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Michael Graffin and Deb Frazier - The Global Classroom Project

Michael Graffin and Deb Frazier - The Global Classroom Project

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Published by: Classroom 2.0 Book on Aug 13, 2012
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09/26/2012

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Author Biography: Michael Graffin is a third year relief (substitute) teacher in Perth, Western Australia.

He blogs at http://mgraffin.edublogs.org. Deb Frazier, from Ohio, USA, is currently teaching and learning with 20 very excited first graders.She began her teaching career as a special education teacher/intervention specialist. She blogs at blogs at http://debfrazier.blogspot.com/ Activity Summary
The Global Classroom Project is not your ordinary classroom project. It is a grassroots teaching and learning community connecting hundreds of K-12 teachers, and thousands of students, around the world.Spanning 6 continents, this project is an amazing example of how teachers can come together using social media and Web 2.0 technologies to flatten their classroom walls; enabling their students to share, learn, and collaborate globally. Class or subject area: Cross Curricular Grade level(s): K-12 Specific learning objectives: As teachers, we are: • Working together to build a global learning community; showcasing how teachers can improve their teaching practice by sharing resources, expertise, and support through global collaborative projects and personal learning networks (PLNs). • Exploring ways to integrate web 2.0 tools to flatten our classroom walls. • Creating global dialogue and discussion amongst teachers and students; learning together, and building cross-cultural understanding and respect We want our students to: • Have regular, authentic opportunities to talk, share, learn and collaborate with their classmates and other students around the world. • Share a little about their lives, interests, culture, and learning with children around the world; exploring similarities and differences. • Be inspired and motivated to practice their English language skills in authentic, natural, and spontaneous ways. • Learn and practice new literacy, collaborative, and ICT skills through their direct involvement in global projects as participants and experts.

Anniversary Book Project

5th

The Global Classroom Project 2011-12
By: Michael Graffin and Deb Frazier Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA Author contact: @frazierde and or @mgraffin

Our Origins The first Global Classroom Project (http://globalclassroom2011.wikispaces.com) originated in the minds of Deb Frazier’s (@frazierde) Grade 1 students in Ohio USA, and brought together together 6 classes from 5 countries.
(Twitter Screenshot)

In May 2011, we worked collaboratively through Twitter to connect our classrooms using the Global Classroom 2011 VoiceThread, empowering our students to “question, and take ownership of their learning”, and giving them an opportunity to share their voices and cultures with children around the globe. - Deb Frazier. A Global Learning Community is Born “From Little Things, Big Things Grow” After the completion of our first project, thoughts turned to the future. We wanted to bring more teachers into the Global Classroom. After running a mere two global projects between them, Deb Frazier and Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) created a Google Doc, and publicised the link on Twitter, asking interested teachers to sign up and share their ideas. We didn’t know what we were asking for! The overwhelming response from our Twitter networks quickly led to the realisation that Global Classroom 2011-12 would be a radical departure from our first project … Faced with an enormous challenge, @mgraffin, a second year relief (substitute) teacher in Perth, Western Australia, saw an opportunity to transform the 2011-12 project into an online community “where teachers and students could share, learn, and collaborate globally.” Inspired by the work of Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay in creating the Flat Classroom movement (flatclassroomproject.org), Michael soon found himself working with teachers globally to translate his dream into reality. Working in the Global Classroom Today, we have more than 230 teachers and thousands of students (from over 30 countries) working in the Global Classroom. Our online spaces, including our blog, wiki, Edmodo, Skype, and Facebook groups, have become vibrant places for global conversations and collaborations; and we are witnessing incredible impacts on our teachers and students around the world. Also, to our astonishment, @mgraffin’s monthly #globalclassroom Twitter chats became the world’s first (and only) global education chats. Now opened up to the world, these chats continue to grow in popularity, and we hope they will become an enduring legacy of our work in the years to come.

A World of Stories Over the course of 2011-12, we have hosted more than 12 major global projects, and promoted a wide range of innovative projects created by teachers around the world. Covering all grade-levels, and many aspects of the curriculum, you can find full details on The Global Classroom Project blog or wiki, or our wiki. As we stated in our Manifesto, The Global Classroom Project has the “incredible potential to promote cross-cultural understanding, build teachers’ ICT expertise, and enable our students’ voices to be heard by authentic global audiences”. And we’ve taken this opportunity to invite several of our #globalclassroom teachers to share their projects and stories. Kids Speak! 2011-12 (K-3) Listen to and comment on the VoiceThread! Kids Speak! is one VoiceThread shared with classrooms all around the world. Students around the world are asking questions and sharing information about their daily lives. Through this interactive project, kids work naturally; posing questions, making comments and uploading slides and videos as new learning opportunities and questions arise throughout the school year!
(VoiceThread screenshot http://voicethread.com)

It’s amazing to hear first graders in Ohio talk about their friends in Romania, South Africa and Australia, then to watch them spontaneously jump up and point to these locations on our world map is inspiring! We are creating global citizens. They are discovering there are more similarities than differences in our world. The students of Global Classroom have a respect and curiosity for others and their cultures. - Deb Frazier, Ohio USA. (@frazierde) Global Classroom Co-Founder Global Classroom Skype Chat One venue where #globalclassroom members can communicate, share, and collaborate is the Global Classroom Skype Group. Educators share blog posts, projects, cool tools, latest local and world news, and more importantly, availability to get their classrooms together to learn about each other and grow as a global community.

One day, just by signing into Skype at the same time, a group of my 7th grade students met with Effie Kyrikakis’ (@WinnersSchools) students in Greece to learn about American and Greece cultures, foods, and languages. Read more from her post here. I’ve also met remarkable educators living in challenging environments. Read about Govinda’s trip to visit relatives (Nepal), and my experience with Endang’s students’ (Indonesia) just learning the English language. They were two amazing experiences that stemmed from the #globalclassroom skype group! This community strives to help others and look forward to

sharing and growing together. - Theresa Allen, Joliet, IL, USA (@tdallen5)

The Sunny Thought Global Project As teachers we all realise how essential it is for everyone, especially children, to learn to focus on the positive side of their lives so as to be more content, effective in dealing with challenges, a better friend and partner in life. Being deeply persuaded of the benefits of boosting positive thinking among our students (in Greece) at a time when everything around them seems to cause the opposite , we started a project aiming to unite students, classes and schools from around the globe and encourage them to concentrate on the sunny sides of their lives. The project helps our classes always keep in mind anything that makes them smile even in the middle of trouble and share it with the world. The #globalclassroom blog and wiki where our project is featured has helped The Sunny Thought Global Project achieve its global objective: In just over two months 19 classes from 11 countries have already taken part and shared their sunny thoughts with the world; and that’s just the beginning! It’s also very interesting to see how students use different web 2.0 tools to present their work. Through the #globalclassroom Skype group more chances for collaboration - not to mention personal connections - have presented themselves. Here are but a few: • Bren Bataclan interview made possible by Lorraine Leo • Telling your Life Story Skype session with David Karnoscak’s class • Natural Disasters project with Mike Fitzgerald’s school • The reading session with Carlene Anderson’s class on Dr Seuss’s birthday, and so many more....

Our students are fast becoming citizens of the world. It makes learning so much more fun and they LOVE it! - Effie Kyrikakis, Winners Education, Athens, Greece , Authentic Global Voices (Grades 7-12) http://authentic-voices.wikispaces.com As students publish their original writing to Authentic Global Voices, they know they are publishing to the world. Visit this wiki and you’ll see and hear students sharing essays and poems about their lives, their families, their struggles and their accomplishments. Join the wiki, and you can leave comments for the writers on the discussion page. Through this wiki, students have learned how to express themselves by recording their voice along with their written work. This, along with the knowledge that they are publishing for the world, leads to authentic revision and edits. Students that wouldn’t normally change a word in an essay once it is done, now go back and make careful and thoughtful changes. Students that never thought of themselves as writers before now realize that others are reading their work and making connections with their ideas. Students eyes open wide when they see that there are readers from every continent. Soon, students want to have essays and poems published from collaborating classroom around the world. Soon, it will be a global writing community where students don’t just grow in their own writing, but grow from other’s writing. - Kyle Dunbar, Virginia, USA (@edtechdunny) We’ve learnt some fundamental lessons Effective global collaboration is about the people, not the technology. While The Global Classroom Project could not exist without Web 2.0 and social media technologies, the success of this project rests on the experience, expertise, and collaborative efforts of our people. We live on 6 continents, and most of us have never met face-to-face, yet working together, we have connected hundreds of teachers and thousands of students around the world. We have worked hard to involve teachers with limited English or ICT expertise in the #globalclassroom community, with varying degrees of success. While our Facebook and Skype groups have proved to be valuable learning environments for these teachers, providing better support for non-English speakers, and teachers with limited technical skills will be a major development goal for Global Classroom 2012-13. We firmly believe that global collaboration works when you focus on supporting and inspiring the learners involved. We use technology to make connections, yet it is by sharing our professional expertise, and learning together, that we can transform these connections into powerful learning experiences for the teachers and students involved. Creating a global community requires vision, leadership & a global collaborative effort The Global Classroom Project was built through an international consultation process, and was

deliberately designed to enable our participant teachers to share the responsibility (and success) of our #globalclassroom projects. We’re working to achieve our shared goals, and we’ve begun to make them a reality. As the Global Classroom Coordinator, I’ve led the development of a community; establishing our international management team, participating in our online spaces, creating our community guidelines, and supporting teachers behind the scenes. This all started with one teacher’s dream, but this dream has been brought into reality by teachers all over the world. Yes, we still have a significant proportion of lurkers, and we’ve made mistakes along the way; but this project has had an impact beyond our wildest dreams. Our teachers and students are learning how our global connections change the way we see, and interact with the world around us. We’ve opened “a window upon the world”, … and we can’t turn back. - Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) Global Classroom Co-Founder So, where to from here? The success of the Global Classroom Project has truly astonished its creators, yet we feel it will only realise its’ full potential in the years to come. As we look forward to 2012-13, we are starting to identify areas for improvement, including: • Improving support for teachers with limited English language skills • Developing a register of teachers & students available to provide ICT technical support via Skype • Improving communication channels, and increasing teacher participation in the #globalclassroom community • Broadening our management team to involve more secondary and Flat Classroom Certified teachers, whose experience and expertise greatly contributed to the success of our 2011-12 project. With the support and expertise of our #globalclassroom teachers, we are confident that we can create an enduring Global Classroom legacy in the years to come . But for now, we are looking forward to celebrating our first year of learning and international collaboration in June 2011. We’ll be back. Our 2012-13 project is scheduled to begin in late September 2012, and we hope you will join us as we continue on this exciting, life-changing journey. We still have no idea where it will take us.

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