Global Classroom Lead Teacher Awards 2014

We’d like to formally congratulate the Global Classroom Lead Teachers for 2014.

The Global Classroom Lead Teacher awards were created in 2012 to recognise teachers around the world who have made an exceptional contribution to the development and success of #globalclassroom communities and projects. These awards are based on collegial nominations from the online global education community, and nominees were formally acknowledged at our ‘Looking Forwards, Looking Back’ webinars, held last weekend.

Lead Teachers were nominated for their:

  • Significant contributions to the professional learning of teachers around the world through blogs, Twitter, and other social media platforms
  • Inspired efforts to enhance their students’ learning through their global connections
  • Creation of innovative, pioneering projects which showcase new ways for teachers and students to connect, learn, share, and collaborate globally.

 

Lead Teacher Award recipients will receive a one year subscription to Oddizzi, an award-winning online resource for 4-11 year olds that brings the world to life. With over 1,000 pages of written content, video, images, maps and games it is a fantastic resource that supports geography, social studies and global citizenship. Oddizzi also has a unique tool called ClassPals that helps connects classrooms around the world. To view our Oddizzi film click here: http://www.oddizzi.com/us/

 

AUSTRALIA

Anne Mirtschin (@murcha)

Anne is an inspiring advocate for flat classrooms, regularly participating in global projects. Her students, from primary to Year 12, have been actively involved in a variety of projects over many years. She has also been an invaluable supporter and mentor within the #globalclassroom community, and her support is greatly appreciated.

Celia Coffa (http://ccoffa.edublogs.org/ @ccoffa)

Celia has been inspirational leading our school as a 21st century contemporary learning research school. Celia helped us establish blogging, skype, quad blogs, a yammer and EDMODO community throughout the school. She has set up global collaborations through the Student Blogging challenge for the past 3 years, and has supported students around the world in establishing their blogs.

Celia was instrumental in beginning and running the Teach Meets in Melbourne, and has been a guest presenter at numerous schools and conferences, sharing her passion for using technology to engage and enhance the learning.

SOUTH AFRICA

Karen Stadler (@ICT_Integrator)

It is hard to describe Karen’s award winning Traveling Rhinos project, but we tend to agree with the rave reviews from participants, who call it “the epitome of a global project”. What else can we say? Karen recently won the ISTE online learning award and received her award while attending the 2014 ISTE Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. While in Atlanta, Karen was able to personally connect with many of the members of the GCP community.

USA

Heidi Hutchison(@heidihutchison)

Heidi Hutchison personifies a Global Classroom teacher. She has created two very successful global PBLs (Malala Project and the One and Only Ivan), and contributes to the larger global community through her blog and on Twitter. She presented at Global EdCon 2013, hosted and co-founded with Bianca & Lee Hewes the U.S. version of Project Swap Meet, hosted numerous Twitter chats, and is now delving into the world of leadership with a focus and mind to helping administrators be more forward thinking in regards to global citizenship.

Louise Morgan (@MrsMorgansClass)

Louise has been an amazing organizer and promoter of the Global Classroom project. I admire her stamina, energy, and dedication to the success of the projects for teachers and students.  We would like to thank Louise for her recent promotion of GCP during ISTE 2014 in Atlanta. Louise presented an Ignite session during Global Ed Day and also prepared a poster session where many Global Classroom participants gathered and shared their experiences.

Kathleen Corley (@kathleencorley)

Kathleen set up a global Edmodo project between Windsor Primary, Arlington Heights, Illinois, Dalkeith Primary, Perth and St Thomas More CPS, Margaret River. This project was a beautiful collaboration for Grade 1-2 students and their teachers, helping them learn about their similarities and differences through sharing information about our schools.

CANADA

Laurie Clement (@LLClement)

Laurie is actively involved in Social Media and providing global opportunities for her students. In 2011 she created her Skype in the Classroom account and as a result has connected with over 30 classes around the world. She initially began engaging her students in Mystery Skype Calls and immediately began to see the excitement in her students. Shortly after she created global projects with a colleague in Brazil, that she initially connected with in one of her mystery class calls. They began engaging their students in global projects and soon after developed four projects and invited schools to join from across the globe. This past year they hosted four projects which included students from over 10 countries and 3 continents. Aside from these projects, Laurie is actively involved in promoting global connections through G+ and Twitter.

 

STUDENT LEADERSHIP AWARD

Aaron Brzowski and Garrett Wilkinson (@ProjectPurus)

Aaron and Garrett, both just recently graduated from high school, are the founders of Project Purus. Project Purus is a non profit organization with mission  to provide education through clean water. These passionate, young, social entrepreneurs have recently shared their passion and story during the Global Ed Day conference at ISTE2014 and during Podstock14.

Aaron and Garrett worked closely with Robyn Thiessen’s class, mentoring, inspiring and educating her students from January to May of this year. This summer, Aaron also went to Nepal to meet Govinda and the students of SAV School, where he taught English and witnessed the positive effects of Project Purus first hand!

Global Classroom Lead Teacher Awards – Nominations now Open

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Source: Shutterstock

The Global Classroom Lead Teacher Awards provide a community based recognition of those teachers quietly working to change their classrooms and the world … with a particular interest in those who never receive official recognition for their efforts.

In a slight change from previous years, this year we are inviting nominations of global education leaders working both within, and beyond The Global Classroom Project community.

We are looking to acknowledge the quiet achievers, the risk takers, the innovators, the lead learners – who, in their own small way, are helping to create a better world. 

 

Nomination Criteria

We invite global educators to nominate their colleagues, and emerging student leaders, for a Global Classroom Lead Teacher (or Lead Student) Award. We respectfully discourage self-nominations, as these are intended to be community awards.

Nominations must provide detailed evidence of the nominee’s contribution in one or more of these areas:

  1. Teachers’ professional learning: Through blogs, twitter chats, global education conference presentations
  2. Students’ learning: through active participation in global projects
  3. Exemplary contribution to a K-12 #globalclassroom #globaled project
  4. Development of innovative global education projects which showcase new ways for teachers and students to connect, learn, share, and collaborate globally.

Please provide as MUCH detail as possible, as your nomination will be incorporated into the published comments. Nominees will be formally acknowledged at our ‘Looking Forwards, Looking Back’ webinars to be held in late July / early August 2014; and will receive a special award badge to display on their blog or website.

Nomination Form

 

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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.

Growing Up Global – Is it changing our students? – the #globalclassroom Chats (May 10/11)

Thankyou to @beachcat11 who is helping organise the chats this month, and provided our topic.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other;

they fear each other because they don’t know each other;

they don’t know each other because they can not communicate;

they can not communicate because they are separated.”

~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

What do you think?

“Global Computer Networking” courtesy of cuteimage / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first read these words, I immediately started wondering: Our kids aren’t separated in the same way any more. So will our students’ ability to connect and collaborate on a global scale eventually help to reduce human conflicts and overcome such hate and fear? Will students who regularly communicate and form relationships with students of different cultures and lifestyles become any more tolerant and understanding than those who don’t?

Our students are clearly ‘growing up global’ in a connected world — where those of us in North America regularly chat with others already in “tomorrow”, where inspiring Korean commercials can be viewed on YouTube around the world, and global projects like the Travelling Rhino project see students in classrooms around the world all working to help solve the very same issue.

As educators create and conduct more and more new global activities and projects, and as we invite world-wide student participation and collaboration, what are we learning about the effects they are having on our students’ values and beliefs? Am I just acting on some blind belief or vague assumption that these things are good for my students?? Or is there some solid body of evidence which proves this is true? What can we do to monitor and provide evidence of what is happening as a result of these global connections — if indeed, there even is any change?!?

They say that when the astronauts sent back pictures of that first human view of Earth from space, it forever changed our collective perception of Planet Earth as “Home”. And I have to wonder: like seeing our planet from space for the very first time, will ‘growing up global’ also leave an indelible mark on the human psyche? Will growing up globally connected help to create a new generation who take it for granted that we are all one connected people who must resolve our differences to work and live together as we journey through space and time on this tiny blue planet?

As our population increases and our access to resources decreases, will growing up global and learning in a connected global classroom make any difference at all to the human ability to overcome fear and hate, and to solve problems together?

What can we do to help make it so?

There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones:  an honest search for understanding, education, organization, and action …inspired by the hope of a brighter future.

~~Noam Chomsky

 

Discussion Questions

Please join us as we discuss these issues in our next #globalclassroom chats –  this weekend!

Q1. In what global activities have your and your students participated?

Q2. What did you hope your students would gain from participating in them? Were attitudes and beliefs are an expressed part of your goal?

Q3. Did you observe any evidence of changes in your students’ attitudes and beliefs about different cultures? If so, how?

Q4. As global educators, how can we contribute to the collective knowledge and research about the effects of connected learning?

 

Schedule

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, May 10th, 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 10th, 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 11th, 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)

World Water Day 2014 – March #globalclassroom chats & Projects

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This coming weekend marks the celebration of World Water Day 2014, held on March 22 each year, and it promises to be a wet weekend at The Global Classroom Project.

1) World Water Day International LinoIt Project 2014

For the past three years, the WWD LinoIt Project has given students around the world the opportunity to share their thoughts, photos, and experiences of water conservation with the wider world.

This year’s project will run from March 19-25, and will be jointly hosted by Class 5, from School 1302 in Moscow, Russia and Robyn Thiessen’s Grade 4/5 class in Canada. We are also looking forward to working with Project Purus, who are raising to provide clean water for school children in Nepal. 

Please bookmark the 2014 LinoIt and share with your class using this link – http://bit.ly/worldwaterday2014.

2) March #globalclassroom Chats – March 22/23

See the UN World Water Day website for more!

Discussion Questions

  1. What does water mean to you and your community?
  2. What global water issues are you aware of, or experiencing in your country?
  3. What opportunities can we provide our students to take action on water issues in their local region?
  4. Can students raise awareness and make a real difference globally? Can you share some examples?
  5. What activities and teaching resources would you recommend for exploring World Water Day issues with your class?

Schedule

Please double check the time in your region, particularly if you have recently moved to/from DST

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, March 22, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

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

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

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, March 22, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 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, March 23, 02:00 – 03:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York

  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 9:00 Perth, 12:00 Sydney, 14:00 Auckland

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

Building Global Partnerships – Part 2: Taking the Time

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.

Part 1 of the series is published here

PART 2

Don’t expect immediate success–deep, constructive global relationships require a marathon, not a sprint.  

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photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc

The challenges of global partnerships are many, and teachers have to develop the same inter-cultural skills as they hope to foster in their students in order to be successful.  The learning curve can be long–and that means global partnerships are rarely efficient, easy to organize, or completely successful the first time around.  The worst thing you can do, however, is jump from partner to partner in search of the “perfect” pairing–the best partnerships are rarely perfect to begin with. 

The moral of the story is to work at it, to think of the partnership as a long-term relationship which will improve with time and effort, and to expect things to be messy for the first year or two.  Whether it’s navigating time zone differences (east to west), school year differences (north to south), trouble-shooting differences in technological access, or just trying to communicate regularly and well, you can expect this relationship to take effort–and to get richer and deeper as you put in that effort.

It’s essential to accept the limitations of technology and work within its potential, but it’s also important to think beyond technology as well.  Global communication and relationships reach their deepest level through in-person experiences–and no matter how much technology has done for the global educational field, it will never replace the value of international travel for teachers and students with relationship-oriented organizations such as World Leadership School.  Whether this is a teacher traveling to connect personally with their partner teacher(s) or students traveling to connect their communities, there is no question that deep relationships–especially on the level of sister schools–require more than email and Skype calls.

Keep your expectations realistic in year one–consider small successes, significant successes, and build something bigger from there.  

It’s reasonable to say that most teachers go into global partnerships expecting too much their first time around, largely because the prospect of a global collaboration is so exciting and we have trouble controlling ourselves.  Much of the time, however, when teachers try to accomplish too much too quickly, they leave the topics students find most relevant.  By creating a space for less content- or standards-driven dialogue about favorite movies or day-to-day life, we can help build the foundations for much deeper dialogue later by helping kids see what they have in common. Bigger successes and deeper virtual events on global issues and perspectives might come later, but small successes count in the meantime.

Just knowing how to connect Skype doesn’t mean there will be a deep and meaningful dialogue between classrooms; in fact, navigating the awkward silences and discomfort of the first few Skype sessions is often what turns new teachers away from global education. I’ve seen huge, high-tech global events go to heck in a hand basket on million dollar equipment, and I’ve seen a no-budget Facetime call change students’ lives.  Remember that deep global experiences aren’t about fancy technologies and big events–they’re usually about small accidental moments which occurred because the teachers created the right context for dialogue and didn’t push the kids too far too fast.

I’ve had many experiences where a simple, seemingly innocuous question in a video conference drew out something meaningful and helped students connect with the world authentically; if you’re hungry for examples, see “Creating the Conditions for Accidental Learning: Dialogue with Syrians, Palestinians, Canadians… and Wookies.”

Consider building smaller experiences and “one-offs” with individuals to fill the gaps while deeper partnerships develop. 

Sometimes it makes best sense to supplement the developing partnership with a few Skype sessions with relevant individuals who can help to take the conversation deeper.  People all over the world are involved in creating change in their homes, schools, communities and beyond, and most are so passionate that they’re thrilled to engage with classrooms and inspire the next generation to become leaders in their fields.  Especially in the first few years of developing a deeper partnership with a classroom or school, these one-off experiences can really help globalize the dialogue in your classroom immediately, and speakers can be found in non-profits, non-governmental organizations, and even your alumni directory.

Particularly among higher-level teachers, I’ve noticed a tendency default to Skyping with semi-famous or major “experts” in a given field, and this makes sense when an expert can answer student-generated questions better than a young person can.  However, I’ve found that sometimes more important connections happen when kids get to meet an individual who’s closer to their age and not yet considered important for their efforts.  For example, I often connect classrooms with Yasser Alaa Mobarak, a young Egyptian photographer who has done a great deal of work with iEARN.  He shares his photography, talks about what he hopes viewers will see, answers questions from the kids, and then invites students to continue the photographic dialogue and sharing in a private group he’s set up on Facebook.  Honestly, no number of experts in Middle Eastern politics could ever impact kids as much as just one of Yasser’s photographs because they’re real, raw, and relevant.  Most importantly, connecting with someone like Yasser demonstrates that young people don’t have to be famous to make a difference through their individual efforts and passions.

Reflection Questions

  1. How can we best share our experiences to support new and emerging global educators, so they learn from our mistakes?
  2. What advice would you give to an educator / colleague starting out on their global journey?
  3. Can you share anecdotes / stories of how small incidental questions have led to unexpected global learning outcomes?
  4. Would you be interested in being mentored by an experienced global educator? Or would you be happy to be a mentor for another international teacher? (See the Global Classroom Mentoring Project)