Connecting GloballyGeoff Wood, Rosmini College, connects his students with students in the Cook Islands. by Rachel Whalley

Global Connections - Making it Work

Having been asked often, “How do you establish and maintain your global connections?” Geoff Wood details the nuts, bolts and issues relating to this.

We have been on an exciting journey since we initiated an on-line, collaborative, web-presence 13 years ago. We have also hosted 4 live video-conferences. It is not easy developing and sustaining connections, but the result is a most rewarding activity for our students.

Rosmini College Over the Back Fence Project (OtBF) regularly links students from 54 different classes in New Zealand, Australia, India, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea and the Cook Islands. We have links with 34 different schools.

As experienced travellers, we are now better prepared and as our network grows we expect to connect with:

  • 75 different classrooms
  • An increase of approximately 50% per year

We think we have learned something along this journey and hope the following outline is a useful tool. Whether you are just beginning or are having difficulty expanding or maintaining connections. 

Before I go further I will state that not all connections work. Sometimes you just have to pull the plug and politely find an alternative.

Feeling ready to start your global connection - here’s how:

A      Join with us at Rosmini to help your class get started 

B       Request a link with one of our existing partners

C       Get exploring yourself.


The Over the Back Fence programme (Global Connections)

Primary and intermediate schools

Weekly 8-10 minute health, safety and environmental education lessons. Generally held on each day of the week with various time slots available.

Korean School Connections

Connect your class to classroom in South Korea (general commitment 5-6 weeks). We are collaborating with the NZ Korean Education Centre on this project.

Filipino student connection – Virtual Merienda

For any Filipino student – connect with other Filipinos

Filipino language classes

Tagalog and Bisayan languages classes. For students interested in learning Filipino languages.


In 2003 a colleague and I initiated an on-line collaborative web-presence connecting Rosmini College students with students attending nine universities in New Zealand and the United States. We were fortunate to have access to the Massey University ‘bridge’ until we acquired our own Polycom video conference equipment. Students met to share their research projects and discuss some chosen themes. Over 1,000 students participated in that project which ran for nine years. Retirement broke that link.

Six years ago we started the video lesson component of the Over the Back Fence Project. We have grown to video share for an average of 9 hours per week. We have progressed through Adobe Connect, to SKYPE (free), SKYPE (paid) and are now using ZOOM ( accounts, a mix of two paid (open) and two free (up to 40 minutes). ZOOM has been marvellous. The technology has enabled us to host an open connection with thirty-six end points all on the same call.

As I mentioned above, some relationships drop away and others flourish. So check out our attachedc and find out about the lessons learned, so far.

Please contact Geoff Wood at Rosmini College for more information.

Pictured below: Rosmini College Year 7 and 8 students connected to students in Busan, South Korea