Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, Global Education Conference co-chairs, talk about the Global Education Conference 2017 that runs from November 13-16. Go to globaleducationconference.com to join in. Today we talk about the conference, what people can expect from the conference and how to sign up.
Below is an enhanced transcript, modified for your reading pleasure. For guests and hyperlinks to resources, scroll down.
Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon for Global Education Conference
Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e190
Date: Friday, November 10, 2017
Vicki: The Global Education Conference is here, November 13-16!
We have the two founders here with us today. My dear friends Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon are leading this conference.
So Steve, let’s start with you. What is the Global Education Conference?
What is the Global Education Conference?
Steve: Well it’s this massive online peer-to-peer opportunity for teachers, educators, administrators, and students to share with each other what they’re doing in terms of globally connecting and global education.
It started eight years ago. The first year was 2010. We just created this venue for anybody to come on and present — and for anybody else around the world 24 hours a day for several days — to watch those presentations. It’s just been a thrill since then.
Vicki: So Steve, people from all over the world can participate and join in, right?
Steve: Yeah, we have about 25,000 members in our Global Education Conference network, not all of whom will attend each year, but we have members from 170+ countries.
We have this really cool system for people to schedule their own session times based on what’s good for them, where they are in the world. So we have sessions around the clock, and they all get recorded because people can’t always watch at the same time that someone can present.
This year, we’ll have over a hundred presentations.
Vicki: It’s such a fabulous resource for those of us who want to collaborate globally.
And here’s the thing, teachers… There’s always something going on when you have time, and it’s the Global Education Conference, so there’s really no excuse when it comes down to schedule because there’s always something going on.
So, Lucy, give us some of the highlights from this year.
Highlights From This Year
Lucy: I’m really excited because we have about seventeen different keynotes that are addressing the conference from around the world, including one that’s going to be partially in English and partially in French. Another one will probably be in Spanish and maybe some English. I’m not sure yet.
So we’re trying to accommodate more languages, and I’m really excited about those, in particular.
I’m also thrilled about one particular presenter that I have come across who happens to be the creator and genius behind the “Carmen San Diego” PBS series from a number of years ago. He has worked as a technology entrepreneur in a variety of different fields related to children’s media. He has an organization that he’s looking to network with people about in terms of global education.
I had a conversation with him today, and I thought he was really interesting. His name is Howard Blumenthal.
All of the sessions are really top notch this year. Lots of different professionals from all over the Global Education space. There’s something for everyone.
Vicki: I love it, Lucy. I don’t know how y’all do it. But you are always digging out — like you said, new people that everybody hasn’t heard of — but you’re always digging out new amazing educators who are just doing great work every single day in their classrooms.
Lucy: Yes, we are.
One story that I can think of from the past that exemplifies this…
People Met Here and Become Partners
They started collaborating and they do all sorts of projects and are very good friends now. They keynoted for us a few years ago. But they originally met in our rooms. And I think really good global collaborations happen when you have a relationship with another person professionally.
Our conference gives you opportunities to meet those kinds of people, and hopefully, serendipity will take over and something will happen for the people who attend our conference as well.
Vicki: Lucy, that is really exciting. You’ve given us one example of things that happen. But what are some of the things that people who participate in the conference say about participating?
Lucy: One thing that I remember from the past was when we had Howard Gardner as a keynote, and his son Andrew (who is a friend of ours) interviewed him. People felt like they were up close and personal with Howard and his son. They felt like they had a front-row audience with experts that they would not normally have access to,
So it’s going to give you… It’s free, first of all. It’s online, so you don’t have to go anywhere, and you can attend in your pajamas if you want to, and it’s all recorded so that you can access it at any time afterward.
You’re going to find experts at the level of Howard Gardner, but you’re also going to find classroom teachers who are talking about projects and who are looking for partners in their projects as well.
You also will hear from organizations who have lots of global education programming and support for schools out there.
Obstacles that Educators are Trying to Overcome Now
Vicki: So either of you can answer this one. As you’re planning the conference, what are some of the biggest obstacles and challenges that educators are trying to overcome right now in global education?
Steve: Lucy’s really the expert here. Lucy’s got the gift both with the keynote presenters and sort of the “feel” of the global event. For sure we hear from people that they have trouble finding someone else to collaborate with.
While you’re definitely there to hear the interesting presentations and the keynote speakers, a lot of the collaboration takes place in the Chat Room during sessions. So there’s this enormous amount of back-and-forth between people who are all over the world who are watching a session and then collaborating with each other. And that’s kind of the magic of it.
If you go up one tier level, the people who’ve been for several years and get kind of comfortable, they become volunteers and they help to moderate and coordinate. They have the best experience of all because here they are from all around the world working together to help make sure the conference goes well.
The answer to your question, what I hear is that people are looking for someone, and they need someone to collaborate with.
Lucy, do you want to expand on that?
We Have an Amazing Community
Lucy: Yeah. I’ll say that I think we have a really nice community. We have people who come back year after year to volunteer and moderate sessions, or to attend, or to do both. I think that there’s been more collegiality between people as a result, if it’s possible to do that virtually. I think there’s more awareness of the different organizations and resources that are out there.
You know, originally when we started this, I felt like the space was a little segmented. The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing in terms of organizations and that sort of thing. Here, we provide an umbrella for these people and these organizations to network and to learn from each other.
The other thing I want to add, too, which is somewhat related is, we’re ed tech people first… and the global collaboration piece second. There are other people who have been working in the global education space much longer that we have. This movement is nothing new. It’s interesting to us, like, “How do we push the conversation further?” We think that technology helps that happen, and that’s what our event does.
But we’re also perplexed by why this isn’t more of a priority in schools. So there will be a panel with a bunch of these people who’ve been in this space for a while, on Monday afternoon of the conference, discussing what are some of the issues that keep schools from making it a priority to develop global competence in their students.
How Do People Join or Sign Up?
Vicki: How do people join in? How do they sign up?
Steve: You go to globaleducationconference.com You can join the network there. To participate in the actual conference, we also have you register through an Eventbrite link that’s on the front of the website. But again, everything is free and there’s lots of good information.
If anything, there’s too much information, too many good things going on. But just look for the registration link on the front page. Then you’ll get an email from us that has the schedule.
The fun of it is that the schedule pulls in 28 time zones; there are actually 36 or 37 time zones, but we only track a certain number of them. But you click into your own time zone. You’ll see the sessions that are running. You’ll see the session rooms, and it’s really a lot of fun.
Vicki: Is there a hashtag for it?
Steve: Lucy’s our social media guru…
Why Should Educators Start Connecting Globally?
Vicki: So let’s finish up. If each of you could give a quick 20-30 second pep talk on why educators should start connecting globally. Lucy, you want to start?
Lucy: Sure. I think it’s really important to connect and collaborate globally for a number of reasons.
On a practical side, the ISTE Standards that have been recently revised for students and teachers call for this. So we’ve provided venue for you to kind of find those people to collaborate with and develop those kind of relationships that are necessary for it.
From an educational standpoint, I think there has never been a greater need to develop empathy and understanding of the world in order to solve problems across borders.
So that’s why I think it’s really important for teachers to foster this kind of mentality in their students so that they’re curious about the world and want to be active global citizens.
Steve: Lucy addressed the practical and the educational. For me, it’s a deep passion belief in the value of and the importance of global in our own personal learning. I lived in Brazil for a year as an exchange student, and I can’t imagine my life without that experience of seeing the world through others’ eyes — and then a lifetime of connecting in other ways. If we really think about learning, and the core learning that we do, especially in this era, it’s hard to imagine us being good learners without an understanding of how other people think and act.
Vicki: That is so true. Here’s the thing — we can talk all day about other places. But when students connect, they live it. They understand it.
How can you change a worldview when students can’t travel? You can take them and travel digitally to other places.
So many powerful ideas. Register at globaleducationconference.com, and join in! Bring these remarkable experiences to your classroom!
Bio as submitted
Currently an education consultant advising a variety of organizations, Lucy Gray previously taught elementary grade levels in Chicago Public Schools and middle school computer science at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She also has worked at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. In 2007, Lucy founded the Global Education Collaborative, a network for educators interested in collaboration which has been expanded into the Global Education Conference Network. In her consulting life, she has led CoSN’s Leadership for Mobile Learning initiative, developed strategic plans and content for companies, provided professional development coaching to school districts, and presented at numerous conferences. Lucy also has received the distinctions of Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Innovator.
Professional Information: I am the founder and director of the Learning Revolution Project, the host of the Future of Education interview series, and founded and chair or co-chair of a number of annual worldwide virtual events, including the Global Education Conference and Library 2.0.
I pioneered the use of live, virtual (and peer-to-peer) education conferences, popularized the idea of education “unconferences,” built one of the first modern social networks for teachers in 2007 (Classroom 2.0), and developed the “conditions of learning” exercise for local change. I supported and encouraged the development of thousands of other education networks, particularly for professional development. For the last ten years, I've run a large annual ed-tech unconference, now called Hack Education (previously EduBloggerCon). I blog, speak, and consult on educational technology, and my virtual and physical events build community and connections in education, with 550,000 members.
My newest project is an online summit on Tiny Houses. I host a local tiny house group with over 2,000 members, and my son and his wife and I (mostly them) have been building a skoolie.
I have been the Emerging Technologies Chair for ISTE, a regular co-host of the annual Edublog Awards, the author of “Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education,” and the recipient of the 2010 Technology in Learning Leadership Award (CUE). I have done contract work, consulted, or served on advisory boards for Acer, Adobe, Blackboard, CoSN, Horizon Project / New Media Consortium (NMC), Instructure, Intel, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, MERLOT, Microsoft, Mightybell, Ning, PBS, Promethean, Speak Up / Project Tomorrow, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. State Department, and others typically focusing on educational technology and social networking. A number of corporations and organizations support my events, and you can see a list and more details of my projects at Web 2.0 Labs.
Personal Information: I was a foreign-exchange student through AFS to Brazil for a year in high school, and organized and led group tours for several years as my first job after college for Stanford's Alumni Association. I spent 2013 traveling around the world talking to people about education. I have the skin disorder Vitiligo and created the world's largest social network for those with Vitiligo at VitiligoFriends.org as well as the UniquelyBeautiful.net site. I also run a network for members of the extended Hargadon family–Hargadon is an Irish name, and all Hargadons come from Sligo. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and a student of different cultures, religions, and beliefs. I co-founded Asheville Interfaith and an annual exhibit of Nativity sets from around the world.
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