Tag Archives: global projects

Tech Talk Tuesday: The Student Blogging Challenge – a Great Way to Connect

When: Tuesday, October 8th, 4-5pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+11) (note we will be on daylight saving time) See timeanddate for your time zone. Here is the link to the recording of this session.

About this session: October is Connected Educator Month #ce13.  To help promote and share on this theme, Tech Talk Tuesdays will next week, feature Sue Wyatt and the Student Blogging Challenge. A challenge that has connected educators and students across the world. Blogging is an essential tool to commence, maintain and further connections. In this session, Sue Wyatt (@tasteach) will share with us the blogging challenge, step us through what it looks like, some amazing outcomes and many connections achieved. Please join us! Bring your experiences, questions and conversations.

Here is the link to join this session.

If you would like to know of other events that might be happening during this month:

The Global Education Summit #iste13

Some of the participants at the Global Ed Summit

Some of the participants at the Global Ed Summit

ISTE allows people to follow their passions in education and one of mine is global education. A 3 hour Global Education  Summit, held on the Sunday afternoon was organised by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon. A series of ignite sessions interspersed workshop sessions.

Projects or initiatives were pitched during collaboration time and attendees joined a group related to their interests. Facilitators led groups related to a global organization, a specific global project, a collaboration tool, an global event, or a specific concept related to global collaboration. See the groups here. I offered to facilitate a group on “Global Projects for Beginner”.  Videoconferencing in external global participants was considered but internet access was not strong enough and noise levels too loud.

Some of our group

Some of our group

A google document was set up for sharing participant details, resources, questions etc. This group had a great mix of experienced global educators including Peggy George (Classroom2.0LIVE, Bron Stuckey (Quest Atlantis, Games Based Learning and Minecraft), Sue Wyatt (Student Blogging Challenge) and Heather Davis (a Flat Classroom Certified Teacher), mix of representatives from a number of continents and countries and people who were passionate about collaborating on or starting a global project. Highlights included networking with many, hearing from the Summit Facilitators and hearing from a young 9 year old student, Bailey, who wished to start a global project involving m & m’s.

People were given the option to participate in two groups. Following are some of the topics discussed in our group:-

  • where to find partners
  • how to get started
  • the challenges
  • some existing activities for collaboration
  • where to promote your global projects
  • where to find projects
  • favourite tools – synchronous and asynchronous
  • suggestions for overcoming challenges
A collection of connections

A collection of connections

How can you share:

  1. If you have any ideas on any of these topics, please add to the Collaborative Google Document.
  2. Join the Global Projects for Beginners Group on the Flat Classroom Conference ning and share in the conversations or start your own discussion topic.
  3. Add a comment below
  4. Attend the online Global Education Conference later on this year.

121212- 1212


Today is seen as a lucky day for many 12th day of the 12th month of 2012. It was interesting to see what educators did or are going to do on this day. Stefan Nielsen @SNskole, Denmark had a great suggestion of taking a photo at 12:12pm and sharing it on a google presentation 121212-1212 he created.  Thanks Stefan for this fabulous activity – simple but so effective. So many projects and research can be made further from this activity.

It was fascinating to watch photos go up and it gave some indication of  times and zones in the world as people passed the time and uploaded their images. There are many blanks as I write this as it is still Dec 11th for many. Below is my photo taken in our school grounds. It was a hot day 36 degrees celsius.

a hot summers day

Below is the google presentation with increasing contributions from across the globe.

Louise Morgan skyped:-

I am going to make a big poster and have the kids write anything they can think of that relates to the number 12. (12 days of christmas, 12 = dozen, 6+6=12, etc). I may also have them make lists of 12  – like their favorite toys, candy, songs, tv shows, etc…. from Louise Morgan

Paula Nagle suggested a 121212 blogging activity. I may get my year4/5 students to do this tomorrow, even though it will be the 13th for us,  it will still be 121212 somewhere in the world.

What did you do for 121212? Did you take an image?

Developing a Learning Network with Classroom 2.0

A question is often asked of me as to how I make global connections. Developing a learning network or PLN (personal learning network) is essential in getting globally connected. A great place to start is to join one of the biggest classrooms in the world – Classroom 2.0!

Things were getting frantic – with just two hours until interested grade prep to 6  parents were to assemble in  our school library for our Technology Showcase,  videos would not display on our new iPod touches. One excited class had been busy making videos and they were to show them using the iPod touches.

Urgent messages for help were sent out to all and any email lists.  In sheer desperation, a discussion item was also placed on Classroom2.0. Within 10 minutes, we had the answer – not from anyone in Australia or our emailing lists, but from Matthew Needleman, in the USA. Following his instructions the videos displayed to a library overflowing with parents, grandparents and students.  The showcase was a great success!

This was my first taste of the power of networking and its ability to provide information NOW from anywhere across the globe! (It needs to be noted that I teach at Hawkesdale P12 College,  a small rural, geographically and culturally isolated prep to year 12 school, in South Eastern Australia.)

Four years ago, I joined classroom2.0 a ning set up by Steve Hargadon of USA. At that stage there were 3,000 members from all levels and tiers of education, all passionate about the use of technology in education.  Today there are more than 466,000 members and I am proud to be a welcoming host on this ning.

Wordle from current classroom2.0 page

The above word cloud was made by highlighting the screen of classroom2.0, copying and pasting into wordle.

Why join Classroom 2.0?:-

  • It is free
  • It is a space to make global connections and friends
  • Empowers teaching and learning
  • Allows discussions/forums. There are many active discussions over the years, many still applicable today.
  • Keep up to date with the latest developments in education
  •  Share learning and join in conversations
  • Publish and read members’ blog posts
  • Search for discussions, tags etc on tools, subjects, areas of personal interest
  • Mailing list updates on upcoming free webinars and events
  • Share and peruse photos and videos
  • create or join in collaborative global projects
  •  There is are easy search features on previous discussion topics, technology tools, subjects, areas etc

Where can such membership lead? Here follows some memorable stories  of classroom2.0 friends, connections and just some of the rather amazing  outcomes for my classes.

  1. Chrissy Hellyer from New Zealand  taught us how to create a wiki, sharing the power that interactivity, connectedness and collaboration can bring. See anzacconnection
  2. Lorraine Leo of USA,  introduced me to the power of  virtual classrooms using discoverE. Over the years, we have taught each others’ classes despite teaching at different age levels and living in different time zones. We have shared colleagues, photos, videos, experiences, festivals, celebrations and cultures. Lorraine has brought the following virtually to our school: a research scientist from her tent in Antarctica and Rich Wilson, a US sailor and his quest in sailing solo around the world. (Listen to Skipper Rich). Her  grade 6 student  spoke about Halloween to my fascinated students and Lorraine organised a  student of Dean Shareski from the University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada,  to speak to  my accounting students and much, much more. We have been part of exciting pioneering three to five way linkups, connecting a classroom in the Phillipines with mine plus teachers from three other continents, all in the one classroom.  We have worked on voicethreads together – a  firm favourite being “My question of you” where Lorraine’s  grade two students asked a question and my year 7s replied to them. Teaching and Learning Across the Globe is a recorded joint presentation for the online Global Education Conference 2010.
  3. Ekaterina from Russia:- We have videoconferenced together using skype  (our classes were televised on Russian television as a result), shared student surveys eg Climate Change Questionaire, developed an  Across the World wiki together etc.
  4. Govinda Panthy– an amazing educator from Nepal who has become e-connected and painstakingly, patiently and with great determination brought global awareness to the plight of his school and students in Nepal. Govinda would awake at 4:30am in order to skype because his power is frequently cut off during daytime working hours. With the aid of friends made on classroom 2.0, Our Open World Project is now raising funds to bring several computers to SAV school and much needed physical library requisites. Make sure you visit the Open World Project site to see the real power, empathy and learning that can extend from membership.
  5. Alison Saylor –  We worked on google docs together and co-surveyed our students on their ownership of personal gadgets. Students in a school from Jerusalem were also surveyed. Students from each school  mapped the results in a spreadsheet for comparison.  The project  raised extensive local classroom discussion and provided many teachable moments.

There are  many, many  more wonderful stories that could be shared.

The long tail!:

  1. In 2010, I was proud to be  the Australasian mentor for the innovative online Global Education Conference which connected educators from across the globe in a free three day online conference – a direct result of my membership at classroom 2.0.
  2. Through the resultant friendship with Steve Hargadon, he encouraged Carole McCulloch and myself to be a moderators and organisers of eT@lking, an online webinar using Blackboard Collaborate for the  Australia Series. This has led to even further connections and networks.

Tips for successful membership of Classroom2.0 or other similar networks

  1. Ensure your profile has enough information to encourage others to consider and add you as a friend
  2. Lurk, lurk and lurk! Watch the discussions, search the tools, subjects or areas that you may be into help,  network and share existing knowledge.
  3. Introduce yourself on the  Introductions  discussion.
  4. Watch the discussion thread on “Introductions” and befriend some of the others who may be like-minded across a number of countries.
  5. Make friends where possible.
  6. When confident actively join in the conversations and discussions.
  7. Add your own discussion topic
  8. Write some blog posts (these can be cross posted from your existing blog).
  9. Set up an RSS feed for the discussions you are interested in.
  10. Return regularly
The networked teacher has the power to transform learning and education in directions that are only ‘dreamed about’! Together we can make the ‘dreams’ a reality!
What spaces or tools have helped you build a learning network? Are you a member of classroom 2.0? If so what experiences can you share?
Any questions can be directed to innovatorofthemonth@gmail.com or add a comment back here.
Please note that this blog post was written for the Edublogs Challenge on Developing a PLN. There are many other great posts to be found here.

Advice for New Globaled Teachers

One of my Flat Classroom Project colleagues, Honor Moorman asked “What advice could be given to new globaled teachers?” See the trigger blog post Sage Advice for New Teachers

Global education is my passion and technology enables us to connect and communicate with others across the globe – sharing conversations, learning together and from each other,  solving problems together etc either in synchronous or non-synchronous time.

Following are some  tips for new globaled teachers:-

  1. Seek out existing projects where experienced teachers will guide those who are new. Short simple projects are great for beginners. See Classroom2.0, Flat Classroom Projects,Global Education Collaborative, Global Classroom, Jen Wagner’s projects etc.
  2. Find another teacher(s) with a similar passion. Successful outcomes occur when passionate, committed, determined, and hard-working educators connect cross countries See  Back to the Classroom (of 2.0)
  3. Get to know each other and develop confidence with each other. Use emails, chat, audio and then videoconference. Be honest and open at all times.
  4. Always test any connections -internet connections, bandwidth, potentially blocked sites, audio, video etc
  5.  Find tools that are user-friendly to both of you eg blogging, videoconferencing, google applications, titanpad, forums, moodle, ning, wikis, voicethreads, web conferencing, edmodo etc Consider the nature of the connection and the proposed outcomes.
  6. Don’t be nervous about connecting with those who do not speak English (or your native tonuge) as a first language. Sometimes the richest learning takes place in these connections.  My school is culturally and geographically isolated. We connect regularly with different classes in Indonesia where English is spoken as a third or fourth language. These can be challenging connections, taking students way outside their comfort zones, but we survive, connect, communicate by ‘hook or by crook’ and make ourselves understood with simplified English, body language, use of objects and/or miming.
  7. Be completely open and honest with each other (Skype was used for videoconferencing from home to get to know another teacher from Singapore. Fortunately, she warned me that she was a Muslim. When we connected our classes, she had her head gear on and I would not have recognized her.) As issues arise from cultural, religious, ideological values between either you or your students, discuss them openly and work through them with all parties involved. One of my students offended students in Canada with some language that was becoming common place in Australia. Discussing the problems with students and editing the blog post meant that we kept working together – a much better outcome than refusing to speak to each other or continue to work together. A second problem arose, when one of my girls uploaded her avatar onto the Flat Classroom Project ning. The avatar was a photo of her in modest summer gear ie Tshirt and shorts. A teacher from Oman in the Middle East queried the appropriateness of this image as females in the Middle East have arms and legs covered. After discussion with the girl, a different photo was added.
  8. Go beyond ‘meet and greet’. Greater learning outcomes will evolve if the communication and connection continues on a regular nature.
  9. Make the most of all ‘teachable’ moments with your classes, wither before, during or after linkups and connections. Classroom Story: In the middle of a direct web conferencing linkup with a class from Malaysia, one of my girls ‘piped up’ and said “By the way, where is this Malaysia? At the end of the lesson students searched for Malaysia. (I had assumed that my students would all know where Malaysia was.)
  10. Test, test and test again all tools and connections to be used. Technology is never, ever 100% reliable. Have a backup plan and a possible alternative tool. Classroom Story: Three years ago, our whole school was setup to linkup with a research scientist in Antarctica. Two other backup days were organised should the internet fail to work in Antarctica. DiscoverE was the virtual classroom software to be used. This was tested twice prior to the day with the creator of DiscoverE and our school. On the morning of the actual event, testing commenced two hours before hand with global teacher participants, software developers and our school. Google video chat is an alternative to skype when skype falters.
  11. Be prepared to give and take, keep a sense of humour going.
  12. Familiarize yourself with timezones, days of the week in different hemispheres, festivals, school terms, school holidays and any other possible interruptions. Be flexible.
  13. Update parents and school leadership constantly. Keep them in the loop and encourage their participation.
  14. Attend the online sessions for the annual global education conference, or  listen to the 2011 recordings of sessions, attend classroom2.0 LIVE or Australia Series webinars.
  15. Build a global twitter network, follow the hashtags #globaled #globalclassroom
  16. Share your experiences with the world – on a blog, a wiki, twitter, google+ etc

Global education and making connections in either synchronous or asynchronous time, can be fun, engaging and exciting but most of all enables powerful learning. Do not hesitate, jump in and learn with the world!

10 ways to take skype beyond ‘meet and greet’!

Skype with an author

Videconferencing with another global class is always powerful learning, even when it is just ‘meet and greet’. However, further productive and effective learning will take place when extensions are made to these initial connections. It is always valuable to research further where that class was from and if possible, place a marker on a google map and discuss geography, history, cultural mixes, possible religions, season, natural disasters, foods eaten, sports etc.

Tonight was the first tweetchat on #globalclassroom. As I was not home this evening, I missed it, but noted questions from @tasteach and @mgraffin on my tweetfeed. Below is my response to how to take skype beyond ‘meet and greet’ with some examples.

Linkups can go beyond class to class and more intimate, rewarding videoconferences can take place between two small groups of students or even place students one on one. This really pushes students beyond their comfort zones, but allows them to fully direct their own learning of each other. This is really evident when the small groups are from different cultures, languages backgrounds etc and enables the learning of valuable global communication skills in our increasingly flat world.

Learning to fold paper money for wedding gifts

Here are some suggestions and ways  that I have used videoconferencing to go beyond ‘meet and greet’:-

  1. Extend the initial contacts to further linkups where students could bring an object that reflects where they live, conduct food demonstrations, favourite books, pets, favourite sports, hobbies etc (Sharing of objects using the camera dissolves any inhibitions and allows natural curiousity to come to the fore with questions, interest and passion.)
  2. Linkup on special days and school celebrations eg ‘come dressed in favourite book character days’, racial harmony day
  3. Perform a virtual concert
  4. Online debating
  5. Teach each other favourite school yard games, historic games, paper folding etc.
  6.  Take it beyond asynchronous connections to synchronous connections eg global collaboration on a wiki, blog, ning etc Some projects that have extended our initial ‘meet and greet’ are Global Storytelling, involving the creation of book trailers across two countries/five cultures,  and Across the World – a wiki setup to share  school life in two schools, one from Russia and and one from Australia.
  7. An initial skpye videoconference linkup with Christopher Herz, an author from New York, led to regular weekly lunchtime skype linkups, called “lunch with an author“. Interested secondary students from Hawkesdale P12 College, Australia would meet in the library at lunchtimes on Tuesdays. Christopher led the students through a series of challenges to help them with their passion for writing. Evernote was used to share work, asynchronous disscusions and editing.
  8. Students interview an expert -organise the teacher from another country. Individual students devise a series of questions and interview the teacher, on a one to one basis, using videoconferencing.
  9. Trial webconferencing rather than just videoconferencing, for even richer connections eg  Blackboard Collaborate, DiscoverE etc Tools such as this give an interactive whiteboard, backchannel for chat where every student can have a voice etc. See “Learning Adventures with Web Conferencing
  10. Use teachable moments. Logon to skype and make use of any possible impromptu linkups rather than organised ‘meet and greet’

See also eCultural Learning Adventures, The World is my Classroom, Big Little Classrooms

How have you used skype in the classroom? Have you used web conferencing with students, especially mixed groups of students? What would you add to this post?

Light a Candle around the World – an effective but simple global project

Too often, we enter complex projects which although can be extremely valuable, can also be time consuming and anxiety ridden! I love this simple, but very effective project of my friend, Lorraine Leo’s “Light the Candles in 2012“. Lorraine asked fellow global colleagues to share a photo or an illustration featuring a candle. Her fourth grade students were singing “Light the candles all around the world”. Lorraine’s aim was to get 15 images shared. Did this great project succeed? See her map to find out. It is still not too late to join in.

Above is my photo. As it was Christmas time and as my daughter and I bunch fresh flowers for sale at an honesty stall at our front gate, my photo shows the candle in front of several of our bunched flowers. It is summer time and flowers are plentiful and beautiful. Did you send in a photo? What was yours? Have you been involved in, or organised simple global projects? Would love you to share in a comment to this post.

Creating videos for Japanese students

Year 11 IT students have been creating videos about school and family life in Australia (well, at least where we live). These videos are now embedded on a shared, collaborative and interactive moodle with first year students from? Hokusei University Japan. These students are studying Interpretation as part of their English studies.

Initially students were shy about adding their voices to the movie, so they simply placed music – most chosen from danosongs. However, they were then asked to add their voice as the university students were to interpret the narration. This pushed my students outside their comfort zones! But, 50% of them added their voice.
Here are some of the results!
Renee – School Life

Chloe – School Life

Tessa – Family Life

Lauren – Family Life


Liam – Family Life

There has been so much learning involved here – but that will be another post!

From Listen2Learners to the Melbourne Writers Festival

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An excited year 11 student greeted me outside the office one morning at the end of last year and proceeded to tell me all about the fabulous event that he and two others had attended in Melbourne the day before. (Read his post.) It was “Listen to Learners” – an event held to showcase student learning in Melbourne, organised by Innovations and Next Practise, Victorian Education Department. Community members and interested educators attended this meetup. Students were given the chance to talk about their involvement in innovative learning and made to feel important.

To show the importance of their audience, Dhugan produced a business card. It was from Jenny Niven, Program Manager, of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Over the next weeks, the students got on with their studies, but  Jenny soon contacted me. She was interested in bringing a global perspective to the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2011 and wanted to know if we would be part of it. Of course we responded with a “yes”. Thinking caps on! What could we do? Book trailers were a fascination and it was decided that these could form a collaborative project with year 8 and 9 the target group.

Marg Murnane from our school took the project on as part of her teaching load. That left me to find some global partners, setup the wiki and share the organisation.  Veronica Woo and Yew Yan Koon from SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh,  Malaysia were interested as were several other contacts. A globalstorytelling wiki was set up with some resources, links, suggestions etc Students were to create a digital book trailer that would promote one of their favourite books, encouraging their audience to read this book. Pages were setup for the schools involved and it was hoped that the influence of different cultures would show.

However, exams, holidays, tests and the general ‘busyness’of school presented challenges. As time crept up on us, Veronica and Yew decided to work with four students from mixed backgrounds – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Chindian and from two schools.   SMJK Poi Lam is a secondary school and SJK (C) Ave Maria Convent is a primary school. The four students set up blogs to document their progress and the discussion tab of the wiki was used, but sparingly.

Here are the Malaysian student blogs (please visit them and leave a comment of encouragement)

Veronica contacted Yusuf Martin, a local writer, who is involved with the Malaysian Writers Festival. The 4 students worked with him for a session and looked at  using books based on the theme of culture. Veronica and Evon worked tirelessly with their students.

“We thought this would be interesting as Malaysia is indeed a melting pot of different races and cultures.” says Veronica.

Several weekends were spent visiting places to source authentic resources for their trailers:- a classical Indian dance session, interviewing a Bharathanatyam dance guru.

Here are the  books they have chose:-

  • Jesmund 16 years – Taman Saujana ( By Mubin Sheppard)
  • Maswin,16 years – The Straits Chinese ( By Khoo Joo Ee )
  • Tisha 8 years old – The Origins of Chinese Culture
  • Eusebia Clement, 8 years old -The Performing Arts ( Indian culture )

Another contact, Rori from 5th Primary School Mityo Stanev Bulgaria who is a co- member of the “little world skypers” group had produced glogs (using glogster) with her students. She agreed to add a page of these to our wiki. Her school is 

Global Student and the Writers Festival

We are proud and excited to have a bus load of students taking a 3 ½ ride to Melbourne for the Writers Festival on Sept 1st at 12:30pm. Selected students will be up on the big stage at Federation Square with Veronica and Yew and their four students videoconferencing in to the crowd at Federation Square from Ipoh in Malaysia. Our host or MC is Ed Hoyt.  Students from both countries will share their love of reading, their cultures and involvement in a 45 minute time slot. Four book trailers from each country will be displayed on the big screen.

This event will demonstrate innovative classrooms and ways in which classrooms can connect, communicate and collaborate across the world, using cutting edge technology, authentic projects and project based learning. It will showcase the exciting outcomes that students from a variety of cultures can achieve in this flattening world of ours.

Significance to the schools in Malaysia

At the Malaysian end, there will be the local press, students’ parents, teachers, friends, school principals, the State Tourism Chairperson, YB Dato’ Hamida Othman, the State Director of Education and a local politician.

Some of the learning

  • What book trailers are
  • The nature of other cultures
  • A deeper understanding of our culture
  • Exploring a number of movie making options
  • Using copyright free images and music
  • The pressure of time commitment
  • The Malaysian students have learnt to blog
  • How to add content to a wiki
  • The use of a variety of communication methods between us all
  • Connecting as a group in skype – Melbourne, Hawkesdale and Ipoh
  • the constant need for communication from all parties
  • learning about reading habits of students: – likes/dislikes


  • Set up a wiki with pages for schools involved, resources, a survey, student pages
  • Students and staff ‘joined’ the wiki
  • Students added an ‘about me’ section to their wiki page
  • Trailers were brainstormed
  • Discussion around copyright and appropriate use of images
  • Trailers were completed, published into wmv format and uploaded to youtube. The code was grabbed and embedded on each student’s wiki page.
  • Our school had to choose four of the trailers to be featured and three students to be up on the stage.
  • Veronica’s school got some parts of the electrical connection in the school hall rewired ready for the technical test.
Here are the book trailers  that we chose from our student cohort. The book titles and authors are as follows, but please view them as we are proud of student efforts:-
  1. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden put together by a group of 6 girls
  2. A Waltz for Matilda by Jacqui French
  3. A Rose for the Anzac Boys authored by 
  4. Hatchet by Gary Paulson

The Vision

It is hoped that other schools will be motivated to get involved in global projects and/or join our wiki to create and add book trailers.

Do you have a similar story to share?

Adding movies to a wiki

Tisha is a young student from Malaysia who is participating in the globalstorytelling project . In this project students from Malaysia and Australia are creating book trailers. Tisha is having problems adding the movie to the wiki as it says it is too large,  but has successfully added it to her blog meiyangyang. This post is a bid to help her solve the problem, but if you have time please look at her new blog and support her with comments.

Playing with the html code. Tisha, if you follow these instructions, can you add a comment below and let me know if it was successful.

  1. Login to your blogger blog.
  2. Edit your post that shows the book trailer.
  3. Click on the html edit tab.

Click on the html tab

  • Highlight the code for the movie and copy this code.
  • Open your wiki page>edit

Look for widget

  • Find the link for html and click on it. A white window appears

find html link

  • Paste the html code from your blog post in here and see if that will allow your book trailer display.
If anyone reading this blog post has further ideas, please let us know via a comment. How have you added movies to wikispaces?