Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Nostalgia will NOT get my PhD finished.....but it is a nice diversion

Life is work, work is life....or should it be 'life is a beach'? I just don't know anymore....most days here at our beach home are the same right now. I am not working in a full time position, and yet I work full time. I would like to be working (money is a requirement to pay bills) however my FT contract with CSU finished in December....and I am waiting (patiently?) for something to come up again this year. 

I am working part time as an Adjunct, with two Masters level classes starting this week - about 50-60 students in total, so that will keep me busy. I am continuing to work on my business 'Flat Connections' - with some new projects being offered and a new professional learning opportunity launching this week - 'Online Global Collaborative Playbooks' - but although time consuming, this work does not warrent my full attention - the world generally continues to not want online global collaborative consultancy and all that I can offer right now - even the Victorian Education Department have not taken up my offer of a free webinar to local educators sharing 'how to' and first steps for online global collaborative learning in the classroom....I really think we are going backwards with online learning in K-12..... 

Odd picture of me levitating on South Golden Beach - haha - the power that comes through completing a PhD

My full time 'job' right now is my PhD.
I have flexibility of hours....and yet I still spend most hours of most days in my study working. I would like to get on with my career in Higher Education (what career?)....but I have to finish my PhD, as that may be (should be??) the door to new opportunities. I would like to write another book (and have a publisher waiting for a draft outline).....but I have to finish my PhD. I would like to get rid of this burden, this weight of study, this responsiblity of getting the thesis finished so I can 'break free'.....but I can' PhD analysis and 'originality' is the hardest challenge I have had for a long time (possibly for ever!). I started to blog about my PhD journey - but now I find it is 3 months since the last post - oh! Fail, fail, failure.....

You can tell I am starting to get delirious? Just a little?

So...amongst all the other things coming across my desk today....most of which is PhD angst.....for some reason I thought looking back on blog posts from 10 years ago was a good idea! I have blogged now since 2006.....and looking back at February 2008 was quite interesting. Not wanting to bore you with too many details, I do want to share this little nostalgic journey with you.....

February 7, 2008 - What a way to turn the day around
I am the IT Director at Qatar Academy, Doha, Qatar at this time.  This post brings back memories of the many technical issues we had due to 'those who know more than educators' continued to block Web 2.0 tools and disrupt class activities. Wikispaces is topical right now given the announcement to close - I am still wondering how I can archive 200+ wikis before July.....BTW - there is a dead link in the post, the Flat Classroom 2007 wiki is here -
Also, a couple of images are dead - in my excitement I posted images of the top of the  cake which was spectacular - BUT the pics had faces of some girls in my class - and they asked me not to post them online (of course!). The early heydey of Flat Classroom projects was exciting. Between now and when Wikispaces pulls the plug you can find all archives HERE and HERE.

February 18, 2008 - How to start shifting teachers: A successful model
Oh! The first time Kim Cofino and I worked togther - one of the very first consultancies she ever did - and look at Kim now! We were so excited to have Kim join us at Qatar Academy and share her expertise and passion. The PD model we started at this time has grown and developed since.....and is still a large part of how I approach workshops and professional learning with teachers - and how Kim does as well.

February 25, 2008 - Another look into the 'Fischbowl' of 21st Century Learning
Do you remember Karl Fisch? An amazing educator in Colorado and prolific sharer of learning. Google him - and you will see how wonderfully he permeated our lives and psyches 10 years ago. This post is about joining one of the 'Fischbowl'...well actually 'fishbowl' ...virtual sessions. I believe this is one of the most innovative uses of technology I was fortunate to be a participant in then...and since.

Thanks for making it to the end of this post.......

Julie Lindsay
Unemployed PhD student......Life IS a beach

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

  • Almost totally DISAGREE with this blog post - banning technology does not work. It is not the technology at fault it is the lack of new pedagogical approach by the teacher to accommodate new ways of working. It is not the students fault - it is the teacher at fault. Consider implementing a backchannel or other forms of interactive learning during the lecture - everyone is bored during a 'sit and get' experience - the teacher must learn new approaches and utilise mobile technologies better rather than blaming students for not thinking and therefor banning.

    tags: education HigherEducation backchannel

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

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The ultimate high school global collaboration - a reflection and call to action

 Flat Connections Global Project - the ULTIMATE high school project

It is February....and once again I am in communication with schools and teachers encouraging participation in online global collaborative learning, specifically in conjunction with building Flat Connections global projects for this semester. 

Once again I am wondering WHAT is going on in schools and classrooms around the world where online collaborative and online global collaborative learning and innovation is not taking place. My PhD research (thesis to be completed this year!) is providing additional insight and deeper understanding of the 'condition' of learning around the world and to be honest I am inspired by the few who are out there pushing boundaries, but for the vast majority I continue to wonder (jokingly) what century they are living in....? 

Right now I am looking for more classrooms to join what I consider the 'ultimate' high school online global collaborative project. The Flat Connections Global Project is for Grades 9-12. It provides a platform for older students to connect with each other, communciate and collaborate and co-create understanding around technology-based and futuristic topics. Students also create a personal piece of multimedia that is shared with the group and viewed by international judges for awards and celebration of achievment (a bit of fun and acknowledgement of student efforts). This project is interdisciplinary - we have ICT, Technology, World History, Social Studies, Health Studies, and other classes join the project in a 'flattened' learning environment where connected learning, community learning and virtual collaboration are the norm.

The project workflow is structured and managed by two Flat Connections Project Managers (Amy Jambor and Sheri Williams), who themselves have classes in the project - and have done so for many years. Students work in cross-classroom teams and communicate via the FCGP Ning - mostly asynchronously but the chat facility via the Ning provides for interesting cross-classroom communication and banter. Students also have the chance to take on leadership roles and help direct and facilitate learning amongst teams.

This project is NOT a typical school assignment - it takes learning to a whole new level of student autonomy and teacher facilitation. It builds capacity with online learning (skills and approaches) and fosters a global perspective of the world not possible by reading a textbook. This global collaborative experience is BEYOND TEXTBOOK LEARNING.

Reflection on flat learning

It is now more than 10 years since the very first Flat Classroom Project started in late 2006 (predecessor of the Flat Connections Global Project). It is also more than 10 years since Tom Friedman wrote about this project in the 2007 edition of The World is Flat. Looking back now on that excerpt, pp. 501-503, it feels like yesterday (of course) and yet I continue to explain why global collaborative learning is 10 years I really thought there would have been more movement in school systems and better understanding of how to achieve global education, global competency, global citizenship goals through online global collaboration. Thre is a lot of talk in education about 'innovation' - I don't see how schools who still put up walls and block access to online learning can call themselves innovative - do you?

As Friedman stated, 
 "Two teachers from opposite sides of the globe decided that they could take advantage of the flat world to teach about collaboration in a totally different way - and they did so without waiting for any administrator to change their curricula or direct them from above" (p. 501).
"Not only did the project give the students "intentional knowledge" - knowledge that techers intend for them to learn - they also gain "unintentional" knowledge that comes from the experience of collaborating with people halfway across the world" (p. 503).

 My CALL to ACTION for educators:

  • Explore global collaborative learning through the range of projects available online today - including but not exclusively Flat Connections
  • Discuss with colleagues and administrators as to how this can be embedded into the curriculum - or if you are autonomous in your own classroom, redesign your curriculum to make it work
  • Find like-minded educators to collaborate with (Flat Connections already has that one covered of course!)
  • Choose tools that support online connection, communication and collaboration  
  • Design learning with clear objectives - when will the project start? what will students do? what are the outcomes? what is expected of teacher collaborators?
  • Share, share, share - make learning open to others via online spaces
  • Don't allow others stop you from doing this - do not take 'no' for an answer
    • Your grade level team says 'no' - then suggest you pilot a global collaboration in your class first
    • Your Curriculum Coordinator says 'no' - then meet and redesign the curriuclum approach - and make sure you stress that online global projects support multiple literacies - they are NOT instead of! Joining a project does not mean students are 'mising out' on vital time in the classroom to become literate - they are in fact getting a much better experience as part of literacy development - reading, communicating, writing, ICT etc.
    • Your IT Director says 'no' - then meet and discuss tools and online access
    • Your Principal says 'no' - then start the education process for your school leaders - suggest they read 'The Global Educator', and access the blog series sharing all 36 case studies; watch the keynote trilogy - Global Narratives, Collaboration on the Edge, or for a quick fix watch Julie's Learn2talk from the Learning2 conference 2017 - Global Collaboration: Learning on the Edge.

Meanwhile - if you are interested in jumping into the next Flat Connections Global Project starting the week of February 19 we welcome you to apply via the Flat Connections website (where you can read more details about the project) - or email Julie directly!

Remember - global educators do not take 'no' for an answer, they plan and implement relevant inspiring and collaborative experiences for their students; they know which century they are in and use digital and online tools with confidence. Is this you? Is this who you want to be? You might like to take a look at the Online Global Collaborative Learning Playbooks - a new approach to professional learning to build capacity for global education and collaboration and leadership. Playbook 1 launches on March 1 - join now!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Grade 3-6 classrooms wanted! 'Windows to the World' (penpal) global project

Remember the excitement around having a penpal? I remember almost 50 years ago having a penpal in Germany - and how strange life sounded in that country! His name was 'Axel' and his letters inspired curious conversations and inquiry into what life was like for this mystery person on the other side of the world. Well, you can now provide that same experience for your students virtually using online tools and structured global project design - but with much better connection modes and more frequent communication.

Windows to the World is a NEW Flat Connections online global project designed for students in grades/years 3-6. The focus is on 'intercultural penpal' activities where students will write, respond, communicate and develop online learning and digital citizenship skills. Cross-classroom teams are formed using the tool Edmodo as the communication platform.

The Windows to the World project focuses on developing literacy and online communication skills while connected beyond the immediate classroom. The topics shared and discussed are real-world scenarios that aim to pique interest amongst students as to similarities and differences between classes and cultures.

Our Challenge:

To bring Grade/Year 3-6 classrooms around the world together for meaningful interactions and provide guided pathways for students to discuss ideas, work in teams and co-construct understandings.

Project Objectives

  • Literacy:
    • To share own experiences and interact with peers in an online environment
    • To use a range of software with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and/or audio elements
  • Intercultural Understandings:
    • To stimulate students’ interest in the lives of others and to help them to connect and communicate with diverse groups of fellow students
    • To develop students’ abilities to recognise commonalities and differences between people and to develop empathy, respect and responsibility in actions
  • ICT:
    • To use online programs and web2.0 tools to share ideas and information and to collaboratively construct knowledge and digital solutions.
    • To apply social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT

Project Topics

Each week a new topic will be introduced and students will share their experiences and ideas on that topic with the other members of their team (10-12 students made up from 3-4 different schools/countries)
Examples of possible topics (input sought by teacher teams at beginning of project):
  • Me, Family, Pets
  • Location
  • Special interests, sports, hobbies
  • School
  • Food
  • Holidays
  • Celebrations
  • Music
  • Technology Use – TV, computers, Video games etc.

Project structure

Guiding Questions:

  • Can young students effectively connect, communicate, and collaborate in an online global project?
  • Can literacy and digital citizenship skills be taught and developed when using online tools and connecting with a genuine audience?
  • What activities and structure can we design and implement to scaffold this collaboration?
  • Can intercultural understanding be strengthened by identifying the similarities and differences of students participating in this project?
  • Can teams consolidate knowledge gained about others, reflect on this and produce artifacts that can be shared online with project participants?

Project Outcomes

The Windows to the World project has these mandatory components for students:
  1. All students use Edmodo in their groups to communicate on the agreed topics per week.
  2. Students to respond to team members posts.
  3. New topics are posted for 5 consecutive weeks
  4. Students from same school in a team are allocated one specific topic each, from those already shared
  5. Students review contributions on that topic by fellow team members
  6. Students decide on multimedia to be used and create an artifact to share based on their given topic.
  7. Celebration of learning through shared outcomes and reflections
Are you a teacher of Grade/Year 3-6? Come and join your class ro Windows to the World now!
The project launches February 19 - we already have classrooms from Thailand, USA and Nepal ready to start.

READ MORE and SUBSCRIBE on the Flat Connections website.

Contact Julie Lindsay if you have questions.

Have you read the latest Flat Connections Newsletter?

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Look! - Playbooks for Online Global Collaborative Learning

  • Are you looking for professional learning that ensures understanding of online global collaborative learning?
  • Is your school wanting to embed global projects into the curriculum but does not know how, or where to start?
  • Are you an education leader with responsibility for visionary change in approaches to learning?
  • Are you wanting to learn how to connect your students with others in the world to enable global competency, intercultural understanding, and collaborative exchange - but do not know how?
Well, professional learning provided by the Online Global Collaborative Learning Playbooks is a perfect way forward.

As featured in the February 2018 Flat Connections Newsletter, there are FOUR Playbooks.

The Playbooks provide resources to help educators and education leaders understand how to implement global education, online global projects and collaborative learning into the curriculum. They will be available for independent online study, or (highly recommended) global educators are invited to join a cohort and interact and learn together across the 4-5 weeks of each Playbook.

Good question! Subscribing to the OGCL Playbooks (one or more) provides:
  • A unique professional learning experience focused on global collaborative learning and global project design
  • An opportunity to be part of a growing movement in online learning and pathways and to connect with like-minded educators
  • A unique opportunity to learn with Julie Lindsay who, as an internationally recognised global leader and author, has 20+ years experience in designing, implementing, and writing about online global collaboration, as well as vast experience in online learning design and teaching for K-12 and higher education

Here is a taster of what to expect......each Playbook will have FOUR modules, and about 12 hours of online work to complete the essential reading, reviewing and activities.


Playbook 1 - FOUNDATION - Spotlight on connected and collaborative learning, local to global

By completing Playbook 1 you will learn about:
  • How to make the case for online connected and collaborative learning and why it matters
  • Approaches to and tools for online collaborative learning and how to apply in your classroom
  • Online global collaborative learning synchronous and asynchronous modes and how to connect beyond the immediate classroom
  • How to engage school stakeholders and overcome barriers to implement online global collaboration
READ MORE about the Playbooks. Subscribe now and be ready for the launch of Playbook 1 Foundation on March 1.

DOWNLOAD a brochure to share with others.

Questions about the Online Global Collaborative Learning Playbooks? Contact Julie Lindsay.

Cross-posted with Flat Connections Blog

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

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