Breaking up the Perfect Team

If you follow baseball than you know that there have been two perfect games thrown this year. These are games in which the pitcher only pitches to 27 batters (3outs x 9innings). It’s a rare thing, in fact it’s only happening 20 times to date in all of baseball history. It’s called the perfect game. Where everything just works, just is….well…..perfect. As this year comes to an end (3.5 days and counting) I’m put into reflection mode. Thinking about all the things that have made this year fun, frustrating, amazing, and special. All my memories come back to this being the perfect year with the perfect team. It’s not every year that you get to go to work every day and sit in a large open no-walls office with 3 of educational technologies finest to learn from. But like all things perfect they must come to an end. I’ll always remember this year as “The Perfect Team”. Two things are happening that are breaking up this perfect team. First is the fact that both of my colleagues (maybe that says something about me 😉 ) are moving on to bigger and better things. I wrote a post April of last year on why every school needs a Kim Cofino. I’m kicking myself now, as Yokohama International School, in Japan must have been reading and decided to offer Kim and her husband a fantastic opportunity to do something different. The International teaching cycle hits again as we all continue to move on to new adventures in new countries, travel the world, and enjoy life. YIS is lucky to be getting such an amazing ed tech leader, a true “get stuff done” person who is focused and understands how to use technology in authentic ways like nobody I’ve ever met. Kim can brainstorm a lesson, write it up, get buy in, and have it implemented in no time flat. The girl is a workaholic, tech embedded lesson creation machine. Perfect for YIS as they move to the MYP program next year and need a leader to help them get the program off the ground. YIS is also a 1:1 Mac school which I know Kim is excited about as well. She was an amazing colleague before we worked together here, and I know we’ll remain close working colleagues in the future (in fact we have a little something up our selves already….stay...

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Why Facebook is Unblocked at ISB

I thought I would share an e-mail that was sent from our department today to a parent who had raised a concern about Facebook being unblocked at school. A very well thought out e-mail from the group. Chad Bates did most of the work with Dennis, Kim and I adding our two cents in as well. Dear Parent, Thanks for your email, you raise an issue that schools, teachers, parents and workplaces are currently grappling with i.e. weighing the benefits of social networks against the concerns. When considering the relative merits of Facebook, there are some very obvious negative uses as well as positive uses, and a whole lot of grey area: Benefits Facebook is a 21st Century Communication tool that students use much like we use email Acknowledgment of this very real social interaction and providing students with opportunities to learn with technology the way they live with technology rather than further distance school from the reality of the outside world Giving students opportunity to develop their own time management skills and choices Developing digital citizenship and opportunity to practice safe and responsible use of information and technology Concerns Cyber-bullying issues Invasions of privacy Reduction in productivity Within ISB’s Technology Department, we walk a fine line with censoring Internet content, one we don’t take lightly. When attempting to strike a balance between student safety, productivity and educational benefit; we’ve found blocking pornographic sites, gambling sites and gaming sites are no brainers. However when considering social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (not to mention the many social non-English social networking sites) it is not so cut and dried. These sites have emerged as social areas that form a major significant part of many of our student’s lives. This socialization is near as important to this generation as face to face time with their friends and they maintain friendships beyond ISB to include international students from schools around the world. At this point we feel that by simply blocking these sites, we as a school would be missing an opportunity to educate students about how to use them appropriately. That being said, we continue to monitor the use of these sites (and others) within the school and evaluate their value and the learning opportunity for students (as opposed to denial) versus the potential for distraction. If students cannot manage their time on computers productively at school, then they...

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