Global 2 (formerly Global Teacher)
Global Teacher grew from a seed that was planted in 2005 by Sandy Phillips, the former manager of the Victorian Education Channel, Mary Manning, head of the State Library Association and Heather Blakey, former English Teacher and the webmaster of the Soul Food Cafe.
Global Teacher, built as a campus of Edublogs, by Heather Blakey, began life as a research project. The aim was to create a Web 2.0 community and provide a managed virtual learning space where teachers could learn about the potential of Web 2.0, exchange ideas, engage their students using a host of internet freeware and then publish the results within blog containers.
Global Teacher began as a simple default blog and morphed into a directory that, amongst many other things, houses links to web based freeware and resources, along with links to school, classroom, teacher and student blogs.
Comments from some of the staff who worked at this time paint a picture of the impact of this work.
We have just had our half year ‘show and tell’ of our blogs. Wow! What an amazing example of ICT for creating, communicating and visual thinking. Every one had really embraced the concept of blogging. The most fantastic thing was that every blog was completely different a reflection of the teacher and their class online. It was like the class blog was a portal into the classroom. The students have been incredibly enthusiastic too. The level of engagement in digital literacy has increased as students contribute to their class or own blogs. Computer club has become very popular as students strive to build content to put on their blogs. “How do I put this on my blog?” is a common question. The responsibility that comes with blogging has focused our roll as digital citizens. Blogging as a Web 2.0 tool has opened up the world to our students. They thrive on the authenticity that Web 2.0 brings to their learning. Having other students, teachers and parents from all over the globe commenting on your work is an amazing motivational tool. Blogging through globalstudent/globalteacher has taken ICT at North Fitzroy Primary School a step closer to being truly integrated throughout the curriculum. It is not a subject that is taught in isolation but pervades every aspect of teaching and learning.
Jane Gough Says:
July 27th, 2009 at 9:40 pm Blogging has become a natural part of my working life now. I enjoy thinking about what I can add to my and my class blog and coming up with interesting ways to present it. The children and their families feel more connected with what their children are doing in the classroom, which in turn strengthens the connection between our classroom and the families we work with. Although I am not a technology native – rather, I am a technology immigrant – I have taken to blogging like a fish to water and I am very excited about the possibilities that lie
Two years ago, I received a grant. Part of the criteria of the grant was to use a blog. As I had no idea what a blog was, our school technician found some information for me. Rather incredulously (in hindsight) it was an article by Heather Blakey. I registered for wordpress blog but still did not know what to do with it. So, I just wrote a posts periodically about what I was doing with my class in the grant.
Then an email came inviting Victorian teachers to join globalteacher for blogging. So, not one to miss out on anything, I registered for that as well but had even less idea what I could do with it. Several weeks later, Heather Blakey came to our school to run an sessions on blogging, at the invitation of our librarian, Faye Matters who had heard her present at a SLAV conference.
Heather came to me at the end of the sessions and helped me register a backyard blog (a class blog) in keeping with the theme of the grant that we had. This theme was an easy one to write posts for and the students were keen to write about their backyards. Students saved their writings in their network folders and I would grab them and put them up onto the backyard blog. After the second post, I was rather amazed to receive comments. I did not even know that was feasible, but someone was actually reading what we wrote – not from Australia but from USA. That was it! We were off and writing. We learnt about volcanoes, geography and happenings in other countries. Further research often took place to find out about all manner of things prompted by the comments. Then a clustermap widget was discovered and we could see who was visiting our blog. The dots on the map grew and grew.
Still being naive to blogging and a pure beginner, I can remember the Wild Garden Adventure Calendar,which provided such valuable information and advice for blogging.
At the beginning of 2008, all students from grades 4 to 10 commenced individual blogs. I can still hear squeals of delight, even from the boys when they received their first comments. Again, someone was actually reading their work. Students were encouraged to email back the commentor or comment back on their blogs and so further connections were made. They took great pride in these personal websites, customized them to their own preferences. Cybersafety was taught and then we learned, often by trial and error, how to behave appropriately online leading to valuable digital citizenship skills being learned in an educational setting. The excitement of students became obvious to other teachers and soon those teachers started to blog. Individual class blogs in the primary school commenced and some secondary staff also registered class, teacher or subject style blogs.