Sunday, August 30, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)


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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Join our Flat Classroom Workshop in Hong Kong 'Virtually'

In three weeks I will be in Hong Kong with Kim Cofino running the next Flat Classroom Workshop. We are putting together an exciting program and have about 30 students and teachers signed up face-to-face so far. However we are also looking for virtual participants! So, if you cannot physically be in Hong Kong we still want you to be an important part of the 'flattened' learning experience and part of the workshop as either a team member or an expert advisor. This is an exciting move into changed conference pedagogy and a challenge-based learning event that invites teachers and students and interested contributors to work together on the same level.

Here are the details......

When is this? - Thursday September 17-Saturday September 19

What does it mean to be a 'virtual participant'? - During the workshop we will have a number of teams (students and teachers) working face-to-face on a challenge based project. To really 'flatten' the learning experience we invite participants from around the world to join us as full team members and interact online and work towards a common objective OR to join us as expert advisers on the topic(s) we are researching and pitching solutions for.

What is the theme/topic of the workshop? - The theme of this workshop is the 'Digital Divide' - Some essential questions so far: what is it?, how does it affect you? How does it affect learning? How can we get around this...how can we 'solve' it? How are tools changing our learning environment?

How will this work? - Virtual team members will need to be online for at least 2 hours on each of the three main days (Sept 17-19). They may have the chance to interact in real time if in a close time-zone, otherwise the expectation is they will interact and collaborate ASYNCHRONOUSLY via a wiki and other online Web 2.0 tools used by workshop participants.

What will they have to do? - Virtual participants will help make decisions, research workshop topics, contribute to a wiki knowledge-base and may help provide multimedia artifacts that will be used for final presentation material, eg images or short video clips.

To apply to be a virtual participant complete this online form.

Questions? Please contact flatclassroomproject@gmail.com
More information about Flat Classroom Projects found at http://flatclassroomproject.org

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)


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

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)


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

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)


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

From Doha to Beijing and back to the blog

The view from the second floor study window is of large leafy trees, grass and some flowers amongst the townhouses and villas. The sky is still gray this morning although we have had some blue sky show through during this first week. Yes, here I am in Beijing now living on a 'compound' (for want of a better word) called Capital Paradise, along with 100s of other expats, including many teachers from school in Beijing. The scenery is a distinct contrast to the view from my window in Doha, Qatar which was often of dusty/sandy skies, heat and little vegetation.

The past six weeks have been a whirlwind of travel and change. Leaving Doha I went straight to NECC09 in Washington DC, I blogged my initial schedule previously. So busy at NECC I didn't blog anything!! However, as usual it was an amazing time and I had eluminating conversations with many people.

From DC I traveled down to Camilla, Georgia to stay with friend Vicki Davis, my wonderful and amazing flat classroom partner. With us was Sue Waters from Edublogs. Vicki and I worked on flat classroom development and business while also enjoying wonderful southern US hospitality, including a trip on the Flint River, lots of southern-style food and a July 4 family celebration and community fireworks.

Vicki and Julie in DC, July 2009

From DC, Violet and I, my daughter traveling with me, went to New York City for a few days to soak up the city environment. Highlights include 2 nights at the Jazz Standard (thanks to Gary Stager who organised this and was with us), seeing Stomp and Mary Poppins, and visiting Ellis Island and Liberty Island. We also managed to catch up with Kim Cofino at the MET for an afternoon! I am a big city person at heart and love the buzz NYC provides.

Leaving NYC we flew across the states, dropped down in LA for a few hours and then flew across the Pacific via New Zealand home to Melbourne, Australia. Some time with family and friends and preparation for our move to China. During this time I did manage to visit Clare Rafferty, a flat classroom teacher, and E-Learning coordinator at Ringwood Secondary College to learn more about the 1:1 Apple program from Grade 9-12. I also had a fun night with the Melbourne bloggers at Southbank, including Jo McLeay, Sue Tapp, Jenny Luca and many more!

One highlight of being back in Oz was taking the opportunity to visit Anne Mirtschin at her school in Hawkesdale, Victoria. About a 4-hour drive from Melbourne Hawkesdale is a farming area (dairy, sheep and cattle). Hawkesdale P12 College is a small school with a big heart. This face-to-face meeting with Anne's students, 3 of whom had traveled to Qatar in January for the Flat Classroom Conference, was another 'flat classroom' experience. We plan to continue classroom interactions this year with projects and Skype opportunities.

With students at Hawkesdale, Australia
Scenes of the Great Ocean Rd, traveling from Hawkesdale back to Melbourne

Our last week in Oz was spent at Rosebud relaxing and catching up on sleep before traveling again. During this time we met up with John Turner and his family. They are about to embark on an international teaching adventure starting with positions at Qatar Academy in September. John is one of the original flat classroom teachers and will continue to facilitate global projects in Qatar.

Now we are in Beijing! One week of orientation gone, and we have settled into our new lives. Lots of shopping and sorting and getting used to everything. Yesterday we even went on a trip to the great Wall.
A typical street at Capital Paradise, our new home in Beijing

John and Violet on the Great Wall!

So, just to let my readers know I am alive and thriving in Beijing. My new school Beijing BISS International School, where I am IT Coordinator, a whole school position focusing on e-Learning and 1:1, is wonderful and very welcoming. There is lots more to blog about.....so stay tuned! One last thing...I did manage to get around the Great Firewall by downloading VPN software, so now I am into all spaces I need to survive. I was starting to panic, given that China has blocked Twitter, Blogger, YouTube, and Ning comes and goes. More later!

Sunday, August 02, 2009