When the Global Teacher project began in 2005 we were working relatively blind. It was my experience, working with an international, intergenerational group of artists and writers at the Soul Food Cafe which enabled me to visualize what a interactive, Web 3.0 community would look like.
In 2005 the word Web 2.0 was just being bandied around. To explain the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 I showed traditional static web sites, like Soul Food, where I had laboriously created each page and explained how the invention of forums, blogs, wikis, online groups, Google documents had enabled me to share the work load and draw people together, at one Web address to work collaboratively. At the time I recall that eyes glazed over. It was still very hard to get one’s mind around just what was possible. I had been using forums, blogging and making internet features, such as the Magic Writing Tram, at the Soul Food Cafe since early 1999. These features replaced my ring binder books stored on the shelves of my desk and the annual School Anthology that was published each year.
So when SLAV asked me to begin showing Librarians the world of blogging I began sessions by taking participants on a short tour of the Soul Food Cafe to show what I had been doing in classrooms with forums and blogs. It was at one of these sessions in Warnambool that I met Faye Matters, the Librarian at Hawkesdale. She invited me to come to Hawkesdale to present to the school and the local cluster.
This was the beginning of the story of Hawkesdale, which has provided a template for subsequent school P.D. and a role model for schools wanting to establish strong Global networks.
August 2007 Two day presentation of the Magic Garden Project to the whole staff and to Year 5 -9 students in individual class groups. Each group heard the story of the Magic Garden, as told by Cora Zon, were provided with a range of high order thinking skill activities and shown, on the Magic Garden blog, what others had done in response to this.
August 2007 – 08 Maintained contact with staff including Anne Mirtschin, and provided online support. Students work was published in the Soul Food Cafe Adventure Calendar that featured Web 2.0 potentialities. Prep students scanned and sent their art work for publication and Grade 5-6 students made videos about Christmas. Anne Mirtchin accepted an invitation and worked with the Soul Food Community in an online project over the summer of 2008.
Early 2008 Revisited the school and ran sessions with students to help them maximise the benefit of blogging as a means of publishing outcomes of work they had completed. Students were shown how to add special features to their blogs.
The school, as their Global Techno Blog Web Page reveals, have gone from strength to strength. If you look closely at this blog you will see that it is being used as a kind of school magazine, newsletter. It showcases activities that students are actively engaged in and links to global projects that the school has undertaken. By contrast, if you visit specific subject blogs that are linked to it you will see how teachers are using blogs to engage students in curriculum activities. For example, Britt Gow’s Science blog is an amazing resource. Britt has links to Science Resources, the work of other teachers and to students in her science classes. Her blog publishes work she is doing with students and when you look at the blog of a student like Cricket Man you can see how adept he has become, see that he has created a digital portfolio of work that he has been completing at school.
The Hawkesdale constellation is worth looking at very closely. You can see that blogs are being used for diverse purposes.
Secret of Success
Committed school leadership and a group of passionate teachers who were prepared to take up the challenge.
Substantial P.D provided for all members of the school community.
Enthusiastic and passionate student engagement. Students have driven the process.
Strong community support.
More Success Stories
Fitzroy North Primary, Horsham West Primary, Doncaster Secondary College, Murrumbeena Primary, Mossigiel Primary and Berwick Lodge Primary are just some of the schools who have build web based collectives with links to their community members. You can read about how they did it here.