Sunday, May 31, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Friday, May 29, 2009

Come to Hong Kong and join the Flat Classroom Workshop

Press release May 29, 2009 -

Flat Classroom Workshop at 21C Learning Conference Hong Kong

Co-founders of the Flat Classroom Project and the Flat Classroom Conference, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, announce the Flat Classroom Workshop as a strand of the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong.
The theme of the conference is 'Extending tomorrow's leaders with digital learning' and will be held at the Hong Kong International School Tai Tam Campus, Thursday, September 17th - Saturday September 19th 2009.

This exciting student-based strand will give attendees an authentic experience in seeing 21st Century Learning in action, something lacking from other education for a new century conferences. Facilitators Julie Lindsay and Kim Cofino have a wealth of experience in engaging students in authentic, global projects so this strand will be a big highlight of the conference. Read the full press release......

International Participants
Non-Hong Kong schools are warmly encouraged to attend as this event is designed to celebrate diversity and model best-practice global collaboration. International students will be billeted (hosted) in Hong Kong student homes. Registration costs will be kept to a minimum for student and teacher participation in this event.

This is a chance for a school to send a team to Hong Kong with the aim of learning how to flatten their classrooms walls while working in a flattened learning environment, teacher and student together. It is suggested that teams consist of 1-2 teachers and 3-4 students. More details available on the 21C Learning conference website including a PDF handout to share with administrators and your wider school community.

Contact Julie Lindsay at and fill in this form with expressions of interest and to receive more details about the workshop.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Digiteen Project speaks with Mike Ribble

This is a cross-post with the DigiParent Ning.

Teachers and students of the current 'Digiteen' project as well as other international participants had the opportunity to speak with Mike Ribble via a virtual classroom linkup in Elluminate recently. Mike is author of 'Digital Citizenship in Schools' and 'Raising a Digital Child.'
The conversation talked about the evolution of 'digital citizenship' as a concept and how it is still not a widely used term. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) now include 'digital citizenship' as one of the six NETS.S (student) standards for 21st Century learning using technology. We also talked about how Mike created the nine elements of digital citizenship, that now form the basis of the Digiteen project.

I found it interesting to hear some students mention they felt alienated from the nine elements and I couldn't help wondering if as adults we are 'over-theorizing' something that comes naturally to the digital learner. However, the educator and parent in me knows that digital fluency does not always equate with knowing how to be a reliable and responsible as well as safe digital citizen.

Listen to a recording of the 60 min. online conversation and tell me what you think about this.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Monday, May 18, 2009


February 2010

Press release

Co-founders of the Flat Classroom Project and the Flat Classroom Conference, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, in conjunction with the American School of Bombay (ASB), announce the Flat Classroom Workshop and Mini-Conference as a strand of ASB Unplugged 2010.
The one-to-one international learning conference will be held at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, February 25-27, 2010.

What is a flat classroom? How do you effectively embed 21st century learning, knowledge, skills and attitudes into the curriculum? How can we successfully integrate global understanding and collaboration? How can emerging technologies and mobile computing be best employed for sustained learner engagement?

Interested teachers and schools are requested to read ASB the Unplugged Website and contact Flat Classroom Workshop organisers at for more information. You are also invited to join the ASB Unplugged Community Network and the Flat Classroom Group

What is the Flat Classroom Workshop?
The Flat Classroom Workshop is a 2.5 day strand of the ASB Unplugged Conference. The aim of the workshop is to bring together geographically dispersed teachers and students with a view to learning about Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools in a flattened learning environment while working on a project theme that can be transplanted back into their home school. The selected theme will inspire unity and action as well as fostering continued connections after the event in India. It is envisaged this will improve global understanding and cement friendships for ongoing collaborations. It is also envisaged that this will provide an opportunity for students and teachers together to 'create the future' of education by employing best-practice use of emerging technologies, including mobile computing. Through exploration of a global or social issue and developing an 'action' plan to work globally to overcome this participants, both local and virtual, will model 'flat classroom' modes of learning.

What is a project-based workshop format?
The flat classroom workshop theme and pedagogy is based on the successful Flat Classroom Conference Student Summit held in Qatar, January 2009. It was at this event that students were challenged to work in small teams towards a final outcome. While doing this essential tools and methods were used but became ubiquitous to the needs of the outcome. A project-based workshop provides an opportunity for participants to practice the use of essential digital learning modes while constructing. Emphasis is put on what we call the seven 'Cs' to flatten the classroom: connection, communication, citizenship, contribution and collaboration, creation and celebration.
More information about the event in January 2009 can be found on the conference network.

Who Should Attend?
Interested schools who are wanting to move forward using Web 2.0 and mobile computing and learn more about a 'Flat Classroom' experience and pedagogy are invited to send a team of 4-6 participants comprising teachers and students. The workshop is aimed at Middle and High school students (ages 14-17). Workshop teams will be made up of participants from different schools and countries. A holistic, cross-curricular approach makes this experience suitable for all subject areas. Schools unable to attend may apply to participate virtually. More information will be available about this upon application.

What will they do?
An essential element of the workshop is to join both teachers and students together in a constructivist learning environment, and by using 'flat classroom' tools, work through a project-based, action-oriented learning workshop. Skill development in Web 2.0 and multimedia tools along with enhanced cultural understanding and digital citizenship support the pedagogical approach to collaborative learning. The skills and tools will provide the scaffolding for developing ideas and putting into place actions that could make a difference to the world. In summary:
  • Development of skills with Web 2.0 tools including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting
  • Educational networking and development of personal learning networks that enhance the learning process and flatten educational experience for all
  • Use of multimedia - honing in on skills that support multimedia creation and global distribution
  • Working within a summit theme that has measurable outcomes and actions for change within a flat world scenario
  • Leadership in a flat world - participants will have the opportunity to assume leadership roles through team work and organisation
Read the full press release on our Flat Classroom wiki

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sharing Flat Classroom on ISTE Eduverse in SL

CoolCat Whitman (Vicki) and Charlotte Ozigard (Julie)

This news is almost a month old but I wanted to share it via my blog. I admit to being a Second Life (SL) novice and having very little experience in virtual worlds. However 3 weeks ago I had the opportunity to have 2 virtual world experiences very close together!
The first was the NetGen Ed Awards for 2009, and I have already blogged about this, 'Virtually Awarded....and More!' The second was when Vicki Davis and I were interviewed in Second Life by Kevin Jarrett for the ISTE Eduverse series.

Our show with Eduverse was called 'Flat Classrooms: using We 2.0 Tools to level the playing field between students and teachers'. The MP4 file, that runs for about 50 min., is available on the website as well as further information. This show was a liberating experience in SL, and despite it being at 3am in the morning Doha time (I am not joking!) I am delighted to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. It was a little disconcerting trying to face the person I was speaking to, and look remotely intelligent sitting up there on the couch. My new avatar, Charlotte Ozigard had some coaching with dress and grooming, but I think CoolCat Whitman and KJ Hax looked a lot smarter in appearance. I'll have to work on this for the future.

The interview was expertly staged by KJ and Vicki and I had lots of opportunity to talk about the flat classroom projects and the conference held here in Doha in January. This virtual medium has a LOT of potential I think, and once initial concerns about appearance and how to move are eleviated, it is a lot of fun. I encourage readers to watch other episodes in the ISTE Eduverse series that include colleagues such as David Warlick, Peggy Sheehy, Joyce Valenza, Chris Flesuras, Steve Dembo and more!

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Music, Sound Composition: My PLN does it again!

I am challenged by our Week Without Walls here at Qatar Academy. Next week ALL Grade 6-10 students are off regular timetable and doing alternative things. Most are going on international trips but a large percentage are staying in Doha. So as a faculty we have been putting together a program that is engaging and meets the needs of the MYP philosophy. As part of the Grade 9 team, who have an away trip to London to soak up the arts and culture (theatre, theatre, shopping, theatre), I am back here on campus helping run the "Doha Arts Experience". The Ning is new, but our schedule for the week is linked. My part in this is meeting with the rotating groups of students, 3 times a day for 4 days in a row thr iMac Lab with a focus on "music, sound and composition". Typical (well not really, but life does seem to get busier these days), but I have left it until now (Thursday) to start planning and prepping for our first day without wall on Sunday. So what to do?? What would my PLN do??

Earlier this morning, a quick email to colleagues in Europe,
Chris Chater (music teacher and web master at International School Paris) and Nancy von Wahlde (tech facilitator at American School Madrid) had responses of a sharing good practice blog post with music-based resources and ideas, links to Chris's Opus 8 Ning showing Grade 5s sharing musical creation, and a reminder of another Ning where a global music collaboration is taking place between India and USA, Go Make Music. OK, I thought, ideas of collaboration and using instruments....hmmm...not sure, I wonder what my Twitter PLN will come with? So about 1 hour ago I tweeteed this: "If you had 15 students in an iMac lab for 6 hours over 4 days with the topic 'Music, sound, composition' what would you do?"
Here are the amazing responses ....and I am forever in awae of the immediacy and intimacy of this communication tool. Thank you tweets!

Here are some responses:

Here are the wonderful ideas and resources:
  • From Jeff Dungan in Shanghai - be sure to wear headphones....thanks for the reminder Jeff!
  • From Adrian Bruce in Nth NSW, Australia Looplabs and soundscape ideas in Audacity
  • From Todd Baker in Tianjin, China - emulate American idol...hmmm, culturally not sure
  • From Tim Dalton in Hampshire, UK - "We did a good session a while ago composing music/SFX for film trailers in Garageband"
  • From madmacnz Christchurch, New Zealand- Take control books...these look great! I am buying Take Control of Making Music for Garage Band 08 to start with, as an eBook!
  • Madmacnz also recommends "Build up to doing trailers on last day - have some only 30 secs, others longer. Use" with a further tweet warning, "...but beware will need to convert some sounds in iTunes 1st so Garageband can import them eg wavs (Advanced, convert to mp3)"
  • I really like this one because of its simplicity (potentially) from Moodlegirl in Tauranga, NZ, "create their own ring-tone for their mobil phone ?? just an idea that popped into my head." Will need to explore this further, however it could be a winner as a fun activity with Grade 9's
  • Then there is wonderful set of resources provided by Chris Smith at Shambles: Music and ICT; Music online Web 2.0; Music notation; Music resources provided by Shambles...thanks Chris!
  • From Andrew Churches in New Zealand: the update that Voicethread allows original soundtrax...just had a look at this and cannot see it on their site...more info needed here Andrew, but the idea really interests me
  • From Christine at the Yokohamo International School, "Please ask my colleague @johnstonb & check out his blog He's our Music Tech teacher.
  • From Catherine in Hawaii, JamStudio online music factory...looks good!
  • More from my frind Chris Chater in France, "Radio show with script, voices & background from loops - record in Garageband and publish to iTunes as a podcast with picture"
  • OK, a little tongue in cheek from Nick in the USA (I think), "write a performance time and the words "smoke on the water" on the board." ???
  • A current student, Abdullah, who I featured in a blog post recently "Ask Abdullah", writes "How old? If they are young than you can always go with remixing stuff (6-9) or perhaps a whole new song/rap if they are older"
  • Then from Tianjin again, Sam Sherratt, "I'd give them "Reason", by Propellerheads, and see where they went"...hmmm, another one to really explore.
So, once I have sifted through these ideas and tried out some resources I will let you know at the end of next week what I ended up doing....and how it worked!

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ask Abdullah.......A Grade 8 student talks about emerging technologies

Abdullah is a Grade 8 student at Qatar Academy. He is a member of the QA Student Tech Team and is an all round tech guru. He is also part of what Don Tapscott refers to as the 'Net Generation' or a 'Net Gener' I took this video of Abdullah recently after asking him to talk about where he thought mobile computing was going and should be going in education.

He talks with great authority about modular devices, iPods, mobile computing, and more! His knowledge of games for education is also impressive. In particular I like the list of uses he has for the iPod Touch. After hearing this there is no doubt in my mind everyone in a school should have one!

This is what I love about being in a K-12 environment, being part of this learning. If we can persuade Abdullah to talk more about his experiences with technology what would you like to ask him?

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Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Friday, May 01, 2009

Apple Education Leadership Summit - What Did I Learn?

Canadian International School, Hong Kong, Summit venue

It was during the final session of Day 1 at the Apple Education Leadership Summit in Hong Kong last weekend that my 14-year old daughter back in Doha chatted with me through GChat, "What did you learn today Mum?" At this time I was in the middle of a session with John Couch, VP of Apple Education, and was madly adding content and thoughts to a backchannel set up by colleague David Beaty from the American International School Doha, in which were other colleagues participating virtually including Barbara Stefanics in Vienna and Nancy from Madrid.

So what had I learned? What did this particular gathering of educators and leaders have to offer me that I could take away and assimilate into my everyday practice? How did the organisation and opportunities of this event impact on me as an international education leader, and one who is about to move into the Asian region?
I need to preface this blog post also with thanks to BISS who supported my attendance at the summit, and also Apple Education for their sponsorship of the event. The dinner at the Four Seasons was magnificent as was the seamless organisation of each day. Thanks also to at the Canadian International School for an inspiring venue and hard work gone into hosting a large event.

1. Apple immersion, 'challenge-based learning' and 'digital learning environment'
I used to be an Apple educator....well 12 years ago but lets not dwell in the past. My new school next year, Beijing International School (BISS) are moving to a 1:1 Apple Mac learning environment and I am delighted to be part of this! Apple representatives at the summit spoke about 'challenge-based learning' and the need for real-world topics, authentic assessment and the use of multimedia to engage young learners. It is based on a multidisciplinary approach that leverages technology and is constructivist in approach. I like the term 'challenge-based' as it provides an updated drive and sense of immediacy for the needs of the 21st century, as opposed to what we normally to refer to, 'project-based' learning.
Couch talked about three disruptive transformations in technology:
  1. 1978-1984 Computer
  2. 2003 Music iTune and podcasts
  3. 2008 - iPhone and Ipod touch
He also talked about the need for vision to give uniqueness to strategic direction. I found the information from Apple sessions confirming and inspiring. I have been practicing and writing about the need for mobile computing, ubiquitous access to multimedia and providing tools for creativity and construction for many years. Apple's challenge-based learning model scaffolded by an excellent product range comes towards making this a reality in every school. The excuse of cost and inaccessibility no longer applies. Every school can embrace this vision and put it into practice.

2. Learning from the Wise
This summary video is inspiring as it encapsulates the feeling at the conference that through the sheer power of networking and innovation and creativity amazing things can and will happen in education, and the people at this event were the ones who would be leading the way.

Marco Torres
Marco Torres preparing for 'Lights, Camera, Learn' session

3. Conference format and 'challenge-less' learning
This is going to sound critical, but it is meant in a constructive way. With all of the talk about challenge-based learning I was surprised the conference format was so traditional and 'challenge-less'. In fact the first day I spent the entire day in the Auditorium listening and 'taking notes' (backchannel, Twitter). The 'workshop' session with Stephen Heppell in the afternoon was a chance to hear more from the UK education guru but opportunities for actual interaction were limited to a few questions from the audience. The day 2 sessions with Marco Torres (I went to 2 of these!) were 75 min. long, a length that Marco himself complained about as we had only just got started when we had to finish. The concept of a 'workshop' is that we actually work on something and learn by doing, however in the time-frame available it became a matter of Marco telling us and showing us as much as he could before having to finish. I am appreciative of the time I had with Marco however as it took me back over 10 years to when I was a music educator and on the cutting edge with sound and composition using technology....really want to get back to this in the near future.

Panel session on Day 1: Stephen Heppell talking

4. More on Conference 2.0 styles
I read Kim Cofino's blog recently about 'Why Conference', where she states,
"I didn’t find myself in awe of any specific presentations or the information I learned from them, but I reveled in the power of my personal learning network to help me make connections, push my thinking, and expand my horizons."

Well, at this Apple event I was in awe of Stephen and Marco and others however the opportunity to really connect in a workshop environment was limited. I really think educators and education leaders at this style of event are past sitting in rooms listening to others tell them how it should be, how they need to become 21st century learners and teachers, how they need to embrace change etc. I think we are past long presentation-style talks with fancy catch-phrases such as 'cross-pollinator' and 'functionality in a learning environment'. What we need are conferences that provide opportunities for individual growth and immersion into a digital learning environment that emulates what learning as a professional educator and /or a 21st century classroom should look like.

Let's stop just talking about it, let's do it! Let's create this as a conference format. What if Apple took all of their philosophy (which btw is very similar to the IBO philosophy for learning and the whole-child approach) and created thematic 1-day and 2-day immersion workshops where participants came away with hands-on experience in using tools, developing curriculum and pedagogy based on essential research of what works, were all-encompassing, and supported what is needed to support 21st century skills and attitudes for digital learning. OK, maybe they do already?

The power of connecting with and extending my own personal learning network is priceless at this type of event. I was pleased to get to know more educators from Asia, many of whom I will be in more regular contact with next year. I also managed to fit in a tour of HKIS, courtesy of Justin Hardman, with conversations ensuing as to the possibility of a Flat Classroom Workshop during the 21C conference coming up in HK this September.

5. Further resources from the Summit
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