Well, in less than four weeks time, I’ll be traveling via Auckland on a 16 700 km journey to San Antonio, Texas. I will be presenting on my students’ learning adventures with Scratch game design and FIRST LEGO League robotics at the International Society for Technology Education Conference. Following ISTE, I’ll be embarking on my most ambitious journey to date, visiting Dallas / Fort Worth, Chicago, Denver, Glenwood Springs, Sacramento, and San Francisco over the course of four weeks.
ISTE15 in Philadelphia, where I took home an ISTE Emerging Leader Award, feels like yesterday. The memories of the people I met, the places I went, and the meetups with locals in Philadelphia, Virginia and NYC are very dear to me. If you plan to be at the conference. or live in/near the cities I’ll be exploring, please let me know. I’m always happy to catch up with Twitter folk, especially if you share my love of coffee, conversation, and/or photography. Especially coffee 🙂
Are you interested in LEGO Mindstorms robotics, engineering, and computational thinking? Come along and meet three robotics coaches from Australia and the United States, and learn how you could empower your students’ STEM learning through the international FIRST LEGO League robotics competition (http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/fll)
Find out how to extend coding and computer science lessons beyond code.org by using Scratch to empower students to collaborate, problem solve, and share their learning through the creation of animated stories and computer games.
Scratch Game Design in Chicago, IL
I will be repeating my ISTE Scratch Game Design workshop in Chicago. If you live in the area, please come along to say hello! All welcome 🙂
Thursday, July 6, 10am – 12pm
Archdiocese of Chicago
Quigley Center, 835 N Rush St.
For many years, I had a dream … a dream that I would one day find a school where I would have the freedom to learn, grow, and innovate with ICT.
At the beginning of the 2014 school year, overwhelmed by the demands of (an overly ambitious) postgraduate study workload, and the terrible impact of WA Government funding cuts on my casual teaching income, I was once again starting to question my future in the teaching profession. I felt like I was standing at the crossroads – again.
While I was bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the ADE application process, I was delighted when the The Global Classroom Project came Runner Up in the ISTE Innovation in Global Collaboration PLN Award, and then shocked and humbled to hear that I would be officially named an ISTE Emerging Leader, Class of 2015. This award is presented to educators 35 years or younger who transform education through the visionary use of technology.
A testament to the power of the PLN
As an Emerging Leader, I am the only the fifth Australian teacher, and first Western Australian, to be formally recognised by ISTE. This is an incredible gift; a personal and professional vindication in more ways than I could ever share publicly.
It is a true testament to the transformative power of my global PLN, without whom I would have left teaching a long time ago. Thank you to those who have believed in me, and provided support, guidance, and encouragement both publicly, and behind the scenes. I’d also like to sincerely thank the ISTE Young Educators PLN and the judging panel – I am very much looking forward to working with you in the years to come!
After a journey of some 30 hours and over 18000km (11,603 miles), I arrived in the United States for my first ever ISTE conference. It proved to be an incredibly emotional, sometimes overwhelming week. Despite the very best advice I received in the lead up to the event, I soon discovered nothing can quite prepare you for a conference with 20 000 plus attendees, over 1000 vendors, and nearly a 1000 workshops and presentations.
In trying to tell the story of my ISTE2015 journey, I’m going to focus on some key themes and experiences which stood out for me.
The power of the Unconference
Arriving in Philadelphia on Saturday morning with my good friend @lparisi, the weather turned nasty – and very wet. Forced to scrap my planned photo walk and city orientation, I immersed myself in the Hack Ed Unconference. Joining halfway though the day, I started meeting people I knew online, some of whom I’d been following for years; and joined group conversations about topics which interested me. I was less thrilled with the after party (I am not your typical party person), but meeting @lynnrathburn and her colleagues there made it all worthwhile.
Global Connections and Collaboration
Judging by the responses to our poster sessions, and the Twitter feed for several big Ignite presentations, connecting and collaborating globally was of interest to many attendees. I thoroughly enjoyed the Global Educators Brunch, hosted by @globaledcon and @VIFLearn; and the Global Education Day event. The brunch was made all the more special as it was the first time nearly all the #globalclassroom project leaders and organisers, from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and all around the United States, were in the same room. Most of us were meeting for the first time after over four years of working online.
The Global Education Day was interesting, but its most important aspect was the people in the room. To sit alongside and converse with global educators who have inspired, guided, and helped make me the person I am today was an amazing, and very emotional experience.
Coding and Makerspaces
I must admit this is a particularly big interest of mine at the moment, as I am trying to advise my school on the future direction of our ICT program. I am quite keen to delve into robotics and Makerspaces, and I loved the chance to explore the Maker and Coding playground events at ISTE. I played with Cubelets, shared my experiences with the MakeyMakey, searched for information on LittleBits, Squishy Circuits, and collected as much information as possible about 3D printing. I have plenty of pics, and some big ideas which I’ll be taking back to school.
The opportunity to share my story & expertise in global education and iPad integration
When I applied to present at ISTE last year, I was well aware that the organisers accept less than half of all applications. I submitted proposals for the Global Classroom Project Poster session, an iPad Creative Challenge Workshop, and joined another poster session focussed on global blogging and the Student Blogging Challenge. To my surprise, I was accepted for all three – which was unusual to say the least!
The two poster sessions were incredible learning experiences, and I thoroughly enjoyed the informal, conversation based format – even though two hours proved utterly exhausting (and a little overwhelming). My workshop was a challenging experience. With just five registrations, four people turned up on the night. One left shortly after it started (I have no idea why), and one gentleman was deaf! Among the challenges was trying to run a group collaborative session with just four people, and working with American Sign Language interpreters to ensure my deaf colleague found the session valuable. I received positive informal feedback in the session, but I’ll admit it was probably the most challenging presentation I’ve ever given.
Thank you for the memories!
Perhaps the greatest, and most emotional element of this conference was meeting Twitter friends, new and old, from all over the world. I lost count of how many hugs I received, and I won’t get started on the selfies :P. I had my first, second, and … who knows how many selfies at ISTE!
While sadly not all of my #globalclassroom PLN could attend ISTE, I was deeply indebted to those who made the trek, especially those two dear friends who drove 25 hours (each way) to come and see me. I hope I was able to make that incredible roadtrip worthwhile for you.
Dear @LParisi, thank you for picking me up at the airport in NYC, and the lift to Philadelphia. Your kindness, hospitality, and relative calm in the NYC traffic were deeply appreciated. I still maintain you have a very beautiful home – all protestations to the contrary :). (Please pass on my regards to your husband – it was a pleasant surprise to find a fellow photographer after a 30 hour trip to the USA. )
To @MrsSchmidtB4 and family, thank you for your warm hospitality. I still can’t quite believe that I was helping a “local” navigate Philadelphia, but I couldn’t have managed to see the city without your help :).
To everyone I met, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made this conference one I will remember for many, many years to come.
As a result of attending this workshop, participants will:
Understand how to use the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model to support their professional growth in relation to the implementation of iPad learning projects in their classrooms.
Gain confidence and integration skills through a hands-on collaborative learning challenge, exploring and creating an iPad literacy project which relates to their current teaching and professional learning needs
Contribute tips and teaching ideas to a collaborative online document showcasing successful iPad literacy and Language Arts project ideas, which can be adapted to suit their curriculum and grade levels.
Commit to taking on one iPad literacy challenge in their own classrooms following the conference.
To my utter astonishment and delight, I was accepted for all three! As an Australian teacher, and global educator, the opportunity to present at #ISTE15 is a rare opportunity to meet many of my international colleagues in person for the very first time, and a chance so share my story and students’ learning with a global audience.
As the conference draws nearer, the reality of this trip is starting to sink in … for the first time in my life, I will be travelling halfway around the world … visiting Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York City. A trip of nearly 30 hours and 18 600 km (11 600 miles) …
If you’re coming to ISTE, I’d love to see you at our #globalclassroom and blogging poster sessions. If you need an added incentive, we managed to convince @TheHeadsOffice (Julia Skinner), creator of the 100 Word Challenge, to fly in from the United Kingdom to join us for ISTE 🙂
If you’re interested in learning how to integrate iPads into your teaching, I will be running my iPad Creative Challenge Workshop (Literacy) on the Tuesday evening of the conference – which gives teachers a chance to explore some of the best iPad activities I’ve discovered in my #ionapsict adventures. This won’t be a talkfest – it’s most definitely a hands-on session! All welcome!
After the conference, I will be heading to Washington DC (July 3-10), and New York City (July 10-16). If you live there, I’d greatly appreciate any advice you could give to someone visiting these cities for the first time. If you’re up for a coffee and a chat, feel free to get in touch 🙂 And for the keen photographers out there, any local knowledge you might be able to provide would be appreciated! I can’t help myself – I’m already planning my trip around the photographs I want to try and take!
On Saturday night, I returned to where it all began, presenting at the fourth Reform Symposium eConference. Considering my global journey started with attending #RSCON11, and presenting for the very first time at #RSCON3, this was a very special occasion, and I was truly taken aback by the response and interest in my session.
With 35 attendees from 6 continents, this is a presentation I will remember for some time to come 🙂 Thankyou to everyone who attended, and thank you to all those wonderful people who’ve sent me feedback on the session. It is greatly appreciated.
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! 🙂
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:
Well done @mgraffin A short, sharp presentation on the relevance of social media that resonated with many.
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.
As a primary school teacher & global education specialist, being asked to present to secondary science teachers was an interesting experience 🙂
The central theme of the presentation focussed on the use of technology to enable teachers and students Engage, Connect, Communicate, and Collaborate in secondary Science – via connections with external organisations, experts, and science educators around Australia, and around the world.
Building Bridges with REAL Science
My most memorable science teachers were those who were passionate about their subject, and who went out of their way to CONNECT their students to REAL science. As was posited to me on the night, these connections should, and indeed MUST begin, in the primary school classroom, but I was interested in exploring the possibilities at the secondary level.
You DON”T have to be an Expert (when you’re part of a community)
I was also very keen to point out that teachers don’t have to be ICT experts to engage & connect their students in Science. The keys to success lie in keeping an open mind, and and being willing to learn and collaborate with colleagues and experts beyond your classroom walls through engaging in online communities, such as the Scootle Community and Twitter.
I finished up by sharing a crowd-sourced Google Doc, containing links and ideas for Secondary Science teachers interested in exploring the possibilities of ICT and global connections in their teaching. You can access (and contribute) to that document via the short link: http://bit.ly/CONSTAWA2013.
Post Conference Reflections
I was rather pleased with the reception I received at the CONSTAWA Conference. It was rather challenging to walk into an unfamiliar conference audience, but the feedback was very positive.
I’ve learnt a great deal through the experience … not just about how much work and preparation goes into these kind of presentations, but how I can personally integrate ICT and global connections into my own Science teaching in the future. The connections I’ve made … the lessons I’ve learned … will help me a great deal when I eventually find my own space and own classroom – one day.
Thank you to the long list of teachers, scientists, and experts who helped make this presentation possible. I am indebted to you – for your support … and inspiring example of what is possible when you ‘explore the possibilities’ of Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom.
In preparing for my Science, ICT, and the Global Classroom presentation at the Science Teachers’ of Western Australia Conference this weekend, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons about global connections, crafting powerful presentations, and about connecting science to the real world.
But perhaps the greatest lesson has arisen from my endeavours to model the appropriate (legal) use of images in educational presentations …
This is the story of an image, and there’s quite a story to tell ..
I first came across this image through Twitter, where it appeared on the Facebook page of a prominent Science communicator in the USA. With the intention of using this quote and image in my presentation, I contacted the owner of the site – only to discover that he didn’t own the image!
With his kind assistance, I traced the imaged to the 500px site, where you can view the original version.
What followed was fascinating …
After leaving a comment on the site, I received an email from the artist in Spain, who was quite surprised to hear from me – for several reasons!
Firstly, he had no idea his image was being used in the above form, and secondly he wasn’t particularly happy that the image didn’t (and still doesn’t) attribute him as the artist!
With the help of Google Translate, and several emails later, Jordi kindly gave me permission to reproduce the image (and quote) for educational use.
But, this whole experience has left me with an important lesson about images on the Internet Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have a right to take it and use it. I’ve also learnt that that asking for permission can have some unintended, unexpected consequences. But I’m glad I did.
I took a great deal of confidence and affirmation away from #ACEC2012.
Making my presentation debut at Australia’s national ICT conference was a personal milestone, one which I will remember for many years to come. The fact that I had a full house, and received such wonderful feedback on the ‘passion’ of my presentation, was a welcome recognition that my work is valued beyond the emotional roller-coaster of my day-to-day teaching practice.
I knew that my work in global education was respected by educators around the world, but I really appreciated the opportunity to sit down and talk to people whose teaching practice and educational outlook are being transformed through their engagement in the #globalclassroom community.
I’m a teacher. I may not have my own class, but I’m making an impact.
And I’m already looking forward to attending #ACEC2014 in Adelaide!