Tag Archives: google apps

Global Mardi Gras Judging for German Students

the winner

The winner of the Mardi Gras competition – the Penguin!

Reinhard Marx has been an online teaching colleague for many years, and pushes technology use to the boundaries of the world. Each year he organises many activities for his classes and brings other classes and educators in from across the world.


The class from Croatia, as seen through the Hangout!

Last night was one great example of his innovative work and this is what it looked like.

  1. Students in his school came dressed in costume for the Mardi Gras.
  2. Prior to the event he sent out a google spreadsheet seeking classes and teachers from across the globe to be judges. Interested teachers filled in the spreadsheet, with their name, class (if they had one), country and email contact.


    The class from Hungary

  3. Just prior to the class, the link to a Google Hangout was shared

    tereza and her cat

    Tereza – a judge from Croatia

  4. Reinhard creatively set up 2 webcameras, one at the front for students to walk towards, showing their costume and also to act out their costume character.

    back of yellow

    The rear webcam allowed us to see the back of the costumes

  5. Another webcam was set up at the back of the room, so that we could see the detail of the back of the costume.
  6. There were three sessions in total. In my session, there were classes/educators from Hungary, Croatia, Russia and Australia
  7. A link was given to a judging sheet setup in Google Sheets. We gave each student a score for A) their costume itself and B)  for their ability to act out the costume character. Each was scored out of 10
    voting sheet
  8. The winner with the highest total received a chocolate bar!


  • Sitting in on a German classroom virtually and hearing the German instructions and then often the English interpretations of the character’s costume.
  • watching students being pushed outside their comfort zones to try and act out their character
  • watching in real time, the global judges’ scores coming in on the spreadsheet
  • seeing the variety of costumes

The total time taken was approximately 50 mins. Great work, Reinhard on a very successful competition.



Tech Talk Tuesday: Google Maps and Apps

When: Tuesday, November 6th 4-5pm, Melbourne, Australia time gmt+11

About this session:

  1. Learn how to create active google maps and add pins which feature images, videos, hyperlinks etc. See skippy, a year 10 student’s google map
  2. How to embed them on to an online space so that they are still live and editable.
  3. Discuss some classroom and personal applications
  4. Walk through some other collaborative google apps including Document and Presentation

Come along with your questions, your curiousity and experiences and share in the conversations. Here is the link to the recording of this session.

Are there any questions that you might have? Have you used google maps in the classroom? How have you used them? What could you share? Please add as a comment below.

Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@Lking: This week’s webinars

Tech Talk Tuesdays: LEEPing into Student Leadership – Students as ICT Leaders

When: Tuesday, March 20th, 4-5pm, Melbourne Australia (gmt+11)

About the session: LEEP stands for Lodgers’ E-learning Extension and is a special program offered to high achieving students at Berwick Lodge Primary School. This program has three main goals:

  1. To provide an enrichment program for highly able or gifted students which will compliment the classroom curriculum.
  2. To enable students to become ICT leaders in their classroom, modelling and supporting their peers and teachers to utilise ICT skills to enhance learning. The ICT activities will involve using web 2.0 tools, multimedia, and the Internet to establish global links and collaboration. The students in LEEP will be at the cutting edge of ICT at Berwick Lodge and, by teaching others what they have learnt; they will strengthen their own understandings.
  3. To utilise ICT to enhance student learning in all areas of the curriculum. ICT will provide participants with the means to personalise their learning, by providing access to information, resources and experts from all over the world.

The students who participate in the program have lessons in advanced ICT skills and are supported to develop the social and interpersonal skills necessary for leadership and peer mentoring. They are expected to model exceptional behaviour and ethical use of the computers and ICT equipment. The students have been nominated by their teachers as potential leaders and have excellent results in their previous reports. It is important that they maintain these academic and behaviour standards.
This is the fourth year of the program and it is gathering momentum as the students develop confidence and have experience in the role. Teachers are becoming more comfortable and adept at utilizing the ICT student experts in their room. Change in ICT practise is becoming more evident as the teachers trust the students to help and lead with new ICT initiatives.
About our presenter:Lois Smethurst has been a Primary Teacher for more than twenty years and a Leading Teacher in ICT for the last 10. Her qualifications include Masters of Information Technology in Education, Intel Master Trainer, Peer Coach in ICT and Graduate Diploma in Computing. Lois works at Berwick Lodge Primary School in Victoria Australia.
Lois has been presented with the Victoria Information Technology Award for “Most Outstanding Use of Technology in a Government School” and the Gippsland Learning Technology award for “Best Use of Learning Technologies in a Primary School.” In 2004 and 2005 she was a member of the “ICT Achievers” writing team for integrating ICT, Digital Learning Objects and Kahootz.
Her interests are education in ICT rich environments for teachers and students, web2.0 tools and technologies, global collaboration and constructivist learning. Her current role is in e_Learning extension for highly able students and whole school leadership in ICT. Lois has been working on a number of projects since starting at BerwickLodge Primary School, but in particular, developing a school wide blogging culture, global connections using Skype and using digital technologies to enhance learning through oral language. Students at BLPS were the only Australian school to participate in a recent Flatclassrooms Global Debate – Eracism.

Here is the link to the recording Please note that this session will be recorded.

eT@lking: Collaborative Documents in the Clouds

When: Wed March 21st, 8-9pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+11)

About the session:  In this webinar, we  will

  • look at some of the free online tools that can be used for group discussion, chat and collaboration,
  • how to use them
  • when and how they could be used etc.

Anne Mirtschin will start the webinar by demonstrating the use of titan pad, pirate pad etc and google docs within the classroom, between staff, beyond classroom walls into the globe etc and then take a look at

  • How to save these documents,
  • share links for different privacy settings,
  • pros and cons of the  tools,
  • use of chat features,
  • general discussion pages, adding comments,
  • recommended group size,
  • distinguishing each contributor,
  • saving etc

Examples of online discussion between class members, global classrooms in India and Australia, Singapore and Australia etc will be shared.

What tools have you used? When and how have you used them for group work. Bring along your suggestions, experiences etc to share and join in the conversations.

Here is the link to join this session. If you cannot join us, what can you share, what would you suggest and what questions do you have?

The Black Line Mystery – eT@lking in Review

Jess McCulloch in innovative style, presented on her fabulously creative  Black Line Mystery – the most difficult Chinese character known to mankind. Using google apps to great effect and impact, she has built a series of lesson plans that are set to engage young and old alike. Joining us tonight were two special participants, Vincent Mespoulet from France and Beyond School Walls and Trent who was bracing snow falls somewhere near Antartica, plus many of our valued Australian colleagues.

You can view Jess’ great mystery by going to The Black Line Mystery and keying in the password hanzi The mystery then unfolds with innovative use of online tools including google apps, vokis and edmodo.

From the chat:-

Here is the link to the recording.

Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking: this week’s webinars

Tech Talk Tuesdays: The power of social media and its implications for education.

When: Tuesday, March 13th, 4-5pm Melbourne, Australia (gmt+11)

About this session: Year 12 students walked into my classroom for the first lesson of the day on Wednesday last week and asked if I had seen the Kony video. Intrigued, Iasked more questions to find out that the students had seen the links on facebook which was viral with the news. It had also hit other social media eg twitter, youtube, vimeo with a vengeance and the traditional media had also shared the news. Using a teachable moment, we viewed the highly engaging video. Since then it has come under some criticism.

When we watched the movie as a class it had had 3 million hits, by the end of the day the hits amounted to 10 million but 24 hours later had reached 40 million. Wide use of social media has also been used in the recent floods in Victoria.

  • What are other examples of social media use  that have had global impact?
  • What impact does this have on learning and for education in general?
  • How important are critical thinking and internet research skills?
  • How can these skills be taught?
Join us as we share conversations around these important questions. Here is the link to join in this session.

eT@lking: The Black Line Murder Mystery:Using Google Tools Creatively

When: Wednesday, 14th March, 8-9pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+11)

About the session: Jess McCulloch  teaches mandarin Chinese. She is an innovative google certified teacher who created the Black Line Mystery  for the 2012  K12 Online conference. The Black Line Mystery is a story about the most complicated Chinese character known to mankind and its community. It is an online meta linguistic awareness unit using Google Tools in an innovative and creative manner.

As well as learning language, it’s important that our students learn ABOUT language. The Black Line Mystery is a unit Jess created to introduce students to the Chinese character writing system. The unit is all online, allowing students who don’t go to my school to join in. Come along to hear about how she got this unit together and what free Google Tools she used to make it possible.

Here is the  link to the recording.  Try and watch the Black Line Mystery before the session. It is a creative, engaging story that uses google apps to fabulous effect. Try and view it before the session.

eT@lking: About the google gathering

Tonight there was a great gathering around ‘google’. Following on from the google teacher academy presentation of last week, participants shared favourite, experimental or innovative google apps and applications of google for education. Here is the link to the recording

Thanks to Jess McCulloch, Andrew Williamson, Rowan Peter and Roland Gesthuzien for sharing with us. Here are some of the sites and apps shared tonight.

Thanks everyone for some great sharing and googling! What can you share about the use of google? See also Rowan Peter’s great post on the gathering.

Going viral!

At times, I would hear both Vicki Davis mention that it becomes ‘viral’ after awhile. I wondered what she really meant by that, but as I watch my students over the last few weeks, I understand completely what that word means.

This year, I am determined to incoporate web2.0 tools into my VCE classes. As the year 11 accounting students were studying budgeting, I thought this may be the ideal opportunity to introduce google sheets and the chat function within it. So, students were paired or placed in a group of 3. They were not allowed to sit near each other and had to register for a gmail account. Then with just the use of the chat function in google sheet they were to work together and draw up a budget for a trip to schoolies week at the Gold Coast, at the end of the year.  They were given either $1500 to $3000 (each group was given a different amount) as their personal savings. The word budget was not mentioned at all. They then had to work out what it would cost and show the proposed costings on the sheet.

Students had to quickly learn how to use formulas and they worked the chat really well and learnt how to work collaboratively on the sheet. When they had finished, they added some images, manipulated headings etc and added colour. To finish the exercise they wrote up a report in MS Word. This was a valuable exercise and students could see the potential for such collaborative work in other subjects or from home. That was Wednesday last week.

On Monday, I had my year 12 Information Technology Applications students and when I entered the room, they were busy working on google sheets and docs. The virus was spreading. Today, the year 10s were at it and so it goes….. My older students set up an igoogle page, and they have placed some amazing widgets on there. Each morning, I hear what the Aussie dollar is doing, the weather and far, far more.