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Using my image without attribution is NOT ok!

As an ICT integrator and teacher, I place a strong emphasis on teaching my students and colleagues about why and how we attribute online images and creative works. I also take the time to teach them how to find Creative Commons and Public Domain works we have permission to use in our projects, so long as we provide the relevant attribution.

As a professional educator and presenter, I endeavour to model best practice with image attribution in my teaching and presentations, sometimes with surprising results – see a post on this topic from 2013. I’m trying to set an example, but I know I’m not perfect. I didn’t always attribute images properly, especially in my early years.

Today; however, I discovered why image attribution is so important. 

This picture, taken off Twitter, and cropped to avoid publicly identifying the presenter, contains two unattributed images, of which I happen to know the creators.

CR6jEN0UsAEa8q7 (1)


The first image, featuring a quote by Sarah Breathnach happens to be mine.

I can’t claim one of the most deeply meaningful quotes I’ve ever found, but I can claim the image. Made in Canva, it was uploaded and prominently featured on my organisation’s website from October 2014 – around July 2015.

This happens to be the original, which was not published under a Creative Commons license. .

The second image, of children holding up the globe, is by a Global Classroom Project guest blogger, published on our blog here in January 2013. Looking at the copyright statement on the creator’s professional blog, this image is technically copyright.

Neither of these images can be sourced through Google Advanced Image Search (usage rights), or through Creative Commons search engines. In fact, there are better CC/PD alternatives that could have been used instead.

Why is this an issue?

I have two major issues with the use of these images.

Firstly, my image was used (and modified) without permission, either implied or requested. Under normal circumstances, if asked, I would have agreed for this image to be reproduced under a Creative Commons – Attribution – Non Commercial license.

Secondly, the image was used in what can be technically described as a commercial presentation held in Australia, organised by an overseas presenter, and requiring payment from attendees. Whether the presenter was paid for this event is not the point. I am not comfortable with other people using my work for these kinds of events, particularly when they use it without permission.

Using my images without permission or attribution is NOT ok. 

I’m sharing this post in the hope that other people will learn from my experience. Perhaps the presenter in question might read it, and reconsider how he selects and attributes images in future presentations.

No hard feelings mate, but if you’d like to use my images in future, please ask. Or at the very least, give them a meaningful attribution.

Thank you. 

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On becoming an #ISTE Emerging Leader, Class of 2015

iste 2015

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.

Then, after practically giving up my search for a school which valued my ICT and global education expertise, I found one … by accident. As I returned for the 2015 school year, in a new ICT integration/coaching role, I applied for the Apple Distinguished Educator program, and several International Society for Technology Education Awards, showcasing my work at school & with The Global Classroom Project.

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!

ISTE 2015 Awards_MG_9400_reduced
ISTE Awards Luncheon
A special moment with my fellow Emerging Leaders Mary Ellen Weeks and Kimberley Lowden, both from the USA.

2014: “As one door closes, another opens” …

CC-BY-NC Michael Graffin
CC-BY-NC Michael Graffin


The 2014 school year did not start particularly well.

As a result of State Government funding cuts to education, and other unrelated factors, I experienced my worst start to the relief teaching year since I graduated six years ago. In addition, I’d returned to postgraduate study, and was struggling to cope with my overly ambitious academic workload. Suffice to say the first half of 2014 was not a pleasant time.

It is ironic then, that I am now glad that my relief phone stopped ringing … as it led to my applying for, and winning an ICT teaching position at a top private girls school in June. I had no idea that I would find myself working for an administration who share my philosophy and vision for the use of ICT to support students’ learning, and who genuinely model pastoral care for their staff. After many years working in an often uncaring, indifferent Government education system (there was a lot I couldn’t share in this post), I have no desire to go back.

2014 was the year:

  • I keynoted the inaugural #OZeLive online conference, which will return in February 2015
  • I returned to postgraduate study at Notre Dame University, with excellent academic results (despite an overwhelming start).
  • I travelled to Sydney, Australia for two amazing conferences – Flat Connections and #Slide2Learn 2014, meeting many wonderful Twitter friends for the first time.
  • My global education work was featured in Neville Bruce’s TEDx Perth presentation on ‘Education for World Futures’.
  • I started working at my new school, one which I am proud to call home for another year.
  • I received the incredible news that I will be presenting two group poster sessions, and an iPad workshop at the #ISTE15 conference in Philadelphia, USA.


As one door closes, another opens …

In 2014, I’ve finally started my transition out of relief teaching, after five and half years on the road. It has been a mostly positive journey, but the time has come to leave it behind. While I probably stayed in that role for too long (it took a high emotional toll), I am grateful for the opportunity which now presents itself. I’m about to start my first ‘long term’ part-time contract in a Catholic school; a school where I finally feel free to learn, grow, innovate, and push the boundaries of what is possible with ICT.  


Things Come in Elevens … Part 2

Please feel free to thank (blame!) Theresa Allen for dropping me into the “11 Questions” meme that’s been doing the rounds of late.

Part 2

  1. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

  2. List 11 bloggers.

  3. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.


11 Answers to 11 Questions

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc


1) If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?

Hmm. I’d like to see more humanity and compassion, particularly amongst our political leaders.

2) Should people care more about doing the right thing, or doing things right? Why?

It’s important for people to do what’s right for them, to the best of their ability. If this means bending the rules, not conforming to the norms, then so be it … providing this is done for the good of others.

3) What things hold you back from doing the things that you really want to?

Lack of understanding and acceptance of creative thinking in schools where the students need it the most. Given the space and degree of freedom I need, I believe I could make a difference for students who are disengaged, alienated, or disadvantaged by the school system.

4) What makes you, you?

Good question. A commitment to living life one step at a time, to the best of my ability,  with the aim of making a small, but positive change in the world.

5) What makes a good friend?

A friend is someone you can share a laugh with, someone who is there when you need them. It doesn’t matter if they are ‘real world’ or online friends … both have made a difference in my life.

6) What was/is your favorite class in college/university?  Why?

The (contested) history of “The Pacific War” and the “Convict History of Australia”. Both these classes were taught by brilliant lecturers who loved their subject, and if I wasn’t a teacher, I’d be a historian. I loved every minute of my History studies.

7) What is an important thing people should know about educators?

Teaching is a difficult, stressful profession. Treat new teachers with respect and courtesy, and give them the space to learn their craft. We’re doing our best.

8) What is your favorite grade to teach?  Why?

Roughly Grades 4-5, as the students are generally keen to learn. I prefer teaching older students, as you can go into topics in more depth than you can with little people.

9) Who/what inspired you to be who you want to be or are today?

Besides my parents, there are a few people who’ve shaped who I’ve become today. One in particular was not so much an inspiration, but someone who believed in me, and fought to ensure I had a fair go. There are also a number of people in my online PLN who I see as role models for the educator I hope to become.

10) What is the best age to be?  Why?

Umm, no idea.

11) Where do you want to travel?

How long is the list? New Zealand, Singapore, USA, Canada, Argentina, and Peru would be relatively high on the list.

Your Turn

After some careful thought, I’d like to invite these people to take up the challenge.

As people who have variously inspired, guided, and informed my global journey,  I’d love to learn more about who they are, and what they stand for.  I know some are very busy with other projects, but I’m happy to give them as much time as they need 🙂 No pressure!

Deb Frazier

Edna Sackson

Clive Elsmore

Andrew Woodman

Michael-Ann Cerniglia

Julie Lindsay

Vijay Krishnan

Vicki Davis

Maria Colussa

Lisa Parisi

Kerry Muste


Your Questions

1) Who are you?

2) Can you share a defining moment in your journey as an educator?

3) If you were given the opportunity to take a year off your regular job, where would you go, and what would you do?

4) What advice would you give to pre-service and early years teachers, who are starting to find their way in the profession?

5) Who was your favourite teacher as a young person? What made them so memorable?

6) If you could share a dinner with two online friends, who would you invite? Why?

7) What is your favourite food / dessert? (Please share the recipe if you can)

8) Can you share a photograph, artwork, or video, and briefly explain what makes it special to you?

9) Do you have a particular song / anthem which is special to you? Why?

10) Do you, or your family, have a special place you enjoy exploring or spending time in?

11) If you could meet a historical figure from any time period, who would you want to meet, and why?


Things Come in Elevens … Part 1


Please feel free to thank (blame!) Theresa Allen for dropping me into the “11 Questions” meme that’s been doing the rounds of late.

I’m going to publish my response in two parts, and I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about who I am, and what I stand for. Be warned, I have a list of 11 people who I’m going to challenge to do the same 🙂 Stay tuned!

Part 1

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.

Part 2 (Coming)

  1. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

  2. List 11 bloggers.

  3. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.


11 Random Facts about Me

1) I like listening to music that was popular before I was born … I do like some modern music, including some local Western Australian bands like Birds of Tokyo and Eskimo Joe,  but I can sing along to most of the major hits of the 1980s.

2) Curiously, I also love classical music (anything but opera), and regularly attend classical concerts. Some past highlights include Mozart’s Requiem, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and Mozart’s Piano Concertos.

3) I’m a keen photographer, and am currently the proud owner of a Nikon D7000 SLR. I enjoy taking photos of architecture, landscapes, and large scale panoramas, although I am sometimes 6 months behind in editing my images.

4) For some years I’ve documented the workings of Fremantle Ports. Recently, I was leafing through a maritime history book, and realised I was present for some of the significant cruise ship arrivals depicted (e.g. the Queen Mary II). In one case I believe I was standing next to the photographer whose work appeared in the book 🙂

5) My trip to Doha, Qatar in June 2013 was my first international trip, and first plane flight, in over 20 years. I travelled the world when I was three years old, and can’t remember any of it 🙁

6) I have never travelled to the Eastern States of Australia. I will make my first trip ‘East’ in June 2014, when I will attend the Flat Connections Conference in Sydney.

7) I am lucky enough to live with my family; Mum, Dad, and two sisters. We don’t have any pets, although for the past few weeks we’ve had a stray chicken roaming our backyard. Nicknamed “Free Range”, the little sod recently decided to sit at our back door ‘screeching’ in the early hours of the morning – wearing out her welcome.

Miss "Free Range" aka "Miss Squawkalot" aka "THAT BIRD"
Miss “Free Range” aka “Miss Squawkalot” aka “THAT BIRD”

8) I like playing computer and IPad games. I’m currently playing the strategic online multiplayer “Galaxy on Fire Alliances”,, and have earned a degree of notoriety amongst my students for being the teacher who (occasionally) plays Minecraft. I haven’t played for a while, as GoFA takes up most of my spare time.

9) As a stamp collector, I love tracing the history of countries through the changes to their postage stamps. While I started collecting at age 8, I haven’t delved into the collection for a while. It’s probably time to go back to it.

10) I have diverse reading interests, but my bookcase is full of science fiction and fantasy novels. I have 26 Terry Pratchett ‘Discworld’ novels, and an almost complete collection of L.E Modesitt’s ‘Saga of Recluce’. I’ve read them all about 2-3 times on average.

11) Not having a television, I spend a lot of time listening to the radio and surfing the web. I’m writing this post while listening to the cricket, the final Ashes Test (Australia vs English). Suffice to say the English are not particularly performing well 😛


Anyway, stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll answer Theresa’s questions, and come up with a few of my own. It will be published in a few days.

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Edublogs Award Nominations 2013

Keeping my nominations short and simple this year 🙂

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Three Years. A Relief Teacher’s Blogging Journey

Well, what can I say?

Three years ago today, I was a recovering first year teacher struggling to find my voice and calling in my profession. Today, I’m in Doha, Qatar, on the eve of the 20th iEARN International Conference.

For me, blogging has been an outlet, a way to share my experiences, thoughts, and learning with others. I used to feel isolated and alone, but no more.

I used to be obsessed with statistics … could anyone actually be interested in reading about my experiences? Now, the statistics don’t matter so much … because I know.

The past three years have been a roller-coaster journey. There have been stories of heartbreak, triumph, elation, and heartfelt thanks … but I stand here today with no regrets, secure in the knowledge that I have a voice on the world stage, secure in the knowledge that I’ve giving back to this wonderful global community which has given me so much, and more.

Here’s to another three years … God knows where I’ll be, but I’m looking forward to finding out 🙂



2012: A Year of Exploring Possibilities

“Bather’s Beach” – By Michael Graffin (2012)

My blog is very much a reflection of my teaching journey over the past few years …

2010 was very much a year of experimentation, of learning, and finding my feet – as a relief teacher & a connected on-line educator.

2011 was a “Year of Change“, but with the benefit of hindsight, the lessons & outcomes of that painful, tumultuous year have more than compensated for the agony I went through.

So, what were my experiences of 2012?


2012 was “A Year of Exploring Possibilities” 

Mr Davo Devil checking out the #globalclassroom scrapbook

This has been an interesting year. I’ve had my ups and downs, but overall it was a positive, meaningful year.

Some significant moments include:

This was a year where my skills and expertise were recognised and appreciated locally, as well as internationally. Working with Jenny on the TIPS2012 project was a rich learning experience, and my involvement with iEARN Australia has thrown up some wonderful opportunities for 2013.

A huge thank you also goes to Nigel Mitchell (my ACEC 2012 co-presenter), Kathryn Edwards of Peach MediaKesha Busing of RIC Publicationsand Mal Lee. You’ve helped shape an amazing year, and I hope we have the opportunity to work with each other in the years to come.


My favourite posts of 2012

This year, I haven’t blogged as often as I’d have liked; however, there are a few posts of which I’m particularly proud.

Thank You Mr P.

Perhaps my most heart-felt, emotional post of the year, which came as a bit of a shock for Mr P. 

Life, Language, Laughter, Skype

The Hello Little World Skypers and Global Classroom Skype groups have had a profound impact on my personal and professional life. I treasure the relationships and friendships I’ve formed through these groups, and hope to start meeting some of the members f2f over the years to come.  

Teacherpreneurs – Connect, Create & Collaborate

Part of my series of posts from the Flat Classroom Book Club earlier this year, this post was an ‘ah-ha’ moment. My engagement in the book club marked the start of an emerging, and extremely important relationship with Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay of The Flat Classroom Project.


Publications / Articles / Podcasts

2012 has been a busy year, marking the first time I’ve had my name in print.


Collaboration in learning: transcending the classroom walls by Mal Lee and Lorraine Ward

I was lucky enough to contribute to the research underpinning this book, and I look forward to its’ release in early 2013. For some detail on the research, and the findings, please have a read of Mal and Lorraine’s research paper.

The Global Classroom Project –  Classroom 2.0 Book Submission

Things have gone quiet about this project; however, the more reads we receive, the more likely we are to be published in the print edition of the Classroom 2.0 Book. Your assistance has been greatly appreciated!


Teacher Feature 

Education Matters – Primary & Secondary Magazine 2012/13

Education Matters Magazine      Teacher Feature (2012) (PDF)


Learning, sharing and collaborating globally in the early years: Stories from the Global Classroom Project

Class Ideas K-3 Magazine (Early 2013 Release)

With contributions from #globalclassroom teachers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, and Lebanon, this was the first magazine article I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait to see it in print next year. I’ll post a link to the online version when it becomes available.



A World of Difference -The Virtual Staffroom Podcast

This interview with Chris Betcher, Theresa Allen, and Lisa Parisi was a huge confidence booster, and a great way to start the year. I forgot to link to it from my blog at the time; however, I’d highly recommend having a listen. You can find it via the link above, or find it on iTunes. Thanks Chris 🙂


Looking Forward to 2013

2013 is going to be an exciting year!

Flickr CC-NC-SA by Lυвαιв

I’ll be presenting at the Science Teachers of Western Australia Conference in May, and travelling to Doha, Qatar for iEARN 2013.

I’m hoping the Qatar trip will be the first of many, as I’d like to do a little travelling & meet a few international friends over the next few years. If that means I relief teach for a few more years, then so be it. It will be worth it.

Let’s see how we go.

Happy New Year.



Life is full of surprises

Over the course of this year, I’ve made some amazing connections through this blog, including some unexpected connections with local Western Australian relief (substitute) teachers.

Relief teaching can be a lonely profession. To the best of my knowledge, there are only a handful of relief / substitute teacher bloggers, yet I’ve discovered that there are quite a few reading my blog.

Flickr CC-NC-SA Image by Todd Berman


I know my content has evolved significantly over the past (nearly two) years,, a reflection perhaps of the “Journey” mentioned in the title, yet my musings on relief teaching and classroom management continue to drive most of my blog traffic.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was contacted by several relief teachers, and one recently graduated teacher, working right here in Western Australia. We’ve corresponded via email and Twitter; swapping ideas, sharing experiences, and supporting each-other behind the scenes.

It’s a beginning

We may work in a lonely profession, but there is a wonderful opportunity for us relief and substitute teachers to share, connect, and collaborate virtually, and maybe later, face-to-face. We all have a story to tell, and it is time we started sharing them.

It has taken several years for my work to start attracting attention here in Western Australia, and while my work is well known internationally, these local connections are something I particularly treasure. I know I’m not alone, and I look forward to becoming further involved in the growth of my local education networks.

We live in interesting times.

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Edublog Awards 2012 Nominations

This year, I almost missed the Edublog Awards entirely …. but based on the feedback and experience of last year, I’ve decided to nominate a few organisations which have made an incredible impact on me over the past year.

Best free web tool

Wikispaces – A tool which underpins so much of my work in #globalclassroom.


Best Educational Use of a Social Network

Hello Little World Skypers – Although I fear HLW won’t make the final list, this little Skype Community has been simply the BEST professional learning group I am involved in. For the connections, the learning, and the cultural exchanges – which happen 24/7 – 365 days a year.


Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast

The EdTech Crew. The most influential podcast I listened to in 2012.


Best open PD / unconference / webinar series

The Global Education Conference 2012. Simply the best online PD for global educators like myself.

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