Flat Connections, Sydney 2014

Heading to Sydney for Flat Connections marked an important milestone, namely the first time I have ever visited the East Coast of Australia! Held at the SHORE School, Flat Connections proved to be an amazing conference, where I met many friends, new and old, and discovered leadership and multimedia skills I didn’t know I had 🙂 

(Distracting) view from SHORE School
(Distracting) view from SHORE School

Flat Connections was a conference involving teachers and students, with some flying from Canada, the United States, and Iran; and saw teachers pitching and presenting to students, and vice versa. I was working with Leadership Team 9, a diverse bunch of Australian high school teachers, and my friend from Iran. Given two days to come up with a multimedia product showcasing a global project or idea, we decided to focus on creating a pitch for secondary teachers to start exploring the power of global connections in their curriculum and learning experiences. While we had our stressful moments, I was extremely impressed with how we bonded as a team, and capitalising on our various strengths, we produced a result we were happy with.

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Leadership Team 9

 

Some Takeaways

  • I really appreciated the hands-on focus of this conference. It truly wasn’t a conference where you could turn up and vegetate. You had to make a real, collaborative contribution, and you certainly were never bored – just mentally and physically exhausted! Someone once said that this conference was “hard fun”. They weren’t joking. It was the most challenging, yet most rewarding professional development I have ever participated in; and I would love nothing more than to do it all again in future years!
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Team members working on voice over
  • I was also extremely impressed with the students, aged 10-16, who simply blew me away with their creativity, presentation skills, and ideas. I think the greatest lesson of this conference was never underestimating what students can do when given the time, resources, and opportunity to “think big”, and explore the other story. A case in point is  “The Passion Project” student video, which conveys the argument for 20% time so eloquently. Please sign their petition! 

 

Join us Virtually @ the Flat Connections Conference 2014

It’s just two weeks until I fly out for the Flat Connections Conference in Sydney! As much as I’d love to see everyone there in person, this is one of the few conferences which you can attend virtually, and I hope you can join us online – for FREE!

You can find out more details, and sign up for the Virtual Conference (even as a team member!) at http://tinyurl.com/flatsydney, and the virtual kickoff meeting is happening early next week, on June 8/9, depending on your timezone.

For more details about the conference, I highly recommend the official website – http://www.flatconnections.com/sydney-2014.html.

If you’re in Sydney, and would like to meet up, tweet me. Looking forward to meeting a few long-time friends there!

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 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.

Packing my Bags & Travelling the #RoadtoDoha

The past few weeks have been pretty busy, and now the journey I’ve been preparing for – is just days away. Flying out on Sunday night my time, I’ll be landing in Doha, Qatar on Monday morning next week.

I’m not entirely sure what to expect – I know it’s going to be hot, dusty, and very different!


cc licensed ( BY NC SA )  flickr photo shared by Sam Agnew

I’m travelling with an open mind …

This is my first opportunity to experience the world beyond my home city and country, and I’m looking forward to exploring and soaking up the experience. I’ve bought tickets to a few cultural events, and my iEARN conference preparations are now complete. And my bags are (almost) packed.

I’m told that this trip will change me … I just hope it will change me for the better.

But for now, the #RoadtoDoha beckons …

On the #RoadtoDoha (Part 1)

2013 promises to be a big year.

In late June, I’ll be embarking on one of my biggest adventures yet – a trip to Doha, Qatar for the iEARN 2013 Conference.

With my passport arriving yesterday, I’m looking forward to booking my flights and accommodation early next week.. It’s going to be an exciting trip, and I’m looking forward to learning more about iEARN, and experiencing life in the Far East.

The iEARN Conference runs from July 1-6, and I’d love nothing more than to meet a few members of my network there. If you’re interested in coming along, you can check out the website at http://iearn2013.org.

My #RoadtoDoha begins here.

Local Connections & Conversations (ECAWA 2011)

I recently spent a few days at the ECAWA State Conference 2011, hosted by my State’s ICT Association; attending a range of interesting presentations, and meeting so many amazing ICT teachers and leaders.


A few highlights:

  • Finally meeting Paul Fuller (@paulfuller75), the teacher who inspired me to follow my passion with Web 2.0 all those years ago
  • Tweeting up with a few local ‘Twitter people’ & a few who flew in from Victoria – @pcoutas, @hectpowles, @mrrobbo, @pchmb, @janelowe, amongst others
  • A chance meeting with the first Western Australian Global Classroom participant; an encounter which will hopefully lead to the creation of a ‘global geocaching’ project for Global Classroom 2011-12.
  • Meeting several members of the iEARN Australia team, an encounter which will have significant implications for #globalclassroom in the months to come
  • Learning about the incredible educational applications of mobile devices & iPads (I want one!)


Breaking out of the Isolation

For me, the greatest value of the ECAWA Conference was the opportunity to meet, talk and share with local ICT teachers and leaders. Teaching can be a very isolating profession, and when you specialise in technology and global projects, this sense of isolation can get to you.

While I connect and collaborate with a global network of educators through social media, I’ve long struggled to find local teachers who I can talk to, and work with.


So now, as I reflect on the local connections and conversations that began over those two days at ECAWA; I’m looking forward to a more active engagement with my local ICT community, exploring the opportunities and collaborations to come.