Get Involved with Ed Tech Down Under! (#OZeLive 2014)


I am delighted to be involved with the brand new OzELive online conference, presented by the Australia e-Series and The Learning Revolution Project.

#OZeLive is a new virtual conference will run on February 22-23, 2014 at Australia friendly time-zones. It will feature Australian and New Zealand educators sharing their stories, perspectives, and expertise in the fields of:

  • Web 3.0 / social media
  • Educator 3.0* eLearning/ Blended learning/ LMS* Networking
  • Collaborative learning / learning theory / pedagogy
  • Use of technology in the classroom/learning environment
  • PLEs / PLNs/PLCs

Call for Presenters

If you are an Australian or New Zealand educator, with a story to share, you are warmly invited to submit a presentation proposal here. I’d suggest doing it soon, as the schedule will be finalized in early February 🙂

Attend

The conference will run on February 22-23, with presentations held in Blackboard Collaborate virtual classrooms. The 45 minute sessions will be recorded and converted to MP4 format, then made available in our OZeLive You Tube channel. More details, and schedule, to follow.

Connect

Follow @ozelivecon and the #ozelive hashtag on Twitter, and join the Facebook group here. The official website is here – http://australianeducators.ning.com/.

#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

 

Three Years. A Relief Teacher’s Blogging Journey

Well, what can I say?

Three years ago today, I was a recovering first year teacher struggling to find my voice and calling in my profession. Today, I’m in Doha, Qatar, on the eve of the 20th iEARN International Conference.

For me, blogging has been an outlet, a way to share my experiences, thoughts, and learning with others. I used to feel isolated and alone, but no more.

I used to be obsessed with statistics … could anyone actually be interested in reading about my experiences? Now, the statistics don’t matter so much … because I know.

The past three years have been a roller-coaster journey. There have been stories of heartbreak, triumph, elation, and heartfelt thanks … but I stand here today with no regrets, secure in the knowledge that I have a voice on the world stage, secure in the knowledge that I’ve giving back to this wonderful global community which has given me so much, and more.

Here’s to another three years … God knows where I’ll be, but I’m looking forward to finding out 🙂

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Helping Build “The Global One-Room School House”

Logging into Twitter this evening, I came across a fascinating, thought-provoking video entitled “The Global One Room School House“.

Containing excerpts from John Seely Brown’s Keynote at the 2012 Digital Media and Learning conference in San Francisco, it explores the notion of teaching and learning within “a global one-room schoolhouse” based on networks of imagination. (Reference)

The Big Idea

Some of the key themes of this video include the idea that “Entrepreneurial Learners are fundamentally makers and tinkerers”, and that as networked learners, “we need to invent new institutions, new social practices, and new skills to enable us to use technology to enhance and inspire learning.

I believe that teaching and learning is not all about the technology.

As stated in the video, Learning the technology is the easy part. It is about building, and participating within the wider, networked community. The video describes this concept as “entrepreneurial learning”, and I’ve blogged about it before, under my musings on becoming a 21st Century “Teacherpreneur”.

In the video, Brown argues that “we are no longer isolated learners or creators … we are part of a networked community”. This means we are not creating (or teaching) skills and knowledge which are stable and unchanging, but knowledge and skills which are destined to evolve over time and across different social and learning contexts.

He concludes by arguing for the “need to build a global one-room school house”. A community where learners can connect, teach, and learn from each-other; and “play” with new tools and concepts in a supportive, safe learning environment.

Building Educational Change 

It is hard to believe that through my work in building and leading The Global Classroom Project, I am helping to make John Brown’s inspiring vision an educational reality.

We are, in effect, building educational change – by creating a network of interconnected learners, and endeavouring to engage and inspire them to participate in, and help us grow a community of 21st Century teaching and learning practice.

We live in exciting times. Who knows where they will take us in the years to come?

 

 

 

“It is time to be the voice of change” – (#flatclass Book Club – Part 1)

 

Global collaboration is a journey which tends to take you in unexpected directions!

 

A year ago, I would never have dreamt that I’d be reading and reviewing Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, nor would I have believed I would have the chance to connect and learn with the authors, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis.

Rather than writing an ‘official book review’, I’ve decided to record my musings on the #flatclass book as I try to engage in the online book club over the coming weeks.

So, here are my musings on Chapters 1 and 2.

 

“21st century skills harness not only the power of technology, but the power of people” (p. 3)

Reading the introductory chapters, I was taken aback by the parallels between my recent (unpublished) writings about #globalclassroom, and the #flatclass authors’ thoughts on effective global collaboration.

Having written almost exactly the same words a few days previously, this statement reinforced one of the key lessons I’ve learned leading Global Classroom – that while our work was made possible by technology, it is our people who have made it a reality.

Our work has been successful because our teachers, all over the world, are actively supporting each-other’s professional learning, and sharing responsibility for the management (and success) of our #globalclassroom projects.

 

“The aim of global collaboration is to improve learning, flatten classroom walls, and develop authentic audiences” (p. 4)

As I wrote some time ago, we are creating “the online spaces for teachers and students to connect, share, learn, and collaborate on a global stage”. And we’ve succeeded in building community; providing the space and support network for teachers to connect and collaborate, where they can experience the powerful impact of global collaboration and learning first-hand.

Built by teachers, for teachers, The Global Classroom Project is enabling our students to share their learning with the world; and helping our teachers explore innovative, transformational teaching and learning practices. We’ve opened up a window to the world, and we can’t go back.

 

“Connect one person at a time, build trust, and move forward together.” (p. 20)

I was struck by Suzie Nestico’s comment in the first #flatclass book club session relating the success of global collaboration to “building trust in the online environment”, going beyond the intitial connections to engaging in meaningful collaborations.

We are starting to make this happen, particularly in our Skype group, where teachers, who came to us with little confidence and collaborative experience, are building online connections and friendships through IM conversations and skype calls.

With a little support and encouragement, these teachers are starting out on their learning journeys, beginning to engage in their very first, more meaningful global collaborations. Yes, these are small steps, but these teachers’ stories are inspiring their colleagues – locally, and around the world.

 

“It is time to be the voice of change.” (p.20)

“Learning globally includes making a difference to the world.” (p.7)

I never expected to lead the creation of a global learning community. I was ‘just’ a second year relief (substitute) teacher, who has never had a class of his own. Yet, my social networking presence enabled me to make that initial connection with Deb Frazier in Ohio, USA; and later, it provided the connections which underpinned the collaborative development of the Global Classroom community.

As Deb and I look forward to celebrating the first anniversary of our ‘Twitter connection’ in April 2012, we can’t believe how our #globalclassroom spaces have become vibrant, community-minded forums where our teachers and students are connecting, making friends, and beginning to collaborate globally.

We are making a difference in the world, and helping teachers become the “voices of change”.

 

So, I conclude with a simple “thank you”

Julie and Vicki, it is hard to believe that an exploration of the #flatclassroom website and project wikis would kindle a teacher’s dream, and ultimately lead to the collaborative creation of a new global community.

But it did.

My work has changed the way I see and interact with the world. I now have friends across 6 continents, and find myself in the extraordinary position of leading a global education community in my third year of teaching.

I have a lot to learn, yet I suspect I am becoming “a voice of change”. I’m helping to make a difference in the world; and as our grassroots community continues to grow and evolve, I’m not alone.

The Global Classroom Project: #GlobalEd11 Presentation

 

Just a quick post to let you know that I will be presenting on The Global Classroom Project 2011-12, with Deb Frazier (Ohio, USA) at the Global Education Conference 2011, on Tuesday, November 15, 2011.

We hope you can join us for:

A discussion about The Global Classroom Project 2011-12; a new online global projects community helping K-12 teachers and students share their expertise, learning, and voices on a global stage.”

We will be exploring our stories and latest global collaborative projects. With contributions from #globalclassroom teachers in Australia, Romania, New Zealand, USA, Canada, France, and Denmark, this is a presentation not to be missed!

For full details of our presentation, please visit our session overview.

When?

We will be presenting on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at 6AM New York (EST), 11AM London (GMT), 4PM Delhi, 7PM Beijing, 10PM Sydney.

We have attempted to find a time friendly to teachers in Europe, Africa, and Asia, as we strive to make Global Classroom more globally representative.

We recommend finding our session, “The Global Classroom Project 2011-12: A Global Learning Community is Born”  using the official schedule for YOUR time zone.

Where?

To join our presentation in Blackboard Collaborate, please click on this session link shortly before the start time:

https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GEC11Part270

We will be publishing the slides, and recording link on this blog (and our wiki) following our presentation.

 

I’m looking forward to sharing how The Global Classroom Project has developed and grown over the past few months, as I witness global dreams becoming global reality. This project is an amazing example of how social media, web 2.0, and global collaborative projects can change the lives and work of hundreds of teachers and students around the world.

I look forward to sharing what’s happening at #GlobalEd11. I hope to see you there!