Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Four countries, Four educators, Four NEW global collaborations

Celebration of global learning!

Graduates from the Flat Connections Global Educator 14-2 cohort recently presented their final global project ideas in a formal presentation. This is the culmination of 12 weeks of learning that includes the 'Seven steps to flatten your classroom' as well as global project design and management. These global educators honed in on new ideas and experiences via regular synchronous as well as asynchronous communication and team as well as individual assignment work.

These NEW global project and curriculum ideas are presented here with the hope that others will reach out and contact organisers and join in!

Remember: the next Flat Connections Global Educator course starts in February 2015 - READ MORE and APPLY to join other educators across the world to take your learning global.

Travel2School - Sonya Van Schaijik (Auckland, New Zealand)

This project looks at how students travel to school. The first phase of the project will include students from Auckland and then the second phase will invite global participants. Each phase will take about 10 weeks. The project is designed for grades 3-6, age 7-10.
The project is aligned with the New Zealand key competencies and levels 2 and 3 of national curriculum.
The initial idea of this project is exploring getting to school safely with a focus on also on health benefits and turning city planning around - not just keeping pedestrians safe but building cities for pedestrians.
Tools proposed - Padlet, TitanPad, Skooville, Google drive, wikispaces. Skype

The goal is for children to make a difference by exploring issues and designing new outcomes.
The use of Minecraft and Sketchup will be encouraged to design new city areas and create new planning models to share with the wider community.
Read Sonya's blog post: Flat Connections
Connect with Sonya: @vanschaijik

Tell my Story - Martine Blanchet (Winnipeg, Canada)

This project is a Grade 2-4 french language immersion (written and oral). It also focuses on digital storytelling and retelling skills.
It starts with a simple handshake activity where students introduce their favourite stuffed toy.
Each student will then collaborate to write a story for sharing. These stories are shared with another class and re-created in digital format. These digital stories are then shared with yet another class and the story is retold in French using audio software and Web 2.0 tools.
This project has great potential as it encourages creativity amongst students as they devise and then retell stories and it also supports language acquisition and sharing.
Connect with Martine:  @mblanrun

Celebrating Cultural Diversity and Our Shared Global Environment - Ann Rooney (Adelaide, Australia)

This global project design focuses on first nation people and whales. It links specifically with the Australian national curriculum and aligns with all ISTE standards for students.
It is designed for upper middle and high school students and has carefully set out processes where students are put into cross-classroom teams for collaboration. The handshake activity is unique as students are asked to create a 'diversity tile' to introduce themselves.
Collaborative research across countries exploring the history and current situation with whales including cultural aspects culminates in a personal multimedia artefact produced by all students. Teacher-sourcing is a key feature of this project, as with Flat Connections global projects, as teachers need to be present and active to guide students (not just their own) and promote digital citizenship.
Read Ann's blog post - Online Friendships
Connect with Ann: @AnnRooney6


Who am I? An inquiry into cultural identity - Julie Carey (Colorado, USA)

This global project brings together minority groups with the guiding question 'Why is culture important? It aligns with social studies, world languages and other curriculum standards as well as all ISTE standards for students
Julie has already started this project with two schools in the western USA and linked them using technology with the purpose of sharing ideas and exploring difference cultures.
The main focus is on creating eBooks about the students' culture that can be shared globally. These eBooks will be collaborative and include learning new skills with technology tools, and also be bilingual.
A feature of this project is the group and then individual handshake expectation where students get to know each other through sharing cultural and personal qualities.
Review the slideshow below for evidence of project development, including teacher testimonials from the Navajo School.
Connect with Julie: @JuliesWords1

Congratulations to Sonya, Martine, Ann and Julie! Welcome to the Flat Connections Global Educator community! We look forward to supporting your global ideas, interactions and projects as you encourage more educators to take their classrooms global.

Readers of this blog post, don't forget to review Flat Connections global projects for all levels of K-12. All projects run twice a year starting in February and September. Applications are OPEN NOW for February 2015. We encourage you to also view our growing list of PARTNER global projects.

Subscribe to Flat Connections News to be updated on all global projects, teacher professional development and live events!

This blog post has been cross-posted with Flat Blog 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Applause for student presenters - Global Education Conference 2014

The recent Global Education Conference (totally online for 5 full days, totally free) had a number of student-led and student-centred presentations. What a great experience for these students to present to a global audience, and what a unique opportunity for the audience to hear from the students about their global learning!

Here are brief details and links to session descriptions and presentation recordings. The YELLOW highlight indicates Flat Connections Global Educators and their students. Flat Connections was a sponsor of the Global Education Conference 2014.

Sarah Burke and @lesliedavison
Summit High School

Paramita Roy and students in Gr 6 and 8
St Dominic’s Priory College (Adelaide, Australia)


Max Bone - Student
Oakland Christian School

Tina Vasquez and students 
Charlottesville High School and University of Virginia

Kern Kelley - Central Maine

Lillian Chu Hsiung - Dwight School
Recording (not found)

Eva Brown - Red River College Canada
This session features students at the university level!
See the Flipping PD wiki

Marymount School of New York - Students

Amy Jambor & Sheri Williams and students from the Flat Connections Global Project
Berea District, Ohio

Senior students talk about their flat learning experience
They share the skills they developed while in the Flat Connections Global Project

Toni Olivieri-Barton, Laura Israelsen, Cindy Nickodam and students from the Flat Connections 'A Week in the Life...' Project

Theresa Allen and Helen McConaghy and students from the Flat Connections Digiteen/Digitween Projects

Sharing global handshakes
Digiteen student in Joliet, USA participating in GEC

Digiteen/Tween presentation by students

Captured form the chat window during GEC student presentation

Screenshot of presentation in session

Anne Mirtschin and Grade 7 students from Australia

Sharon Brown-Peters and students from ASB, India

Kathy Bosiak and students Lincolnton High School

I encourage teachers and students to consider joining the Global Education Conference 2015 and share your global collaborations and learning.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

WISE 2014 - Cognitive Science Debate raises awareness of learning potential

In the first week of November this year I was delighted to once again attend the WISE event for 2014 (World Innovation Summit in Education) located in Doha, Qatar. Each time I go to Doha I see more and more changes. I lived there for 2 years, 2007-2009 and was IT Director for K-12 at Qatar Academy, a school based right on Education City, opposite the Doha Convention Centre where WISE was held. This was my 4th WISE. It is still my favourite global conference and organisers do the most amazing job bringing together international experts across a large number of areas, K-12 as well as tertiary, government and NGO.

In past years I have usually attended and participated at a more passive level. This year I was invited at short notice to moderate a live debate. After taking a deep breath I agreed, and at one weeks notice worked on putting together the debate format and reading as much as I could about the topic - a topic I had no real expertise in, which I was told did not really matter as my experience and astute critical approach was conducive to the format required on the day.

The topic was to do with cognitive science - the screenshots below are from the WISE website.

Although a great challenge for me personally, it was a privilege to interact with and learn from Dr Ramia, Dr Koizumi and Dr Abadzi as their depth and breadth of knowledge was exceptional for this topic. I am going to recreate some of this debate here to show you what we discussed. I am hoping WISE might share the recording they made of the session on their website soon.

Here are some snapshots from the actual debate material.


There has been a groundswell of brain research over the last 30 years. The medical and educational communities, once disparate professions, now have common ground in addressing the physiological and psychological evidence for human cognition. 

To clarify from the beginning, Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the mind and its processes.

This topic is important now because…..
…..The bridge created between cognitive science and education means there may be pathways for cognitive science to inform learning approaches, pedagogy and therefore improved outcomes. With new information, we can reconsider many long held assumptions about instruction, learning, and assessment. This also has implications for policy and impacts government decisions internationally.

In this session we hope to….
…. learn more about cognitive science, demystify the concept and practice and what we can expect from it to improve education for all.
Are we having unreasonable expectations?
What are the good practices to learn from internationally?

The challenge for those not working in scientific fields is to understand the terminology and appreciate the actual science behind it. This video may help to clarify…….

Dr Abedzi shared insights into how our memory works

Neuromyths are common misconceptions about brain mechanisms, which are taken for granted in today's society. 
Cognomyths are beliefs that people can customarily learn in ways that they can't.

Globally a large range of cultural, emotional and developmental biases have influenced the types of unscientific ideas that have emerged. Some long-standing neuromyths are present in products for educators and this has helped them to spread in classrooms across the world.

 We also discussed creativity:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein

The topic of creativity is one example when exploring the broader issue of how to translate cognitive science findings into curricula or pedagogy.

I wanted to ask about this but we ran out of time:
The role of educational technology
Development and use of adaptive digital technologies - have potential to create more learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom and reshaping the human brain.
What about the move to using technology in the learning process - mobile devices, a move away from handwriting to digital communication.
Cohort studies very important. Attention span questions
Creating expectations of how you get information and interact with the environment
  • What are the implications here for learners in relation to cognitive science?
  • What role does or could educational technology play in this?
  • Is the development of educational software based on the findings of neuroscience?

Many interesting resources for cognitive science are now bookmarked in my Diigo account.

You must download this NEW publication by WISE Matters:
Explorations of Creativity: a Review for Educators and Policy Making by Helen Abadzi, Marialuisa Martelli and Silvia Primativo.