#iEARN13 Workshop & Presentations

 

I am still coming to terms with the fact that I travelled halfway around the world to share my social media journey and experiences with The Global Classroom Project at #iEARN13.

Qatar was the venue for my first (three!) international presentations, including my first Global Classroom Workshop, and the launch of my first iEARN project.

Here they are, with links to explore further if you wish.

Connecting Globally via Twitter and the #globalclassroom Chats (Workshop)

I still can’t believe that nearly 50 people attended this workshop, which was live translated from English into Arabic. It seemed to make quite an impact, judging by the frequent informal sessions I held with new iEARN twitter teachers over the days which followed!

It was a pleasure to present in front of the @iEARNAustralia management team, who now have a much better understanding of what I’ve been trying to do with our organisation’s Twitter account.

This workshop was also the first time I experimented with a bilingual “Find Someone Who” activity as a brief 5 minute introduction to the ‘essence’ of Twitter – short, rapid fire conversations with global partners around a range of issues.

A huge thank you goes to @rawyashatila in Lebanon, who generously translated the document into Arabic! 🙂

Workshop Notes

Workshop Handout & (Crowd Sourced) Twitter Tips

@mgraffin Twitter Workshop

Via @FrisoDoornhof

 

Social Media Panel Contribution

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One of the unexpected surprises of the iEARN Conference was the invitation to contribute to the Social Media Panel Keynote, created by Khitham Al-Utaibi (@khitamah) and Rebecca Hodges (@ProfHodges).

Presenting alongside 3 academics, and one of the most globally aware high school students I’ve ever met (@AndrewNasser), was quite an experience. We had around 450 people in the audience, and I received some very positive feedback on my contribution. I suspect I went over my time allocation slightly, but I think this tweet sums it up nicely:

 

Building the Global Classroom: A Substitute Teacher’s Twitter Journey from Michael

iEARN Travelling Scrapbook Project Launch

This turned out to be one of the more productive sessions of the conference, where I took the opportunity to share the story of the #globalclassroom travelling scrapbook project, and discuss plans for an iEARN version.

I took away some hastily scribbled notes / suggestions, and a list of potential partners. I’m hoping to get this project running by September 2013, and will have to try and sort out the planning / organisation approach over the next week or so.

#iEARN13 Takeaways (#RoadtoDoha Part 5)

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Qatari Cultural Performance

It is hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since this amazing event, as its implications are still sinking in.

For now, here are some of my major takeaway from #iEARN13.

1) The People

A sign of a good conference is its impact on professional practice. The sign of an extraordinary conference is the quality of the professional relationships forged with educators from one’s own country, and around the world.

The #iearn13 conference was an opportunity to meet teachers from all over the world, some I already knew, and others I met for the very first time on the #roadtodoha. Meeting David Potter @iEARNUSA and Michael-Ann @cerniglia, who I’ve literally known for years,  as well as the iEARN Twitteratti from the Netherlands and Pakistan, were true highlights of the trip.

I was also lucky enough to meet, and spend time with Julie Lindsay (from Flat Classroom), one of the two ladies who helped inspire The Global Classroom Project.

And then there were the people I connected with at the conference … From Australia, Mali, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Italy,India, Azerbaijan, Netherlands, Jordan, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Listening to their stories was a fascinating, thought provoking experience which transcended cultural and national borders.

Meeting @cerniglia

Meeting @cerniglia – roughly halfway between the USA and Australia

The Pakistan iEARN Twitterati - including @FSKamal, @hsaeed92, @SidrahN,   and @BilalZKhan

The Pakistan iEARN Twitterati – including @FSKamal, @hsaeed92, @SidrahN, and @BilalZKhan

The iEARN Australia delegation @ Cultural Night

The iEARN Australia delegation @ Cultural Night

2) Realising I have a future in iEARN, and a role to play within it.

The primary reason for my attending the conference was to learn about the philosophy, community, and people which make up iEARN. As a relief teacher, I was struggling to make a connection with the organisation, as I couldn’t engage in the projects and opportunities it offers. But, this conference helped to change that – in a very positive way.

Walking away from #iearn13 with new friends, new ideas, and three international presentations to add to my resume was the culmination of months of planning. It was a huge risk, but it appears to have paid off.

I can see myself having a positive future in this organisation, and potentially a long-term role in helping iEARN grow and evolve over its next 25 years. While I’ll freely admit to still searching for a school where I can make a difference here at home, I’m excited about exploring new global opportunities with iEARN.

"The Spider", Qatar National Convention Centre

“The Spider”, Qatar National Convention Centre

An apt reminder of why I travelled the #roadtodoha

An apt reminder of why I travelled the #roadtodoha

 

Two Weeks in Qatar (#RoadtoDoha Part 4)

How can I put into words the experiences of the past few weeks? … The sights, sounds, smells, landscapes, and diverse people of Doha … The excitement, the passion, the learning, and emerging friendships of the iEARN conference?

The truth is, I can’t … I was told this trip would change me, and perhaps, it has … in ways I’d never dreamt possible.

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Going Global

I am a global educator, committed to learning with the world, not just about it … Yet, this was the first time I found myself practicing what I preach. Coming here to #iearn13 was a huge risk, but a positive one … and I have loved every minute.

In what follows, I am going to try to reflect on my experiences of the past few weeks, as I sit here in the hotel lobby farewelling friends, old and new, as we slowly return to our respective corners of the globe.

#RoadtoDoha Part 4: Exploring Doha, a city of hidden beauty.
Yes, it was often above 45C, and this place is NOT pedestrian friendly by any stretch of the imagination, but my walks through the souqs and old Doha provided a fascinating glimpse into the life beyond the hotel and conference walls.

My feet were killing me, true, but walking enabled me to see Doha in a way which most tourists don’t. It’s the little things …

Walking past the local mosque, listening to the call to prayer …

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Discovering the little local supermarkets and general stores, frequented by the expat labourers and local Qataris …

And, let us not forget the (insane) traffic. Having never been to India or China, Doha traffic was an experience in itself.

As I tweeted early in the trip, the national musical instrument of Qatar is the car horn, and the national pastime is attempting to swerve one’s way through traffic jams – aka driving like a lunatic.

Cars drive on the left side of the road here, which was unusual for the Aussie, who forgot this critical fact on occasion! I swear my guardian angel worked overtime, because despite the occasional close scrape, I survived my 2km walking radius for a whole 6 days!

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Exploring Doha

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I was lucky that my first hotel was in the centre of old Doha. It meant that I could explored the local souqs, corniche, and Islamic Art Museum at my own pace, taking the time to immerse myself in the local environment, food, and culture. I was also blessed to find an honest private taxi driver, who took me on a guided tour of Doha, and helped make the trip so special.

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What surprised me was, quite simply, was the friendliness of the people. Yes, I was in a foreign country, half a world away from home, but I always felt safe, welcome, and accepted – even while out amongst the late night crowds enjoying the relative coolness of the Corniche (seaside promenade). Perhaps that comes from the rather unique situation in Qatar, where about 90% of the population are foreign nationals.

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Documenting another world

Here in Doha, there are certain social rules and government regulation regarding photography; however, I have quite simply had the time of my life here – documenting my first international journey. All I can do is provide a glimpse into what I’ve captured … You will have to wait until I get home to delve into the full portfolio.

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