In July 1995, over 400 teachers from twenty-two countries met in Melbourne for the second I*EARN international “One-World” Teacher’s Conference [Archived Site]*.
To mark this 20th anniversary of the Melbourne conference, I would love to hear from the pioneers and leaders we assembled in 1995 to get your perspectives, insights and wisdom.
Where are we now?
- What did we get right?
- What did we miss?
- What challenges remain?
I am also very interested to SEE the changes that have occurred and encourage you to share any OLD and NEW photos of changes to your classrooms and teaching practice!
The internationalisation of education has perhaps never been more important.
Twenty years is a long time, yet I wonder what hindsight and reflection provides for us ‘down-the-track?’. We find ourselves in 2015 with un-imagined connectivity, networked infrastructure , devices such as phones and tablets that were truly “science-fiction” in 1995. This was a year before Australian scientist John O’Sullivan patented wi-fi technology.
More importantly, the canon of research in to teaching and learning has expanded significantly. I am interested to hear your observations on teaching practice and its relationship with networked technologies. [See below for comments!]
This was a time when “the internet” was still a concept unknown to many and certainly schools, education officials and governments were still very much in the earliest stages of developing responses to this technology. Yet Victorian schools were at the epicentre of telecommunications and online collaboration. Australian and particularly Victorian schools, were, in the early stages, amongst the global leaders to connect their classrooms with the world.
Such efforts appear [to me] even more relevant today than in 1995.
In particular, but in no order, my colleagues in the WhaleSong Foundation [Archived site]*
- Andrew Hocking,
- Trish Bulluss,
- Cathy Coppinger,
- Kathy Skidmore,
- Frank McNamara and
- Ian Parry
were genuinely at the global forefront of the telecommunications revolution. It seems such a mis-used term “revolution” but the work of these people to engage not only their students, but hundreds and hundreds of other SCHOOLS and teachers, was quite a feat, considering all were volunteers and working full-time.
This group became the nucleus of the first iteration of the IEARN Australia Centre [Archived Site]*.
Between 1989 and 1993, six schools in particular,
- Broadford Secondary College,
- Tranby Aboriginal College [NSW]
- Broadford Primary School,
- Puckapunyal Primary School,
- Wandong Primary School and
- Mansfield Secondary College achieved some incredible firsts, establishing video-links [the first ever video-phone link from Australia!], secure online student “conference rooms”, student international exchange programmes focussing on the history of the Holocaust, global publishing programmes involving ozone and climate scientists around the world, global art exchanges and establishing a “First Peoples” project, the first of its kind in the world, just to name a few.
Of course, much of this was “pre-browser” technology.
In addition, we partnered with the Asia Education Foundation to support their MAGENET Schools programme. Ten Pilot schools, in total, were selected with at least one from each State and Territory in Australia. Each school received personal training and then linked with I*EARN schools in Korea, Japan and China, as well as other I*EARN Schools in the USA.
By 1994, a number of us had spent time in Argentina with Daniel Reyes, Rosy Aguilla and Adriana Vilella at the inaugural IEARN Teacher’s Conference in Puerta Madryn, Argentina.
The driving force of Peter Copen and Ed Gargert and the rest of the International Management Team had established a global network of schools and educators.
We knew the classroom would change, We suspected the classroom had to change, Twenty years on, has it changed? In what ways?
The Global Classroom Project
In November of 1994, The Directorate of School Education in Victoria agreed to support the Whalesong Foundation’s design of a 2 year plan to co-ordinate and implement a Statewide telecommunications project for *all* Victorian Schools based on the I*EARN Model.
This saw the establishment of the Victorian Global Classroom project [Archived Site]* and a HUGE response from the teaching workforce to engage in the use of this technology. Bruce Rigby and later, Rita Ellul from the Dept. of Education were instrumental in assisting the group and expanding this further into one of the longest running projects of its type.
ABC Television Documentary – Internet Kids
In July of 1995, these many hundreds of educators gathered in Melbourne.
It is worth noting these pioneer schools and their teams. If you work in these schools or with colleagues that were involved in the 1995 Teachers Conference, I encourage you to leave a few thoughts in the comments section.
We look forward to hearing from you, 20 years on…
Some of these pioneers are [thankfully] still in front of a classroom or involved in education in some way, so if you have a chance to “pat” one of these amazing educators on the back and say “thanks”, you should do so….
“The Originals” Phase 1 Global Classroom
“The Originals” Phase 2 Global Classroom
- Andersons Creek Primary School – Des McKenzie
- Bairnsdale Primary School – Bernice Burke-Kennedy
- Bairnsdale Secondary College – Margaret Scott
- Ballarat Secondary College, East Campus – Stan Szydzik
- Ballarat Secondary College, Wendouree – Allen Jones
- Beaufort Primary School – Jeff Pinney
- Bell Park North Primary School – Peter Hansen
- Bellbridge Primary School – Dea Middleton
- Benalla Primary – Dennis Leseberg
- Brauer College – Greg Allison
- Broadford Primary School – Matthew Itter
- Buckley Park Secondary College – Linda Green
- Camberwell High – Heather Shawcross
- Charlton College – Kelvin Baird
- Cobram Secondary College – John Stava
- Commercial Road Primary School – Ross Mckinlay
- Derinya Primary School – Brian McFall
- Doncaster Secondary College – Rod Allen
- Edenhope College – David Hatherell
- Edithvale Primary School – Paul Weigall
- Elwood College – David Earl
- Euroa Primary School – Ross Dean
- Euroa Secondary College – Gary Golding
- Footscray City Secondary College – John Widmer
- Galvin Park Secondary – Robyn Smith
- Gisborne Secondary College – Albert Stefani
- Gladstone Park Secondary – Peter Bowen
- Glen Waverley Secondary College – Dianne Peck
- Greensborough Secondary College – Rod Webster
- Grovedale Primary School – Jon Hosford
- Healesville Primary School – Noel Hyndman
- Heatherhill Secondary College – Andrew Hamilton
- Irymple Secondary College – George Connor
- Jamieson Park Secondary College – Eve Matheou
- Jells Park Primary – Judy Magee
- K.O.D.E. Campus Kurnai College – Karen Kain
- Keilor Downs Secondary College – Nikki Deighton
- Laburnum Primary – Victor Byrdy
- Lake Bolac Primary School – Wendy Graham
- Langwarrin Secondary College – Ron Craven
- Lindenow Primary School – Judy White
- Lyndale Secondary College – Jenny Rawlinson
- Lyndhurst Secondary College – Nia Holdenson
- Macleod Technical College – A. Minko
- Melbourne Girls College – Suzanne Clarke
- Mentone Girls Secondary – Winn Dennis
- Mildura Primary School – Mark Jackson
- Mildura Senior College – Barb Kelly
- Moonambel Primary – Maryanne LaMacchia
- Mooroopna Park Primary – Cliff Downey
- Mount Erin Secondary College – Valerie Wardle
- Myrtleford Primary School – Danise White
- Nathalia Secondary College – Alan Sage
- Oberon High School – Rowden Moore
- Orbost Primary School – Terry Hooper
- Princess Hill Secondary College – David Williams
- Ranfurly Primary School – Terry Massey
- Red Cliffs Secondary School – Geoff Richard, Roberts Miller
- Reservoir District Secondary – Terry Twomey
- Robinvale Secondary School – Jim Donnelly
- Rochester Secondary College – James Strate
- Royal Childrens Hospital School – Kai Saldaneri
- Simpson Primary School – Barb Kerr
- Springvale Secondary College – Ross McKenzie
- St. Helena Secondary College – Neville Cook
- St. Kilda Primary School – Clare Hanna
- Strathmore Secondary College – Phillipa Grounds
- Syndal South Primary School – A. Vander Werf
- Templestowe College – Rose-Mary Serong
- The Lorne School – Geoff Bird
- Torquay Primary School – Dale Constable
- Underbool Primary School – Rod Robinson
- Wallan Primary School – Phil Sutton
- Wandong Primary School – Michelle Nash & Roland Gardiner
- Werribee Secondary College – Kevin O’Neill
- Wilsons Promontory National Park School – Graeme Baxter
* – The Archived Sites are still functional BUT over 20 Years old and may not work reliably on all devices. Many are within “frames” for display purposes.
- I*EARN international “One-World” Teacher’s Conference [Archived Site]
- Student Reports – International Conference 1995 [Archived Site]
- WhaleSong Foundation [Archived site]
- IEARN Australia Centre [Archived Site]
- Victorian Global Classroom project [Archived Site]
- CONNECT – Youth Participation – Oct-Dec 1995 [PDF] – Youth Research Centre
- IEARN 25 Years
- I*EARN Argentina
- Fundación Evolución
- I*EARN Australia – Current