Saturday, January 31, 2009

One great conference and Two great minds

During the Flat Classroom Conference we were privileged to have two great minds join us via Skype to share their ideas and interact with students.

On Day 1 we brought in Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat. For those who don't know Tom featured the Flat Classroom Project in the latest edition of his book and has been supporting the project from afar for a couple of years. On Day 3, during the closing ceremony for the conference we were delighted to have Don Tapscott, author of Growing Up Digital, and Wikinomics also speak to the students. For those who do not know already, our Horizon Project is featured in the new book Grown Up Digital, published November 2008.

I want to give a special thank you to colleagues Steve Hargadon and Dave Cormier for their assistance in streaming and recording some of the sessions during the conference. Steve has collected related multimedia on his Future of Education Ning, and Dave added the Friedman conversation to the EdTechTalk community at Flat Classroom Discussion with Thomas Friedman. You will also find ALL multimedia from the conference available on the Ning.

Great Mind #1: Thomas Friedman
Conversation with Tom Friedman (read the invitation for students to interact with Tom during this session)
Some salient points made by Tom include:
  • You can act on your imagination - this is what you have that can make a difference to the world we all live in - use it!
  • HOW you do things really matters in a flat, intertwined world. We all leave a digital footprint, therefore HOW you do things matter even more as they will be come back to you
  • Hot, Flat and Crowded - Tom's new book - thinking of the global implications, of global warming, flattened economic conditions, rising populations....a book about America as well as a prescription for how the USA can get their act together. The idea of ET rather than IT...Energy Technology
  • Tom admitted he was the most 'unflat' person in the world as he does not use the new technologies
  • Talked about the 'disease of over-connectedness' (I felt myself settling further into my seat at this point...who me?) and it being detrimental to health...hmmmm....
"Take advantage of what is new and never lose sight of what is old" "The Internet will make you smarter but it will not make you smart"

I felt extremely proud that we were able to invite Tom Friedman to an event where a multi-cultural group of students could benefit from asking him questions and interacting with him. About 12 students lined up with their questions. Very brave, very determined and very confident they wanted to reach out to this acclaimed author with their ideas and questions. Tom's warmth and interest in the students and their questions was obvious.

Great Mind #2: Don Tapscott
Don was relaxed and also keen to speak to students. He spoke about the consequences to education and the world of NOT collaborating and working to improve educational systems as we know them today. He urged us to find new learning modes and also talked about the new project we are co-planning with him. More about that later! Don is on Twitter and was quite comfortable using Skype for the call to us. He also offered to send individuals a personal, signed copy of his new boo, Grown Up Digital, if you read it first and added a review to the page of the book! Let Don know you have done this via a Twitter message!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good coverage on a conference and I liked the quote.