Climate Change week- Lucinda and Bethany’s effort

Lucinda, a student from my school, sent me an email asking me to help her spread this message for Climate Change awareness week. Her sister Bethany helped with the editing process. It’s fantastic – a credit to their amazing creativity and passion for the environment.

Lucinda was involved in Project Global Cooling, the global project our school was involved with two years ago. It’s wonderful to see her still making an effort to raise awareness. She sent me the link to the videoCatch the world before it falls‘ and a request to help her spread the message via my internet connections. Please help her by watching and playing this video in your schools this week. This is a wonderful example of what students can achieve off their own bat, motivated by a desire to make a difference to their world.

Great job Lucinda and Bethany. Let’s hope it goes viral.

AUPs – Acceptable Use Policies. Here’s help from David.

David Warlick writes a blog called 2cents worth. If you’re not reading it, you should be. He seems to be a man with a remarkable capacity to do so much. I envy people like this – he certainly uses his cognitive surplus to best effect.

He’s put together a wiki to assist all of us grappling with the formation of Acceptable Use Policies in our schools. This is what he has to say on the home page of the wiki;

Welcome to School AUP 2.0

This is a dynamic document designed to support teachers, school media specialists, and education leaders in developing, maintaining, and enforcing policies designed to:

  1. Promote the most effective, productive, and instructionally sound uses of digital, networked, and abundant information environments.
  2. Provide safe digital environments for learners and to instill safe practices and habits among the learning community.

This wiki site will serve as a launchpad to other documents and communities seeking to provide guidance in acceptable use policy development and also as an incubator for ideas related to issues, document structures, new problems and opportunities, and maintenance.



What is going to be useful within the wiki are the following pages:

Resource pages with RSS feeds from David’s Diigo account and sites tagged by anyone.

AUP Guiding Documents (tagged “aup” & “guide”)

Sample AUPs (tagged “aup” & “sample”)

AUP Examples (tagged “aup” & “example”)

Cell Phone Policies (tagged “aup” & “cellphone”)

Running down the right sidebar is an RSS feed listing for blog entries that include school and AUP.

I know that I’m going to be making use of this site as will other educators worldwide. The formation of these policies in this ever changing digital landscape is essential if we are to proceed confidently with our students interacting in a read/write environment. Just ask Al Upton. I know that when our school launched ourselves into Project Global Cooling I spent a considerable amount of time trying to put together a permission form for parents to sign so that students could contribute to the ning site supporting the project. At that time I relied heavily on a document put together by Clay Burell that is accessible on his website.

Thanks David for sharing your thinking and providing a space for educators from all corners of the world. Another great example of the sharing nature of this network.   

* Good luck to Clay Burell and his students from Korea International School for their Project Global Cooling concert that starts shortly. He’s not ustreaming so I can’t provide a link.  I hope everything goes well. Clay has been an amazing support person for me and I want everyone to know this!!

We did it! Project Global Cooling concert a reality.

(Finally back online- problems last night with provider and couldn’t post)


It’s probably been the busiest 8 weeks I’ve ever had. For that matter, I think the last three and a bit months have been the busiest of my life. Trying to juggle a family, a job, writing a blog and then joining up with Project Global Cooling has meant that I have been wired (literally) to my computer making connections with an incredible group of educators who share my passion for making our classrooms connected to enhance learning opportunities for our students.


Tonight, I want to be posting about our concert yesterday. I want to be able to tell you how incredible my students were, how they rose to the challenge and pulled off something that I thought was unimaginable only 8 weeks ago. This was a concert that had no budget and came together through generous donations of people’s time and sponsorship the girls had managed to acquire through a barrage of emails and phone calls. I want to tell you all this but I have no internet access! My provider has had an outage which I discovered after waiting for 82 minutes on the phone. This is the first time this has happened since I started writing this blog and it feels like someone has cut my arm off. I’m writing this in Word and will have to cut and paste it into the blog in the morning. This is so frustrating because their efforts deserve attention and I feel like not getting this online is preventing me from acknowledging their effort in the right way.


Anyway, back to their magnificent effort. There were a few technical problems along the way and two of the bands and the MC turned up late, but it eventually turned out OK. People turned up and the girls were happy with the response. They got their message across and this was the most important part of the day. All of them contributed in some way and worked tirelessly to ensure the day ran as well as it possibly could. The ustream worked but we weren’t able to contribute to the chat because of limited network access in the school hall and firewall problems!!  (I’ll try and work out how to embed the ustream tomorrow!) I know that there were up to 20 viewers at one stage and I have a couple of twitter folks to thank for that. Grace Kat saw my tweet alerting people to the concert, tuned in and sent out tweets encouraging people to watch. I checked previous Twitter pages and noted tweets saying ‘just saw Jenny Luca and her Yr 9 students at their project Global Cooling concert’. The inspirational Carolyn Foote wrote a post about the concert!! Imagine the effect this will have on my students when they realise that their message has been relayed all the way to Texas!


One of the concert highlights was the performance by Tessa,  a student from our school who wrote a song for the event. It was called ‘An Inconvenient Spoof’ and was absolutely brilliant. Tessa is a girl going places.


Thanks Clay for setting the challenge. It’s been hard work but ultimately rewarding for all involved. It doesn’t end here. We asked for a gold coin donation for entry and manage to raise over $600.00. (Quite a few people gave much more than a gold coin)

Now we have to see how this money can be used to further the cause and make changes within our school. 



Update: today I sent an email to all the students involved with a link to Carolyn Foote’s blog post – I saw some of them at recess and they were thrilled that they’d had an impact in Texas. Thanks Carolyn- you’ve made an impact here! 


Watch this incredibly funny video from Melbourne comedian Sammy J. One of the students contacted him and he recorded this message as an  endorsement for the concert. Brilliant work Sammy J – enjoyed by all on the day. 






School’s out Friday – but not this week

Yes, today is Friday and time for the customary school’s out post. This week it’s different, because school is definitely on for me and my students tomorrow as we stage our Project Global Cooling concert. Tune in to ustream (streaming live 3.00pm to 5.00pm Melbourne, Aust. timezone) to see the result of my student’s efforts. The concert has been organised with a budget of zero; our students have convinced artists to appear for free and many people in our school and wider community have given their time and donated goods to ensure that the concert can take place. The students are pumped – one has even just posted a comment on this blog to let me know how excited she is. Today we received an email from Peter Garrett, environment minister for our Australian Labor Party (current party holding government) and former lead singer of Australian iconic band Midnight Oil. Here’s what he had to say to us;

Congratulations to Year 9 students at Toorak College for your work with Project Global Cooling.

I am delighted that you are combining two of my great passions – the environment and music. Your positive aim to spread the word about the challenges of climate change that we all face, from Mt.Eliza to the world, is very important. Music is a great way to communicate, inspire and unite people towards this common goal.

Have a great day. Enjoy the music. And once again, congratulations on your good work.

Peter Garrett AM MP

Federal Member for Kingsford Smith

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. 

 Brooke. one of the students involved in the project, had sent him an email a few weeks ago and thought nothing was going to come of it. She was over the moon today when she walked through the school reception area and was told that Peter Garrett’s ministerial office had just phoned the school to let her know that an email had been sent. One of the artists appearing tomorrow is Mark Seymour. He used to front Hunters and Collectors, a very well known band here in Australia. His brother is Nick Seymour from Crowded House, a band that international readers would be familiar with. This is Mark singing ‘Throw your arms around me’ – enjoy.

On a different note, I was reading the comments thread in Clay Burell’s post about the efforts of schools around the world to stage concerts to raise awareness about global warming and the future of this planet when I saw this comment from Stephen Downes.  

This has bothered me about this sort initiative for a while…

If this is such an “international” collaboration, why do all the participants have names that sound like they were raised in Iowa?

This was my response that I posted in the comment thread;

@Stephen Downes. I’m sorry that it bothers you so much that the participants in Project Global Cooling sound like they come from Iowa. I. in fact, hail from Melbourne, Australia, and it bothers me that your focus seems to be on our common language rather than the incredible efforts of the students involved and their desire to make a difference in their world. My students have worked tirelessly for the last six weeks and are thrilled to be contributing to a global project. Much has been made of their efforts within our school community and I think it fair to say that the entire school is embracing the need for a determined approach to the reduction of our carbon footprint as a result of our involvement in the project. Please recognise the genuine desire of the students involved to make change a reality, rather than focus on your criticisms of what you consider to be a skewed international involvement.

Jenny Luca. Toorak College, Melbourne, Australia.

Enjoy your weekend. I know that tomorrow I will be basking in the energy and enthusiasm emanating from a wonderful group of girls who have worked very hard to make Project Global cooling a reality in our school, our community and the world.    

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.

To shift your school you need support.

I feel very fortunate to work at the school where I teach. The environment is beautiful, the students are wonderful and I have forged friendships that will last. Enjoying your work is vital I think; I’d hate to rock up every day and feel unsatisfied with what I was doing. I wondered when I started writing this blog how my school community would view this. I knew that my close friends would offer support, but was unsure of the reaction of  the wider school community and the leadership team. I thought they may want me to write anonomously and not reveal my school location.

How wrong did that assumption prove to be. Today our enews (electronic newsletter) was released. My husband also receives it because our daughter attends the school. He rang to say that Project Global Cooling was mentioned by our Principal in his reflection. Here’s what he had to say;

One of the key directions we are taking in developing future plans is in the area of Internationalism and a fine example of this is the Year 9 Global Cooling Project.  Under the leadership of Mrs Luca, and with the involvement of students and teachers in other parts of the world, a group of girls are organising a concert to bring attention to the international threat of global warming.  This is a perfect example of the “new internationalism” which focuses more on what we share with other nations rather than how we differ.  It is further evidence of how young people can and do make a difference.  It’s worth noting also that this particular project has been made possible through Internet based collaboration and it reminds us that the tools which often receive bad press when misused are a powerful positive force when well managed.  Please encourage your teenagers to attend the Global Cooling Project concert, which is happening this Saturday 19th April from 3.00 to 5.00pm in the Mary Herring Hall.  Artists appearing include Mark Seymour, White Summer, Tessa and Modern Radio. The event is going to be hosted by Fox Klein who appeared at the Hands Together comedy night. The Year 9 girls involved have been working very hard to get this event organised to try to raise awareness about global warming and sustainability of our planet.

You might also like to take a look at the project web site where you will see a link to Mrs Luca’s blog site – well worth a visit in itself for those interested in exploring Web 2 technologies.

     What an affirmation for the students involved in Project Global Cooling and for me and my blog writing. I am so pleased that my Principal has identified the productive value of working collaboratively on internet based projects. I’m especially pleased that he included this statement; “it reminds us that the tools which often receive bad press when misused are a powerful positive force when well managed.”

I feel very supported in my school and am thankful for the forward thinking that I see being applied to curriculum initiatives like Project Global Cooling. I hope other educators with an interest in developing web based learning activities are finding support from their leadership team. I suspect (know!) this is not always the case.   

Project Global Cooling concert approaching fast.

Since we’ve become involved in Project Global Cooling life’s become a bit of a blur. We came in late but have stepped up to the plate and have a concert organised for Saturday April 19th. We have no budget but have convinced artists and bands to play for free. Mark Seymour (ex Hunters and Collectors), White Summer, Modern Radio and Tessa ,one of our students are performing. We just found out that Fox Klein has agreed to MC the event and another comedian, Michael Chamberlin is apparently interested in performing.  We are only asking for a gold coin donation for entry as our aim is to raise awareness about issues affecting the state of the planet – it’s not a fundraiser.  Security has been organised by a student who has managed to get people for free, and we are going to beef this up with the addition of staff, husbands and parents.  We’re working out how we are going to provide food and water for the event. We’re hoping to ustream the concert and will post about where you go in ustream to watch us go live. In the meantime, check out Naomi’s cool poster we’re using to publicise the event- we think it’s REALLY COOL.


Blogging serious for your health – join Twittercise!

I’ve been talking a lot recently about trying to get balance in my life – kinda feel like things are a bit out of control and I need to work smarter not harder (favourite saying of my husband!!) This is looming larger as I face the prospect of the start of term two tomorrow and all that that will bring with it. We have our Project Global Cooling concert on Saturday the 19th of April and this is going to mean full on commitment for the next two weeks along with parent teacher nights and the expectations of my job. To top it all off I read Will Richardson’s latest post that referred to a New York Times article (In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop) about bloggers who have suffered heart attacks and died recently. It seems that the pressure of posting regularly and pipping other bloggers at the post may have contributed to the deaths of two prominent bloggers in the technology arena. These are bloggers who get paid per post. I don’t get a cent yet feel some of that pressure. I have to admit this is self inflicted as I set myself the onerous task of trying to write a post a day this year- sometimes I do think I am my own worst enemy.

I’m about to set myself another onerous target and announce it publicly here. All this blogging has led to a sedentary state of affairs and all that comes with it. I used to be an avid exerciser (are you getting any clues about me yet- my obsessive compulsive addiction to things- I’m learning things about myself as I write!!) I used to be proud of my biceps and triceps but no more. Something needs to be done. I have an impressive set of weights in my back room but haven’t been near them in months. Time for change. Tomorrow sees a new lifestyle that marries with my networked life. I’m introducing Twittercise and encourage you to join me, particularly if you live in Australia or have a complimentary time zone. I’m going to tweet on Twitter when I’m starting my Twittercise session and hope it may prompt some of you to get out of your seats and do a bit of good old fashioned exercise. It may be walking the dog, doing sit ups, or pumping weights. Whatever works for you. We have to recognise that the sedentary online lifestyle is doing our health no good. Balance is very important and a healthy body and lifestyle contribute to this (as well as the regular blog post!). Hope to see some of you readers joining me. I’m jennyluca on Twitter – look for the tweets – probably around 7.00 – 7.30 Melbourne time all going well. Our new approach to our networked life starts tomorrow!! 

Skype to the rescue.

Launch day for Project Global Cooling.

Was I nervous?


Did I fear a breakdown of Technology?


Was all the worry warranted?


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.