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The Global Classroom: Interview with Mr Robinson

22 January 2015

Today, we interviewed our Global Classroom lead, Mr David Robinson about this amazing and unique programme that all Nord Anglia Education schools offer.   
Question: I’ve heard a lot about the Global Classroom, but what does it mean for my child on a practical day-to-day basis?


Mr Robinson: Essentially it’s an online chatroom but one that is safe, monitored, steered towards educational concerns and gives encouragement to make good quality posts. In that sense I see it as being a bit like wearing armbands or cycling with stabilisers, in terms of preparing pupils for making positive and effective use of the internet before they are exposed to the less valuable or potentially dangerous websites out there. Any posts that are offensive or inappropriate are deleted immediately, but those that are just poor or silly are not deleted but instead we model, encourage, highlight and reward quality posts.

Question: How does the Global Classroom work?

Mr Robinson: I’ll give you an example. Last week, I was on a live video conference between two of our pupils here in Hong Kong who have been discussing a new challenge with student in Poland, Beijing, Doha and several other cities around the world. This is going to result in a competition to write lyrics to a song and will be announced by students in the school assembly.


Question: What kind of activities or projects feature in the Global Classroom?

Mr Robinson: There are some fantastic projects going on right now. The first one is a creative writing competition to promote travel writing. The winning work will be shared in nicely produced book that is sent to schools around the world and is selected with feedback from some successful published authors based in the UK.

There is the current Make It Right Big Challenge sponsored by Oxfam which is a Global Classroom based project. You can see the presentations put forward for this on our Year 7 blog here. Students have shared these and other ideas with other Nord Anglia school around the world who are all working on both charity and awareness raising campaigns in response to the challenge.

We are also going to be creating a song as mentioned from writing the lyrics, recording, and then making a video version of the song too. The Global Classroom has used his idea to set a challenge to create a song that is about both our school here in Hong Kong, the 31 other schools around the world and the ideas of connectivity and co-operation that are key to the Global Classroom. 

Another ongoing activity is a debating league on topical issues which is scored, judged and winners announced by the Global Classroom staff in Oxford. Although the debating league is only for members (who put themselves forward) there is another open debate where winners will be rewarded. There are also several on-line courses that students can take part in and receive feedback and certification - including a current one run by journalists from The Times and The Scotsman newspaper - unfortunately this is only available to secondary students at the present time.


Question: Any tips for parents on how to get children using it?

Mr Robinson: To get the most out of it does require pupils to put themselves forward and take it seriously but we have seen some really good work and ideas from pupils in our school so far and some useful and productive feedback from the Global Classroom team in Oxford. Parents should encourage their children to show them what’s available online at home. There’s also lots of great ideas for school holidays such as the Primary Book Club reading lists and discussing these books online and there are regular newsletters about what's happening in the Global Classroom for both Primary and Secondary.