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.

Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom (#CONSTAWA33 Keynote)

Last weekend, I presented the Dinner Keynote at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia conference, exploring the topic: Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom: Exploring the Possibilities. 

Our Challenge: Engaging Students in Science

As a primary school teacher & global education specialist, being asked to present to secondary science teachers was an interesting experience 🙂

The central theme of the presentation focussed on the use of technology to enable teachers and students Engage, Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate in secondary Science – via connections with external organisations, experts, and science educators around Australia, and around the world.

Building Bridges with REAL Science

My most memorable science teachers were those who were passionate about their subject, and who went out of their way to CONNECT their students to REAL science. As was posited to me on the night, these connections should, and indeed MUST begin, in the primary school classroom, but I was interested in exploring the possibilities at the secondary level.

You DON”T have to be an Expert (when you’re part of a community)

I was also very keen to point out that teachers don’t have to be ICT experts to engage & connect their students in Science. The keys to success lie in keeping an open mind, and and being willing to learn and collaborate with colleagues and experts beyond your classroom walls through engaging in online communities, such as the Scootle Community and Twitter.

I finished up by sharing a crowd-sourced Google Doc, containing links and ideas for Secondary Science teachers interested in exploring the possibilities of ICT and global connections in their teaching. You can access (and contribute) to that document via the short link: http://bit.ly/CONSTAWA2013.

 

Post Conference Reflections

I was rather pleased with the reception I received at the CONSTAWA Conference. It was rather challenging to walk into an unfamiliar conference audience, but the feedback was very positive.

I’ve learnt a great deal through the experience … not just about how much work and preparation goes into these kind of presentations, but how I can personally integrate ICT and global connections into my own Science teaching in the future. The connections I’ve made … the lessons I’ve learned … will help me a great deal when I eventually find my own space and own classroom – one day.

Thank you to the long list of teachers, scientists, and experts who helped make this presentation possible. I am indebted to you – for your support … and inspiring example of what is possible when you ‘explore the possibilities’ of Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom.

Being part of something BIG – The Scootle Community

A few months ago, I was selected as an Australian Teacher Champion for the new Scootle Community, run by Education Services Australia.

And as the community goes live this week, I can’t help but feel that I’m part of something BIG …

Introducing … the Community

The Scootle Community is a social network designed exclusively for Australian teachers, helping teachers connect, learn, share, and collaborate with their peers around Australia, and access high quality teaching resources.

I see the Community as a bridge between traditional professional development and social media, making it ideal for teachers who are unfamiliar with social networking to explore, learn, and develop their skills in a supportive learning environment. It’s worth exploring, and sharing with your colleagues …

So what’s it all about?

As members of the Scootle Community social network, educators can:

  • Set up a profile as they would on a social network and join discussion groups, read and write blogs, ask questions and share expertise.
  • Connect with teachers from all over the country, bringing together rich experiences from diverse communities.
  • Find classroom resources from the Scootle website, relevant sections of the Australian Curriculum, and teacher conversations on a topic of interest with a single search.
  • Create a teacher network on the topic of their choice. Users can choose to create a private, invitation-only network, or one that is open to all interested educators on the site.
  • Join teacher networks, enter discussions, create wikis and blog on the things they wonder about or want to share.
  • Interact through live chats and blogs with special guest bloggers on subjects of interest.

How can you get involved?

If you already use the scootle.edu.au resources website, you can use your Scootle login to access the site at community.scootle.edu.au. You can access, the site on your tablet, desktop, or laptop computer, and there are iOS and Android apps in the works.

The Scootle Community is currently available for Government and private school teachers (and pre-service educators) around Australia.

There is, sadly, a catch – NSW and QLD public school teachers can’t YET access Scootle or the Scootle Community. There are discussions going on behind the scenes, but it could be a few months before they can join 🙁

Spreading the Word

Please help spread the word about the #scootlecommunity with your colleagues and PLN. You can download the Scootle Community Posters, and tweet about the network using the #scootlecommunity hashtag.

As Scootle Community Teacher Champions, we are looking forward to working with you as we develop and grow the Scootle Community into a valuable, in-time professional learning and networking resource for Australian teachers.

We hope you will join us.

Building a Western Australian PLN (#WApln)

Halfway through last year, a Twitter conversation with @suewaters raised the prospect of building the Western Australian online teacher community, with the goal of running our own professional development through unconferences led by educators, for educators. (There is a BIG event in the works, more details coming here soon).

One of the key issues raised out of our early discussions was our difficulty in finding local Twitter teachers,and the need for a specific Western Australian education Twitter hashtag. At the time we only knew of around 10 people, but with the recent efforts of @LouCimetta in the Catholic Education school system, there are now more than a 100 Twitter teachers here in the West.

In what we believe is the first step of a long journey, we are launching the #WApln Twitter hashtag. This is intended to be a universal Western Australian education hashtag – we welcome contributors from primary, secondary, and adult education – across the government AND private sectors, and in metropolitan AND rural areas.

Get Involved

1) Tag your tweets with the #WApln hashtag, and add it to your Twitter client (Hootsuite, Twitterific, Tweetdeck).

2) Subscribe to @mgraffin’s WA Educator’s Twitter list – instantly follow 100+ local educators!

3) Please help spread the word – through your blogs, school communities, and Twitter networks!

Learn More

What the heck is a PLN?

 

Introduction to Twitter (via @KerryMuste)

The Power of Connections & Conversation

It is hard to believe that #ACEC2012 has been and gone. Yet, I will carry its legacy for many years to come.

For me the conference was not about the presentations or the keynotes, although they had their place. It was about the connections, the conversations, … and the food … (only partly kidding!)

Photo by @anouk_ratna, Student Photographer @ #ACEC2012

During the conference, I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful, inspiring educators – some of whom I have known and worked with online for years. Some highlights included meeting @rgesthuizen, @ackygirl, @brettelockyer, @HenriettaMi, @losiath, @murcha, @tasteach, @alupton, @smadsenau, @melcashen, and frankly, the list goes on …

 

I took a great deal of confidence and affirmation away from #ACEC2012. 

Making my presentation debut at Australia’s national ICT conference was a personal milestone, one which I will remember for many years to come. The fact that I had a full house, and received such wonderful feedback on the ‘passion’ of my presentation, was a welcome recognition that my work is valued beyond the emotional roller-coaster of my day-to-day teaching practice.

I knew that my work in global education was respected by educators around the world, but I really appreciated the opportunity to sit down and talk to people whose teaching practice and educational outlook are being transformed through their engagement in the #globalclassroom community.

I’m a teacher. I may not have my own class, but I’m making an impact.

And I’m already looking forward to attending #ACEC2014 in Adelaide!

 

Skyping with @SAVSchool at #ACEC2012

Designing and Managing a Global Collaborative Project (#flatclass Book Club Reflections–Part 8)

For anyone new to planning and organizing a global project, this chapter is for you. Chapter 10 is an invaluable step-by-step guide to creating a global project; exploring many lessons we learnt the hard way,and providing some useful ideas which will be incorporated into Global Classroom 2012-13.

I was particularly interested in the social media / marketing strategy outlined in this chapter, as the public #globalclassroom project spaces were explicitly built on the Flat Classroom spaces. We just added a few of our own ideas – including our enormously successful Skype IM group, and the monthly #globalclassroom Twitter chats.

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As I commented in my (little publicized) Edublogs Fine Focus webinar last week, our project is not the first "global classroom" project in existence, and certainly won’t be the last.

Each project builds on and utilizes the people and technology available at the time. The ideas, dreams, and creative potential already exist – it is just a matter of making the connections and fostering the global conversations.

The Global Classroom Project came to be through our connections, which were made possible by the social media technologies available to us at the time. Our model is about providing the communication and collaboration spaces for interested teachers, and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow, evolve, and change over time.

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 Edublogs Awards 2011 Nominations


My PLN has been a source of support, learning, and encouragement, and along the way, I’ve met many wonderful new people, made new friends, and discovered some invaluable online professional learning resources.


Today, I’m taking the opportunity to nominate a few of my favourite sites, blogs, and resources for the
Edublogs Awards 2011.

 

The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.  The best aspects include that it creates a fabulous resource for educators to use for ideas on how social media is used in different contexts, with a range of different learners while creating an invaluable resource of the best-of-the-best on the web!network

http://edublogawards.com/


BEST NEW BLOG

Teaching the Teacher: http://traintheteacher.wordpress.com/

Stephanie (@traintheteacher) found me on Twitter some months ago, and I soon discovered her insightful blog (established Jan 2011) where she has shared her experiences, reflections, and learning as a student-come-beginning teacher.

We need more student and beginning teacher bloggers like Stephanie; as by sharing our stories, frustrations, learning, and achievements, we can build informed community understanding of new teacher experiences, and better aid their entry into the teaching profession.


BEST GROUP BLOG


Edublogs Teacher Challenge: http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/

With out a doubt, the Teacher Challenge blog is one of the BEST online professional development resources for teachers on the internet today. Written by teachers, for teachers, this is relevant, informed PD at it’s best. It has helped me improve my blogging skills, and build my PLN.


BEST ED TECH / RESOURCE SHARING BLOG


Education Technology and Mobile Learning:
http://educationaltech-med.blogspot.com/

There’s always something interesting in Med’s blog feed, and I’ve always appreciated the incredible effort he puts into his visual explanations of the latest education technology tools and resources. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning remains one of my most frequently bookmarked blogs in my Diigo library.


BEST TEACHER BLOG


Stump the Teacher:
 
http://stumpteacher.blogspot.com/

While I follow many amazing blogs, my stand-out teacher blog for 2011 just has to be Josh Stumpenhorst’s "Stump the Teacher” blog (). Josh’s blog has taught me a great deal about teaching, and about myself; and his work inspires and educates teachers around the world.


BEST EDUCATIONAL USE OF AUDIO / VIDEO / VISUAL / PODCAST


The Virtual Staffroom Podcast:
http://virtualstaffroom.net/

Chris Betcher’s Virtual Staffroom podcast remains the ONLY educational podcast I remain subscribed to, as his inspirational interviews with leading educators enable teachers to share and learn from each-other – around the world. I have followed the Virtual Staffroom for nearly 4 years, and eagerly await each episode.


Well, these are my nominations for the Edublogs Awards 2011.

I hope they will help inspire and educate others, as they have done for me.