Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 1 May 2009 Contents 52 Independence Volume 34 No. 1
MLC School, Sydney, NSW
MLC School is a day school for girls
with 1200 students from Kindergarten
to Year 12.
We are entering a new world where
change is the constant, connectedness is
expected and global understanding is key.
What does a connected world look like?
For someone like me, a member of the
executive team at MLC School in Sydney,
it can look like this:
Recently I flew to Brisbane then boarded
a train for a one hour 20 minute trip to
the Gold Coast. Seated comfortably on
the train I turned the laptop on and
First I ‘Skyped’ Lucy Grey of Chicago,
who was presenting for Google in New
York. We swapped stories about our kids
then shared a few links and new ideas
Some youths, dressed strangely, were
making noise on the train. Lucy wanted
to see them. I flicked on my camera. Lucy
looked and laughed. ‘Just like home’, she
Chris Pim of our UK partner school was
also online. It was late for Chris so we got
to the point. He identified a technical
issue with his new project.
I logged onto our virtual ‘world’ and
explained the problem to Lucinda, a
student at MLC School. Lucinda was
working with student leaders on a task
to develop and establish an agreed set of
values for our world. Lucinda chatted to
Giere from USA, and Zac from New
Zealand to get Chris’s technical issue
Simultaneously I was ‘Skyping’ Brett
Moller of King’s Christian College on the
Gold Coast. He was helping me sort some
accommodation through lastminute.com.
‘Got one!’ he said. ‘$150 for a five star
overnight stay. Not bad.’ I followed the
link and booked online.
Then onto ‘iChat’ to find Alan Coleman,
my business advisor. Alan was waiting for
me at a café on the Gold Coast, working
on his emails. I told him there was a slight
delay due to track work. I will be 20
For many of you reading this article the
above will be very familiar. Increasingly
job roles require connection, both locally
and globally. At MLC School we have
been working to bring this experience of
local and global connection to our
students, to give them the opportunity to
work freely with immersive technologies,
develop global relationships and become
‘literate’ in this new age.
Our Principal, Mrs Barbara Stone believes
in providing opportunity for the girls to
‘dare to be more’ and for the teachers to
‘transform learning’. These phrases have
become powerful motivators and guides
in helping the school maintain an
outward looking focus. From this focus,
Skoolaborate has emerged.
Skoolaborate is an MLC initiative aimed
at developing global awareness and
understanding using safe online
environments, including online lessons
and a virtual world. In Skoolaborate
students and teachers live and learn with
students and peers from all around the
world. They share ideas, compare and
contrast thoughts on global issues and
co-construct authentic tasks via a mix
of academic and social experiences,
expanding on what can be offered within
a single school campus. It also explores
how these virtual environments can
enhance students’ learning opportunities
The Skoolaborate community has now
grown to 40 schools across 10 countries.
To access Skoolaborate, adults must
be teachers who have submitted their
‘working with children’ police checks.
Students have naming conventions that
allow them to be tracked should any
Skoolaborate is divided into four themed
island groups based on curriculum needs,
including Social Action, Learning (Maths
and Sciences), Culture and Living.
Students and teachers create digital
personas and these ‘Avatars’ can walk,
fly or teleport around the islands and
Students collaborating with teachers in Skoolaborate’s virtual world on how to set up
a learning activity for the US team.
We are giving our
opportunity to work
freely with immersive
become ‘literate’ in
this new age.
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