School’s out Friday

This post is dedicated to Lindsea. In a presentation I am making on Monday I’m using Lindsea as an example of the kind of learning that is possible now that the walls are down and we can reach out and make contact. She has been an inspiration to me and my students – I hope you read this Lindsea and realise the difference you have made. This is Lindsea’s favourite video on YouTube – she posted a link to it on Twitter last night. I was watching and noticing Lindsea as I always do when I see your name. Thanks.

Hitting the wall.

Tonight, I’ve had it. I’ve been working myself into the ground helping guide our students to get a fully fledged concert organised for Project Global Cooling and I can tell you that it’s taking its toll. I’m physically exhausted. After taking my son to his drum lesson I curled up on the couch and slept heavily for an hour. Gotta get to bed early tonight -need more than the usual 6 hours!

I sent an email to the international teachers (and Lindsea in Hawaii) this afternoon to let them know the link for our ustream channel so that they could tune in on Saturday (if possible). I hope some do – two of our students are going to be commenting in the backchannel and I know all the girls will be thrilled to know that an international audience tuned in. Beijing are ustreaming their concert from 1.00-4.00pm and I hope that we’ll be able to get a look at what they’re doing as well. In writing the email, I realised that it was exactly six weeks ago that we launched this project with our Yr 9 students with a Skype conversation with Lindsea, Chris Watson and Clay Burell. They’ve managed to pull off what I thought was near impossible, and did so with a two week holiday in the middle of this. They really are amazing kids and I’ve loved every moment of getting to know them so much better over the last six weeks. All of them have exemplified incredible leadership qualities and I think they themselves have been surprised at what they are capable of achieving when they set their mind to it.

Gotta go – sleep beckons.

Skype to the rescue.

Launch day for Project Global Cooling.

Was I nervous?

Yes.

Did I fear a breakdown of Technology?

Yes.  

Was all the worry warranted?

No!

Pleased to report all was successful. Bill Farren’s video ‘Did you ever wonder?‘ set the scene and got our student’s thinking. Our Skype calls worked, a bit of break up but nothing drastic. Chris, a teacher from Lindsea’s school Skyped in as well on a webcam – the kids loved seeing him – you could see they were impressed with what was happening. Clay Burell joined us along with Patrick from his school. Lindsea then joined us with a webcam and you could sense the instant recognition from our students – they connected with her Skyping from her bedroom. Some students asked questions – Lindsea could see them thanks to my fantastic AV guy who went out of his way today to make all of this work. Thought we might be losing them towards the end but was surprised by the interest coming my way from the kids who can’t make our follow up meeting tomorrow. 

Left today feeling energised and positive about tomorrow. Can’t wait to see where the meeting will take us. Our kids were expressing their frustration today with adults who talk about making changes to improve sustainability but then nothing happens. Today we’ve given them an opportunity to make change – I hope they rise to the challenge. 

Just finished listening to and participating in the backchannel of Jeff Utecht’s SOS podcast (even if I couldn’t figure out how to change my Ustream number to my name, despite another listener trying to help me. I am still new to all this stuff!).  Really interesting discussion about how we connect. Recommend that you listen to the podcast when he posts it. 

Project Global Cooling here we come (and I’m on YouTube!)

Tomorrow we launch Project Global Cooling with our students. This has come about as a result of this blog and having the ability to make connections with Clay Burell and Lindsea of Project Global Cooling. We have a very short time frame when it comes to the goal of staging a concert on April 19th. You never know, our students may very well pull it off – the energy and drive of young people can be quite awe inspiring when it kicks in. Hopefully the project’s goal of raising awareness about issues regarding sustainability and the future of our planet will resonate with our student population and we will be able to maintain global connections and build on the start we have made.

Tomorrow we are going to have a Skype conference call with Lindsea and Patrick (and maybe Clay??) from Project Global Cooling. Patrick is a student in Seoul and Lindsea ia 16 and at school in Hawaii. This call is scheduled to take place during our launch and how powerful is it going to be having students motivate students to get involved. I know the students at my school and am pretty sure they are going to want to run with this. I hope so anyway. I’ll keep you posted as to how we go.

Today we had a practice run with Lindsea via Skype in our Lecture Theatre to see how it all would go. It was great – hope we have no technical hitches tomorrow. Lindsea, nextgen specimen that she is, recorded the run through and posted it on YouTube. Never thought I’d see the day that I would be featured in a YouTube post. It’s pretty exciting from my perspective but it’s a given that it’s never going to gain viral video status! (Check out my Picasso look at the end of the video – very becoming!)

Looking forward to tomorrow and what it may bring. 

Podcasting with Clay Burrel!

Wow – things can move really fast in this world. Last week I was writing about why I began writing this blog and why I think that blogging and making connections is an important tool for students’ learning. I did this for a staff PD session and thought no-one in the wider world would be interested. That post and the resultant interest led directly to a Skype conference call tonight with Clay Burrel, his Principal, my Principal, Lindsea (from the Global Cooling project and Students 2.0), and a student from my school. Clay recorded it as a podcast and is going to be posting it on his blog, Beyond School, in the near future.

The discussion ranged from the Global Cooling project to why we would want to encourage our students to use this medium to connect to how we can further our connections. Clay’s school is in Seoul, Korea and we are in Melbourne, Australia. Our time zones are complimentary (2 hours ahead in Aust.) and we could explore possibilities enabling our students to work together in the course of the school day.  

I’m wondering how the student from my school is feeling now – her head is spinning I bet and she’ll probably find it hard to get to sleep with the world that has just been opened up to her. She knew nothing of this until 8.00pm tonight when I knocked on her door (she lives quite close) and asked her if she would like to be involved in the conversation. I took her through some background re the project and Lindsea’s and Clay’s blogs. She’s a real go getter with a passion for the environment and I think she will want to run with things as a result of tonight.

Her head is probably spinning and I know mine is. I was thinking today of where this might be taking me and my school and I was reminded of the film Parenthood. At the end of the movie the Grandmother who everyone thinks has dementia talks to Steve Martin’s character about riding the rollercoaster. She’s making the analogy that life is a rollercoaster and you just have to ride it and enjoy it – there’s no point getting hung up and anxious about it.  Thinking about these connections and where it may take me and my students makes me excited but anxious too. There are times when I fear the rollercoaster and I get that knotted stomach worrying if I’m up to it – I’m going to have to leave that behind and enjoy the ride. I think it’s going to be a good one!

Students showing us the way – that means you Lindsea!

The past couple of days have been pretty overwhelming for a humble little blogger like me! Thanks to a Twitter post by Vicki Davis my blog has seen unprecedented traffic. (Thank you Vicki – I didn’t understand the power of Twitter until now – I still don’t quite get it but I’m working on it!) It’s minor on the scale of bloggers who have big followings, but it’s a major deal in my world. People who have left comments have been really encouraging – one person reached this blog via David Warlick’s 2 cents worth! I’m stoked!

Probably one of the most exciting responses I got was from Lindsea. Just yesterday I was sitting in the staff PD session reading from Jabiz Raisdana ‘s Intrepid Teacher blog about his experience with his students and a Sykpe conversation with a student from Hawaii. Here’s what he had to say;

“If you were walking by room 3208 today at about 3:25, this is what you would have seen:

A group of eighth graders (and one especially brilliant seventh grader), a few high school students, and their teacher preparing for a Global Issues Conference in Düsseldorf; they  are discussing the meaning of sustainability and what that means in a 21st century global economy based on over consumption and the profit motive. On the screen they are watching and listening to Lindsea, a sixteen-year-old student/writer/blogger/ who is talking about her ideas on sustainability and her experiencing using web 2.0 to make connections with people like Clay Burrell and his  Project Global Cooling and Bill Farren, who happens to be the creator of Did You Ever Wonder, the video they had just watched as a group, before their talk with Lindsea.  Did I mention that Lindsea lives in Hawaii and that it was 2:30 am her time?”

Yep, you guessed it. The Lindsea who commented on my blog is the same Lindsea who Skyped with Jabiz’s class in Qatar two days ago. What an amazing young woman. This is a girl who knows the power of this network and is using it to its best effect. I contacted Lindsea this afternoon and we’re going to try and set up a Skype conversation with my students here in Australia. Lindsea told me she’s excited. I’ve got to tell you Lindsea, so am I and my students will be too when they find out about it. Students like Lindsea are helping to make this flat world a reality and how much more powerful is it when it is the students themselves who are generating the discussion. My hope is that we can really get things going at my school – I know we have students with the fire in their belly like Lindsea – they just need to know what’s possible and how to get there.