Our Grade 4 Pheasants class just finished a 30 min Skype chat with Mrs Beverly Ladd’s 2nd graders in Wilmington, NC, USA. Despite slight technical glitches on my side we still managed to have a strong, clear connection and it was fantastic! Mrs Ladd’s class is hosting a 24 hour around the world Skype marathon, and we participated in the 21st hour. It was nearly 3am in North Carolina!
Our students had prepared answers to questions that Mrs Ladd had shared with us when we signed up to take part. They were a little nervous, as this was their first Skype call, but after a run through of the questions and answers, we were ready for the call!
During the call we exchanged answers with Mrs Ladd’s students and also asked questions. We loved it when the students recited The Pledge of Allegiance and also when they sang America The Beautiful for us – so beautiful! We were proud to share information about our beautiful Table Mountain and one of our students showed them a photograph of it from her iPad. We also shared a little bit of information about our school and also about Cape Town – especially the wonderful things you can do in Cape Town, such as visiting Ratanga Junction and the Waterfront.
After the call Mrs Sinclair took time to go back to the Google map showing where all the participating classes were and then we looked at where Cape Town is in relation to Pine Valley Elementary. This led to a discussion on time differences and time zones – such a teaching moment! The possibilities are endless.
I take my hat off to Mrs Ladd and her students who have been Skyping for a full 24 hours! What an amazing learning opportunity to find out so much about the rest of the world in such a visual and meaningful way. Skype is an amazing connection tool for the classroom. We need to make use of it more and create more such teaching moments for our students. This is real life learning at its best.
Well done Mrs Ladd’s class, and thank you for the opportunity to participate.
As the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing broke across the world, so I also received the news that The Travelling Rhinos wiki is a finalist in the Best Wikis in Education category of the Edublogs Awards 2013! I am truly honoured to be in great company, as the other finalists are fine examples of how wikis can be put to full use in the educational sphere. What a fitting way to celebrate the FIRST birthday of this project!
If you like what you see, I would really appreciate your vote! For instructions on how to vote go here and scroll down for more information.
To vote, click on the image below:
Today the world awoke to a storm. Nelson Mandela, iconic leader, inspirational human being and father of the new South Africa has died. An overwhelming feeling of sadness is in the air, a nation in shock. My own raw emotions welled up inside me as I relived the loss of my own father just a short six months ago. Today I revisited those emotions as I watched the tributes to this great man come pouring in on television, radio, in the newspapers and all platforms of social media. The world mourns with us.
Then, in my email inbox I find a personal letter of condolence from a Global Classroom Project teacher who I have never met, but have worked with on more than one occasion in the past year, whom I now regard as more than an acquaintance, a friend. A letter so comforting, sharing in our pain as a nation and offering words of comfort and compassion from afar. I will not name that person, she will know who I am referring to when she reads this blog post. Her letter has meant so much to me this morning. I am eternally grateful.
This is the spirit of the Global Classroom Project. This is the world Nelson Mandela would want us to live in, a world where we share each other’s success and joys, a world where we can come together and spread peace and love and share dreams for a better future. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful community. May we grow in strength together.
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!
Are you interested in flattening your classroom walls & creating a global classroom?
Earlier this year I became aware of a conversation on Twitter (where else?) around the possibility of a global collaboration project. I followed it with great interest and saw the idea come to fruition. Deb Frazier (@frazierde) from the USA came up with the project idea and with the help of Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) from Australia, began co-ordinating a small project which has now grown to huge proportions! I was very interested and when the appeal for help when out, I quickly got involved. I set up the project’s Facebook group and am now also a co-contributor on the Global Classroom Blog. Please go over there and take a look.
Over the next year, a range of projects, cultural exchanges, and global conversations involving over 110 teachers (2000+ students) from 25 countries across 6 continents will be hosted. These numbers grow almost daily! There are 3 groups of participants i.e. Grades K-3, Grades 4-6 and Grades 7-12 (ages 5 to 18).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your class could take part in one of these global projects? All these projects and more, run until June next year, so you don’t have to do anything right now – the school year is coming to an end, BUT you could start the New Year off with a “bang”!! Some of these projects are easy and can run in the “background” while you continue with your year’s work, but they are fun and so educational – your class could be talking to and communicating with kids from New Zealand, Australia, the USA or the UK (to mention only a few). Please click on the links in the blog and take a look at what teachers around the world are doing!
For more information, please go to the project wiki – and while you’re there, sign up for a project!