Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom (#CONSTAWA33 Keynote)

Last weekend, I presented the Dinner Keynote at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia conference, exploring the topic: Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom: Exploring the Possibilities. 

Our Challenge: Engaging Students in Science

As a primary school teacher & global education specialist, being asked to present to secondary science teachers was an interesting experience 🙂

The central theme of the presentation focussed on the use of technology to enable teachers and students Engage, Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate in secondary Science – via connections with external organisations, experts, and science educators around Australia, and around the world.

Building Bridges with REAL Science

My most memorable science teachers were those who were passionate about their subject, and who went out of their way to CONNECT their students to REAL science. As was posited to me on the night, these connections should, and indeed MUST begin, in the primary school classroom, but I was interested in exploring the possibilities at the secondary level.

You DON”T have to be an Expert (when you’re part of a community)

I was also very keen to point out that teachers don’t have to be ICT experts to engage & connect their students in Science. The keys to success lie in keeping an open mind, and and being willing to learn and collaborate with colleagues and experts beyond your classroom walls through engaging in online communities, such as the Scootle Community and Twitter.

I finished up by sharing a crowd-sourced Google Doc, containing links and ideas for Secondary Science teachers interested in exploring the possibilities of ICT and global connections in their teaching. You can access (and contribute) to that document via the short link: http://bit.ly/CONSTAWA2013.

 

Post Conference Reflections

I was rather pleased with the reception I received at the CONSTAWA Conference. It was rather challenging to walk into an unfamiliar conference audience, but the feedback was very positive.

I’ve learnt a great deal through the experience … not just about how much work and preparation goes into these kind of presentations, but how I can personally integrate ICT and global connections into my own Science teaching in the future. The connections I’ve made … the lessons I’ve learned … will help me a great deal when I eventually find my own space and own classroom – one day.

Thank you to the long list of teachers, scientists, and experts who helped make this presentation possible. I am indebted to you – for your support … and inspiring example of what is possible when you ‘explore the possibilities’ of Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom.

Circumnavigating the Globe with the Travelling Scrapbooks

A little over a year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea … What if we could create a physical artefact of global collaboration? What if we could create something to demonstrate the power of global connections with our schools, communities, and the world?

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And thus, the travelling scrapbook project was born. 

Since March 2012, I’ve coordinated the extraordinary journeys of three #globalclassroom scrapbooks around the world.

As of May 2013, the scrapbooks have been hosted by 16 teachers, in 10 countries; and travelled in excess of 122 400 km (76 055 miles) – which is equivalent to circumnavigating the globe THREE times!

Our participant students and teachers around the world have embraced the opportunity to share a little of their lives, cultures, schools, and countries with the wider global community; and their contributions to our travelling scrapbooks are a true testament to the power of global collaboration.

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One journey is coming to an end

Scrapbook #2 came home last week.

It bears the stains and wear and tear that you’d expect from a document which has travelled well over 47 563 km (29 554 miles) over the past year. It’s been to Brasil, Guatemala, … was lost in Honduras, … Texas, and New York City (USA). It’s been shared with children around the world, and its journey is coming to an end.

It’s hard to describe what its like to hold this document in your hands … It’s the embodiment of a dream … made reality through the efforts of teachers and students who’ve I’ve yet to meet face to face. The stories, the photos, the sketches … make this a unique, and very special physical artefact of global collaboration.

Sadly #2 is in no condition to continue on its’ global travels through the mail system, but there is one last trip in store … It will travel (in my suitcase) to the iEARN 2013 conference in Doha, Qatar … in just over four weeks time, where I’ll be presenting on the Travelling Scrapbook Project, and launching a new spin-off iEARN scrapbook project.

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But, the journey continues

The Global Classroom Travelling Scrapbooks have become a unique, special part of the #globalclassroom community, and the remaining scrapbooks will continue on their travels for some years to come.

I’m planning the introduction of at least two new books in the coming months, so I’m looking forward to seeing this project evolve and develop over time.

I’d love to have scrapbooks touring Europe and the Middle East, … and I’m now starting to wonder if we can get the scrapbooks to travel more than half a million kilometres?

It might take a few years, but let’s see …

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Being part of something BIG – The Scootle Community

A few months ago, I was selected as an Australian Teacher Champion for the new Scootle Community, run by Education Services Australia.

And as the community goes live this week, I can’t help but feel that I’m part of something BIG …

Introducing … the Community

The Scootle Community is a social network designed exclusively for Australian teachers, helping teachers connect, learn, share, and collaborate with their peers around Australia, and access high quality teaching resources.

I see the Community as a bridge between traditional professional development and social media, making it ideal for teachers who are unfamiliar with social networking to explore, learn, and develop their skills in a supportive learning environment. It’s worth exploring, and sharing with your colleagues …

So what’s it all about?

As members of the Scootle Community social network, educators can:

  • Set up a profile as they would on a social network and join discussion groups, read and write blogs, ask questions and share expertise.
  • Connect with teachers from all over the country, bringing together rich experiences from diverse communities.
  • Find classroom resources from the Scootle website, relevant sections of the Australian Curriculum, and teacher conversations on a topic of interest with a single search.
  • Create a teacher network on the topic of their choice. Users can choose to create a private, invitation-only network, or one that is open to all interested educators on the site.
  • Join teacher networks, enter discussions, create wikis and blog on the things they wonder about or want to share.
  • Interact through live chats and blogs with special guest bloggers on subjects of interest.

How can you get involved?

If you already use the scootle.edu.au resources website, you can use your Scootle login to access the site at community.scootle.edu.au. You can access, the site on your tablet, desktop, or laptop computer, and there are iOS and Android apps in the works.

The Scootle Community is currently available for Government and private school teachers (and pre-service educators) around Australia.

There is, sadly, a catch – NSW and QLD public school teachers can’t YET access Scootle or the Scootle Community. There are discussions going on behind the scenes, but it could be a few months before they can join 🙁

Spreading the Word

Please help spread the word about the #scootlecommunity with your colleagues and PLN. You can download the Scootle Community Posters, and tweet about the network using the #scootlecommunity hashtag.

As Scootle Community Teacher Champions, we are looking forward to working with you as we develop and grow the Scootle Community into a valuable, in-time professional learning and networking resource for Australian teachers.

We hope you will join us.

The Story of an Image

In preparing for my Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom presentation at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia Conference this weekend, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons about global connections, crafting powerful presentations, and about connecting science to the real world.

But perhaps the greatest lesson has arisen from my endeavours to model the appropriate (legal) use of images in educational presentations …

This is the story of an image, and there’s quite a story to tell ..

Image:  Jordi Rios. Reproduced with permission

I first came across this image through Twitter, where it appeared on the Facebook page of a prominent Science communicator in the USA. With the intention of using this quote and image in my presentation, I contacted the owner of the site – only to discover that he didn’t own the image!

With his kind assistance, I traced the imaged to the 500px site, where you can view the original version.

What followed was fascinating …

After leaving a comment on the site, I received an email from the artist in Spain, who was quite surprised to hear from me – for several reasons!

Firstly, he had no idea his image was being used in the above form, and secondly he wasn’t particularly happy that the image didn’t (and still doesn’t) attribute him as the artist!

With the help of Google Translate, and several emails later, Jordi kindly gave me permission to reproduce the image (and quote) for educational use.

But, this whole experience has left me with an important lesson about images on the Internet  Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have a right to take it and use it. I’ve also learnt that that asking for permission can have some unintended, unexpected consequences. But I’m glad I did.