Sunday, March 29, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

David Warlick: Master Teacher - Master Learner

At Qatar Academy we don't just talk about 21st Century learning...we practice it (well, some of us do at least). What I mean is, the group that gathers once a month, in their own time, to discuss the future of education, so that we as educators can make sense of the changes we see around us and the changes we WANT to make happen.

Last Friday we had the privilege of
David Warlick as our special guest. David was in Qatar courtesy of Qatar Foundation who asked him to come into run a 3-day workshop for a selection of about 40 educators (some from Qatar Academy!). Spending time with David here in Qatar has been a real journey in more ways than one. David is an astute character, and has the ability to make everyone feel comfortable and values their opinion. At our 21st Century Learners session on Friday morning we decided to explore what it means to be learner, and how the concept of 'master learner' is something teachers need to take hold of in order to facilitate and exist in classrooms today.

Throughout the 3-hour session, as a group of 'Master Learners' from a range of educational backgrounds and positions (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary) we discussed the definition of a teacher, the move into being a master learner and letting go of that 'control' we all cling onto in the classroom. The concept of sharing every day, and making this sharing an essential part of how we are as educators was a core theme. The video below is the
uStream video from the first session. It goes for about 70 minutes and has some excellent gems from David and participants.
Online video chat by Ustream
Notes and resources from the session can be found on the
21C Learners wiki. Towards the end of the 3-hour session we recorded this memento in an attempt to encapsulate the main ideas: 'Master Learner - What does learning look like' where we share ideas and thoughts.

A trip to the Islamic Museum, dinner and a wander through Souq Waqif, good co
nversation and further reflection on learning finished up the day with David Warlick: adventurer, philosopher and master learner for life.

To finish this post....I encourage you to view David's photos from Doha, everyone has a story....can you guess this one?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Constructing Knowledge with Gary Stager

I am so lucky living in Qatar this year. Wonderful and interesting people keep dropping in! I had the pleasure of catching up with Gary Stager last week when he came into Doha to present at the ict QATAR conference "Exploring ICT in Education". As a double treat Sylvia Martinez, from Generation Yes, also came in with Gary, also as a presenter for the same event. I think Sylvia is a stabalising influence......

Gary was in town last November when I blogged,
Work with the Living: A Week with Gary Stager. This time we spent time at Souq Waqif and also at the Pearl, a new waterfront development similar to the Palm in Dubai. When you are with Gary the search is always on for ice-cream or pizza.....lucky we live in a cosmopolitan place.

The embedded recording is a conversation with Gary about the
Constructing Modern Knowledge conference he is running in the USA in July 2009. This is a not-to-be-missed event, and the way Gary describes it, has an assortment of interesting facilitators that will provide extended learning opportunities, incuding Deborah Meier and Herbert Kohl.

In Gary's words:

"This is a conference where people can say they spent time with......."

"The emphasis is on doing, not just talking......."

From the website:
"Constructing Modern Knowledge is a minds-on institute for educators committed to creativity, collaboration and computing. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in intensive computer-rich project development with peers and a world-class faculty. Inspirational guest speakers and social events round out the fantastic event."

Listen to Gary describing what the conference is about:

Gary and Sylvia at the Pearl

An earlier blog post of mine on a similar theme:
Embracing Constructivism: Some Resources

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

  • This Directory lists (in alphabetical order by Twitter username) learning professionals from both education and corporate training, as well as other related professionals and e-learning products and services on Twitter.

    tags: twitter, pln, jul, acrossmydesk

  • Connecting Classrooms builds lasting partnerships between schools in the UK and others around the world. Through these partnerships, the programme develops trust and understanding between young people in different societies, creating a safer and more connected world for the future.

    tags: globalcollaboration, collaboration, globalproject, acrossmydesk

  • Welcome to the Monster Project
    Hosted by Anna Baralt and Ann Oro
    The Monster Project encourages the development of reading and writing skills while integrating technology into the classroom. Using monsters as a vehicle, students exchange written descriptions via this wiki, and then recreate their partner's monster without ever looking at the "real thing". During the project, students create, discuss, describe, interpret, analyze, organize and assess their monsters as well as the monsters of their peers.

    tags: flatclassrooms, collaboration, globalcollaboration, globalproject, education, acrossmydesk

  • the Horizon Report: 2009 K-12 Edition, is the second in a new series of regional and sector-based reports, and examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression within the environment of pre-college education.

    tags: horizonprojectk1209, acrossmydesk, jul, education, web2.0

  • Web 2.0 is not just for the classroom. The use of Web 2.0 tools can increase and improve communication, collaboration, and cooperation across all levels of a school or education organization.
    This wiki, which is the companion wiki to the new book Wikified Schools: Using Wikis to Improve Collaboration and Communication in Education, was developed to explore the use of a wiki as a highly effective communication and collaboration tool that enhances the effectiveness of school or district leadership teams.

    tags: wiki, wikibestpractice, collaboration, acrossmydesk

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Digiteens Go Global

At the recent ECIS IT conference in London (European Council of Independent Schools) I had the pleasure of working with Chris Chater from the American School of Paris in a music/audio workshop. Chris is one of those quiet and amazing educators who just 'gets it'. I love hearing his ideas, sharing resources with him and seeing what he is doing with his students at ASP. The workshop, 'Keeping your sounds on track' also included Nancy and Laura. Between us we covered a multitude of resources and ideas for using audio and sound, both Web 2.0, free doenload and online resources that cost some money. My wiki for this: Online podcasting options and embedded media.

In addition to this I gave a presentation called "Digiteens Go Global". The aim was to show how students can use the power of communication, collaboration and creativity to make a difference to the world as we know it in a positive way.
The focus was on building unity, developing skills, and creating positive outcomes. All of these outcomes were built on the development of being a reliable, responsible and capable online learner and teacher in the 21st century.
Based on the work of the Flat Classroom Project, students who had never met before but had communicated online via Web 2.0 tools, came together in Doha, Qatar to workshop an action that could be taken back to their own countries and schools and sustained for the next year.
The Flat Classroom Conference Student Summit provided an opportunity for classrooms to come together from around the world and learn more about what it means to be an online digital citizen and be able to understand each other and work together.
Purpose and Objectives
- Short Background to Flat Classroom Projects
- Future of Flat Classroom ideals in a digital world - sustainability
- Flat Classroom Conference Student Summit - goals, structure, outcomes
- Web 2.0 tools and associated technologies that support digital citizenship and global 'flattened' pedagogical transformation
- Digiteen projects and the need for students to have opportunities to take action

I was delighted to receive an email from to say this presentation had been featured on their website. It is now not on the front page, however clicking on View all featured will find it.
My wiki for this presentation.

Digiteens Go Global
View more presentations from julielindsay.

Supporting videos for this presentation:

Flat Classroom Overview - 1
(from footage taken at the Flat Classroom Conference)

Flat Classroom Student Reflections

(from footage at the Flat Classroom Conference, and thanks to Keith from Ethiopia for his video of Edgar)

Flat Classroom: How we roll
(thanks to George from NY who came to the Flat Classroom Conference and saw what we did!)

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Listen to the Students: No Future Left Behind

This one has already started to go viral! A simple idea Vicki Davis and I had a few months ago, to invite Peggy Sheehy to keynote the Horizon Project for 2009. We wanted to focus on the work Peggy is doing at Suffern Middle School in New York and to hear from the students themselves, in particular to hear younger students keynote to older students.

Here is the description of the video from the No Future Left Behind Ning page:
"When kids at the Suffern Middle School Tech Club were asked to talk about education and their future, they gave Peggy Sheehy, the SMS media specialist, an earful. Other students heard about the project and joined in. They brainstormed the script and started filming. Listen and learn the bits of wisdom that can be gleaned from the students, if we only dare to ask them.
Students from The Elisabeth Morrow School Tech Club contributed machinima created in Quest Atlantis.
Marianne Malmstrom (aka Knowclue) worked remotely with the students of Suffern to create machinima of their avatars.
Original music, "Harpsicord" was created by a former Suffern Middle School student, Larry Bordowitz.
All editing was done by Peggy Sheehy and Marianne Malmstrom."

This keynote is for the NetGenEd Project, a collaboration with Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital, Discovery Educators Network, and Flat Classroom projects. It can also be found on the NetGenEd project wiki. Please come and add your thoughts via a comment and join the discussion.

This is a MUST SEE video.

Fantastic work showing the power of a well-crafted storyboard, student-led initiatives, and allowing learning to happen when teachers get out of the way.

I am hoping very soon we will look back on these times where we are struggling with blocked websites and teacher-controlled learning to the detriment of student development and realise how true this video is, how we need to include and involve students and student voice in planning and creating the future.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why Bother?

I am delighted to be in London, staying near St John's Wood, in the north, in a hotel room that overlooks the Lord Howe (I think) cricket field(the one with the strange space-capsule can tell I do not follow cricket), overlooks Regent Park and looks down a street where a multitude of red double-decker buses go up and down! London!

I am here for the ECIS IT conference, this happens every 2 years. last one was in Dusseldorf. This is a small but fertile event, a meeting of excellent IT minds and passionate educators. I am looking forward to what the next few days will bring.

This morning, however, I just finished a Skype call with Jeff Plaman at International School Beijing. Jeff and his colleagues are running a PD course for their teachers and today/this week the topic is collaboration. I blogged in preparation for this a while ago at Collaboration: Concept, Power and Magic. During the call I was asked a couple of questions that I want to blog briefly about now.

First of all, Why Bother? was a question that came after talking about quantity and quality of online work and how educators need to monitor this in global collaborative projects. This all sounds like a lot of work of course, and a good follow-up question that everyone wants to ask is, Why Bother?
I believe we have a responsibility to bring real-world projects using emerging technologies into our classrooms. We owe it to our students to bother! We owe it to ourselves to bother! We owe it to our administration and our governing bodies (including the systems that bind us to an exam-focused outcome) to bother! Change can happen, change can be good. Implementing real-world, authentic global projects into the classroom will start to change what you do, how you do it and how you view your role as an educator. Yes, I know it is good to collaborate within a school....and if you are doing that you are ahead of the majority of schools in the world already, however, to then extend or 'flatten' the walls of your classroom to include external classrooms makes this a richer experience. Everyday I hear amazing stories of success, of confidence gains, of enhanced understanding of the world, from teachers who have put their classes into global projects and have never looked back in terms of what they do positively for the students.
Do we have a choice? I say Why not bother?

Anothere question that came up, and has come up often at my school, Qatar Academy, in recent months, is What about the Content?
OK, I am a little left of centre on this. Content is not king, content is important, essential even, but it is not king. It is time teachers and administrators decided that content is subservient to higher order educational objectives and ran their schools accordingly. It is time teachers stopped being so precious and protective of 'their' content area.
As I mentioned on the Skype call, what is the good of content if we do not DO SOMETHING with it? For example, what is the good of learning about the Iraq invasion if we are not able to discuss this with someone living int eh Middle East who may have a different perspective. What is the good of knowing facts and figures and writing about them just for one teacher, one examiner and perhaps a fwe classmates? How will this change the world? How will this foster cultura understanding and start to provide solutions to global problems? How are we going to teach our students that they must co-exist in the world and be able to problem-solve and collaborate if we keep telling them content is king?

OK, enough ranting.......the sun is out! the day here in London is starting...I am off to meet colleague Chris Chater from the American School of Paris, and we will discuss, amongst other things, how to get a music-based global project off the ground...something we have been wanting to do for months now.

Parting message: Do find the time to is important for you, the students, and the world in general.
I look forward to your responses to this post.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.