Teachers in the Primary School at Qatar Academy are in for an exciting two days this week when Kim Cofino comes to Qatar, by invitation as a consultant, to run sessions and workshops in 21st century literacy, global projects and Web 2.0 tools.
I am thrilled that Kim is able to come over for our PD days as I have not met her face-to-face yet but have admired her work and online involvement from afar for a while now. In fact, thinking today, I cannot quite remember when I got to be aware of Kim, and then got to know here as a valuable and supportive online colleague. I think it may have started about 12 months ago when Chris Craft and others started a collaborative blog called NextGen Teachers. Kim was/is one of the contributors along with myself, Tom Barrett, Justin Medved, Clay Burrell, Aaron Smith, Doug Belshaw and others. Since then we both had classes in the 'Life Round Here project, once again a Chris Craft initiated project. Also, Kim was an enthusiastic participant leading her class as sounding boards in both the Horizon Project 2007 and the Flat Classroom Project 2007. But this is only scratching the surface of what Kim does. She is passionate, global, committed to student-centered learning and, in her own words, 'A 21st century learner and teacher'.
I love reading Kim's blog and enjoy the depth of discussion and erudite manner in which she shares her thoughts on education and her practice as 21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School of Bangkok.
Some recent favourite posts from Kim include -
Making Connections: Social Networking in the Elementary Classroom
and Social Learning: Learning to Share, Sharing to Learn, where she comments on the importance of networking and social learning and the interesting opportunities she is having being able to share ideas and skills with people all over the world. In this post she says:
"These are the kinds of experiences I want to ensure that my students have. I want them to experience the fun and excitement and empowerment of learning and mastering a skill. I want them to feel like they are connected to learners just like them, and that their network can grow and change as their needs shift. I want to bring this kind of connected learning to each and every classroom so that all students can enjoy learning the way I do. This is what makes my job so fun and interesting - isn’t that what we want our schools to be?"
Today I managed a short conversation via Skype with Kim (Qatar to Thailand) with the aim of grabbing a short audio file to put on our E-Learning For Life Ning and on the professional development wiki introducing Kim to the school.
Here is our conversation:
So, in 2 days time Kim arrives and we start our whirlwind schedule. This is going to be such a great week. Already we have had more teachers joining the Ning, I have sent out messages asking for people to blog the sessions and we have a positive vibe throughout the school. We are even working through some minor technical issues, such as the undersea cable being fixed so our Internet is back to normal speed again...just for Kim!
Watch this space for further updates as over 100 teachers immerse themselves in 21st century literacy ideals and learn more about connected learning this week in Qatar!
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