’15 by the numbers

’15 by the numbers

Not sure how it got to be December already…and the end of December at that. Where did 2015 go? It’s been a year to remember for me as many things continue to change and grow as we make our home here in Seattle. This is our 3rd full year living here…one more and we match our longevity record of Bangkok. So we’ll see if that holds true. As I have been thinking about writing this blog post I can’t help but think what went wrong with The Thinking Stick this year. By far the fewest blog posts I have written since I started the blog in 2005. Yes…10 years of blogging this past September and that didn’t even dawn on me until just a few weeks ago. Why haven’t I been writing more here? Does it mean that I’m not creating content anymore? I’ve been thinking about this over the past few weeks and I think I’m producing as much as I ever have, it’s just not all in one place. For better or for worse there are now four different companies that I am a part of and each of those have me creating and producing content in some way shape or form for them. Maybe my goal for 2016 should not be to blog more here, but to make sure that more of what I produce in other places ends up here as well? So here’s 2015 by the numbers. 117,000 miles flown I’m really liking this first number. A far cry from the 250,000 miles I flew in 2013…and I’m really excited about that. I would like to keep this down to around 100,000 miles a year if possible. That’s a good number for me. 14 countries and roughly 100,000 miles is a good goal for 2016 as well. As I continue to do more here in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region in general the less traveling I’ll have to do. I still want to travel and I know the opportunities will continue to be there. It’s just nice spending more days at home than traveling. 29 Blog posts 15 here on The Thinking Stick and 14 over on the Eduro Learning Blog which honestly surprises me a bit. I really didn’t think I had written that many blog posts. If you missed them here are a couple of my favorites from this...

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40,000 Mile Reflection

40,000 Mile Reflection

How time flies as the miles pile up. I have just passed the halfway point of a crazy two months of traveling and presenting. Yes….From the end of September to the end of November I will have flown 70,000 miles and yes….all of it in economy (because I know you were wondering). It has been a tired, fun, exhausting, passionate time and now that I’m somewhere over the North Pole on my to Seoul, Korea to start course 4 of COETAIL, I finally have time to think about what my learning has been and reflect on this journey. ICS Addis Ababa – COETAIL It was great to return to Ethiopia where things continue to move at an incredible rate within the country. I was there for a week to kick off course 3 of COETAIL and while there was asked by the Administration if I would help them bring the Learning2 conference to Africa. I’m exciting to announce that Learning2 Africa will be held September 18-20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the campus of the International Community School. You’ll be hearing more about this for sure here on the blog. We believe this is the first ever educational technology focused conference on the continent and definitely the first geared towards international schools. Google Apps Summit South Korea Jim Sill and team put on another great Google Apps Summit in South Korea. It was very well attended and I got to finally try on a pair of Google Glasses. Mind blowing cool. Learning 2.013 in Singapore Another amazing Learning2 conference this year in Singapore. This conference continues to change and evolve and re-event what a conference experience should be. I find it so interesting that this conference and it’s different formats have been HUGELY successful over the last 7 years yet no conference has tried to replicate it. I have been to a lot of conferences but none that push the boundaries of participants expectations, learning, and community building like this one. ITEC Keynote I had the great pleasure of keynoting the Iowa Technology Educators Conference in Des Moines. As the second day keynote I saw it as my job to motivate and spark passion in the conference goers to make this conference matter to them and their schools when they went back to the classroom. We’ll have to wait for the survey results to see if I hit my...

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20% Time PD

20% Time PD

I have been fascinating with a the idea of giving both students and educators 20% time based on the writings of Dan Pink and the book Drive (a must read for all educators in my opinion). There has been some momentum growing in education around this idea and this past year I followed a few teachers who implemented “Genius Hour” in their classroom. A great name for this idea of getting out of the students way and allowing them to do great work. I haven’t had a lot of time to implement 20% time into my consulting work. One hour workshops just don’t lend themselves to this kind of deep learning. That is why the three day Learning Institute I did in June in London had me so excited. Excited to get out of educators way and allow them to do great work. I started off by learning something new myself. I set up a Tumblr account to run the three day institute. You can see all the learning here: http://litechaslondon.tumblr.com/ I had a Tumblr account but hadn’t used it that much and was looking for a place that not only could I set the outline for the three days of learning, but also find a place for participants to reflect easily without having to create an account. So I took my own 20% time before the institute started and watching a bunch of YouTube videos….mostly made by Middle School girls…..I taught myself how to set up a Tumblr site and how to allow others to submit reflections to it without needing an account. Honestly I didn’t know how the participants would react when I told them at the beginning of the first day that each day I was going to give them 1 1/2 hours to do a project. Their project could be on anything they wanted. Play a song, write a poem, bake something, or do work based on what they were learning over the three days of the institute. The only catch was they had to have something to share the last hour of the last day of the institute. You can read the reflections on the blog, but it was a pretty powerful experience for all of us. The really interesting thing was this institute was held at the end of the school year. Students had finished school just two days prior and all logical thought pointed...

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A Year As A Consultant

A Year As A Consultant

People often ask me how much I travel and how I like this life style of being a consultant so seeing that I have just passed the one year mark of trying to make a living at presenting and consulting with schools, I thought I’d reflect on the past year and what’s yet to come. First the rough numbers from June 17, 2012 – June 26, 2013: I traveled and presented roughly 122 days last year. Including 3 trips to London and 4 trips to Seoul.  I roughly traveled about 212,000 miles by plane.  It wasn’t all work though I also vacationed 31 days including Ireland, Switzerland, Stone Henge (England) and a cruise to Alaska.  Overall looking back I can’t believe how busy I was in my first year doing this full time. I remember handing in our resignation letters in Bangkok and my wife and I looking at each other and thinking we were really going to do this. I remember that lump in my throat thinking what was I thinking leaving a perfectly great job at a great school to do this. If you would have told me then that I would travel 122 days and be making booking into 2015 in my second year I would have laughed and said in my wildest dreams. But that is the reality. It has been an incredible year and one that I owe to all of you who read this blog, retweet things and help me spread the message. In September of 2005 when I created this blog I never thought it would lead to this. That eight years later I would be doing what I’m doing, I would have laughed you out of the room. It’s crazy to look back and know this all started with this blog and with you pushing my own thinking and learning in the process. So I owe all of this to you….the community that is the Internet. Lessons I learned: We all need down time I love my wife and miss her a ton when I’m away. There is no way I could have survived this pass year without her constant support and encouragement. Last October a trip lined up that I would fly around the world and be away for 4 weeks straight. At the time I was excited, pumped to be doing an around the world consulting trip. About two...

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Preparing for the Next Three Years

Preparing for the Next Three Years

A couple of interesting things over the past 6 months or so that I have been a part of and/or witnessed that I wanted to share and reflect on. I have been working with a lot of International schools over the past six months. I find it fascinating that in a lot of these schools, I end up having conversations with the administrative team where someone (usually the head of school) will say something along the lines of: “You have spent a couple of days with us now, how do we compare to other International Schools you have worked with in the region?” There is this sense that we need to keep up with our neighbors…the idea that we don’t want to get too far behind. I have yet had a head of school ask me. “Jeff….what do we need to do to be a leader in the region?” Please do not get me wrong. I have consulted with schools now from coast to coast in America and in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. International schools are far ahead of their counterparts in the US, and in the International School world, Asia schools are leading the way. Part of it is money, part of it is where Asia is right now in the world and its own pace of change. Part of it is teachers, administrators, parents and students who I think see a change that is coming. However, I don’t see a lot of schools pushing. Maybe schools that are pushing don’t need my services…which is alright by me. But there are many schools that have in their mission statement to “be a leading school in (Asia, Region, World)” but then they ask if they are keeping up? So, what should schools who want to fulfill their mission statement be asking/talking about/planning for? Looking at the next three years, I think you’ll see many of these International Schools in Asia going to a “2 to 1” program. Many of them are already 1:1 or in the midst of rolling them out. The conversation has now turned to what comes after 1:1. I don’t want to name schools here, but let’s just say there are many in the Asia region who have started looking at 3 year technology plans that call for both some sort of tablet device as well as a laptop for MS and HS...

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