How do you spend your vacation?

Here at ISB we get next week off for a well deserved fall break. Now most normal people here in Bangkok will head to one of the numerous amazing beaches and relax and recharge. To bad I’m not normal. My next 10 days: BKK – TPE – NRT – MSP – DSM – MSP – NRT – TPE – BKI – KUL – BKK (I’m sure there’s a game in there somewhere) Yep…11 airport stops in 10 days, with a lot of presenting in between. Let me break it down for you. TPE: Taipei In about 2 hours I head to the airport and off to Taipei American School to wrap up the first course of the COETAIL program I’m teaching there. Tomorrow we’ll meet from 9 – 6 reflecting on the course, sharing projects, talking about PLNs and setting up Twitter accounts. The second half of the day we’re going to have a K12online LAN party so get ready for some new educators on Twitter and be looking for our podcast of the LAN party sometime next week (I’ll have plenty of time to edit on the planes). DSM: Des Monies, Iowa My next stop takes me to the middle of the good ole’ USA to work with administrators and Scott McLeod. I’m a bit worried as what I’ll be talking about includes an open web and students publishing openly in order for us to teach them to be safe. The idea of ‘open’ usually doesn’t go over to well in the State and people look at me like I’m a freak. The fear factor is so high around student’s publishing that is truly breaks my heart…and from someone on the outside looking in it looks really bad. My work with Scott takes me to Minneapolis where I’ll fly out of. BKI: Kota Kanabalu, Malayasia Last stop takes me to the EARCOS Leadership Conference. By far the roughest part of the trip (NOT!). I’ll be talking with administrators in the South East Asia Region about technology and were do we go from here. International Schools here in Asia are rolling out 1:1 laptop programs quickly and by 2012 (a date I set 3 years ago) there will be a clear line of those that are and those that are not 1:1 schools. So, if my blog posts come in waves over the next week it’s because I was able to do a lot...

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Reflections on Learning 2.010

Learning 2.010 ended last Saturday and four days after the end of the conference I think I’ve recovered enough mentally to actually talk about my experience. This is the 3rd Learning 2 Conference that I have helped to organize and pull off with no less than 20 other educators from in and around Shanghai. Putting on a conference is a lot of work…and only after you’ve done it can you really know how mentally exhausting the time is during the conference. What I love about this conference is each year we focus on breaking the conference mold and giving educators new ways to think about learning not only through the content of the conference but the conference structure itself. We talk about the teacher needing to be a facilitator in the classroom, so this year we had no “teacher”. There was no keynote, no presenters just facilitators. I think we did a very good job of finding both international talent and flying in facilitators that understood what we were going for in this conference. You had to be flexible, wiling to adapt, and easy going in order to change as this conference progressed. Find another conference that 24 hours before it was to begin nothing was planned. Not one session, not one cohort…nothing. Yet some how when you allow yourself the ultimate flexibility to adapt and change, some of the best learning occurs. We started planning this conference with the notion that we can not foresee and meet the needs of 400+ participants without knowing what they want to learn. By using facilitators and the cohort/unconference model we were able to adapt and create sessions on the fly that hopefully met the needs of everyone at the conference in one way or another. I had a couple people approach me and tell me how great it was to actually attend a conference were you had to be activity involved. If you were not giving feedback to the facilitator in your cohort, or if you were not actively creating, leading or voting for unconference sessions you were out of luck. Participants were energized by the conversations and the flexibility to learn what they wanted to learn. I believe the best of this came out in unconference sessions around Prezi. Prezi was the hot tool of the conference and because of our unconference model it kept getting voted in for sessions....

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ISTE 2010 – Reflections

I have 30 minutes before I leave for the airport and head back to Seattle for what’s left of my summer vacation. As I reflect on this years ISTE conference a couple things come to mind. WiFi:A HUGE shout out to the organizers and the Convention Center. By far this has been the best WiFi access at any ISTE conference since I’ve been coming (this is my 5th). It was slow at times, but overall the ability to keep a connection running among 13,000+ geekie educators was very smooth. I hope it stays this way in the future. iPads:They were everywhere! I know they sold 2 million in the first two months, but I swear half of those were here at the conference! I’m not sure what the future holds for this device, but all I heard about was battery life, battery life, battery life! Looking forward to seeing how they are used in schools next year with students. My first ISTE presentation:This year I finally made it in the program and gave my first ever ISTE presentation. I hope it was useful to those who attended. You can find the handouts here along with the videos that people seemed to enjoy. Conversations:Once again I’ve been reminded on what’s the real reason we still fly to conferences like this. It’s for the conversations. Those planned like the ones at EduBloggerCon and those unplanned like the one’s we have here at Blogger’s Cafe. In the end, we like being with others in person, we like the human factor of sitting and chatting with those we learn from year round. I spent more time offline rather than online this conference just enjoying being here with others. I’m online with them the rest of the year…..I only get three days of being with them in person. Where do we go?I keep asking myself if anything has changed in the 5 years since I’ve started attending ISTE (NECC) conferences….and I’m not sure if anything has. There are more people hanging out at the Blogger’s Cafe, there are more blogging educators and that’s fantastic. But looking through the sessions I didn’t notice much of a change. There was no sessions on RSS this year, yet some educators I talked to who are attending for the first time had never heard of RSS. The theme of “Mobile” and “Global” were prominent and I’m seeing the...

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What's Your Container?

What I love about presenting is how themes emerge within my presentations that I was never thinking about before the conference begins. But somewhere in the process of doing 6 presentations at the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference a theme in my sessions emerged. What is your container? We talked in many of my sessions about having a container to house all of your web “stuff”. What that contain looks like really doesn’t matter as long as: A. It works for youB. It allows EVERYTHING to be embeded When you create a “class container” think of it as not just a place to actually put stuff, but a place that allows you to pull in information from other parts of the web. It should allows you to the following: 1. Embed YouTube Videos2. Embed RSS Feeds3. Embed Slideshare Slides4. Anything else that has a standard embed code. Using the above criteria your container could be: 1. A Blog2. A Wiki3. A Ning4. A Moodle Course5. Netvibes.com6. Pageflakes.com7. Share your container in the comments All of these above containers work. Find the one that fits your needs and either is unblocked at your school or your school has adopted system wide and start creating your online classroom. At our school we’ve adopted two formats school wide. Our Elementary Teachers are using blogs and when you view them as a container you can see what I’m talking about. Here are a couple of good examples: Chrissy Hellyer’s 5th Grade Blog Robin Bulsza’s 5th Grade Blog Cheryl Terry’s 4th Grade Blog Mary Bellone’s 4th Grade Blog There are others, but I think these four when viewed as “Blogs as Containers” make the point clear. In our Middle School and High School we’re using Moodle. I can’t show you any examples as our Moodle Courses are password protected but within Moodle you can embed all of the above and put RSS feeds in the sidebars. A Moodle course can easily become your container. Once you view your class website as a container it allows you to think outside the walls of that container and ask yourself: What can I pull into my space to enhance the online learning landscape for my students? You don’t have to create it all….you just have to know/understand that you can pull things into your space to create a rich learning environment. The Netvibes page we are using with all...

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Do you support People or Platforms?

As I sit here in my hotel room an hour away from starting my official Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) training this question keeps popping into my head. Do you support People or Platforms? It’s an interesting question…that I continue to reflect on. We all have strengths and weaknesses in the computer programs/platforms that we know. But do we some time support the platform rather than the people? Is there a difference? Can you support people without supporting a platform? Just some questions that are running through my head as I start my 5 day training on everything...

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