School’s out Friday

I presented at a Secondary School in Melbourne today and opened the proceedings with this video. It raised a few chuckles, just as it has done this week when I’ve shared it with family and friends. To contrast, I then shared Google’s Glass video. With well over a million views, there’s a good chance you’ve seen it already, but if you haven’t, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Every week is a busy week it seems. This one was no exception. I’ve continued to use my Chromebook as my ‘on the fly’ computer (as my son likes to call it) and my reading about Chromebooks and Google apps in schools further convinces me that it’s a path we need to follow. We’ve held very productive meetings about the rollout of our new Learning Management System at school and we’re in the process of designing an exciting interface. I’m organising a Skype call with Daraja Academy in¬†Kenya for next Tuesday as students from my school gear up to participate in ‘Race for Daraja’ to support the education of Lilian, a young girl attending Daraja. I also found out I’m headed to Borneo on a school trip that leaves in six weeks! There’s going to be lots of fundraising and organisation to do in the interim. Life never slows down, and to be honest with you, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But, I am looking forward to the weekend. Looks like one of the last of the warm days awaits Melbourne tomorrow. I’ll be finding some time to sit outside in the sun with a cuppa, maybe even a glass of wine in the late afternoon. Helen, if you’re reading this, pop on over!

Enjoy your weekend – hope it treats you well. ūüôā


Sleepout 4 Schools – well worth the effort

I’ve been meaning to post about the Sleepout 4 Schools event run by the Yr 9 students of Toorak College for the last week, but time keeps running away from me. It’s vitally important that¬†I give it the space it deserves; the students involved worked tirelessly and pulled off a marvellous day to support girl’s education in Kenya and India.

The idea began with a whole day activity where the girls were exposed to ideas about how they could make a difference. They found out about the Bal¬†Ashram in India and their plans to build a girl’s school to¬†help save girl’s from child slavery. They also listened to Mark Lukach when he skyped in from San Francisco and told us about Daraja Academy, a girl’s school in¬†Kenya started by Jason and Jenni Doherty that had just opened its doors two weeks before.

That day sowed the seed and ideas germinated. A  meeting of 30 or so interested students saw them decide on the idea to hold a sleepover at school as a fundraiser for the two schools.

After quite a few weeks of planning the event was held on May 22nd. During the day the girls participated in a Global march into Mt.Eliza to raise awareness about the plight of¬†children forced into child slavery. A neighbouring school, Mt.Eliza Secondary College, joined them and lunchtime shoppers and proprietors of our local shopping centre¬†listened to the girls’ message. It was very well received and the girls felt like they had made an impact.



At 6.00pm the sleepover began. As teachers, we’d been given a running sheet from the girls in the organising committee, but we fully expected that we’d have to step in to get things going. We couldn’t have been more wrong. They were supremely organised. All of the girls, all 54 of them, had¬†paid to sleep over. During the¬† night they raised money by selling popcorn and lollies and a group of them made friendship bracelets that they sold. Some of them had sought sponsorship from family members and friends to collect after the event.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

At 11.00pm we skyped Mark Lukach in and he talked about the progress of Daraja Academy. He was pretty #stoked (you have to know Mark on Twitter to get that one!) that 54 students had gone¬† to the effort of getting together to do something good for others.¬†Jason Doherty, the founder of Daraja was the next to skype in. This was Jason’s first ever skype call so it was pretty exciting. He was able to give us a lot of detail about Daraja and how the girls there are faring. Jason extended an invitation to our girls to visit the Academy; who knows, maybe one day we will get there. Jabiz Raisdana then skyped in¬†from Qatar to let us know he was impressed with the effort of our students. It helped to let the girls appreciate the global nature of what it is they¬†are doing.¬†¬†

It was after 12 midnight by the time we’d finished our calls so you can imagine it took a bit of time to settle to sleep. We were up and at ’em by 7.00am the next day. We still have to get a final total of how much money was raised, but it should be close to the $1,000 dollar mark.¬† Last Monday two of our students visited a local radio station and spoke eloquently¬†and passionately about what they’ve been doing.¬†

We are very proud of the efforts of these Yr 9 students. They have a genuine sense of the importance of service unto others, of thinking outside yourself.¬†That’s an important part of being human as far as I’m concerned and school communities can be instrumental in helping our young people to understand this. These students have also gained an understanding of their role as global citizens. They have used technology to connect with the people they want to help; we can’t get to Kenya direct yet but we are hoping to start to write to the girls over there. The girls created a Ning to support the project¬†¬†because they wanted to reach out to others to try and gather support. We didn’t quite manage that, but there’s always next year!¬†¬†


Nice work girls. We’re very proud of you all.

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Daraja Academy opens its doors

Mark Lukach edited this video showing the students from Daraja Academy in Kenya. He wanted to capture the energy of the school and i think he’s done a great job doing that. The school opened its doors three weeks ago to 26 girls from Kenya who otherwise would not have received an education. Congratulations go to Jason and Jennie Doherty who packed up everything in San Francisco and moved to Kenya to help realise this dream.

This is one of the reasons our Year 9 students are excited about starting planning for Sleepout for Schools, an idea they have cultivated to help raise money to support Girl’s education in Kenya and India. Watch the video and I’m sure you will see good reason for involvement in supporting such a cause. They are planning a sleepout at our school on May 22nd and participants will be seeking sponsorship with the aim of raising money to support a worthy cause like Daraja.

On that note, think about joining with us. We would love to see other schools collaborate with us, Mark Luckach’s school in San Francisco and Daraja Academy in Kenya. Daraja means bridge, and this is all about building bridges of support. Come and form part of that bridge with us.

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more about “Daraja Academy opens its doors“, posted with vodpod


Sleepout for Schools

We had a great meeting with some of our Yr 9 students¬†during the week¬†to see if there was enough interest to get a fundraising activity organised to support Daraja Academy in Kenya (see Mark Lukach’s page here and blog posts as well as Jabiz Raisdana’s) and the Bal Ashram in India.

(View of the Daraja Academy campus)

Well support there is! Our students were enthusiastic and buzzing with ideas. What they’ve decided to do is to hold a Sleepout for Schools. The night will be Friday May 22nd. The idea is to sleep overnight at school and seek sponsorship for doing so. On the night it’s anticipated we will run some activities for both parents and students that will probably have a fundraising component too.

We’d love to see other school communities get involved. If they do, we would love to Skype with them so that we can gain an appreciation of what could be the global nature of this effort. If you want to get involved post a comment here and we’ll start making some connections. Join Working together 2 make a difference and you can post your experiences there. ¬†This could be exciting for all of us.

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