Saturday, September 30, 2006
"What would it take for established education to embrace the global virtual knowledge ecology so that learning will take its place in the Ubiquitous Web World? In terms of our historical example, it would mean education would abandon hieroglyphics and adopt phonetics. Printed textbooks, curricula with its parts related by grade level and standards would no longer be used, and every student’s connection to knowledge would be through his or her personal mobile Internet device. Students would connect their knowledge education directly into the cognitive relationships within the open content ecology. Their learning would become a seamless, ubiquitous cognitive experience within the Web world that now awaits education.
The inertia of established education has diminished little over the ten years during which the other sectors of the Ubiquitous Web World have morphed into the seamless ubiquitous experience. There has been some engagement of the global virtual knowledge ecology within some universities and colleges, especially by small and specialized academic disciplines. But traditional curricula and textbooks march on to campuses with a barely disturbed cadence year after year.
At the K-12 levels little has changed even though those classrooms are now populated by students who were born into the Internet age."
Also today I found out Jeff Utecht is celebrating his blog's first birthday. Well, Jeff, our blog's have their birthday in the same month (mine was September 5th). There seem to be many bloggers who have been doing this for about one year...what was life like beforehand?
I have also been researching updated podcasting resources and revisited the excellent site produced by Dave Jobbings and co at Recap in the UK, Podcasts for Educators, Schools and Colleges and even posted to another blog I maintain (on a more irregular basis) Podcast Jazz about this. I was delighted to discover Dave's newish blog called Anywhere, Anytime Learners and look forward to dipping into this each week.... oh no, another great blog I must read. Dave has posted about the VLE conundrum in which he states:
"The VLE is no "quick fix" to presenting good quality teaching and learning materials. Like most educational activity, there is always the need to establish a pedagogy for effective e-learning in practice.
Perhaps that is why there are more implementations of a VLE as forms of an "online content warehouse"."
In closing today.....(I am having some 'off the grid' time as well this afternoon as a member of the Dhaka Australian Club 'C' Division tennis team. Our first set of games is tomorrow night so we are having a practice session today), I am fascinated by the recent ClustrMap I have put on this blog. I have been ignoring ClustrMaps, not sure why, thought they were a bit tacky, but wow, what a great way to gather statistics and find out where you are being read....(or opened by mistake ;-)). I have had 87 visits to this eLearning blog in 5 days! The dots are in Australia, the Middle East, China, Europe, North and South America, India, Canada and Asia!
OK, that's it...I was going to find a cute picture to add to this post from Flickr.com but the whirl is too great, I'm off to tennis!
Technorati Tags: judybreck markvanthooft warlick jeffutecht davejobbings terryfreedman
Friday, September 22, 2006
This week David Warlick invited participants to revisit the New Century School House project. This was established a number of years ago. Details of the invitation can be found in his TechLearning blog posting.
As a 20 minute task this is what they came up with for a secondary school adopted classroom:
Room Name: Knowledge Capsule
- Learning using all the senses.
- Use of multimedia.
- Local and Global interaction.
- Virtual facilitator(s).
- Online access to resources around the world.
- Self paced learning.
- Online examinations/testing.
- Virtual reality (experiential learning)
- Paperless environment.
- Environmentally friendly power source.
- Biometrically designed software that responds to voice and other senses.
- Fast, reliable, secure wireless networking.
- Virtual reality devices.
- Holographic computers.
- Reclining seats.
- Motion sensitive equipment.
- Online storage of all files/resources.Read other adopted classroom descriptions. Better still, make your own contribution to the classroom ideals of the future!
"Classroom." gardenhoe/saras photostream 31 August 2006. 21 September 2006. [Click to view link]
Technorati Tags: newcenturyschoolhouse warlick Bangladesh
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Jeff writes about a school vision for learning in 2012 that incorporates digital literacy ideals. He describes a vision that will "Use technology in innovative and authentic ways to enhance learning and communication", and then goes on to explore ideas that include flexibility, staffing and support that will enhance the teaching and learning environment.
He asks: Could you create or make change in 2006 so that it could be called “The year to remember”?
Great work Jeff!
OK, what do I think? Here at International School Dhaka we have a vision for a learner centred environment and focus on inquiry-based learning. Our key words for the one-to-one eLearning program are Mobile, Ubiquitous and Digital. We have implemented a handheld (Grade 6-7) and a laptop (Grade 8-12) program in the secondary school. We have a wireless network and staff incentives to come on board with mobile computing. We have spent hours planning, implementing and developing this environment. It is hard work and it is not 'finished'. I think our major 'change' year was 2004, our first full year of both programs running simultaneously. This year there was a buzz about the place. Students were excited about their new gadgets and what they could do with them, teachers were attending PD sessions for integration of digital literacy ideals using mobile computing. Since then we have had ups and downs. As an international school with a large staff turnover every year is different.
One important aspect of seeing a vision through to reality is to be able to live the vision and have enough funding to support it technically and professionally. In 2004 I had a desk calendar of 'Who Moved My Cheese' from Dr Spencer Johnson. Everyday I would flip over a new page and read about the mice in the maze and how they searched for their own reality. As Johnson teaches, the three stages of change are Preparing for change, Gaining change skills, Achieving a change. What I have learnt about change is that some people cope with it better than others, however the way a plan is put into action and the leadership skills employed in doing this make an incredible difference to the morale and motivation of the team you wish to change. This is so true in a school. If a team spirit and a feeling that we are all working towards a change for the better does not exist, if the leadership is weak and unsupportive, there will be no change that benefits learning outcomes. Teachers are the worst creatures for hiding in their own maze and running around finding the same cheese each day...why bother changing if the cheese is always there and it tastes OK?
What will ISD look like in the year 2012? I offer this diagram to reflect our technology plan:
The students are at the top of the structure as they are what we are here for. The Vision must then feed down into the three main areas of action: Curriculum, Professional Development and Community Engagement (interaction with the outside world e.g. parents, online information). All of this is supported by the Infrastructure, being the IT Department (tech support, hardware, software and personnel). I agree with Jeff that the IT Manager and IT Head (education) need to communicate however I am going to stress here the need in a school for the education head to have veto over the non-education head (be the one calling the shots essentially). This is the only way it can work, I speak from experience on this one.
Support systems include a strong tech team who administer quick response to problems and support the mobile program effectively. With a one-to-one program (especially in a country such as Bangladesh with no external contract for devices) a laptop to tech person ratio needs to be balanced so that students and teachers have their tools in hand. Support also comes in the form of IT specialists who have time to foster teacher development and encourage classroom initiatives. Yes there is a push, of course, for all teachers to become more IT savvy but there is still a great need for integration specialists to lighten the load of the curriculum specialists. They must work hand-in-hand to ensure that information and digital literacy ideals are being met without stress. Another important feature of a futuristic school (or now?) is 'leading by example' by teacher administrators. There is no room for digital immigrant woes. If a position of responsibility is reached in a school this should mean a high level of digital literacy and a willingness to seek change throughout the school.
In conclusion.......the most important change we will see by the year 2012 is that we will not be using the words 'technology', we will not be spending hours talking 'hardware and software' or Internet bandwidth, as these will have settled into being reliable and always-available. In 2012 we will only talk about 'learning' and engaging students 'learning by doing' in a ubiquitous environment where skills are aquired 'just in time' and students never have to copy anything from the whiteboard with a pencil into their notebooks (OK, it's late and this is a soapbox issue of mine). Teachers will be given enough time to develop and plan rich experiences for their students that involve amongst other things, commnity interaction (local and global).
Technorati Tags: 21stcenturylearning jeffutecht technologyplanning
Saturday, September 16, 2006
- Connecting with millions of students
- Being in business in less than 4 minutes
- Free setup with a chance to charge your own rates
- Pay only a minimal transaction fee
- Use video, voice, whiteboard, chat ect
- Collaborate in realtime on any document
- A complete 'busines in a box'
"Our aim is to create a world which is not only elegantly simple to use but where the best of best teaching flourishes and is available to all. We are harnessing the passion of teachers, educators, parents, and students from around the globe to unleash innovation and imagination and to provide all children, in all countries, the best education the world can offer."
OK, this sounds good....let's experiment.
Out of curiosity I created an account I registered and created a company name 'Lindsay Online'. I thought it better to put my country as Australia, thinking that Bangladesh may have certain connotations. The interface allows you to create a profile, set your local time, availability and schedule and also view requests from potential students who want tutoring from you.
First question: what are the checks and balances with this? Who is checking your qulaifications to be a tutor? Where is the section asking for referees and people who can vouch that you are who you say and that you can do what you claim?
I then investigated money and payment methods. First you have to select the subjects you are able to teach. I chose Computers and then from a long list of possibilities including Java, website authoring, C++ etc I chose HTML. It seems you can charge what you want for each session but you have to put the cost in in US$ as well as 'local' currency. When checking the 'banking' area the 'flat world' scenario according to Friedman became obvious. So far payments can only be made to the US, Pakistan and India! Maybe I should have declared I was in Bangladesh (however we are an independent country, once called East Pakistan and once under Indian control).
So, tutors without limits......c/o worlds without limits....soon to expand into many other countries but based in US, India and Pakistan. An interesting exercise in online delivery of services. I question the ethics and social implications of this service but at the same time fully support the initiative. As an educator I can see many benefits to both teachers and students but feel uncomfortable with the possible lack of integrity. The simple online interface seems too easy and there is no one person to contact for more information.
Technorati Tags: tutorswithoutlimits flatworld online
Thursday, September 14, 2006
The K12 Online Conference now has a blog and an online form for submitting proposals. Great news to hear that David Warlick is a keynote speaker and will commence the conference with a preconference session on how to get the most out of an online conference. Alan Levine has also agreed to give the keynote for the Basic/Advanced training strand. All the news is on the blog!
Technorati Tags: k12online, k12online06
The word 'literacy' conjures many ideas, thoughts, statistics, emotions and ideals. What does 'being literate' mean in 2006? Does it have the same definition as it did 10 years ago? 20 years ago?
"Literacy in the 21st century is all about participation: the ability to critically consume and create knowledge for the betterment of ourselves, our families and our communities. Whether it’s teaching an adult to read for the first time, or teaching a teenager that there’s more to video production than imitating episodes of Jackass on YouTube.com, we all need to work together in making sure that everyone has the requisite skills to help make the world a better place. These skills, technical or otherwise, don’t exist in a vacuum. We need to help people improve their basic literacy skills, their technology skills, and their media literacy skills. Not to make them better consumers, but better citizens - citizens of their community, of their country and the world at large".
International Literacy Day focuses on giving hope to the millions who cannot read or write their own name and it also gives us the motivation to reflect on literacy ideals within education and how we can develop and support these. We cannot discuss the concept of literacy now without considering a wider definition and also considering using technology tools to support development of 'consuming and creating knowledge'.
According to enGuage 21st Century Skills list 'Digital Age Literacy' includes:
- Basic, scientific, economic and technological literacies
- Visual and information literacies
- Multicultural literacy and global awareness
Technorati Tags: andycarvin digitalliteracy literacy enguage
Monday, September 11, 2006
"What should instructional technology leaders say to administrators and teachers who want to shut down ALL network access to instant messaging? I think this situation should be an opportunity for students to learn and practice contextually appropriate technology use… but the tendency is for pro-IM voices to be drowned out by digital immigrant teachers shouting, “Shut them down! Shut them all down!”
Wesley's podcast on 'Safe Digital Social Networking' introduces the session with:
"Schools must be proactive, rather than merely defensive, in helping students acquire the skills of digital citizenship needed today and in the future. Simply banning read/write web tools on school networks is an inadequate response: Educators must strive to learn alongside students and parents how these technologies can be safely and powerfully used to communicate and collaborate."
More recently he talks about 'School reform vision needed' and says in response to the "Saying no to school laptops" article:
"The technology immersed environment is likely to be more inherently engaging, because of the engaging content and communicative potential which the laptop contains and promises."
Wow, yes, of course we are on the right track with our 1-to-1 laptop and handheld programs! However, why is it that many teachers are finding refuge in remaining a digital immigrant? I believe it is their inability to 'let go' in the classroom. It is their well developed sense of 'them' being the most important item in the room for each student and without 'them' there the student could not possibly learn.
We need to run 'how to let go' professional development for teachers. Perhaps if we left a handful of teachers (immigrant status) in a room of, say 20, students with laptops researching WWII, doing IM and blogging at same time (yes my students multi-task) for, say 3 hours, would they come out twitching? cured? inspired? exhausted? Isn't that how we feel each day in the 21st century classroom, those of us who are trying/allowing/getting away with to develop learner self-awareness, learner-centred and communication focused environments?
Of course I still feel put out when trying to speak to a group of students about a new topic/online tool/assignment etc and I find some of them are using their laptop and chatting to students in other classes...how could they not be 100% focused on me, me, me? Yes I do take it personally, but in terms of 'what have I done wrong', not 'what have they done wrong'. OK, they may be breaking a 'school guideline for network use' and I should possibly be implementing disciplinary action (sigh) , but what is wrong with my action in the classroom that lets them stray to disruptive and distractive behaviour? How can I improve my own 'teaching'?
I have no real answers to any of this except to reiterate....we need to learn how to 'let go' of 20th century classroom ideals and move into the 21st century with fresh approaches or what we do as a teacher will become irrelevant.
Technorati Tags: wesleyfryer IM socialnetworking web2.0
Friday, September 08, 2006
I have also been exploring Google video this week, in response to Vicki's (Cool Cat Teacher) great classroom applications where her students are creating and uploading videos. As part of our new wikispaces wiki we have experimenting with embedding videos from Google. Topics such as 'telemedicine' and 'robotics' have brought up some excellent educational videos.
Today I did some further quick research on search terms in both Google video and YouTube. (I also tried blip.tv but came up with more rubbish than I care to share with you). The results of the four search terms and the number of hits is shown here:
Education: Google, 4,086 YouTube, 6,581
K12: Google, 13 YouTube, 18,744 (a very odd collection of videos!)
school: Google, 20,567 YouTube, 81,184
teacher: Google, 2,157 (the second hit was pornographic) YouTube, 9,941
Essentially, both Google video and YouTube have undesirable and very unsuitable content which is easily found using common words as search terms.
As a starting point to making sense of this facility for the classroom and educational collaboration I am pleased to find that Dean Shareski has taken the initiative to start a group on YouTube called K12. Today I uploaded video #6 to this group. It is a compilation of images and podcast excerpts that I put together for the Podcast Bangladesh presentation at NECC06 recently. It has been available via my wiki since June and I have already uploaded it to blip.tv, as I have other videos and student-created digital stories. However I am now delighted to be able to join YouTube and explore the possibilities of sharing educational content and giving my students a space to upload to. The K12 group now gives a home to educational content (I hope) that we want to share.
Migual Guhlin also recently suggested a new domain name, possibly EdTube, but called for suggestions. This is in response to the fact that some educators and schools will not be able to access YouTube as it is blocked.
I am still not convinced however that the YouTube environment is the best for educators to share, or Google video for that matter but we are heading in the right direction by at least showing the need for this online facility.
Does anyone have any other resources or ideas on this?
Technorati Tags: youtube googlevideo K12 DeanShareski
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
How I have grown in 1 year! This blog started as a means of communicating directly with my school collegues and highlighting activities to do with staff and students. However, it has evolved now into something far more personal and, dare I say intense from my point of view. I am not trying to please my immediate collegues by letting them co-post with me. This is my blog and my research and considered comments.
There was a spate of 'my top 10 posts' a few months ago and I did enjoy reading David Warlick's top 10, Jeff Utecht's top 7, and Vicki Davis's top 10 amongst others for the 0506 academic year.
OK, better late than never, and only having 57 to choose from I may not reach 10 but here goes:
1. Social Networking in the Classroom: Learning by Stealth
2. I Do Not Want to Fix Computers!
3. Nicholas the Great!
4. Tourist or Resident: A Perspective on Teaching
5. Technoconstructivism and Disruptive Technologies
6. Why Handheld Computers?
7. Go Digital
8. The Digital Divide: Impact on Education
9. Supporting Literacy with Technology
10. Digital Literacy: The discussion continues
Well I made 10! Happy birthday E-Learning blog. Crawling, almost walking and looking forward to what developments the next 12 months will bring. Thanks to all supportive fellow bloggers for your comments and encouragement.
Technorati Tags: mytop10eduposts julielindsay blogginbestpractice
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I feel priveleged to be in Bangladesh in this stage of it's development and very privileged to be a part of the development of these young minds and the future decision makers of this country. It is refreshing to look at problems and issues away from western-tinted glasses. Yes, I think Nicholas Negroponte is a great man and innovator with the interest of the world at heart. However, is the $100 laptop a good idea for Bangladesh? Here are some comments:
Wasi said: " I do not think that the OLPC program will succeed in Bangladesh and other developing countries. First of all .......... the OLPC it is a 100 million dollar project. Frankly speaking 100 million dollars is extremely expensive for many developing nations.
Bangladesh already can produce decent brand new desktop computers with a price tag of Tk. 9,000. Second hand desktop computers can be bought for around Tk.5,000 to 6,000 range. Now if we do some calculations $100 is equivalent to around Tk.7200.
If Bangladesh purchase’s these laptops we lose a large amount of our valuable foreign currency reserve. Why don’t we develop and experiment with the indigenous Tk.9000 desktop and try to bring down the price? This implication will be very useful for Bangladesh and other developing nations to adopt because by buying indigenous products the government will be supporting its own industries. This will be encouraging private sector, new employment will be created and thus it will be a big boost for the local economy. Consequently creation of such an industry will be a matter of nation pride and this concept or our products could be introduced or exported to other developing nations.
Saif said: "Also, even if underpriviledged children are provided with the laptops, don't they need the basic computing skills to use them? I think before a country like Bangladesh takes in the OLPC project, the government should first start a training program, and educate the underpriviledged, raise the IT literacy rate. Just purchasing the technology and spending money on such projects will not work, the main area which lacks improvement is education."
Nader said: "Not only do the local communities have to learn how to utilize these devices, but if they are expected to follow the mainstream of digital technology, they must be connected like the rest of the world; to the internet, to a reliable power source, etc."
Ishad said: "initially training centres can be opened up by the government to provide training in order make the OLPC programme succesful..because the literacy rate in BD is extremely low...less than 50% of the population cannot read or write...for an underdeveloped country like BD this might be too soon to invest on the IT sector because the majority of the population are deprived of primary education. therefore i dont think OLPC programme is viable in bangladesh."
The future of Bangladesh may rest on the IT-based decisions made in the next few years. Will we be the next IT center like our neighbour India? Another good topic for our blog!
Technorati Tags: Bangladesh bloggingbestpractice OLPC Negroponte
I tried to explain that my class does not end when the students work out the door. The collaboration, interaction and socialisation continues. My students interact with each other, they interact with me, their teacher, via online tools of various names and varieties which could all come under the broad term of 'social networking'. They have their own online areas, including digital portfolios, as well as community areas. They post to blogs and respond to each other. They are out there using social bookmarking, folksonomy, class wikis, creating podcasts and vodcasts and putting them online, using social imaging (flickr) and anything else I can think of to encourage motivation and excitement in their ultimate quest for learning. I do not apologise for this. I do not essentially see anything wrong with this in 21st century learning. In fact this approach has changed my whole teaching style and changed the way I interact with the students. The development of PLEs (personal learning environments) and ubiquitous and mobile computing means I now start my classes with '...open your blogs, refer to the class wiki...etc' rather than '..take out your books and copy from the board'.
However, I will add that I agree with my CEO that non-focused, time-wasting activities during school time are to be discouraged. The fact that these may now be taking an online route is not as relevant as the fact that there are hundreds of other 'non-focused and time-wasting' activities that students participate in everyday, it just happens that 'social networking' in its raw, perhaps misunderstood form, is in the limelight and teachers who encourage it are under the microscope for potential anarchic tendencies.
There is a very good article in this months Learning and Leading (ISTE) magazine called 'My Space or Yours', written by Joanne Barrett. If you are quick you can download a free copy this month (otherwise join ISTE for free PDF's all the time). It claims that a social networking site is typically one where users set up an account with a web page and/or blog and can post photos, text and other content. They can create profiles and link to other community members through common interests.
Joanne writes, "Social networking sites have taken us, educators, outside of our comfort zone. Like all other new technologies, we need to explore how we can continue to educate students about how to use these sites wisely. Blocking them from our school networks and encouraging our students not to use them certainly has brought a shift to our thinking.........Teaching safety about sites that aren't accessible on our schoool resources seems counter-intuitive for teachable moments."
I am not going to start a diatribe tonight about network filtering, a lot has already been blogged about this with DOPA recently. Needless to say we will never be able to fully block what we fear will harm us, therefore block or not we must instigate educational approaches and programs and do what we do best as teachers...teach! about inherent dangers to do with online interaction.
My recent adventures with ELGG have led me more into a social networking environment and I need to try and explain this to the school administration that this is a worthwhile and useful learning tool. My new blog In Touch with a Flat World is where I will be talking more about these classroom and day-to-day experiences here in Bangladesh implementing Web 2.0 ideas and tools.
In the words of Steve O'Hear about Social Network Software for Education: ELGG provides each user with their own weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile and an RSS reader. Additionally, all of a user's content can be tagged with keywords - so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions - from fully public, to only readable by a particular group or individual.
And according to Amy Poftak on Introducing social netwroking for the educational set: Part of a growing class of open-source tools that lets users create their own profiles and connect with others, Elgg offers a special twist. It's designed exclusively for learners.....How personal is it? Users can craft a profile detailing their likes and dislikes, upload their favorite files, create blogs, post podcasts, pipe in RSS feeds, and use key words to connect with like-minded people. Access controls make it possible to keep your profile private or available to selected users if you don't want the whole world to see it.
So, I am using social networking during the school day.....shhhhh, don't tell the CEO....yet.
Finally, in the words of Graham Attwell on Personal Learning Environments: The danger is that the education system will become irrelevant to many peoples learning needs. It will be seen as an imposition. Young people will turn to social spaces for communication and developing ideas. Access to quality learning provision for adults will be dependent on companies and private training providers.The most compelling argument for the PLE is to develop educational technology which can respond to the way people are using technology for learning and which allows them to themselves shape their own learning spaces, to form and join communities and to create, consume, remix, and share material.
Technorati Tags: elgg socialnetworking web2.0
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Announcing the first annual "K12 Online 2006" convention for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year's conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30- Nov. 3 with the theme "Unleashing the Potential."
There will be four "conference strands"-- two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in podcast or screencast format and released via the conference blog (URL: TBA) and archived for posterity.
THE FOUR STRANDS ARE:
Strand B: Basic/Advanced Training (one of each per day)
Convener: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
Strand B: Overcoming Obstacles
Keynote: Anne Davis
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
We'd like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the conference. If you have something you'd like to share with the community, both people who are new to blogs and/or experienced bloggers please email the appropriate conference convener above with your ideas. The deadline to submit a proposal (just the proposal, not the finished product) is September 30, 2006. One of us will contact you to finalize the date of your presentation. Your presentation may be delivered in any web-based medium (including but not limited to...podcasts, PowerPoint files, blogs, websites, wikis, screencasts, etc.) and must be emailed to your assigned conference convener one week before it goes live, (see above strands) so that it can be uploaded to the server.
Technorati Tags: k12online K12online06 Web2.0 DarrenKuropatwa