Global Classroom Gratitude

I had to write and say how thrilled and honoured I was to be nominated as a Global Classroom Lead Teacher 2012-2013. I think I fall into the category of ‘most improved’ as I haven’t run any projects myself but have been an enthusiastic participator. Previous posts have outlined the fabulous projects I have been lucky enough to participate in.

Where I like to think I have made a bit of a difference is in the promotion area. I am talking about global classrooms and the power of Twitter to transform our classrooms whenever I can. I truly hope that if I keep talking about it and participating, more people will become involved and our children will truly become citizens of the globe.

I would also like to say how nice it is to receive recognition. Teachers often work in environments where recognition doesn’t come along very often. We happily save for posterity any letters of gratitude we receive and I know I have an thank you email pinned up on my board at school. These small reminders keep us going.

Below is the list of this year’s nominations. I hope you celebrate the achievements too and are inspired to join the community and participate in the next wave of projects.
Global Classroom Project Leaders 2012-2013

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Global Classrooms – Join in on the fun!

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On the 26th June, I celebrated my first Twitter birthday. It’s hard to believe that only 12 months ago I was unaware of how significant this social media platform would be to my development as a teacher. I have written before about how Twitter has enabled me to make connections in the world and how these connections have helped not only me but the classes I have been teaching. In my role as a Teacher Librarian who also teaches ICT from K-7 in a rural Western Australian school, global connections have meant that my students have been able to learn from other students in the world, reach out to people and to have an authentic audience for their work.

This semester, I have been very fortunate to be involved in two very different initiatives organised by teachers in two different continents.
Mrs Karen Stadler’s (@ICT_Integrator) Save Our Rhino’s project from Elkanah Primary in South Africa enabled the students to learn about endangered rhinos knowing not just that they were endanagered but how people around the world were passionate about saving them. This connection with people is what makes the global classroom aspect so powerful. It was also a great link for us to learn about our own endangered animals and hopefully educate others in the world about them.

Ms Katy Gartside’s (@KatyGartside) 9-to-9 Skype Marathon run by her Year 5 Class at The School of Columbia University in the USA was brought to my attention by Katy’s twitter feed. I have Skyped with Karen last year and I love the opportunity for the student’s to have the face to face experience with kids from other classrooms, so I expressed an interest in participating. Luckily for us, we were able to connect with times, not always possible in the US due to the time differences betweeen us. We were the 8.45pm session for them and the 8.45am session for us. The Year 6 students in my class were blown away by the articulate students running the session and learnt a lot about community but more about the similarities and differences in their own schools. We reflected on the session and I think every child loved the Skype experience.

I encourage every educator to make connections globally. Twitter has been for me the most effective way to make these connections and I have found the people to be generous, supportive and inspiring. If you would like to join Twitter I would recommend you follow the above two educators and Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) who is the #globalclassroom Project Co-founder, you won’t be disappointed.

Where will Twitter take you? It took me to Slide2Learn!

My 9 Steps to becoming a workshop facilitator at the Slide2Learn Conference in Perth.
June 2012 – April 2013.

Previously, I had written about taking a leap of faith and doing something that scared me. I submitted a proposal to facilitate a workshop at the Slide 2Learn Conference. I was accepted and this blog outlines how it happened.

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1. Join Twitter through recommendation of Louise Cimetta @LouCimetta – Coordinator of Digital Learning, Catholic Education Office, Perth

2. Have a positive social experience at Catholic Primary Curriculum Conference with fellow tweeps.

3. Receive feedback from a tweet that results in attending a brilliant social media workshop run by MYSA and featuring amazing educators, Prof. Alec Couros @corousa and George Couros @gcouros
a. Start my own blog – Reflection is good for the soul
b. Own digital footprint – About.me/KerryMuste
c. Find out about Hootsuite to organise my hashtags and Flipboard for magazine like reading.
d. Make further connections, plus meet people that already knew on Twitter. Made the day very relaxed.

4. Make further positive social experiences through tweet up lunch thanks to EduBlogger Extraordinaire Sue Waters @suewaters and meet Couros Brothers, and three lovely Librarians;The Daring Librarian @gwynethjones, Dr. Joyce Valenza @joycevalenza and Audrey Nay @audrey_nay. I also met Phil and Jo Hart, Ms D and Sue Hickton. Great day!

5. Join great Global Classroom project run by Karen Stadler @ICT_Integrator called Crazy Crazes.
a. Learn new ways to share information – flipsnack, voicethread and Skype

6. Create Year 7 class blog to display students Digital Photography Competition and invite Twitter friends to view – they comment and provide audience.

7. Find resources and links to amazing ideas and people
a. Read and follow blogs – favourite George Couros
b. Joined another Global Classroom Project run by Karen called Save Our Rhinos
i. Create YouTube channel to display work

8. Be invited to submit workshop idea to National Slide2Learn Conference being held in Perth. Thanks Slide2Learn team!

9. Facilitate a workshop on Developing a PLN using Twitter at the Conference and meet fellow Tweeps like: Michael Graffin @mgraffin, Global Classrooms Project Co-founder; Amie Meyer @AmieMeyer4; Sam Boswell @sboswellhyde. I was also able to make new wonderful connections from around Australia. It was also amazing to meet and attend workshops run by Tony Vincent @tonyvincent. His keynote address was lots of fun and the Web Keynote by Lisa Johnson @Techchef4u introduced me to another fabulous educator.

What an amazing journey and I owe it all to the power of Twitter. I hope that it will continue to provide me with inspiration, enthusiasm, new ideas and life changing experiences.

Has Twitter made a difference to you?

Building and Maintaining a Global Perspective~ My Global Experience – Deb Frazier

Fabulous Post from Deb Frazier that I had to reblog to share.

The Global Classroom Project

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The one post that forever changed my perspective on life and teaching, I can never go back, nor do I want to.

On May 5, 2011 Wanted! A Global Classroom~.was published along with a simple tweet. These humble beginnings led to global connections that are far beyond what I could have ever dreamed possible!

In Awe of Twitter~

Shortly after sharing this post on twitter I was on my way to making connections and building a global PLN. I watched in awe as the connections became a reality. I was new to Twitter at the time and had no idea what to expect. Twitter has amazing people who are there just to support and learn from one another. One such tweep is @mgraffin from Perth, Australia. Michael saw my tweet and kept it alive on the other side of the globe! Michael retweeted my tweet as I slept, making…

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Global Classrooms – Expanding their world

Lesedi and the princess

Lesedi and yr one hugs

Robogal Lesedi

Lesedi helping Yr 5's learn about rhinos.

Lesedi joing the Yr 5 class for Indonesian.

Lesedi joing the Yr 5 class for Indonesian.

The Travelling Rhinos Project A Global Classrooms Initiative by Karen Stadler (@ICT_Integrator)Last year I participated in Karen’s Crazy Crazes Global Classroom project and it was such a good experience for myself and the students that I decided to be part of this year’s project.
We have hosted Lesedi, one of the Travelling Rhinos, for the last 10 days and she has proved to be very popular with the students. One of my favourite memories will be the Year 1 class hugging her after they found out that rhinos were being killed for their horns. Participation in the project has meant that not only are we learning about rhinos and their plight but has brought the world a little closer to us and will enable us to focus on our own endangered species and the need for awareness campaigns. Lesedi leaves us to go to Plympton Primary School in South Australia at the end of the week but her legacy will endure as we continue to learn about animals under threat.
Farewell Lesedi. We will be following your journey through Australia and New Zealand.

If you wish to know more about what Karen is doing you can find her blog here.

Presentations – Feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

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Image courtesy of Sujin Jekasettakorn/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In my previous post, I outlined how I wanted to encourage other teachers to develop their Personal Learning Network(PLN) and how I believe Twitter can be a powerful tool.
Thanks to some pretty awesome people in my PLN, I have been given the opportunity to present at an ICT Expo in May for fellow Catholic school educators.
Let me be frank, I’m terrified! However, if my nerves and frantic preparation over the next couple of months means that someone else gets to go on the journey I’m on then it has been worthwhile. It’s also beneficial for me to jump out of my comfort zone and try something new. It can’t hurt my professional profile either provided I don’t screw it up altogether.

To add to my nerves, I have also submitted to the Slide2Learn Conference in April for the same presentation. Who knows, I might get accepted. Then I will be walking on the wild side. I do know, however, that my Twitter PLN will be a source of inspiration and knowledge and my school colleagues will support me.

How lucky am I? I hope you get the same opportunities and seize them with both hands.

Reflecting and Connecting. My 2013 wishlist.

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Wow! What a great year 2012 was. So much learning and so much fun. It makes me extremely excited about this year and what might happen. So, what did I learn last year?

1. Reflection is good for the soul and for professional practice.

The creation of this blog melded two things together. One I love and one I hadn’t really done before. I love writing but never thought I had the time to reflect. I know, what was I thinking?So, now I use this blog to jot down reflections on things I am doing and the people I meet. It’s all good stuff and I’m very grateful.

Goal for 2013: To continue to add to my blog to share and reflect on all the fabulous things that are happening in our school and in the schools of my PLN.

2. Twitter is a PLN catalyst.

How I have loved Twitter in the last 6 months. What a learning curve! What a fantastic bunch of people I have connected with. I no longer feel like an educator in a small, country town but an educator in a global community.

Goal: This global community is changing the way I view the world and the learning opportunities within it. I have joined one global project this semester which I will be posting further updates but you can find it here. Another fantastic project by Karen Stadler!
I also want to bring other educators along for the journey. I will be making some opportunities to develop this further this year.

3. Connect with your students!

As a specialist teacher it can be quite difficult to make the connections that classroom teachers can as there just isn’t the time together. I did find that last year Edmodo helped make connections with my students. We were able to connect during the week and they could clarify things with me before they came to class. We could also connect with other classes in the world. Well worth trying out.

I loved Skype too! Face to face contact with children from around the world. Could we have ever imagined this? 

Goal: I am going to use Edmodo again this year with a couple of my classes. I am also going to Skype again. My goal this year is to encourage other classes in my school to jump onboard.

Good luck everyone and I hope your year is a fun, challenging and rewarding journey. I know I hope mine is!

 

How do you switch off?


I recently attended a seminar which confronted, challenged and inspired me. I am still processing the information I received and will write a post about it soon but what I didn’t expect was how hard I would find it to disconnect from it. The seminar is the latest installment in an amazing year of professional learning for me. I watched the Tour de France this year and my learning journey feels like I have scaled the Pyranees and The Alps as well as travelling at a pace that leaves me breathless and a little apprehensive.

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, September heralds the beginning of a new school year. Whereas, for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, September can be quite a difficult time. It’s the end of winter, term three and rapidly approaching the end of the school year. Deadlines are approaching and thoughts about how much hasn’t been accomplished yet begin to float into our conciousness.

These disjointed thoughts are basically identifying that I am tired and need to spend time nurturing myself. This was a difficult concept for me to accept when I was younger but now I understand its importance.

I recently read the latest blog post by Stef who was reflecting on how her change in exercise routine made it a priority and I agree wholeheartedly. Now the sun is coming up earlier, I am planning on getting back to walking before breakfast. This activity will help but the activity that really calms my mind is playing the fiddle. I am not a good fiddle player and only took it up a couple of years ago. Learning a musical instrument as an adult is such a good lesson for any teacher. It immediately places you in a place that gives you such empathy for the students you teach and in awe because they are such quick learners. I have felt such frustration at the slowness of my progress but have perservered and realised that the journey is what is important to me, not the speed. I am immensely thankful to my friend, Karien, our fabulous school Administrative Officer and a fantastic fiddler who spends time with me ever Monday afternoon.

So I am off to practise and in the morning I will at least get outside before I go to work.
What will you do to nurture yourself?

Digital Footprints: Concrete or Latex?

I have been involved in teaching digital citizenship to primary students for some time and I felt that as an ICT educator I was providing my students with guidelines about how to behave online. I was content. I was complacent without even realising it.

It took a presentation by The Couros Brothers at the MYSA Travelling Scholars seminar at Hampton Senior High School on August 8, to challenge my complacency.

The sessions that dealt with taking control of your Digital Footprint and Digital Leadership inspired me.

I was encouraged to take charge of my professional footprint on the Internet. Googling your own name is a useful and enlightening exercise. How will the world see you? I learnt about a website called About Me which gives me a professional space to state who I am and what I do, to be proactive about my digital footprint. You can view mine here on my blog.

I thought about the children in my school and how many of them already have a social media presence and wondered if their mistakes would follow them around their whole lives? How fortunate was I to grow up in a non digital age and make mostly anonymous mistakes (embarrassing year book photos aside). The solution for these kids? It was suggested that they could flood their accounts with positive stuff so that it is this which is the overwhelming image of who they are.

If Digital Leadership is the ability to inspire, guide and lead change in the digital world, then I should be modelling this behaviour and encouraging my students to actively participate in their world. I started my effort by being involved with the year 6 blog created by one of our fabulous teachers for her class. I am now an adminstrator and add videos and comments, polls and questions for my ICT classes. They use it in all sorts of ways. You can view it here.

I am now using Edmodo with my Year 4 ICT class and love being able to interact with the students outside of our lesson, finding a valid reason to add in cyber safety lessons and put up pictures, assignments and surveys.

My Year 2 class is participating in a global classroom project run by Mrs Karen Stadler (@ICT_Integrator) that was brought to my attention through Twitter and will be an exciting new way for our students to find out about other students in the world and let them know about us. You can find the project here.

I am also in the process of thinking of ways to enlarge the audience and voice for some of my other classes. With my Year 7 digital photography competition, should I put it online and get a global perspective or judge? Would signing up to google docs be a good way to get a You Tube channel for my Year 6 stop start animations?

All of these are such big steps for me and hopefully positive ones for the students in my classes. I am a work in progress. Thanks Alec and George!