Establishing a Student Digital Leaders Program

At the start of the 2015 school year, I began working with two wonderful Year 6 students, who were appointed as our inaugural Digital Captains. Every week, for almost 9 months, we met for 30-40 minutes on Thursday mornings.

We didn’t have a formal structure per se, but over time, the girls helped define their role – learning how to blog; road-testing our new technologies (MakeyMakey and the Dash robot); and creating their amazing robot fashion show for our Open Night in Term 3. Towards the end of the year, they played a key role in running our lunchtime makerspace sessions, helping introduce our younger students to our emerging collection of robots!

In 2016, we will have four Digital Captains, voted for by their peers and teachers from a group of some 30(!) candidates! The program will definitely evolve next year, as I’d like the girls’ role to be more visible within the school, including presenting at school assemblies, and participating in robotics/ICT competitions. They will, no doubt, be involved in our makerspace program – where I am hoping to collaborate with our school librarian to run coding and design challenges.

In closing, I’d like to sincerely thank our inaugural Digital Captains for their patience, commitment, and sheer creativity. Girls; you helped pioneer what it means to be a Digital Captain at IPS. While there were many things I didn’t have time to teach you, we were able to achieve a lot together. Our school will be a richer place for your contribution. I wish you all the best in your future schooling, and look forward to seeing what you create with ICT in future years!

#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

UzWLKYJ8tsavmv9DZg1gHDl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJ

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.

Circumnavigating the Globe with the Travelling Scrapbooks

A little over a year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea … What if we could create a physical artefact of global collaboration? What if we could create something to demonstrate the power of global connections with our schools, communities, and the world?

Photo 17-05-13 2 42 45 PM

And thus, the travelling scrapbook project was born. 

Since March 2012, I’ve coordinated the extraordinary journeys of three #globalclassroom scrapbooks around the world.

As of May 2013, the scrapbooks have been hosted by 16 teachers, in 10 countries; and travelled in excess of 122 400 km (76 055 miles) – which is equivalent to circumnavigating the globe THREE times!

Our participant students and teachers around the world have embraced the opportunity to share a little of their lives, cultures, schools, and countries with the wider global community; and their contributions to our travelling scrapbooks are a true testament to the power of global collaboration.

Photo 17-05-13 2 43 45 PM

One journey is coming to an end

Scrapbook #2 came home last week.

It bears the stains and wear and tear that you’d expect from a document which has travelled well over 47 563 km (29 554 miles) over the past year. It’s been to Brasil, Guatemala, … was lost in Honduras, … Texas, and New York City (USA). It’s been shared with children around the world, and its journey is coming to an end.

It’s hard to describe what its like to hold this document in your hands … It’s the embodiment of a dream … made reality through the efforts of teachers and students who’ve I’ve yet to meet face to face. The stories, the photos, the sketches … make this a unique, and very special physical artefact of global collaboration.

Sadly #2 is in no condition to continue on its’ global travels through the mail system, but there is one last trip in store … It will travel (in my suitcase) to the iEARN 2013 conference in Doha, Qatar … in just over four weeks time, where I’ll be presenting on the Travelling Scrapbook Project, and launching a new spin-off iEARN scrapbook project.

Photo 17-05-13 2 56 41 PM

But, the journey continues

The Global Classroom Travelling Scrapbooks have become a unique, special part of the #globalclassroom community, and the remaining scrapbooks will continue on their travels for some years to come.

I’m planning the introduction of at least two new books in the coming months, so I’m looking forward to seeing this project evolve and develop over time.

I’d love to have scrapbooks touring Europe and the Middle East, … and I’m now starting to wonder if we can get the scrapbooks to travel more than half a million kilometres?

It might take a few years, but let’s see …

 Photo 17-05-13 2 57 08 PM

Finishing up the #WLPSict Journey – For Now

On Wednesday (March 27), I completed my four week stint as the #WLPSict integrator.

I left with mixed emotions … sadness at leaving a position which I loved, but also with a great sense of personal vindication. I left knowing that I’d done my best, and that I’d done it well.

The last week gave me the time to finish what I’d started, wrapping up some projects that I’d been preparing students’ for, as well as laying the seeds for ongoing ICT projects which will continue when I’m gone.

Here’s my final #WLPSict wrap for Week 4 …

World Water Day 2013 (Year 2, and some Year 7s)

I’ve already blogged about this here, so I won’t go into too much more detail – except to say that with comments from 10 countries, and 1000+ hits in a week, I’m proud to say that the third anniversary of my ‘first’ global project was a wonderful success. Well done kids! 🙂

Completing the Asia Google Docs Inquiry (Year 5/6)

I spent my last lesson with the Yr 5/6’s helping students finish their Asia presentations, incorporating the information so kindly shared by students and staff at a variety of international schools throughout Asia. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I was unable to obtain copies of the presentations to share online, as I couldn’t work out where the students had saved them! 🙁

If I’d had more time, I’d have used Google Presentations … which would have allowed students to actually collaborate on their presentations AND easily share them online! (I’ll get off my Google Soapbox now …)

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and students at the following schools for the wonderful support for this experimental project:

PuppetPals with Year 3N

I was really pleased with the progress Year 3N (Year 2F, and Year 3C) made with their use of the PuppetPalsHD iPad app.

We used our last lesson in Year 3N to create group PuppetPalsHD presentations on Jungle creatures, tying in with the class theme. With the help of their wonderful classroom teacher, students had planned these presentations, and the final results weren’t too bad. I was able to put a few on the school YouTube channel, and I’ve shared them below.

This little project bore witness to one of the most infuriating moments of my #WLPSict tenure … stay tuned for my upcoming reflections (rant) on (trying to) teach about Creative Commons images.

WordFoto with Year 3C

The Year 3C teacher has exciting plans for using the WordFoto app with her class, and to my great surprise (and pleasure) actually borrowed an iPad, and showed her class how to use it (outside of our ICT time) – a significant leap forward!

So I spent my last lesson with Year 3C roaming the school grounds with a box of iPads and iPods, letting students have a play with the app, and Dropboxing the results. The brief was to create WordFoto partner portraits & school landscapes, so the only one I’m really comfortable sharing is the one they did of me 🙂

 

Year 4 – Getting Excited about Animoto

In my last week, I introduced the Year 4 students to Animoto. While with hindsight I wouldn’t use a ‘whole-school’ account again, I was really pleased to see how popular (and useful) this tool actually is. The Animoto for Education account wasn’t as fully featured as I’d expected; however, it does allow for the creation of student accounts – In fact, I’ll be recommending WLPS teachers to create their own class accounts in future.

Here’s a student created example – using images they took on a recent class excursion to “Sculptures by the Sea”, at Cottlesloe Beach, WA.

And thus ends my stint at #WLPS … for now at least. This is one of remarkably few schools where I have truly felt ‘at home’, and the first where I’ve been able to really share my passion for all things ICT and global education. I hope that this #WLPSict journey marks the beginning of a fruitful long-term relationship over the years to come. Time will tell.

“Learning with the World, Not Just About It” – A #WLPSict Inquiry


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Stuck in Customs

As some of you will know, I am working with a local school in Perth, Western Australia, as a temporary ICT Integrator.

My Year 5/6 students are researching Asian countries, and I’m hoping to introduce them to global connections through a simple inquiry project.  I’d like to use Skype and Edmodo, but given that this isn’t my own class, I’m keeping things relatively simple (for now at least!).

Over the past week, almost all of my students have contributed some questions to a class Google Doc, which I’m sharing with my PLN around the world. While their questions barely scratch the surface, I hope that this project will start to raise awareness of global perspectives and connections within the school, with a view to forging deeper connections in future.

If you are a teacher or a student living in one of these countries, or you know someone who does, could you help answer my students’ questions?

You can access the public Google Doc here.  Thank you!

  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • South Korea

Cross posted at The Global Classroom Project

Engage, Connect, Inspire: My Teaching Philosophy

 

Whist preparing a recent job application, I took the opportunity to update my teaching philosophy statement, the ‘reflective ‘manifesto’ which defines my beliefs about 21st Century teaching and learning practices. I’ve posted it here.

What impressed me the most was not that my ideas and approach had necessarily changed over the past 3 years, but how I now have the practical experience and language to describe how I apply these ideas in my professional practice.

And then today, I found this video (via @HonorMoorman), and was lost for words … It seems I’m not the only one who believes in the power of technology to Engage, Connect, and Inspire …

I couldn’t explain why any better myself.

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.

“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.

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.

100_7019

 


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!

 

100_6984

 

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.

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

 

 

Walking Down Memory Lane

Yesterday, I met a former student … and the memories came flooding back.

 

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by The Wandering Angel

Three years ago, I was a student teacher on my final teaching placement. I was teaching a troubled, angry, and violent 8 year-old student … whom my cooperating teacher simply couldn’t stand.

“Roy” was (and remains) one of my most memorable “little characters’ … I’ve written about him before (September 2010). Back then, he was “liable to throw things at the teacher, run away from the class, and draw the teacher into power struggles”.

 

Yet, over those eight weeks, I forged a positive connection.


I made a difference … even if only for a short time
.

“He made an effort to moderate his behaviour, and he never “exploded” into his aggressive chair-throwing & escape act while I was teaching him.

Working with him again last year, I believe I was one of very few, perhaps the only teacher Roy ever came to respect and trust.”  (September 2010)

Anecdotally, I know that Roy returned to his old ways when I left his classroom. Sad, but not particularly surprising given his life and school experiences.



Roy was a life-changing experience

My experiences with Roy had a defining impact on my teaching and classroom management approach. He taught me so much … and I still carry “his lessons” with me today. In fact, there is “a little bit of Roy” in most of my blogged classroom management reflections, which continue to bring so many visitors to A Relief Teacher’s Journey.


Yet, when Roy moved schools, I feared we’d never meet again.



Today, I went for a walk down memory lane …

“While out on duty today, I was approached by a student, and to my amazement, Roy walked into my life again. We went for a walk together … I shook his hand, and thanked him.”

“I finally had the chance to tell him that I’d never forgotten him … the chance to tell him that he taught me so much about teaching and about life.”

I know, from my conversations with his classroom teacher that “Roy” hasn’t changed much over the years; and perhaps has become slightly worse.


Yet, years ago, I once told Roy that I believed in him. I felt, deep down, behind the facade, he was a ‘good kid’. Angry, yes. But not bad.
I still do. I have hope. I care.


I still believe that my most memorable “little character” can make it. And one day, I hope he will read this and understand.