#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.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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)

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.

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.

Pedagogy & Creative Collaboration (#flatclass Book Club – Part 6)



cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by jakerome

Thankfully, the #flatclass book club took a break last week due to Mothers’ Day, which gave me a welcome reprieve as I tried to catch up with my blog reflections. This week, I’m going to share my reflections on Chapters 7 & 8 of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.

It’s about “Choice” (Chapter 7)

While I struggled to make a contribution to the discussions surrounding Chapter 7, I was able to glean a few useful lessons: 

Teachers make instructional choices about technology, curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom learning environments on a daily basis. 

 

Teachers who are willing to learn, experiment, and explore new teaching strategies are more likely to become life-long learners, and successfully engage their students in their learning. 

I also liked the ideas for supporting student engagement – enabling students to question, build, invent, connect, find meaning, understand, and excel through the effective application of technology & engagement in global collaborative projects. We are beginning to work towards these goals in the #globalclassroom project, and I look forward to applying these ideas in my own classroom one day. 

Creation & Collaboration (Chapter 8 )

I enjoyed chatting about Chapter 8, which explores the topic of “co-creation”. While I prefer to think of this as “creative collaboration”; I was able to draw many parallels to my own professional practice.

As those who have come to know me online over the past year and a half will attest, the development of my online presence (digital footprint) has been a wild ride.

I started out blogging about classroom management, joined Twitter, met my dear friend @clivesir, and presented at my first online conference… A few months later, as I was going through a massive professional transition, I met Deb Frazier, co-founded the Global Classroom, and the rest, as they say, is history … 

I now find myself, as a third year relief (substitute) teacher, becoming a voice of change in the global education sphere. By collaborating with experienced teachers online, I’ve led the creation of a new global education community, and learnt a great deal about myself in the process.

So yes, I can only smile as a I read this chapter, and recommend its key lessons to my fellow readers –

  1. Establish your online presence – Its time to share your story
  2. Connect & contribute to your network – your voice IS important
  3. Don’t be afraid to create & collaborate – with your school colleagues, local community, and members of your global Personal Learning Network
  4. When you are ready, start exploring ways to bring this creative collaboration into your classroom – for our students need to learn these skills too …

As the old saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

It is time to take it.

 

“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.

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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!

 

 

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.

Top Tips for Teachers – Behaviour Matters (TeacherTube™)

This is a tongue-in-cheek look at effective instruction and classroom management. It’s well worth watching. (Click to view)

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