Sunday, October 26, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

'Moonshot' for new flattened learning environment - Thank you #gtasyd

About a month ago I was privileged to be chosen to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney. Based at the Google offices in Pyrmont, Sydney, about 50 of us as well as a team of organisers came together to explore, connect, discuss, and come up with NEW ideas and approaches 'moonshots' for improving teaching and learning.

The application video that was my bridge for #gtasyd:


What I really liked about this experience is the opportunity it gave everyone to extend themselves and to think once again, even more and positively 'out of the box' of everyday situations to really envisage what might be possible in the future.

I am already an Apple Distinguished Educator (class of 2010, Singapore) and have had many exciting professional development experiences over the years. I knew this academy was going to be another step for me along the pathway of realisation of what is possible and to move closer to making it happen. When it was announced No Tosh would be leading the academy I was doubly excited, having connected with both Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett in the past I knew the quality work they were doing around the world. Hamish Curry, another No Tosh team member was in Sydney with Tom as well.

The Google Teacher Academy grouped us into teams and we met online for about three weeks before gathering in Sydney. Hats off to our 'Giant Leap' (our team name) leader, Matt Ives from New Zealand who worked hard at bringing us together and supporting our ideas and dreams. 

What was great????

  • I loved the fact our team was so diverse - in how long we had been teaching (shout out to Kim Sutton, a very young and exuberant teacher!), our areas of interest and expertise, and our ideas for making the change we all need to see in education. 
  • I loved the fact we worked hard as a team for a large part of the academy, sharing ideas for feedback, re-developing, re-sharing and getting more and more excited as more concrete plans emerged by Day 2.
  • I loved the use of Design Thinking to mold our ideas - and even though I have been using this in the workshops I run myself more recently and have a working knowledge of how to apply this - when you actually use it yourself for your own ideas it takes on a whole new meaning! 
  • I loved the fact we now all have a new network of educators to share ideas with and know these fragile thoughts will be welcomed for what they are......brave ideas in a confusing world, ready to be further tested, reshaped and eventually launched

My Moonshot

I want to start a virtual school.....but I do not like the term 'virtual school' and the connotations it has with set curriculum and exam-focused learning. line with the work I have done with Flat Classroom/Flat Connections in the past 10 years, I want to create what I am calling 'Learning Collaboratives' and put the responsibility onto the students to join these (in conjunction with teachers, or not) and become engaged and motivated through the socialisation of learning, networking and community that build collaborative learning.

Planning - using 'hexagons'
My hexagon after team brainstorming

Planning - the next stage
My moonshot - further planning

My Moonshot - The 'sentence'

What I plan to do is pilot 'Learning Collaboratives' in 2015. These will be different to the usual global collaborative projects I run. I am putting together details on this Learning Collaboratives doc and hope to have concrete objectives available by the end of October to share and encourage brave teachers and students to come and join.

Right now I am planning a 'Social Entrepreneurship Collaborative' (as on the doc.) I am also considering a 'Language Learning Collaborative' with a focus on Chinese. If you have any interest in being part of this please connect with me at any time!

Team 'Giant Leap' working hard!

Team 'Giant Leap' - stars of the event!

The whole group - #gtasyd

A little blurry - but here I am as a Google Certified Teacher!

Thanks Google and  no Tosh and all organisers. This was a very worthwhile and progressive experience for me and for all involved I believe. Well done!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CEM 2014: Flat Students - Global Learning

For Connected Educator Month, October 16 2014, I was invited by Core Education Ltd, New Zealand to be a lead panelist. The theme Student Agency, was one of the global themes for this month.

You will find the recording of the webinar here: Working together to reimagine student agency 

Guests also included Linda Ojala and Tim Gander who also shared their experiences on ' they have redesigned learning that genuinely positions learning at the heart, enabled by digital technologies.'
I was delighted to hear how Linda and Tim (at the elementary and high school levels respectively) are nurturing student independence of thinking and learning and fostering skills that will support them in future local and global collaborations.

You can find more webinar recordings on the NZ VLN portal

Screenshot of the opening to the webinar with hosts Nathaniel Louwrens and Karen Melhuish Spencer sharing a Maori greeting. I assume this is a common or standard way they do their webinars. Enhanced cultural awareness from the start!

My slides - Flat Students - Global Learning shared ideas for student taking control of their own learning, finding their own PLNs and PLCs and engaging in collaborations that are meaningful and authentic, locally and more importantly on a global scale.

I also did a soft launch of my Google Teacher Academy 'moonshot' (from 3 weeks ago). 
'Learning Collaboratives' - still in the 'empathy' and 'define' stages, but I am looking to run a pilot starting February 2015.

Stay connected to this vibrant and dynamic and dedicated educators in New Zealand for the remainder of October - and beyond! Lots happening over there that we should sit up and take notice of.

Hashtag: #cenz14

Addendum: This blog post came through my Twitter this afternoon 
'A story of agency, collaboration, music and love' 
Thanks Ginnie from Christchurch!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Highlights of ACEC 2014 - Citizenship, Global Competence, Badges, 21C ideas!

My first ACEC (Australian Computers in Education Conference) was two weeks ago in Adelaide. Many colleagues and ISTE friends from Australia and beyond had shared their past experiences with this reputable event, so now I am 'back' in Oz it was time for me to find out more.

This event blends K-12 and higher education in quite a sophisticated way - essentially there is something for everyone. I attended a variety of workshops, sessions and of course plenary sessions. I also presented one session and co-presented another. I share my notes and ideas here with you now as a way of documenting and reflecting.

Let me start with my presentation workshops!

The first one, Leadership for Digital Citizenship Action was a workshop for participants to explore three areas:
  • Our digital lives
  • Our digital responsibilities
  • Leadership for empowering global digital citizenship action
Conversations about 'My digital life is like......'
Open doc for participants to share ideas is HERE

It became evident to many that 'global digital citizenship' could in fact drop the 'digital' as technology becomes more ubiquitous for learning.


I was very fortunate to co-present with Cameron Paterson from Shore School, Sydney. Shore, under Cameron's influence, hosted the Flat Connections Conference in Sydney, June 2014. Cameron, as a driving pedagogical leader, brings exciting and enlightened experiences to his classes and to the school.

Our workshop, Global Competence and Social Change, was an extended version of a presentation we gave at ISTE 2014. Cameron shared more extensive examples and real-life student experiences while connecting with others for enhanced knowledge a out the world - the stories surrounding his connection with Turkey and finding the real story of WWI is clear evidence of the power of 'flattened' and connected learning. I shared examples for current global projects across K-12 and the need to foster social change, pedagogical change based on new teacher beliefs and attitudes to global interaction and collaboration.

Resources are available online HERE.


Plenary sessions at ACEC 2014 saw Alec Couros talk about connected and participatory learning culture, Kathy Schrock share ideas and resources for digital storytelling across the curriculum.
We also heard from Google - Alan Noble and Sally-Ann Williams about how Australian schools and teachers should be picking up coding. Perhaps this is already happening - but not enough according to Alan and Sally-Ann who shared statistics and put the fear into us all about the lack of computer studies in schools (!). I always believe this approach, although coming with lots of energy from Sally-Ann in particular, does not win friends.

Two real highlights for me were these workshops I attended:
I did attend some 30-minute presentations given by Masters or Doctorate students. I found these fascinating and being an EdD student myself have another goal to make sure I am ready to present at ACEC in 2016. It is so important to be sharing research and new ideas in this way - face-to-face where the researcher can get to answer questions and relate more closely with those interested. I encourage you to review the work of Vicky Smart from Queensland on technological pedagogical reasoning.

Finally, the networking with old friends and the creation of new friendships across Australia made this conference very worthwhile for me right now. I am trying to 'get a handle' on schools and teachers in different situations here in my home land....and not being in a school right now makes this more challenging. But of course being at the ACEC, f2f conference and through following #ACEC2014 and also by being a small part of #acceln with Roland and Amanda, I am reaching out to many educators, leaders and even students with a view to working more closely on global and connected learning.

Finally, I have to share this fun video created by the dynamic duo (Amanda and Roland once again) at ACEC. Many of us participated in this as the chasing crowd.....'Meetup' 

Looking forward to ACEC 2016 - it will be in Brisbane, a lot closer to me! Well done to all organisers, Trudy and Tina....and Jason and many others who made ACEC 2014 possible. Thank you!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Global Education Highlights (weekly)

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