Monthly Archives: February 2013
Today I woke up to a very pleasant surprise – a blog post about The Travelling Rhinos Project written by a teacher in Korea (Nick Corben) whose class will be hosting a rhino soon. I was very impressed by the post and very honoured to have my project promoted in this way. Below is the blog post as it appears on Nick’s blog (http://goo.gl/KLkdO), with his permission, of course!
The Travelling Rhino Project
In my last post, Have you thought about Going Global? I stated:
‘The new school of education is global collaboration. Open the door to find a whole new world!’
Actions speak louder than words. Practice what you preach. If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk!
You’ve heard all these clichés before, they all mean the same thing, back up your talk with actions…
So, after thinking about it for several days I thought, ‘Why not now?’ ‘What am I waiting for?’ I decided that I didn’t want to do the same Flat Classroom project that I did last timeand through my Twitter feed came across the Global Classroom Project.
After spending some time looking through this informative and intriguing website I signed up to be a ‘Mystery Skype caller.’ Essentially, I was added to a database of other teachers from around the globe who are interested in connecting their students. The Mystery Skype provides an engaging and fun way for individuals and classes to interact with each other, while developing communication, critical thinking and mapping skills. The project goals are listed here.
Further down the homepage I came across several good global collaborative projects my students and I could really get involved in. One of these really stood out for me; run by mentor teacher, Karen Stadler, an ICT Integration Co-ordinator for Elkanah House’sSenior Primary campus in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Travelling Rhino Project began life in July 2012 when Karen visited Kruger National Park and saw these magnificent animals up close and personal. Little did she realise these rhinos were under attack from greedy poachers who have been killing them at such a rate, they will likely be extinct by approximately 2020.
The aims of the project are to educate children about these animals; to raise awareness of their situation; to unite people of the world in protecting the rhinos for future generations and a hope that action can be taken against the perpetrators.
I chose this project because I loved the way that Karen has a real personal interest and passion in the rhinos and I felt very persuaded when I read the information on the wiki she had made. I felt that my students and I could try to make a difference and help the cause.
The activities Karen suggested are good because they allow for individual, small group or larger team activities which could be done at school or home. Additionally, I will get my students to think about and develop their own ideas, allowing their creative juices to flow! Speaking of being creative, on 29 October 2012, Karen and her team managed to form a human rhino on their school field, comprising of 414 pupils!
As there are other schools around the world taking part there will be lots of opportunities to share, collaborate, evaluate and discuss. We will be able to use my Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up-to-date with developments, Skype for real time communication and the wiki, blogs, Google Drive and other web 2.0 tools for our own project developments.
I will also use the iste NETS standards to guide and evaluate what the students are doing.
The NETS set a standard of excellence and best practices in learning, teaching, and leading with technology in education.
When I received the good news from Karen that my class and I would be part of the Travelling Rhino project, I was very excited as you might imagine! (It was 3am and I received a tweet on my phone)
I think Karen was happy too!
Whilst laying in bed and almost falling asleep, ‘What does it mean to disconnect?’ I had a good idea for my classes big ‘project kick off.’
I thought this would really make a good connection with my students, stimulate their minds and motivate them into action. It wouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes but would be very powerful.
Now that my class and I have been accepted into a global project, isn’t it about time your class did the same?
If you would like to follow the project developments or be part of it yourself, here are the contact details.
‘LIKE’ our page on FACEBOOK :
FOLLOW us on TWITTER:
Use our hashtag: #travellingrhinosproject
EMAIL project co-ordinator, Karen Stadler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Nick for such an in-depth review of my project. I am looking forward to seeing what your class does when Zindzi arrives!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a photograph of 5 rhinos taken in the Kruger National Park, the inspiration for my Travelling Rhinos Project, would spark off such interest and enthusiasm amongst the classes that have signed up!
What started off as an ambitious idea has grown into something so much more than just a project. It has sparked conversation, debate, inquiry and creativity.
The Twitter feed is constant, with daily feedback and photo sharing, and the Facebook page is a hive of activity with the number of ‘Likes’ growing at a steady pace. With 35 classes from around the globe already signed up, and more inquiries coming in, I can see this project running for more than just the year I had originally planned.
I’ve become a Skype expert overnight, having had Skype calls every week for the past four weeks! I’ve had the pleasure of doing two Mystery Skype calls – one with a Grade 7 class in Bridgenorth, Ontario, Canada (they took only 9 minutes to pinpoint my location) and another with a Grade 4/5 class in Guelph, Ontario, Canada (they took 11 minutes to pinpoint my location). I have also been interviewed by the Grade 5 Denton Dynamos in New York, and just last night I had a lovely chat with Grade 5 class in Surrey, BC, Canada. I’ve learnt that I have to have my answers ready – the children have good questions and they require informed answers!
The quality of the contributions by the different classes is simply astounding. They have created art works, videos, presentations, written letters to their local newspapers, designed t-shirts and more. The reaction to this project has been nothing less than astounding! I cannot wait to see what else the other classes come up with!