small groups mixed across the countries
  2. They had a proforma to follow
  3. They also had the opportunities to create their own learning about each other. Their curiousity could be satisfied by the questions they asked
  4. When the video worked on the hangout, students were happy to wave to each other to show what they looked like

 

A new school year begins and global classrooms connect!

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As Australian schools enter the final weeks of term 3 with still another full term to go, our European and USA counterparts (and others) are starting or about to start their school years. Reinhard Marx is an innovative connected colleague from Germany and someone I really enjoy working with asked whether I could teach a grade 4/5 class about the area I live in. It was one of their first classes for the year.

Tools used and resources accessed:

  1. Skype was used to connect me with his class and to provide a backchannel for reminders and prompts when we were both ready.
  2. A powerpoint presentation was created to show a little of my school and the farm that I live on.
  3. It was uploaded to google presentation, should my bandwidth not allow me to share from my screen.
  4. An Australian flag
  5. A real pet lamb (as we are in the middle of the busy lambing period on the farm)
  6. A fresh bunch of flowers (as this is my hobby to garden and work with flowers)
My grandson and me on the farm bike

My grandson and me on the farm bike

We started with a mystery skype. The students did not take long to work out where I was from. When they worked out my country, I shared my flag to the web camera. Students then volunteered to ask me a number of questions eg “Was it winter where I lived?”. The last 15-20 mins, I shared my screen through skype and talked through the photos of school and our farm. The bandwith was great for a start and images and audio crystal clear. However, after the fourth slide, the size of the images failed to load quickly in Germany, so I shared the link to the google presentation and we walked through the images remotely. To complet the lesson, I brought in one of our pet, bottle fed lambs – always a sure winner!

I like working with Reinhard because he:

  •  actively seeks global connections and lessons. He is a science and maths teacher
  • gave students the choice of mystery skype and a lesson with me or they could continue with their maths. (There was a mix but most of the time, they were intently watching me and the presentation)
  •  introduced the class of 26 clearly to me swivelling the camera so I could understand the teaching space I was in
  • always repeats what the students say, so that I can both hear and understand the comment or question asked
  • always stopped me for a question that a student might have – so their curiousity was satisfied immediatley and not forgotten about
  • ensured the students came up to the camera and could be clearly seen by me
  • interpreted my talk so that all student members could understand what I was sharing

Challenges:

  • bandwidth and sharing images over skype
  • working with an interpreter, remembering to keep my sentences short and concise, pausing to be interpreted and then carrying on
  • the accents and understanding the comment or question – especially understanding the name of the students