Sharing our World Water Day Reflections with the World #WLPSict

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With the help of our international #globalclassroom PLN, this year’s #WorldWaterDay International LinoIt Project was a huge success!

We’ve had over 820 hits in 3 days (we’re still hoping to hit 1000!), and received comments from around Australia, Spain, Greece, Denmark, South Africa, Trinidad, Canada, Russia, Taiwan, and Argentina! We even hosted an original music video created by high school students in Trinidad.

I’d like to thank the Year 2 students, and their teacher, from West Leederville PS  for ‘hosting’ my third #WorldWaterDay project, and extend my sincere thanks to all the  students and teachers around the world who helped make this project possible.

You can check out our 2013 LinoIt page here, and we’d greatly appreciate it if you’d watch, and leave a comment, on our Year 2 students’ PuppetPal presentations (see video below)!

I learned a valuable lesson today (#flatclass Book Club, Part 3)

 

Chapter 4, Communication, focuses on the need to develop the “techno-personal skills”, the online habits, which sustain online collaboration and networking. For me, some key ideas from this chapter relate to the nature of online communication tools, and some handy ideas for efficient, inclusive communication between teachers and students involved in global collaboration.

While I was originally going to focus this post on ways we could improve the #globalclassroom handshakes, I’m going to jump ahead a little, and write about something I learned today (relating to Chapters 4 and 5).

The situation

Today, I invited a teacher from the Middle East to join an upcoming #globalclassroom project. A little later, I became concerned that involvement in this project might inadvertently place this teacher in a difficult situation …  relating to the volatile political situation in the region.

Sadly, I was correct.

We talked about the issue, and our teacher decided to decline the invitation.

I was disappointed, but relieved that I hadn’t put my friend at potential risk.

I had learned a valuable lesson

When we collaborate globally, our ignorance of cultural and religious differences can have dramatic, unintended consequences in the lives of real people, in the real world.

We need to learn about, and be sensitive to difference. Yes, this seems obvious, but is so much harder in practice – as we “don’t know what we don’t know”.

This is why I believe it so critical to have open, public and private communication channels for global collaborative projects, and why it is so essential to build trusting, respectful relationships with the teachers you work with.

We need to create the space for people to talk and get to know each-other. I have personally learned so much about other people through mindless conversations about our lives and families – via Skype IM and Twitter conversations. These conversations usually occur in private mediums, and help to build mutual trust and respect. This means that when potential issues arise, when we are not sure about something, we feel more confident in asking for clarification behind the scenes.

As teachers, we can’t teach our students to be ‘culturally aware’ if we don’t understand, and model this awareness ourselves.

You don’t realise what this means until you’ve experienced it first-hand. It truly seems the more I learn, the less I know.

So, looking ahead … 

I hope, over time to get to know my friend a little better. If permissible, I’d love to just chat about our work & life from time to time …  I know so little about her culture, work, and way of life. If not, I hope she can at least point me in the right direction.

Inshallah.

Teacherpreneurs – Connect, Create, and Collaborate (#flatclass Book Club – Part 2)

Chapter 3, Connection, is the first installment of “The Seven Steps to Flatten Your Classroom“. It was focussed on ways teachers and students can create their own Personal learning Networks, using push and pull technologies to make the enriching global connections which underpin their learning, sharing, and collaboration.

Despite suffering from severe information overload, there were a few quotes and ideas in this chapter which really stood out, helping me to understand a little more about my own (technology enabled) learning habit, and educational mindset.

 Flickr CC Licensed: ‘Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept’

 

“When you know how to connect effectively, you have the power to learn”

Personally, this idea reflects my own experiences over the past year. On March 22, I celebrated the first anniversary of my first-ever global project, the very first time I was able to connect my students with the world.

I have been on Twitter for maybe 14 months, yet my global connections have transformed the way I teach, and the way I learn. My connections have led to wonderful global friendships, amazing educational partnerships, and quite literally impacted on students’ learning around the world.

I couldn’t do the work I do without my wonderful PLN, who support, inspire, and educate me on a daily basis. This is humbling, but it is a fundamental truth.

The Teacherpreneur – My “Ah-ha” Moment

A teacherpreneur is a person who seeks to enrich their classroom learning environment by “forging partnerships with other classrooms with common curricular goals and expectations. They accept the risks and responsibilities for the endeavour, and are accountable for the outcome.” (p. 44).

“Good teacherpreneurs aren’t renegades, they are connectors” (p. 45)

As I frantically scribbled “YES!!” in my notes, I realised that this concept defines what I have become over the past few months. While I haven’t yet had the opportunity to make meaningful, long-term connections within my own school and classroom learning environment, I’m helping to connect teachers around the world

‘Teacherpreneurship” is the idea which underpins the #globalclassroom community – we have created a place where teachers can work together to forge global partnerships, explore ways to extend their curriculum through global connections, and share responsibility for the ultimate success of their projects.

And this is an idea worth sharing.

 

My Project for World Water Day 2012

Cross-posted on The Global Classroom Project blog (20/3/2012)

A little history

A year is a very long time in the life of an educator, and as the #globalclassroom co-founder, it is hard to believe I am days away from commemorating the first anniversary of my very first global project.

Back in 2011, I ran the World Water Day 2011 International LinoIt Project; enabling my students to connect, and share their understandings about water conservation and WaterWise practices with children the world.

This project had over 2200 international hits within a week, and helped my former school achieve “Star WaterWise School” status here in Western Australia.

 

We’re back for “World Water Day 2012”


Take the opportunity to share your students’ learning with the world!

The World Water Day International LinoIt Project (2012) is open to K-12 classes worldwide. Watch the video, explore the issues, and encourage your students to share their thoughts, learning, and solutions with the world!

A note for teachers: Please tell your students that their comments are moderated, and that inappropriate comments will be removed. This is a PUBLIC document, and should be treated as such. Thankyou.

Project LinoIt Page: http://bit.ly/WorldWaterDay2012

 

We hope you will join us, and share your thoughts, pictures, videos on our LinoIt Page on March 22, 2012.

In the Beginning … Global Classroom 2011

Considering where Global Classroom has taken us over the past 6 months, I think it’s time to reflect on my involvement in the original Global Classroom Project, which began in April 2011.

Global Classroom 2011 was a fantastic learning experience; marking the first time I’d ever worked on a global collaborative project, and the first time my Grade 6 students had ever directly connected with other children around the world. We had no idea where it would ultimately lead.

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A Global VoiceThread – Kids talking to kids.

The project centred on Deb Frazier’s Grade 1 students’ VoiceThread, where children around the world posted and responded to each-other’s questions about national animals, culture, languages, school life, technology, and sports. What made the project so fascinating for the students (and for the teachers) was its’ authenticity. We had real kids sharing their questions and voices with authentic global audiences.

 

My students enjoyed listening and responding to the younger students’ questions, and some went to great lengths to share their knowledge and learning. I know in retrospect that some of the answers were a little long for the Grade 1 children, but I’ll never forget those little moments …

The 5 hilarious attempts to sing the Australian national anthem …. the former international school student sharing her ability to speak 6 languages (4 fluently) … and the sheer jealousy when my students discovered “those American kids had iMacs and iPads” in their classroom!

 

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In addition to the VoiceThread, my Grade 6’s created EduGlogster posters about their home cultures, quickly realising that my students came from a wide range of cultural backgrounds, and spoke a total of 11 languages. The authentic learning purpose, and engaging nature of the technology, made this project an incredible success; and proved particularly motivating for my Indigenous and academically weak students, who were able to make invaluable contributions to the Global Classroom project.

 

 

After the project ended, I suggested that we create a wiki archive, with the intention of providing a central place where we could share our students’ work and classrooms with the world. This wiki was built by the six teachers involved in Global Classroom 2011, and considering our lack of prior experience with wikis, proved to be a very positive learning experience for all of us.

You can find our first Global Classroom wiki here: http://globalclassroom2011.wikispaces.com.

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We’d love the hear your feedback in the comments below!

 

 

An Important Milestone – #RSCON3

The third Reform Symposium e-Conference has broadened my horizons and expanded my PLN.

It is hard to describe the Reform Symposium e-Conference, but the words ‘inspiring’, ‘informative’, and ‘insightful’ come to mind.

#RSCON3 was a wonderful opportunity to connect, learn and share with new and experienced teachers around the world; and it will have tangible impacts on my teaching and professional learning practice in the months to come, particularly when we launch the Global Classroom 2011/12 project later this year.

And presenting at #RSCON3 was an important milestone in my teaching career, as it was my first ever professional presentation. I’m proud that I was able to share my experiences, and “make my voice heard” on a global stage; and I suspect there aren’t many 2nd year teachers who can say they’ve presented at an international conference! (Thanks Shelly!)


My Presentation: “What the heck is a PLN?”

I shared my personal ‘PLN story’ at #RSCON3; exploring how my “Personal Learning Network has reawakened my love of teaching, supported me in tough times, and broadened my horizons.”

With the help of my wonderful moderator (and friend) @JoHart, I was able to lead a lively, interactive online session, attended by 33 teachers from around the world (although, sadly few Western Australians). And I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was received.

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After exploring the gradual development of my PLN, and discussing some of the online tools / resources I’ve used to build it, I handed over the microphone and whiteboards to my audience, asking them to share how they “connect, learn, share, and collaborate”. They did so with gusto!

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Themes and Takeaways

Having a PLN is a rewarding and transformative learning experience, but actually getting “out there”, and building your network isn’t an easy or rapid process. It takes time, patience, and perseverance – but you don’t have to do it alone.

By sharing my story and experiences,  I hoped to demystify the “Personal Learning Network”, and give ‘newbies’ a few ideas about where to start, and who/where to go for help and advice. With the assistance of the my session participants, this message came across ‘loud and clear’.

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Thankyou

I hope my “What the heck is a PLN?” presentation will inspire and assist new and experienced teachers to take that critical first step on their own PLN journey. If I can make a difference for just one person, I will have succeeded in this goal.

So, thankyou to everyone who attended my presentation, and all those people who will listen to the recordings. I hope you find it helpful, and I look forward to reading your feedback.

Recording Links

Presentation Slides

I get this question a lot, so I’m attending the “What the heck is a PLN?” session with @mgraffin #rscon3” – @teacherjenny6

Following @mgrafin pressentation #rscon3. My first session. This is amazing!!” – @louvre2012

Great job presenting at #rscon3. So happy to be a part of your PLN and have you as part of mine” – @ncarroll24

Quite a warm wonderful mood in the text chat of @mgraffin’s “What the heck is a PLN?” in #rscon3. Could be I’m just a softie though 😉” – @harmonygritz

Could confirm in @mgraffin’s workshop the power of Personal / Professional Learning Network! Great workshop Michael!” – @SilvioCamposELT

“What the heck is a PLN?” @ #RSCON3 (Video)

This Weekend, we kick off the third Reform Symposium eConference (#RSCON3)!


What the heck is a PLN?: Personal Learning Networks for Educators

When?

8.30AM Australian Western Standard Time
(Please check the schedule for your timezone – this is just before the Closing Keynote on Day 1)

 

Where?

Please click on this link to access my Elluminate room – up to 30 minutes before the scheduled start.

(https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=M.25F4EE183D04E394FA038CA714AA9D)

This will be my FIRST-EVER professional presentation, so I’m hoping and praying things go well!

I’m really excited, and I hope to see you there!

Am I a ‘Techie Teacher’?

I’m a young teacher with a passion for ICT and modest technical skills; and I’m starting to question how my ideas are influencing my classroom teaching practice. 

 

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cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by austinevan: http://flickr.com/photos/austinevan/2296270551/



 

I’m a teacher.

ICT and Web 2.0 are part of what I do

  • I see myself as a classroom teacher using ICT to extend my teaching practice beyond my classroom walls.
  • I want to teach my students how to share, learn and communicate with a global audience.
  • And I’m more than happy to share my ideas and expertise with interested colleagues.
  • But, does this make me a ‘techie teacher’?


I’m not a ‘natural’ with ICT

  • I enjoy using technology, but I’m not a ‘digital native’ … I’m primarily self-taught.
  • I’m a learner too, drawing upon the collective wisdom and experience of the teachers and ‘techies’ in my PLN.
  • I’m taking significant professional risks, often stepping out into uncharted territory; and
  • I’m learning from my mistakes.


What I do is not “amazing”

  • ICT, Web 2.0, and global projects aren’t the exclusive realm of young, tech-savvy teachers.
  • Effective ICT integration is something that any teacher can do with the appropriate collegial support, mentoring, and training.
  • I’m learning how to encourage and support other teachers’ forays into ICT & global projects, and I believe this can only improve our students’ learning and engagement.  

 

I’m starting to define myself as a teacher, as a learner, as an inquirer.

And, I’m not alone …

Looking Forward to #RSCON3

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Six months ago, I’d never heard of the Reform Symposium Virtual Conference; the fantastic, FREE, online global education conference presented by teachers for teachers.

That all changed when I attended #RSCON11 in January this year; an event which attracted 4 100 global participants, and marked the birth of my Twitter PLN.

And, now to my amazement, I find myself presenting alongside some world-leading global educators at the next Reform Symposium (#RSCON3) in late July 2011.


So, what’s it all about?

The Reform Symposium e-Conference is about sharing, learning, and connecting with inspiring educators around the world. You don’t need to pack a bag, catch a plane, or pay a cent. You can even attend in your pyjamas! All you need is an Internet connection.

To find out more, visit the Reform Symposium website; where you can:

  • Find the official #RSCON3 schedule for your time-zone
  • Meet the presenters, and
  • Download the flyer to share with your colleagues and staff.


My #RSCON3 Presentation:

“What the heck is a PLN?” – Personal Learning Networks for Educators

  • Are you a new teacher, feeling isolated and alone?
  • Are you an experienced teacher looking for new ideas and inspiration?
  • Are you interested in sharing ideas and collaborating with other teachers on global projects?
  • Are you tired of falling asleep in boring professional learning seminars?
  • Have you heard about Personal Learning Networks or PLNs? Feeling lost, confused, wondering where to start?

Then please, join me at #RSCON3, as I

  • Share my ‘new teacher’ PLN story, and explain “What the heck is a PLN?”
  • Explore the technologies which underpin my global connections
  • Explore some of the global projects and learning made possible by my PLN; and
  • Facilitate a global discussion about how PLNs have influenced teachers’ professional practice around the world.

This is an opportunity for new and experienced teachers alike to learn, share, and connect.

I’d love to see you there!


When?

For Australian teachers, Reform Symposium 3 runs from July 30 – August 1, 2011.

I will be presenting on Day 1 (just before the closing Keynote) at 8.30AM – Saturday, July 30 (GMT/UTC+8). 

This time and date will VARY depending on your time-zone. Please click here to find out what time this is for you.

Where?

I will be presenting virtually in an Elluminate Conference Room. To participate, you’ll need to click on the (soon-to-be-published) “Webinar Links” in the RSCON Schedule.

In the meantime, I urge you to check out the Reform Symposium website, follow the #rscon3 hashtag on Twitter, and share the official Conference flyer with your Principal and colleagues.


Please, spread the word!
This is the only serious professional learning which you attend in bed! And it’s worth it!

I’ll be attending #RSCON3. Will you?

Why I Connect


I’M A TEACHER

I was once an idealist. Now I’m more of a realist.

I once believed that our political leaders could positively change the face of education in my country. No longer.

I have dreams. They’ve been shattered – twice.

My first year of teaching left me feeling alone and disillusioned.

 

BUT, 2 YEARS ON …

I once believed I could make a difference. I still do.

I’ve rediscovered my passion for teaching.

I believe that effective literacy teaching and ICT integration is critical to prepare my students to communicate and interact on a global stage.

I’ve finally had the opportunity to practice what I preach

I’m a blogger, with a supportive global audience.

I’m becoming a more competent and effective teacher.

My teaching and learning is changing because of my global connections.

MY FUTURE

Is unclear.

I’ve yet to have a class of my own.

I’ve got a lot to learn.

I’m not an expert teacher … yet.

That’s why I connect, learn, share, and collaborate with experienced, expert teachers around the world.

My PLN has reawakened my passion for teaching

For this, I thank you.