Thursday, June 28, 2007

Some memories of NECC07 in pics

Never to come to NECC with a 2-year old battery!

Playing with Bubbleshare before it dies again!

Memories of NECC07

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Information Fluency Made Easy!

If you do nothing else this must work through/read/absorb/connect with Joyce Valenza's wiki 'Information Fluency'.

Joyce's session this morning, the last morning at NECC07 when we are all feeling a little worn out, was inspirational! Along with Ken Rodoff, the dynamic duo took their audience through new ideas and new tools for 'blending information fluency with Web 2.0'

Some brief messages from Joyce who considers herself to be Web 1.8 (not quite there yet) include:
  • It's OK to be in Beta!
  • Stone Soup: the soldier who inspired a village to make soup from a stone was in fact not running a scam but inspiring change and facilitating a collaborative community
  • The notion of information has changed....we want our students to find a variety of media rich resources
  • You need to create pathfinders...create wiki pathfinders!
The changing role and responsibility of information specialists (that would be every educator....right?) is to be information literate and encourage fluency with information tools, specifically Web 2.0 tools. Under Joyce's expert direction there is no excuse for not 'talking the talk' and 'walking the walk' in your own school. Yes, there is a lot to think about...I heard Barbara Barreda behind me during the session say '...there is so much to do!' but NOW is an excellent time to start.

I am so excited about sharing these resources with my own school media specialists. The wiki provides ALL the resources and links to numerous ideas and best-practice use of Web 2.0 tools.

Thanks Joyce!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mobile, Digital, Ubiquitous

'Mobile, Digital, Ubiquitous: Solutions for Learning with Handhelds' was held this morning in B213 at 8:30. This was a panel session moderated by myself and included Judy Breck, Graham Brown-Martin, Janice Kelly and Tony Vincent.
Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

We had about 40 people in the audience all listening intently and trying to make sense of where the future lies with handheld technology. The panel members spoke on different topics and treated the audience to a diverse breadth and depth of knowledge to do with mobile computing.

Judy, Janice, Graham (me) and Tony

Main points I will take away from this session:
  1. Graham's semantic preference for 'Learning while mobile' instead of 'Mobile Learning', meaning that the learning will come first and the mobility will enhance this.
  2. Judy encouraging educators to the embrace individuality of being mobile.
  3. Janice reminding us that educators have become part of the learning process.
  4. Tony emphasising and showing new tools for web apps for mobile devices. See his site.
More details about the presenters and links to resources can be found on the SIGHC wiki for this presentation. Also, check out posts from the live bloggers at the session: Mark Van 't Hooft and Cheri Toledo. Here is the Powerpoint I put together to introduce the session.

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Bloggers just want to have fu-un.......

You know I can be as intense, reverent, astute, deep and meaningful and erudite as the next blogger but sometimes I just want to have fun like everybody else. After a long year at the blogface it is now time to laugh a little. Besides, I have worked hard all year completing the occasional, award winning online collaborative project, moving from one geographically diverse country to another and travelling long hours earning frequent flyer points. My colleagues have their own equally harrowing stories to tell as well. It is hard slog being at the cutting edge of educational reform in the 21st century, we deserve some time out (?)

Therefore, today some bloggers at NECC united in a specific extra-curricular activity that started with a few innocent Twitters.......

and ended as a series of photos on Flickr.

Of course, let's be sensible here, we are not in the business of promoting suppliers, no matter how big their bags may be. For preference I like this set of photos.

Here I go again with that Seuss channelling........the blogger pictures made me think of the infamous and hallowed poem found in its full version HERE:

One fish
Two fish
Red fish
Blue fish.

Black fish
Blue fish
Old fish
New fish

This one has
a little star.

This one has a little car.
Say! What a lot
of fish there are.

Yes. Some are red. And some are blue.
Some are old. And some are new.
Some are sad.
And some are glad.
And some are very, very bad.

Why are they
sad and glad and bad?
I do not know.
Go ask your dad

Today is gone. Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.
Every day,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.

Thanks to John Pederson for his photos on Flickr

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Monday, June 25, 2007

A working lunch, an award and a friendly dinner

Is it really only the second day at NECC07? So many interesting discussions and events...and the food.....

Today I attended the ISTE International Committee meeting in the Oak Room of the Omni Hotel. Led by Camilla Gagliola the committee comprises non-US and US representatives and aims to increase the internationalism of ISTE. I was invited to be part of this group 2 years ago, and despite a 2-year turnover regulation that seems to be vaguely not enforced, I am here again this year. Today we discussed ways to increase international membership (currently standing at about 700 out of the 16,000 total ISTE members) by possibly offering different types of membership (such as free, online, group, library etc). We also discussed the possibility of creating ambassador positions within ISTE whereby representatives of ISTE attend conferences and government-initiated events globally with the view to promoting and sharing knowledge about ISTE. The membership Committee joined us for a working lunch and we continued to discuss options and how best to support the integration of technology around the world. Some excellent ideas were minuted. I am hoping ISTE Board will show some insight and move towards implementing some new ideas....small steps at first.

This afternoon Vicki and I attended the ISTE Member Welcome and Conference Overview to accept our award. We are absolutely thrilled to be receiving this award from SIGTel (Special Interest Group Telelearning). It is the Online Learning Award for 2007 and has been awarded to us for our work on the Flat Classroom Project. The award was presented to us by Trina Davis, President of ISTE. It is a marble plaque, beautifully done and quite heavy (thinking of international's OK I will make room!). Congratulations goes to the other award winners this afternoon including Carole Colburn and Charlene Chasis.

Julie and Vicki and award ribbons with Yvonne Marie Andres (SIGTel)

For those at NECC who want to learn more about our Flat Classroom Project and about the more recent Horizon Project please come to the Poster session we are presenting on Tuesday at 1-3pm in the Galleria. We would both love to show you our work and talk, especially to prospective Flat Classroom teachers for next year!

The first keynote for NECC07 was given by Andrew Zolli. Andrew was upbeat and shared an interesting perspective about where the world is going and why we need to be more aware of trends as know my 6pm jet lag was kicking in so I am not going to make any astute comments about this session except that I really enjoyed the drumming group beforehand.

OK, off to the aquarium....along with thousands of others. We found the queue (British term meaning line) too long and found our way to Ted's for dinner instead. Delightfully we gravitated towards other like-minded attendees including David, Jeff, Mario and Chris. I don't think as a group we have solved all of the worlds problems yet....we need a few more bison enriched dinners to do that... but a great time was had by all!


OK, that's it, after 12:30, have to up by 6 to start another action packed day. To quote my grandfather who always packed the most he could into his day, 'You can sleep when you are dead!'

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Edubloggercon: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I am reminded of the classic Dr Seuss poem as I start this post. You know, the one that goes like this:

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


Here is the full version: Oh, the places you'll go!

Like a new graduate with places to go the NECC Edubloggercon event yesterday organised by Steve Hargadon was a momentous day but only the start of great things to happen and great places to go. This event could be emulated at other conferences, nationally and internationally. It could also diversify and expand to offer a wider variety of sessions at different entry levels. However, right now it is grass roots and it is exciting to be part of it and to meet up with so many colleagues who I have only seen virtually for many months. I was thrilled to meet Vicki Davis and it was a natural transition from being online together to actually talking and sharing face to face. You will find this funny, Vicki skyped me in the middle of David Warlick's session....I was only sitting 2 seats away but she thought I should be responding to a point made and told me so....we are so used to communicating online!
Also, during the same session a good looking young man came to sit with is, I looked up, it was Jeff Utecht...we have so much to still catch up on this week.

The Edubloggercon Group (sorry, it's a little blurry)

Vicki Davis, Jef Utecht and me!

Dinner at the Sundial including Terry Freedman, Vicki, Cheryl Oakes, Sharon Peters

The sessions I attended during the Edubloggercon day have helped me to consolidate and extend my thinking about what opportunities we all have now to improve learning situations in our schools. Learning is exciting with tech tools! How can we really get the message across without sounding like a tech nerd? There are many ways but one of the most important repeated ideas to come out of the day was that curriculum and approaches to learning must be dominant, not the technology itself. Anything is possible, the tools support the learning as long as the attitude of the teacher/facilitator allows for a broader more inclusive constructivist approach.

None of this is new of course, we cannot be fooled into thinking we are inventing the wheel just because we now have some new toys and online spaces to play with. However, never before has the immediacy of the Internet made it possible to interact, communicate and create and share in such a way. Increased bandwidth, online storage and networking sites (eg slideshare, YouTube, Flickr etc) have opened our eyes to more possibilities. Think laterally! Don't just give out the 'make a Powerpoint' asignment, include a wiki page, slideshare and embed the artefact on the wiki and invite discussion. Use the tools and invite analytical approaches in the classroom.

So we have brains in our head and feet in our shoes and we can steer ourselves in the direction we choose. Let's choose wisely! Let's be inclusive and not biased or prejudiced. Let's provide opportunities for ourselves and our students that improve understanding globally and aim for a holistic approach to learning.

Thank you to all edubloggers for your comraderie and for sharing ideas, desires and plans for a better future.

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Edubloggercon Session 2: Future Schools

Host: David Warlick

What have you seen in schools that is Web 2.0?
  • Using wikis as a centralising and organising force
  • pooling resources and enhancing communication
  • using tools to support fundamental literacies: communicating
  • Building momentum towards a different kind of learning environment
  • Inter-cultural and global connections important
Building on connections: a stronger university and K-12 school connection
Leaders who help teachers lead into that area of creativity

Every kid with an IEP that addresses their learning styles: the long tail

School of the future concentrates on learning and student passion

Project based learning and learning about learning

What is a 'smart' classroom? Constructivist, role of the teacher changing

What is Assessment 2.0 look like?
  • Assessment for learning: formative see Stiggins
  • Technology not integrated but integral
  • Use of rubric based assessment
  • use of peer assessment
  • Transparency of the learning process
  • making everyone accountable: teachers and students
  • social networking becomes student networking as a professional environment
Learner of the future descriptive works (an abridged list): reflective, self-directed, international, global, inquirer, creative, connected, intuitive, playful

Teacher of the future: we don't need a separate list? willing to learn from student, open risk-taker, champion, be continued

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Edubloggercon session 1: Expanding the Circle

Edubloggercon Session 1: Expanding the Circle
Chair: Steve Hargadon

Blogging is:
  • An historical moment
  • Cultural significance
  • Like Open Source SW: we know we have already 'won' and that blogging is here to stay!
Use of Classroom 2.0: helping educators get into the Web 2.0 world

Barriers created through misconceptions about what blogging and We 2.0 is.
Why don't educators blog? Lack of time, misconceptions about what blogging is and can do.
Fear of writing is an issue: lack of confidence.
Issues with teacher philosophy and pedagogy
Ning: provides a visual, snappy look and you can bring your 'junk' (pictures, music, videos)
There is a responsibility to maintain a blog (?)
Has to be a combination of top-down and grass roots.

  • Go for the 'heart': our students need this!
  • Aim to educate administrators
  • Need to move towards a more student-centred approach to teaching
  • Focus on life-long learning
  • Focus on the practice of reflective writing
  • Good instructional design needs to be embedded to enhance the experience
  • Creating a resource using existing practices
  • There are a lot of audiences here: teachers, students, administrators, parents
  • Web 2.0 is far-reaching

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I'm in Atlanta and preparing for Edubloggercon

I am in Atlanta! It is after 1am and I have been travelling for way over 30 hours. It has also been 48 hours since I slept horizontally. I am so pleased to be here however...despite various obstacles along the way, the latest being a hotel that will not accept my credit card and also do not know how to let me make an international call to my UK CC emergency number! It was touch and go at Immigration at LAX earlier today also. I was taken to a different area to 'complete my paperwork' whereby, despite my pleas that I had to catch a connecting flight, the polite but insistent officials took over 30 minutes to sort out the problem. I was getting quite worried as 4 of them were staring intently at their computer screen at my details for a long time! We often have extra security checks coming into the USA, having middle eastern and muslim countries stamped in in my passport always generates a second look. Today however it turned out that someone had reported my passport stolen in Australia! Very odd!

Essentially as an international educator you have to be tough enough to break through these inconveniences. You have to be tough enough to emerge from hours of painful travel (I hate flying!) and want something bad enough to put yourself through this. My family left me at the Changi airport in Singapore (great Internet terminals but not free wifi) after a midnight flight from Dhaka, after an emotional last day in Bangladesh. They arrived in Melbourne hours ago and if I could dial internationally I would be able to speak to them! I subsequently flew went through Tokyo, LAX and then Atlanta. I am good with time zones but once I cross the international date line in the Pacific it gets confusing. Will have to look up again.

At least I have good wifi in the hotel room. I loved flying into Atlanta! We flew right around the city and the lights were very pretty.

Don't forget we get a chance to discuss international issues, liaisons and Web 2.0 practices globally at Edubloggercon in a few hours. This is the session Vicki and I will host togetehr.
Description: Sharing ideas and experiences for harnessing the power of connectivity through Web 2.0 applications in schools to connect, communicate and create. This is an opportunity to focus on international issues and strategies and tools used for forging links and making online projects work. Also to have a discussion re an action plan for a standard set of requirements to be a Web 2.0 international collaborator. Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis.

Right, that's it, I deserve a bath and 5 hours sleep, if I'm lucky. See you tomorrow!

PS: credit card and international dialling issues now resolved, and the hotel receptionist and I are on speaking terms again...I did apologise and she was very understanding about my snappy disposition.....maybe the tears helped, sometimes it's unavoidable.....I have also spoken to my family and all is well there.......roll on NECC!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NECC 2007: Coming Ready or Not!

I can't believe it is almost here and that I am leaving Bangladesh in TWO days to fly more than half way across the world (yes, I have managed to take the long way around over the Pacific Ocean) to be in Atlanta in time for NECC 2007 in Atlanta!

This particular NECC is the most exciting one yet out of the past four I have attended (Seattle, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Diego) because I am going to meet some very special people I have come to know through online activities this past year, including for the first time f2f my Flat Classroom colleague, Vicki Davis...and this is going to happen in 4 days only!

Tonight I am madly trying to finish off presentation material and other online things so that I will be truly ready to meet and greet, rise to the challenge of the commitments I have made without sounding like I know nothing and basically get organised. For some reason I have a lot of double bookings on my conference planner. Let me share the scenario with you. Oh, a special thank you of course to Steve Hargadon for creating the fabulous session tags for us bloggers and readers alike.

Here is what I am doing at NECC 2007 so far. As you can see I have a number of clashes but also a number of gaps to fill.
  • Saturday June 23: EdubloggerCon There are numerous sessions offered here including the one that Vicki and I are hosting:
Global Connections and Flat Classroom Ideals in a Web 2.0 World
(Tag: ebc07gcfc / Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS)
Also, stay in touch with the conference by reading blogs (including mine) from these listed on the ISTE bloggers page. Also don't forget to be watching the Hitchhikr page for NECC and feeding your RSS feeder with all the tags you want.

I do hope if you are reading this blog and coming to NECC you will come and say hello at one of the above sessions! Don't be shy now.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Coming to the Buffet: NECC and a Global Perspective

I have four days left in Bangladesh and 100s of things left to do.....however I am piqued by some blogs today that have inspired me to put down some thoughts. According to Tim Holt and his post about 'Not Invited to the Buffet' there is a distinct lack of notable leaders, in particular notable or memorable women in educational technology leadership positions. In fact, in a list of 23 notable 'speakers' or 'bloggers' who are invited to conferences etc only two of these are women, according to what Tim can remember or knows in his immediate world (these happen to be my very good friend Vicki Davis and my colleague Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach). Tim then goes onto analyse his list in terms of race, colour, economic advantage and age. He discusses leadership and promoting 'wiz kids' on the block and says:
"The problem is, how do you recruit leaders? You can’t just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, you are the person that can be a leader for ed tech.”
But we can start to look out for the Marco Torres’ of the world. We can start looking out for the campus leaders, the wiz kids on the campus. Then we can start encouraging them.
Send them to conferences. Encourage them to present, first locally, then on the state level, and then nationally. “Hey, I’ll send you to NECC if you present.” Get them online, blogging, making wikis, get them the training they need. Chances are, they may already be doing it. Then make sure that they begin to present, and present and present."

Wesley Fryer has responded to Tim's post by also discussing diversity and
listing women in the blogosphere (13 he came up with ...including the other 3 key members of WOW2).
Wesley then goes on to say:
"In summary, I’ll go back to the original point I made about IDEAS. Whether these ideas are expressed by a man or a woman, by someone with brown hair or green hair, THE IDEAS are what are most important. The doors to conversations here in the edublogosphere, and the doors to leadership on local, regional, state, national and international levels for constructive school change, are open wider today than I think they ever have been before. Our responsibility is to keep inviting more people to walk through those doors, to share their ideas, mentor each other, and shape the conversations which will both change us and thereby empower us to help change our own contexts."

Thank you Wesley for mentioning INTERNATIONAL! Yes, let's embrace diversity, let's encourage new ideas (please!), and lets be inclusive....but more importantly let's do this on a global scale!! We can all learn from each other and learn more about the world by opening our eyes to what is actually going on out there, outside our classrooms, outside our schools, outside our states and countries. Let's not miss ANY amazing opportunities that may come along because of who we are and where we are. That is the joy of being online, being a leader can be redefined to include how and when you conduct yourself online and what you do with what you have where you are.

I am so looking forward to NECC in Atlanta this year (in 6 days!!) as I want to meet and interact with current and future 'leaders' and 'movers and shakers' of the world as we know it today. I want to revel in new ideas and (exhausted as I am right now....did you know changing jobs and moving countries at the same time is almost on the same stress level as a marriage breakup?....or am I including that as well?...the week is in it's infancy ;-)) be part of the 'buffet'.

So Tim and Wes, let's join forces and make these lists longer and provide options for best-practice use of online communication tools so that new comers and old comers alike can have diverse and exciting choices. Let's promote leadership and let's 'flatten' our approach as we embark either physically or virtually on one of the most exciting conferences in the world of global educational technology. The world is such an exciting place...and I will be flying over more than half of it to get to Atlanta! See you all soon!

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

A quick preview of my new life in Qatar

The entrance to Qatar Academy

If you haven't heard already my family and I are moving to Qatar (note the wikipedia entry needs some clean-up) in August to start the school year as teachers at Qatar Academy (QA). This week however the school flew me in to train on the new Chancery school management system so I have had a unique opportunity to get to know some of my new colleagues and to become familiar with Qatar before we all arrive next year!

Having just come from colourful and humid Bangladesh I was immediately struck by the dryness of the heat and the colourless surroundings. I do not mind the heat (40+ C) as ALL venues and cars have excellent air con (too cold in fact!) so it is good to get out into the warmth for a few minutes. I have even got used to the lack of colour, the open expanses of rubbly desert, the dusty palm trees and the copious construction work. Qatar Academy is a magnificent school. It exists under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation (QF). On the enormous QF campus there is the 1500-student Pre 3-12 Academy as well as tertiary institutions, accommodation, enormous recreation centre and other facilities (even a Starbucks coffee shop!!).

I will not go into full detail today as my head is spinning from this intense training (5 days in the same room with the same people....) but I will just say that I am really looking forward to being here next year. Educationally QA is a fully accredited International Baccalaureate school with all three programs (PYP, MYP and Diploma). My position will that of Head of IT across both Primary and Secondary schools. The school is just ripe for some serious exposure to e-learning and Web 2.0....but it is going to be a challenge as IT skills and knowledge seem to be a little low. I was getting quite blank looks from other teachers when I mentioned blogging, wikis, RSS, social bookmarking.......but the good news is there seems to be a bit of money to spend (they are one of the top 5 wealthiest countries in the world) and a receptive attitude towards change and progress.

Vilaggio shopping centre, Doha

Yes, I know only people who have lived in Bangladesh for 4 years actually take pictures of inside a shopping centre ;-). But this one is extra special. The fa├žade is of a street and there is a sky and a glow that makes you think you are outside or on a movie set. There is even a canal running through it! Beautiful shops and restaurants and department stores....including....wait for it....a Virgin Megastore!!!! with books at US prices and a whole range of electrical items at reasonable prices!!

Here are more pics from Qatar on a flickr slideshow.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Have you been YouTubed Today?

A quick post as I wanted share two YouTube videos I found this week.

First, Wikis in Plain English but CommonCraft. This has been watched over 6,000 times since May 29. It gives a clever and understandable explanation of how a wiki can be used to facilitate online collaboration and how advantageous this is compared to using email.

Second, you are going to laugh at this one,
Love Two Point Oh (the key) by johnnyonline. This has been watched nearly 100,000 times since may 6. Johnnyonline is a musician with a sense of humour. The song is about unrequited love in a Web 2.0 world. The lyrics are available on the YouTube page as well. I think I will play this for my senior students and get them to identify the key IT words and then go about explaining them.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

A Significant Event in Bangladesh

In three weeks I will leave Bangladesh possibly never to return. My family and I have been here for nearly four years. Next year my husband and I take up new teaching positions at Qatar Academy in Doha, Qatar. The next three weeks will be a roller coaster of emotions, hard work, final sorting out and packing, and farewells.

Last night was a special night for us all as it was the inaugural Grade 12 Graduation Ceremony for International School Dhaka (ISD) As one of the longest surviving expatriate teachers in the school and one of the few who has seen the development and growth of these students through Grade 9, 10 and then the IB years of Grade 11 and 12 I felt a particular sadness that the first fledglings were being sent on their way in the world.

We acknowledged the event with a grand ceremony at the newly opened Radisson Hotel in Dhaka. Both administrators and students spoke eloquently about the educational opportunities at ISD and how the current 36 graduates have an opportunity now to make a difference to the future of Bangladesh. I was delighted to hear our guest speaker, Dr Michael Maybury, former Executive Director of CIS, talk about how our graduates have the potential and the power to really move Bangladesh into the 21st century. Amongst other things he mentioned the fact that with so many millions of people in the country the challenges are great but that it is surely not right that a person can work hard all week (6-7 days and still not be able to feed a family).

As a world International Baccalaureate school running all three programmes (PYP, MYP and DP) the philosophy of education at ISD includes learning how to learn and embraces a holistic approach to education, with multiculturalism and communication underpinning the curriculum. I hope to see some of my ex-students take their place on the world stage as leaders in their country. It is interesting as from what they have told me they all have the desire to return to their country after pursuing tertiary education outside Bangladesh. They all have a great love for their country and their patriotism coupled with the educational advantages they have had as a privileged group in a very poor nation are significant factors to help make a difference. We, as educators from the outside world, are hoping that the philosophy and approach lived everyday while at secondary school will show them that corruption and taking advantage of privilege and status are not attributes that can help Bangladesh develop and grow internationally.

As part of the ceremony one of my ITGS students, Shaveena, had put together a 'memories of Grade 12' video and with her permission I uploaded it to YouTube. This is fairly personal to a small group of people but you may be interested to view it as Shaveena did a great job!

Memories of Grade 12, 2007
Produced by Shaveena, Grade 12 student at ISD

Also, here are a couple of photos but more can be found on my flickr slideshow.

Waiting to enter the Banquet Hall

Wasi and Munaiba, student speakers

My family and I at the ceremony

I am gratified that this event could be recorded using technology tools (flickr and YouTube) and that the students have already planned and setup Facebook as a way to keep in touch and foster an international alumni. That's one way to get teachers to use social networking, and it's working!

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