Learning, Processing, Reflecting

The end of BLC means the end of my summer is right around the corner. A couple days before I step on a plane to head back to Bangkok, and my thoughts return to all the educators I’ve been able to interact with this summer. No matter the conference, the session, the keynote, educators seem to quickly get overwhelmed with information and possibilities. Not that I blame them…there’s a lot of sessions on a load of different tools, ideas, theories, and just plain cool stuff! Add on top of that all the resources for all the sessions and anyone would quickly become overwhelemed.  The problem is once overwhelemed the brain stops processing information, you stop learning, and things go down hill from there.  Part of it is the schedule of conferences. Funny how we continue to talk about schools changing yet most conferences continue to look very much the same as they did __ years ago (I’ll let you fill in the date). We know we need time to process information and we tell ourselves during the conference that we’ll take time to reflect once the conference is over, but the reality is very few people actually do. You get on your plane, you get back to life and the notes from the sessions, the resources, are left for “another day”. What if we started building time into conferences to reflect? What if…..much like we talk about in schools….we cut back on the content….and up the learning…the depth, the idea generation. What if instead of 10 sessions there were 5?  What if we cut half the sessions and then added “Reflection, Unconference, Conversation” sessions throughout the conference to build in the time to process, reflect, and go deep in new learning during the conference itself? What if we made conversations the focus not the content (My EQ for my session: How do we make the most of our time face to face when content is free and avalible to all?).  This has always been the focus of the Learning 2.00x conference that I helped to start in Shanghai and continues. Each year the best feedback we get is “don’t stop the conversations”. We educators need to feel OK with taking time to stop, reflect, and allow our brians to be silent. Allow our brains to process the information. On Thursday at BLC I started feeling the anxiouty catching up...

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Laptop Institute: Focusing on What’s Next

Starting to awake from my summer slumber and getting back into things. I find myself once again somewhere over Montana on my way to Alan November’s BLC Conference in Boston. This will be my 3rd year presenting at BLC and its timing always marks the end of my summer vacation. A couple weeks ago though I spend four days in Memphis at the laptop Institute conference put on by Lausanne Collegiate School. A fantastic conference with a clear mission. by Flickr ID: flickingerbrad What I liked most about the Laptop Institute is the question about students having a computer, having a connection is a non-issue. Everyone at this conference believes that every students should have a computer. It was great to talk to schools who where already 1:1 and to schools who were in the process of getting there. Everyone though….on the same page, making it fun to talk about pedagogy, tools, and ideas. My keynote and sessions were all video taped. I’ve embedded the keynote below and you can watch the other sessions if you would like at this link. I was also excited to see schools bringing teams of teachers to the conference. Very few people were there alone and some smaller private schools brought their whole staff. A great PD/staff bonding trip. There were a few international schools at the conference as well. American School of Bombay who also puts on their own Laptop Institute called ASB Unplugged every other year, brought their new hires to the conference and even ran an all day pre-conference for their new hires to get them up to speed on what to expect and what is expected of them at their new school. What a fantastic idea! As someone who has to try and train teachers on the technologies at a new school while at the same time new teachers are trying to settle into a new country, find their classroom, and everything else that comes with a new job, I like ASB’s approach as it also shows the new hires that technology is taken seriously at the school from day one. I would recommend the Laptop Institute to any school who is already 1:1 or is preparing to go there. It’s a great place to network with others who have been through the roll-out process, who are using different tools, and what works and what doesn’t. The best part is...

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New Year, New Theme, and Free Stuff

SunSet from Condo in seattle Yawn…..stretch…..and slowly pulling myself back into the real world after almost three weeks of vacation that included little time on the computer and a lot of time with friends and family. The way holidays should be. The big technology gift this year actually went to my wife. Her sister bought her the new Kindle which is perfect for her. She lugged 5 books home for vacation…now all of those will fit in this tiny little device.  So the new year is off to a great start. Flight back to Bangkok was uneventful (which is a good thing when flying) and I’m all set for the next two weeks and my reverse instruction experiment that I blogged about here. I actually have 6 teachers that I’ll be working with over the next two weeks. You’ll be seeing a lot of blog posts reflecting on how this is going. If you haven’t actually been to the site in awhile you might want to stop by and check out the new look. The home page is my favorite pulling in the lasted Tweeted articles from the blog. Thanks to Alec and the team at Folliovision for helping to design the new site. Have a look around and see what you think. Still working on a few sidebar and menu options but for the most part, this will be the look for 2011. Free Stuff The real reason why you clicked on this post. 🙂 RunKeeper Pro free through January    My wife and I have been into running these past few months and I have to say that this iPhone / Android App has gone a long way in keeping us motivated. RunKeeper uses the GPS on your smartphone to plot how far, fast and the pace of your run. It then uploads the data to the RunKeeper website where you can keep track of how you’re doing. My wife loves the cute little e-mails she gets when she has hit a new goal such as “Longest Distance”, or “Best Time”, or “Best Month”. She also loves the fact she can see right away how far she ran and view the route on her phone (HTC Desire, OS Android). Of course I like the geekier site of the app. The ability to share your run on Facebook or Twitter as soon as you finish, and with the Pro version...

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