Reflection Time: Global Projects – The #globalclassroom Chats (June 14/15)

Thank you to Heidi Hutchison @HeidiHutchison who is helping organise the chats this month, and provided our topic:

Creating and participating in global projects has fed my soul, but more importantly, it has nurtured the spirit of my students. I have come away with many positives through collaborating and partaking in global projects, but I have learned more through some failures this year. 

This weekend, we would like to reflect through sharing what worked and what didn’t work for us.

Questions for our chat:

1.)  What positives happened as a result of participating in global projects and connections (via Skype, Google hangouts, blogging, pen pals, etc.) for you and your students?

2.)  What made it difficult to participate in a global project or connection? What are some ideas to make it better?

3.)  What were some things that fell through the cracks for you and why? What did you learn about yourself that could make it better for others?

4.)  What ideas do you have for the upcoming school year? How can we connect with others to help us create and collaborate more effectively?

Please join our chat whether you participated in global projects or not. We will all learn more together and your voice is important!

Schedule

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, June 14, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, June 14th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, June 15th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Building Global Partnerships: Part 3 – Developing Intercultural Understanding

A little while ago, we came across a thought provoking blog post from Jennifer Klein, exploring the sometimes complicated, but rewarding world of global connections and collaboration.

With Jennifer’s permission, we are re-publishing the post as a three part series, with the intention of starting a conversation with the wider #globalclassroom community. We hope you will take the time to read through, and share your answers to our reflection questions in the comments below.

If you missed the earlier posts, you will find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. This is the third and final post.

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photo credit: A30_Tsitika via photopin cc

Remember that communication will take patience and inter-cultural skills, particularly in cases where teachers don’t share a common language.  

While language differences can slow down the initial steps in a global partnership, teachers have an opportunity to develop–and model–the kinds of inter-cultural communication skills needed for culturally-responsive global engagement.  By making use of local expertise–among colleagues, students and parents–we can help spotlight the gift of foreign language proficiency among members of our community, and can help students see the value of learning another language in real terms.  By testing (rather than avoiding) the technological tools available for translation, we can also help students become more discerning about their value and better at identifying accuracies.

My suggestion is usually that teachers communicate in their native language and use resources (people, translators, etc.) to understand what they receive, but there is great value in trying and practising your partner’s language as well–and there is little more valuable for young language learners than seeing the example of adult learners taking risks with a new language.

Be thoughtful about how you handle inter-cultural and personality differences that pose challenges along the way.  

Other nuances of communication can also pose challenges, and differences of tone and communication style can often cause more difficulty than pure language use.  I’ve seen teachers from culturally aggressive countries inadvertently offend teachers from more culturally submissive regions, I’ve seen teachers from “nice” cultures politely agree to things they have no intention of doing, and I’ve seen teachers from argumentative cultures create conflict without meaning to.  The best advice I can give is to be transparent.

To meet in a face-to-face setting like Skype can be a huge help, but more importantly transparency means letting your partner teacher know when you hit a road bump.  Try to engage in dialogue rather than avoid confrontation if you’re struggling with an element of the project or communication–let your partner know if you’re bad at answering emails around exam times, let them know how you respond to stress.  Just as we want our students to lean into discomfort and learn to collaborate effectively in spite of–perhaps even because of–our differences, we need to do the same ourselves.

Read what’s out there and learn from what others have tried; more progress happens when we stop reinventing the wheel.  

There are far too many good publications for global educators to list them all, but I’ll name a few I’ve been exploring lately–and liking.  I hope readers will add to the list by commenting about books, articles and other resources worth exploring.

Books:

Blogs:

  • Suzie Boss (Regular Edutopia blogger with expertise in Project-Based Learning who often shares stories of successful global partnerships and projects)
  • Silvina Tolisano’s “Langwitches” (Varied Global and Educational Technology Topics from a Classroom Practitioner, The Graded School, Brazil)
  • Kristen Goggin’s “Stories from the Garage” (Global PBL in Middle School Math from a Classroom Practitioner, Town School for Boys, California)

Celebrating Global Projects: 2 Years of the #globalclassroom chats! (Nov 16-17)

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November 2013 is a time of celebration in the world of global education. It’s the month of the Global Education Conference (Nov 18-22), and the formal launch of Global Classroom 2013-14 (Nov 22/23).

But that’s not all ….

We’re calling in some of our amazing long-term moderators, helping ourselves to coffee and cake, and preparing to celebrate two years of the #globalclassroom chats, the world’s first and only global education themed Twitter chats!

We hope you can join us.

Guiding Questions

  • Q1: What advice would you give to teachers starting out with global projects in their classroom? Q2: What projects and global education communities would you recommend for new teachers?

  • Q3: What kind of projects are you currently working on, building, or participating in?

  • Q4: Finally, in honour of our second anniversary, please share your favourite #globalclassroom story, moment, or learning experience with the world!

We hope you can join us!

Please note – times have been adjusted to reflect changes to DST in some countries.

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, November 16th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 10:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 21:00 Sydney, 23:00 Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, November 16th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 10:00 Los Angeles, 13:00 New York, 18:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 07:00 SUNDAY – Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, November 17th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 17:00 Los Angeles, 20:00 New York

  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 12:00 Sydney, 14:00 Auckland

Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Empathy and Action (Sept 14/15 #globalclassroom chats)

Kids, when provided opportunities, have so much enthusiasm for righting injustice in the world. Whether it’s recycling, saving the snow leopard, befriending lonely old folk, or raising money for less-advantaged schools, once they identify a need they’ll aim to put it right. Their can-do, will-do attitude cuts through, and brushes aside, the artificial mental restrictions of adults.

Or does it? Perhaps, our adult restrictions stifle the most enthusiastic of children. Perhaps our own inability to model empathy and taking action has left our learners selfish and narrow minded. The world revolves around “me” so what’s the point of doing anything for anyone down the road, let alone half way round the world who we’ll never meet, never talk to, and who won’t do anything in return for us? Does it really matter what one or two kids do? Will it really have an impact?

This weekend’s #globalclassroom chat is about bringing Empathy to social inequities and taking Action to do something about it. I hope you’ll join us!

Guiding Questions

  1. Can you share examples of projects / activities which encouraged students to have empathy and take action?
  2. How do we create a learning environment which enables students to take these kinds of actions?
  3. What are the skills / mindset teachers and students need to make this approach work in classrooms?
  4. How can we best integrate this approach into our curriculum and assessment?

Chat Schedule

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, September 14th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, September 14th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, September 15th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Further Reading

Thankyou to @clivesir and @@ToscaKilloran for organising the topic for this month’s chat :)

Connecting Globally from a Remote School – Travelling Rhino Project

For the past fortnight we have been hosts of Lesedi, one of five travelling Rhinos sent round the world by Karen Stadler, who I have neer met, but DSCN8901 connected with through email and twitter. Hawea Flat is a small rural school in the South Island of New Zealand and the closest Rhino to us is in a Zoo 5 hours drive away. We knew what a Rhino was and we knew who a poacher was, however we had no comprehension of how the two fitted together and what the devastating consequence of their connection was.

When Lesedi arrived in the mail we had to begin at the beginning. We read books, watched YouTube clips and researched on line. Quickly made connections to the horrific truth and the selfish reasons behind the problem. I have never seen a group of children become enraged so quickly over an issue.

So I simply asked “What can we do about it? We are to far away!” and showed them the distance between South Africa and Hawea Flat on Google Earth.

That is where the kids took over. They showed me that the skills that we have learned in class – ways to solve a problem and find a solution – were important and that when needed the kids could call upon them. In groups they thought of raising money, but then realized that money was not the problem, people were the problem and that not enough people knew about the issue (Kids came up with this – not me).

So, again I said “Ok, it is a people problem. We cant fix that!”The News

Then the class was off again…

“We can make a petition.”
“Put it on a Google Form.”
“Tweet it on our class Twitter and Mr Dyers Twitter.”
“Email it to all the parents.”
“Get them to like it on face book.”
“We can tell the parents at assembly too!”

…and like that the project made an impact on my class and our community. We blogged, tweeted and emailed. Posters and placards were made. Then, we received emails from the local paper asking for interviews. The class and myself have been stopped in the street and told that what we are doing is awesome.

If you have not added you name to this petition then click here to get to the form.

Through my classes participation in Karen’s Travelling Rhino Project we have learned firstly about the plight of the Rhino and raised the awareness of it to our community, but secondly that through projects such as this classrooms no longer need to have walls.

The Global Classroom is a reality and achievable for any educator and all you need is a concept or cause and a PLN to connect you with the world. You can collaborate on a blog, email, Skype, trade letters or tweet with another class, as the technology we have at our classrooms removes the barriers of distance, borders, language and timezone. This project only lasted two weeks, but it changed the way that I look at education and changed the way my class looks at the world.

Sun Rhino

Connecting & Collaborating in Early Childhood (May #globalclassroom Chat)

To celebrate the publication of our first Global Classroom Project feature article, in the K-3 Class Ideas magazine here in Australia, this month’s #globalclassroom chat is dedicated to exploring the possibilities for global connections and collaboration in Early Childhood (K-3). (You can read the article here.)

K-3 Class Ideas

Guiding Questions

We are lucky enough to have some amazing early childhood educators in the #globalclassroom community, and its time to give their stories and experiences centre stage. If you know of an early childhood educator, please let them know about these chats! We’d always enjoy meeting new faces!

  • What online communities and projects do early childhood teachers find useful for connecting and collaborating globally?

  • How do we ensure that our students have the skills and understanding necessary to participate in a global collaboration project?

  • What strategies and tools can we use to support very young children’s participation in global projects?

  • Can you share your stories and advice for K-3 teachers interested in exploring the possibilities of global connections?

  • What options are there for K-3 classrooms without reliable Internet connections to get involved in global projects?

Chat Schedule & Times

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, May 11th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, May 11th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, May 12th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Visits from friends: Global Connections in South Africa

We are very privileged to have a visitor from Pennsylvania, USA at the moment. Flat Tyler is from Mrs Tina Schmidt’s class and he has come to find out about our children and our school. We are all very excited and the class teacher  has been taking photos for a slide show that the children will present to the rest of the school on Tuesday.

These global projects are wonderful for developing literacy in a real world way. The children have to read about their friend and write about their adventures and they do so in a motivated and unstressed way. They also learn about continents, hemispheres, day and night and time zones by participating in global projects. This particular class are now going to make their own flat friends and send them out to classes around the world.

We have another Grade 2 class waiting for the arrival of a Travelling Rhino.  Through this project they will be made aware of the plight of rhinos and the scourge of poaching.

Our other two Grade 2 classes are participating in a Global Pen Pal project in Edmodo. Edmodo is a Facebook social network look alike for children. It is a closed environment but through the class teacher we are able to make connections with other classes.

We are excited about all the connections we are making and the children love to pore over our large wall map of the world and a big atlas we have in our library. Technology helps us to flatten our classroom walls and make connections whilst we learn and grow.  The technology at our school is only available in the lab where we have 17 six year old PC’s and an internet connection but it’s amazing what one can do with a little. My dream for our school is to have a laptop and a large monitor for every classroom so that teachers who catch the vision for integrating IT into their lessons can do so. One day …..