The Global Classroom Project: An Australian Teacher’s Story

It has been somewhat remiss of me, but having so much to do over the past few months, I am only now sharing the slides and recording from my presentation at the #OZeLive Conference, which was held some months ago. It’s good to be back to blogging, and there are a few more posts in the pipeline.

My thanks to the OZeLive coordinators for an amazing conference, and the opportunity to share my story. The YouTube recording of the presentation is embedded in the slides; however, if you wish to watch the Blackboard Collaborate version, please click here.

Presenting at #ACEC2012

Cross Posted at The Global Classroom Project

On Wednesday October 1, 2012, I had the wonderful opportunity to present with Nigel Mitchell (@1nbm) on the topic: “Working in the Global Classroom” at theAustralian Computers in Education Conference

 

 

Despite some initial technical hurdles, including the fact that Skype was blocked at the school, the presentation was a great success.

We managed to Skype with Julie Lindsay, the co-founder of Flat Classroom Projects; and shared our global collaboration stories with a large local audience, and a small group of teachers in Taiwan, India, and the United States via UStream,

I hope you will take some time to explore our slides, and watch our UStream recording.

You can access, and contribute to our presentation notes here.

2011: A Year of Change

2011 marked a time of upheaval, new possibilities, and transformative change in my personal and professional life. As I begin my third year of teaching,  I believe I’ve finally found my educational niche, my calling. While I still don’t know where my journey is taking me, I know I’m heading in the right direction.

So, what were the events & experiences that defined my year?


1) The Class “That Never Was”

This traumatic episode at the beginning of my school year is one I have no desire to repeat – ever. Yet, this event turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me at the time.

The diverse teaching role I took up afterwards proved to be a valuable learning experience; an opportunity to take risks, and develop my skills and expertise within a real-world school environment.


2) My experiences with Personal Learning Networks

My experiences with building, writing about, and presenting on Personal Learning Networks are perhaps the most rewarding of my year.

It is hard to fathom how my early friendship with “Sir Clive” (@clivesir) ultimately had such an incredible impact on my personal and professional life; yet my social networking and engagement with the online education community opened up a whole new world of opportunities, and took me to places I’d never dreamt of. 

It feels like forever, but in literally one year after discovering Twitter and PLNs, I’ve:

  • Found my voice on a global stage, earning the respect of my peers and colleagues around the world.
  • Presented online at two international global conferences, and written several influential blog posts – which helped me rapidly expand my online network
  • Made and met new friends whom I would never have met under ‘normal’ circumstances.
  • Collaborated with teachers across 6 continents, leading the creation of the Global Classroom community
  • Found a source of inspiration, support, and mentoring like no other.


3) The realisation that I’m not alone.

As a relief teacher, it is hard to develop long-term collegial relationships, and I’ve often struggled to find people who understand and appreciate my work with ICT and global education. Yet, as I’ve blogged on several occasions this year, I no longer feel alone and isolated in my profession. 

This year has had its glimmers of hope and opportunity. At the start of the year, I found someone who believed in me; who went out of his way to ensure I could experiment with ICT, and fought on my behalf in the complicated mess that was my contractual situation at the time. Ultimately, he talked me into the situation which enabled my involvement in Global Classroom; an opportunity for which I am extraordinarily grateful.  

Now, as my year draws to a close, I no longer feel alone. I may not have my own class, yet I have built rewarding collegial relationships with teachers all over the world. By seizing this year’s opportunities to experiment with ICT, I have changed the way I teach, and the way I learn. I now have contacts all over the world, and I am grateful for their support, inspiration, and appreciation of my work.  

In 2012, I will continue my search for a school where I’ll have the opportunity to learn, grow and innovate. I’m confident that I’ll eventually find it. I’ve built an extensive digital footprint showcasing my work, and I’m open to offers.


4) Building Global Classroom

As I look back on the extraordinary events and opportunities afforded by Global Classroom over the past few months, I am still astonished by my integral role in creating what has become a global learning community.

In the space of a few months, we launched a range of #globalclassroom projects, were nominated for an Edublogs Award; and I even found myself skyping with the Indian Finance Minister to co-inaugurate the The Learn English Online Project! But for me, it is the connections and friendships which mean the most.

We’ve created something bigger than ourselves, a community impacting on the lives of teachers and students around the world. I am truly proud of our efforts, and look forward to seeing where it takes us over the months, and maybe years, to come.

So, another year in the life of an educator draws to a close.

Here’s to 2012. May it be a better, rewarding, transformational year.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

This is the third in my series of posts detailing the origins & development of the Global Classroom Project: 2011-12.

Shortly after the successful completion of Global Classroom 2011 in July, I was rather surprised to hear that Deb Frazier (@frazierde) wanted to do it all over again! She wanted the second project to run for the duration of the American school year (9 months), and hopefully involve classes across 6 continents.

logo



Deb created a Google Doc entitled “Ideas to Grow ~ Global Classroom”, which I shared via Twitter – inviting interested teachers to register their details, and brainstorm ideas for projects at different age levels. In a testament to the power of Twitter, we had over 30 K-12 teachers signed up within 3 weeks … and two stunned project leaders.

The first #globalclassroom project saw 8 primary (elementary) teachers collaborating on a single project. In light of the overwhelming response to our initial planning document, it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen the second time around. 

Having brought so many interesting teachers into Global Classroom 2011-12 through my global connections,  I was pretty happy with the response. As reality set in; however, I resolved to take responsibility for my actions. For someone whose family motto is “Never Volunteer”, the decision to lead the development of the #globalclassroom project proved to have unintended, but incredibly rewarding consequences.

As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for” …

Imagining a World of Global Collaboration (#GlobalEd11)

“ A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

Comment shared at our #globaled11 presentation

On November 15, 2011, I was lucky enough to present alongside Deb Frazier, and members of the #globalclassroom team at the Global Education Conference 2011; sharing our Global Classroom 2011-12 wiki community with the world.   
 

globaledconmapofattendees


Attended by around 25 teachers, from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, this presentation was a fantastic opportunity to share, and reflect upon, the incredible efforts of our #globalclassroom teachers in making global connections, establishing projects, and enabling their students’ voices to be heard on the world stage.

 

If you’d like to watch our recording, please click here:

https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/recording/playback/link/dropin.jnlp?sid=2008350&suid=D.7D57122AD0470DC1245CEB99286023

 

 

Global Classroom is already making a significant impact on the lives of students and teachers around the world.

We’re imagining a world of global collaboration.

TOGETHER, in a small way, we are working to make this world a reality.

 

*The original version of this post was published on The Global Classroom Project blog on November 16, 2011.

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!

Celebrating my First Year of Teaching

Today marked the end of my first year of teaching.

I have awaited this day for a very long time, and it has come about through my work in 23 schools across the Government, Catholic and Independent school sectors.

first_year_of_teaching_tshirt-p235963430503565914q6vb_400

To commemorate this day, I thought I would share excerpts from my very first reflective journal entry, and publish my Top 5 list of First Year memories & special moments. Here goes:

My First Journal Entry: Week 8, Term 2 2009

“In the final days of my university degree, I recall my lecturer advising us to keep a diary or journal during our first year of teaching. She said that this record of our experiences would become a keepsake in later years. Now, as I begin my first entry, I hope that this marks the start of a more frequent reflection on my experiences. …

Over the course of my first 50 days of teaching, my conscious reflection on my teaching strengths and weaknesses has led to a remarkable transformation in my teaching style and confidence.

I won’t forget my first class, a Year 6 at [name removed], in any hurry. I replaced a graduate teacher (an old university colleague) whose father had died suddenly. The class was naturally unsettled, and their relief teacher was a nervous wreck. These two factors ensured a rather ‘interesting’ day, and I even walked out the wrong entrance on my way home!

As the weeks went by, I was gradually exposed to more schools, and started implementing my pet astronomy project. I encouraged my classes to write to NASA and the Perth Observatory as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

This activity generated a lot of discussion and interest, and [name removed] did eventually receive a reply from NASA. In hindsight, I would have planned the activity more thoroughly, contacting astronomers and observatories to find people willing to engage in the project. As my relief activity repertoire grew, I ultimately abandoned this activity.

As Term 1 turned into Term 2, I spent a significant amount of time working at [name removed]. I am grateful to the staff and students of this school, who have supported and stimulated my professional growth in the areas of behaviour management, fitness games, and as a facilitator of student learning. “

As I look back on my early journal entries, I can see the incredible personal & professional transformation I have undergone in my first year of teaching.  I am no longer a “nervous wreck”, and have vastly improved classroom management and relief teaching skills.

Remembering the terrible stress & exhaustion of my early days, I am grateful for the opportunities & professional growth relief teaching has afforded me.

I’m on a journey, and its’ been one hell of a ride!

My Teaching Philosophy

“What students bring to class is where learning begins.

It starts there and goes places.”

Ira Shor. (1992). Empowering Education: Critical Teaching for Social Change

I believe teaching is about enriching students’ lives, forging connections with their communities, and using their questions to drive the learning process.

As a teacher, I aim to use my talents, professional knowledge and expertise to enable my students’ access to the powerful texts and multiple literacy practices of our society.

My teaching is informed by the principles of social justice, democracy and environmental sustainability. I firmly believe that no child deserves to be left behind; and I hope to help my students become the informed, empowered and innovative global citizens of the 21st Century.

As revised January 2010