Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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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 of thinking while flying just short of 20,000 miles. 

Let the fun and travel begin!

 

So let me cut through the smoke and mirrors and really tell you why this coming week is important to me.

Simple….on Tripit.com I’m trailing David Warlick in the number of countries I’ve traveled to this year. As an International Educator….that’s just wrong! 😉

I won’t pass David this coming week but I’ll tie him going into the opening of Baseball Season and we all know from there it’s a whole new ball game.

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This coming week I’ll start my travels in Singapore where I’ll be brainwashed attending the Apple Distinguished Educators Asia Institute. I was suppose to attend here in Bangkok last year, but thanks to the #yellowshirts shutting down the airport the institute was moved to Singapore and I couldn’t have left if I wanted. This year #redshirts are making noise but the airport is clear for now.

I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to this Institute or not. I’ve been put off by the last couple of conferences that I have gone to strictly as a participant and not as a presenter. Maybe it’s the conference? Maybe it’s me? I’m just hoping #ADE2010 can pull me out of this conference funk I’m in. Of course I’m most excited for the conversations with other ADEers coming in from all over Asia to learn together…that is always a blast!

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Next Wednesday I leave Singapore and head to Philippians for the EARCOS Teachers Conference. I’ll be doing a pre-conference workshop and four conference sessions (non of which I’m prepared for at this point). It’s always great to see all my EARCOS friends from the region and have some great conversations around technology and the obstacles we all are trying to overcome in our home countries. Whether it is discussions about site blockage in China, or why not use pirated software when it’s everywhere and cheap, the discussions are always great. You’ll be able to follow that conference on Twitter at #ETC2010.

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Lastly it’s a late night flight Sunday back to Bangkok, straight to a hotel downtown and up early Monday for an all day institute I’ll be leading for the NESA Teachers Conference. I’m most excited about this all day institute for two reasons.

1. NESA was were I gave my first ever presentation back in 2002 at this exact conference in Bangkok. It’s been such a journey presenting over the past couple of years and to be invited back to the conference I started at is….well….it’s an honor. At the time I was a 5th grade teacher in Saudi Arabia. That seems like a life time ago!

2. My day long institute is on Creating and Teaching in Blended Classrooms. A new presentation/workshop for me where my hope is well get into some deep discussions about teaching and learning in blended classroom environments. With Moodle (which is widely used in the NESA region) as our backbone my hope is that we will all learn how to create, manage, and use Moodle and Web 2.0 tools effectively in a Blended Classroom environment.

So over the next week you’ll be getting updates from these places as I learn with other educators. My favorite part of conferences are the conversations I have with others, and the ideas and time I get to blog my thinking. Whether in an airplane or in a hotel room, I seem to always find time to blog during conferences.

50+ Administrators talking about skllls needed in the new workplace
50+ Administrators talking about skllls needed in the new workplace

Back at work and reflecting on the tech cohort that I tried to run at the EARCOS Admin Conference. I talked about it here and what my hopes were for the group. It’s the first time I’ve tried to embedd a cohort in a traditional conference model and to be honest I had very limited success.

We met as a cohort during the first session. I was excited to meet the 33 admin who had signed up ahead of time to be apart of the project. During the first session we had 50+ people in the room. I was really excited as people just kept coming into the room asking if they could join.

But it was all down hill from there. Our first session went really well, people were excited and we got them thinking about the skills a worker needed today by having them in groups find answers to these real world scenarios.

On the second day we had about 15 people show up for the cohort reflection….a huge drop from the 50+ the day before. I can make all kinds of excuses of why people maybe did not show up, but at the end of the day they just didn’t.

On the third and final day we had 7 people show up for the cohort reflection session. Our discussions were great as we covered everything from 1:1 laptop programs to new and cool tools on the Internet.

There were some successes though. The blog I set up really did become a place to house thinking, presentations and links to resources coming out of sessions. The greatest take away for me and most administrators I talked to was the use of the chat rooms I set up for back channel conversations.

It was very interesting as we used a chat room during two of the keynotes. During the first keynote the chat room was very active, and very off topic. Someone would throw a one-liner into the chat and we’d all head down a rat hole. It was great fun….and if you ask me what the speakers overall message was I couldn’t tell you. I was not at all engaged in the presentation. The chat room was much more engaging….even if it was off task.

We talked after the first keynote and I had many come up to me and say how much fun that was and that they were coming to the keynote the next day just to get back into the chat room.

But…the next day we got into the chat, we were all ready, and nothing….there was hardly a conversation. Some links based on websites the speakers was talking about, some stories from those who had connections via a personal story based on the presentation, and questions related to students and global awareness.

It was a completely different chat room….the pace was much slower than the day before and it was on topic, engaging, and relevant to the presentation.

To me it was a fascinating look at how engagement and presentation of information leads to learning. It also leads to the discussion in the classroom why some teachers stuggle with students getting on Facebook and others don’t have any trouble at all. Here were administrators who came to the second keynote with all intentions to “screw off” in the chat room…and yet they found the information and presentation so engaging that it didn’t happen. I talked about this realization I had with the group of 7 that showed up at the last reflection session. I just wish I would have had the 50+.

I’m not done with cohorts, they are powerful ways to learn, but embedding them into an old model just didn’t work. It’s like adding technology at the end of a unit, it’s just one more thing we have to do instead of “this is the way we do things”.

That’s why for the Learning 2.010 conference in Shanghia (Sept. 16-18, 2010, registration to open in January), we’re creating a conference that at it’s core is built on cohort learning models. We’re in the final stages of planning and I’ll have more information in another month. But I promise you this, it will be a format like none you have ever seen before, based on learning, thinking, and the year 2020.

So I walk away from this conference learning a lot about conferences and how changing mindsets within the same walls of a conference that saw it’s 41st installment is difficult. We’re so use to doing things this way that anything else is just weird feeling and confusing. We know how this conference goes, we’ve been doing it for 41 years now….this is the way we’ve always done it, why change. It’s a mind set that when you embed something new in the middle of it, something outside conventional thinking just has a hard time taking hold. Ah…..human kind….we are a strange beast!

In a weeks time I’ll be in Manila, Philippines to attend the EARCSO Administrators Conference. This will be the third year I’ve presented at the conference…guess it a good thing they invite me back every year. 🙂


This year though I’m trying something different. With the permission of the head of EARCOS. I asked if I could set up a cohort of administrators who might want to go deep in learning about leadership in a digital world. Of course I didn’t even know at the time if any administrators in the region would want to do such a thing. Imagine being stuck learning with me for three full days….who would put themselves through that?

In the end I was given permission to send out an e-mail to the administrators in the EARCOS region (about 100 international schools total). If I could get 20 administrators to say they would like to try a cohort model of learning that was embedded within the conference schedule I could trail this concept and see how it goes.

Within a week we had 25 people and ended up with a total of 33 administrators from Heads of Schools to Principals, IT Directors, and VPs. Needless to say I am very impressed!

So the concept is this: During the first session we’ll meet as a cohort for 90 minutes and do some investigating and hands-on computer work to frame our thinking for the conference. Then the cohort will be able to choose between two technology learning focused sessions to attend. After attending three sessions we will meet again to debrief our learning, reflect, and discuss what we’re thinking and how what we learn can be used in our schools when we leave the conference. We’ll follow this same format all three days.

I’ve been working with Andy Torris on this, my good friend and Deputy Superintendent of Shanghai America School. This year Andy and the IT team have rolled out some 1500+ laptops as they start their 1:1 program in grades 6-12. Andy also has more experience running PD sessions with administrators, making us a good team to lead this first cohort.

Andy and I were talking about how to engage the administrators in the conference, and have decided that what we want to do is give them options on how they can be active participants during sessions and the conference.


With that idea in mind I set up a blog for the cohort. Each member will have an account and if they so choose will be able to blog their thoughts through out the conference. It might be notes, ideas, or rambles…we really don’t care as long as it’s about their learning within the conference.

We also want to give administrators ideas and allow them to explore how some communication tools might be used in schools. So, we’re setting up chat rooms for each session, and if they so choose they can engage in a bake channel conversation during sessions.

Andy also pointed out that some administrators who might fill overwhelmed with blogs and chat rooms might prefer a simple form that they can fill out with leading questions so that they can share their thoughts with very few clicks. So, we’re creating a Google Form that, if they so choose, they can fill out during or after a session. We’ll make the Google Spread Sheet public so that their thinking, like the other methods will be public as well.

Three different ways to engage in learning during the conference. All you have to do is decide how you want/what works for you during the conference or a session.

That’s our message…that engaging in learning and what technology allows is differentiated approaches to meeting the same outcome. We don’t care how you engage in the learning process, just as long as you do.

We’ll see how this goes…it could be a total flop…but taking a risk and trying something new is way more fun than the same old conference year after year.

Of course there is a long range plan to my madness as well…..if this is successful we’ll look to replicate a similar cohort system in the teachers conference in March which all leads to a revolutionary conference format we’re working on for Learning 2.010 next September. Buckle up…as we’re about to get innovative!

aaahhhhh……I sit here in the open air lounge of the Magellan Resort, a soft breeze is blowing off the ocean as I over look the pool below and out across the bay to three islands. It’s gonna be a wonderful sunset tonight. I’m telling you overseas conferences are really hard….I mean it. 🙂

I’m continuing to think about the Web and how we use it to connect. Maybe this is all for nothing…but I can’t stop thinking about it.

When it comes to building social networks or online communities I think it’s clear to understand what you are and who you are trying to build the site for and what you want them to do.

For example I helped to build the community site for the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference I am now at. I choose to use a wiki for a couple of reasons.

1. Not everyone here is tech savvy….the tool of least resistance.
2. The conference doesn’t need all of the features of say a Ning or full social network.
3. Less is more.

The wiki is meant to serve only one purpose really; to create an easy way for presenters to upload handouts, documents, and such to participants of their sessions. Before this year presenters would forward their handouts to EARCOS who dedicated a person to upload the documents to the conference website. The issue became of course that people would send multiple updates of their handouts creating work for someone else to manage those documents.

My work around….put presenters in control of their own handouts. Using a wiki was the easier way to do this. Create a page for each presenter, give them accounts that allow them to upload, and get out of the way.

So far the website is growing with over 120 members of 1100 conference goers joining the site before the conference even begins tomorrow. Not bad for something that is brand new to this conference.

Of course the wiki can do much more than just hold documents….it allows people to connect to each other…or is that connect to content?

In this case I believe the wiki serves the purpose to connect people to content. It is a network of users looking for, sharing, and using content created by others. Through this common content they will (hopefully) connect to people who have the same interests as them. Whether it be someone in the same session, or just someone they happen to meet within this community.

My hope: They came for the content and will find people to connect to.

That’s different than how some networks are created. Some networks are about the content and through that shared content you find people. Other social networks start with connecting people and through those connections you find content.

Of course there are no clear cut lines here and it’s all one big ball of grey.

It’s almost:

What came first the person or the content?

When you create a Personal Learning Network it’s about both. You follow content you are passionate about but also people you know or want to connect with.

When people start using Twitter they get stuck in not knowing who to follow…not what. Twitter is about people at its roots, not about the CNNs or the BKK News. You don’t follow “The President” you follow Barack Obama.

RSS Readers are different, they allow you to follow content. A Google News search for a current topic. A specific RSS feed for a sports team, or a blog with relevant information. Through these feeds we get to know people, what they are like, their voice online, and over time we consider them friends as if we know them.

When I started my RSS reader I followed David Warlick, Will Richardson, Clarence Fisher, Dean Shareski, Tim Lauer, and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach not because I knew who they were but because I liked their content and what they had to say….over time they have become friends, people I know and now, I follow them because of who they are.

When we are creating social networks I think it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what you hope to do with it. Classroom 2.0 is about connecting people. The content there is great, but it’s the connecting of people that makes that social network so powerful.

In the end I agree with Christopher….maybe I’m over thinking this and really what it’s about is learning to filter information, whether that is a person or content. The skill of understanding how data flows on the Internet and how you can make it work for you is a powerful tool.

Example: I created the Twitter hash tag #ETC09 for the conference I’m at. I then went into Tweetdeck and started a new search for #ETC09. Now I have the latest tweets just for this conference. I did the same for #gr8t as a way to mind the data of that network as well. Those are two of my columns in my tweetdeck…all the rest are based on people.

How do you connect: People first or Content first?

I leave tomorrow for the EARCOS Teachers Conference (Twitter hash and web tag #ETC09) where I’ll be giving four presentations.

My first one is on Networks and Communities and although my Twitter Network has pointed out to me this is not a new presentation for myself…I do feel like there is something different. I’ve pushing myself to think deeper about personal networks and online communities and I need to be clear about my message and what I believe before I step into the room…or at least clear enough so that those in the room can help me push my own thinking on the subject.

Ben Grundy via Twitter helped me when we started talking about RSS vs Twitter.

RSS is about finding content, Twitter is about finding people

Not sure about that statement but it’s one I put out on Twitter and as I write this post is still being bounced around. Like others I find myself using Twitter for many different purposes including finding content…but I followed people first…not the content.

In past presentations I have focused most of my time on using RSS Feeds for both learning and teaching and less time on Twitter. Has the time come for this to be reversed? Is the “Nearly Now” taking over the reader?

More to come as I continue to think….your thoughts welcome!

My wife left early this morning for Hawaii. I know…completely lost on her. From Bangkok to Hawaii…..

She’s off to visit a friend, one of the benefits of taking a year off from working and having frequent flier miles to spend.

So that leaves me with a week of no school and time to myself to prepare for what has shaped up to be one heck of a busy November.

Nov. 1-4: EARCOS Admin Conference

Nov. 7-9: Jakarta Weekend Workshop: Learning in a Digital World

Nov. 21-22: United Nations International School of Hanoi

This week I’ll be creating my presentations and focusing in on what my message will be.


I’ll be pulling a lot from Presentation Zen. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It just might change the way you teach. Also, make sure you subscribe to the Presentation Zen blog. It’s one of those books that simplifies the process down to something that just works. In fact Garr Reynold’s simple idea of going off line to plan your presentation has completely focused my presentations the way I want. I spent about 3 hours on Sunday sitting outside on the balcony outlining the four presentations for EARCOS in my notebook. It took me 2 hours to outline the four presentations. Now the fun part of just putting them together.

This book has quickly made the rounds at our school. I loaned it to Kim Cofino after I finished reading it right before Learning 2.008. She got such great feedback on her presentations that she ended up holding a whole unconference session around Presentation Zen.

The book has made the rounds at school as well, and our school just ordered four more copies of it. The best use by far has been watching a couple teachers use the technique as a way to present information in their classes and have all given feedback on how well the students liked the format, were engaged, and attentive.

It’s not a hard format, actually….it’s quite simple, and Garr does a great job of explaining the process that one should follow. A process I now use.

As I’ve been working through my presentations I keep coming back to a common theme of communication. On how technology and the Internet really boils down to allowing us to communicate in new ways. As I was doing some research yesterday I found this article from Wired.

Home Sweet Office: Telecommute Good for Business, Employees, and Planet

Last year, researchers from Penn State analyzed 46 studies of telecommuting conducted over two decades and covering almost 13,000 employees. Their sweeping inquiry concluded that working from home has “favorable effects on perceived autonomy, work-family conflict, job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and stress.” The only demonstrable drawback is a slight fraying of the relationships between telecommuters and their colleagues back at headquarters — largely because of jealousy on the part of the latter group.

It’s a great article and as I read it I kept coming back to the same question:

How does this change the way we communicate?

Are we preparing students to communicate and work in this way?

Is this the future/solution to smog, oil prices, commute times?

I have a feeling this research will be making an appearance somewhere in November. 🙂

The EARCOS Staff
The EARCOS Staff

I had two great days in Manila spending time with the EARCOS team looking at how technology and the web can help to streamline some of their internal practices and also looked at how EARCOS can use technology at both it’s Administrator and Teacher conferences to help connect participants.

Up until now, the team at EARCOS has been sending a Word Document to those giving workshops. The presenters fill out the form and then e-mail it back. The EARCOS staff then copies that information into a FileMaker Pro database where they create the schedule.

So we sat down and talked and created an online form that presenters will use for workshop submissions. EARCOS doesn’t have a license for a FileMaker Pro server (and it’s expensive) so the data will be created in a MySQL database. Once all the presentations are in the MySQL database, it can be saved as an Excel file and then imported into FileMaker Pro…taking a total of maybe 5 minutes.

When we started adding up the time the office staff sits around copying and pasting data for the two conferences alone we figured we picked up close to 3 hours of productivity time a week total among the staff.

We then looked at other ways we could use this same method to streamline data collection. Membership directory, Salary Survey, Principal’s Salary Survey, Weekend Workshop Proposals, etc.

Their webmaster has some skills and started cranking out forms left and right and also created a web based interface for in office use to view the data. This became essential when we talked about how much the Executive Director travels around Asia visiting the 110 member schools and looking at sites for future conferences. By creating a web interface the director can login and view the data that he needs like the number of sponsors for a conference, or quick access to information about a school.

We then turned our focus on the conferences themselves and this March with the teacher’s conference we will launch a conference website in the form of a wiki that will allow presenters and participants access to information and each other before, during, and after the conference.

While I was talking to the staff they mentioned how much time they spend updating presenter handouts for the conference. A presenter e-mails them the material and they publish it to the website. They figured 75% of the time the presenters send a second or third batch of handouts and files to be replaced and uploaded taking time away from the staff to have to continually update the site with the new information.

We decided that instead we would have a wiki where once a presenter was accepted the staff could create a page for the presenter and then give them access to that page to upload, write, and change their handouts as many times as they like. The wiki would also allow workshop participants the option to leave a comment or write their notes as a threaded discussion on the wiki page. Creating a collabertive atmosphere to the conference.

Of course we’re using a Wetpaint wiki (Full Disclosure: I am an educational consultant for Wetpaint.com) because it allowed us to do exactly what we wanted. First, we can point the domain name to the wiki so participants do not have to remember a long address (a free service). Secondly, Wetpaint allows us to customize the profile page that each person will fill out to give the information that is relevant to the conference. We don’t need to know peoples age. But knowing which school they are from, what position they teach and how many years overseas are all fun facts that could be shared among conference goers. We are planning to use the wiki at the upcoming teacher’s conference in March as a “soft opening” and then using it exclusively next year at both conferences. Third, because it’s an educational conference it qualifies for ad-free status.

Next, we looked at the EARCOS website itself. We found that any updates to the site were going through the webmaster onto static html pages.

In the office there is one person in charge of the teacher’s conference and one in charge of the administrator’s conference. When updates needed to be made they would have to e-mail those updates or files to the webmaster who would then put them on the site.

Our thought…..what if they could edit the pages themselves without knowing any html coding?

So we talked about using WordPress as a website with a website theme such as this. This is the same theme we used for a site we set up last year in Shanghai that is working out really well. After the webmaster and I get the site set up and running each staff member will get their own login and be responsible for their own pages. Being able to upload and update files more quickly. This layout will also allow them to feature the great articles that are written by educators throughout the region and submitted for their “Trianual” magazine. Now, not only will the articles be featured in the magazine they will also live on the web helping to show off just how involved EARCOS is in schools in the region.

We even got the executive director to agree to start a blog on the site called “On the Road with Dr. K” where he can post about the schools he’s visiting and his travels in the region. He used to have a section in the magazine that he quit writing a couple years ago. He’s now getting excited to start writing and sharing his stories again via the web.

In the long run we’re hoping to be able to sell ad space on the site to create a revenue stream…but that’s down the road a ways. 🙂

All of that in two fulls days. We laid out some launch dates and created a time line for completion of tasks. When I left everyone seemed energized that we were headed in the right direction and everyone in the office would benefit from the changes by gaining productivity time….in an office of 7 that’s a big deal!

I woke up this morning to find myself in Manila. You know, one of those you roll over open your eyes and can’t remember where you are mornings. I’m just getting use to waking up in our new home in Bangkok and I’m off to Manila to do some consulting work with EARCOS (East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools).

I equate EARCOS to an Educational Service District (ESD) back in the United States. According to the stats on the website:

The East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools is an organization of 110 member schools in East Asia. These schools have a total of more than 72,000 pre-K to 12th grade students. EARCOS also has 87 associate members— textbook and software publishers and distributors, universities, financial planners, architectural firms, insurance companies, youth organizations, etc— and over 19 individual members.

Basically, they support international schools in the region as well as hold conferences every year for teachers and administrators. Once again this year I’ll be presenting at both the administrator’s conference in November and the teacher’s conference in March. I’ll also be helping with the GIN Conference this year (Global Issues Network Conference) a conference for students. Student groups from EARCOS schools come together and present different global issues projects they have been involved in. Using Jean Francois Rischard’s book High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them students present different ways they are helping to solved or are involved in these global issues. Last year the conference was an amazing event in Beijing and this year it will be hosted at ISB in Bangkok (Isn’t that just perfect!).

Last year the director of EARCOS approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing some consulting work for EARCOS. Dick Krajczar is a long time international educator and now head of EARCOS which is based here in Manila.

“I don’t know what we need to do, but I know we need to do something!”

Is what I remember Dick telling me when we sat down for a chat last year. Dick understands that you don’t need to know it all you just need to know people who can help you learn what it is you need to know.

Today my wife and I will go out and explore a bit and relax here in Manila and then I’ll spend Monday and Tuesday at EARCOS headquarters trying to help them help schools in this new digital age. When you think of the potential EARCOS holds in a new connected world. The ability to connect 72,000 students in 110 schools across multiple countries you can see why I’m excited to talk to them and figure out a way to use the web to help these students and schools communicate more effectively.

It’s also good to note that EARCOS is the main organization supporting the Learning 2.008 conference in Shanghai again this year. They have always been strong supporters of grass roots conferences like this and have helped to fund many weekend or mini-conferences over the years through their member schools.

I have a lot of random thoughts about the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference this year….so if these seem like disconnected ideas/ramblings/thoughts….it’s because they are.

The first morning we were here, I picked up the Newspaper that was slipped under our door and flipped through it real quick. The front page had the Prime Minister of Malaysia talking about the general election that they just held here in Malaysia in which the people, according to the paper “acknowledged the unhappiness of the Malaysians” mostly around economic issues.”

Now I don’t know enough about Malaysia to comment but what really struck me was a small article stuck at the bottom of the second page. I wouldn’t have even noticed it if it did not have the word Internet in the title, but I believe this short article copied below sums up a lot of what is happening in societies all over the world right now.

Internet served a painful lesson

Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Barisan Nasional lost the online war in the general election.
“We didn’t think it was important. It was a serious misjudgment,” he said at the opening of Invest Malaysia 2008.
“We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television were important but young people were looking at text messages and blogs.”
Abdullah said the influence of alternative media “was painful. But it came at the right time, not too late”.
The web and SMS allowed parties like DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Pas, which have long complained of bias in the traditional media, to reach voters directly.

What a great way to start the conference. I ended up using the article in two of my sessions to show that this stuff is for real and it’s affecting societies all around the world. It was a great way to show that this isn’t an educational issue, it is a global issue on how we communicate and how younger generations are very much dialed into this changing communication landscape.


I did plan to Ustream all four of my sessions plus do two live podcasts over the three days. But the Internet connection that was set up with the help of ISKL was just not working very well, and worst off it didn’t reach into the room I was presenting in, so I didn’t have access for any of my sessions. Try doing a session on RSS and Wikis without an Internet connection (I don’t recommend it).

I did record a podcast though over two days. You can have a listen to what teachers thought about the conference as well as some more of my ramblings over at the On Deck site.


EARCOS Teacher ConfIt’s been fun (not sure if that’s the right word, but it does bring a smile to my face) to watch teachers here with laptops struggle as I have to connect to the Internet. I use the word fun not because I laugh at their failure but because here they are trying to connect, frustrated that they can’t access the information they want when they want it, getting upset, and yet we do the same to our students day in and day out in our classrooms…we focus them to disconnect! As I write this sitting in an open area I can see 15 teachers with laptops open, most huddled around outlets, talking, checking e-mail, and reading. Some in chairs, some sitting on the floor, but all engaged with whatever task it is they are trying to complete. Wireless is working at the moment, but is slow…funny how people don’t complain about the speed of the Internet when the only other option is not to have it at all. 😉

What we do need though is more technology people at educational conferences. It’s easy for us to stay in our bubble of Ed Tech conferences, but if we want to expand this conversation, we need to go where they are. Teachers that come to an Ed Tech conference have already taken the risk to actually go to that conference, but many teachers would take a teacher conference over a tech conference. So we must go where they are! I have loved that there has been at least one presentation on technology each session here, and everyone that I’ve gone to has been packed. Kim Cofino, Dennis Harter, Paul White just to name a couple of technology presenters who all had great sessions that pushed people to think deep about their teaching, curriculum, and school set up.

We need to get outside the Ed Tech Bubble to expand and influence change.


Kuala Lumpur is a great city that if you are in Asia and have a chance to visit I strongly suggest!

Thank you too to everyone who came to one or more of the four presentations I did at the conference. For some who might be reading for the first time…welcome to the blogosphere, to a connected world of learning! To those who are regular readers…..this is just another rambling post. 🙂

[tags]EARCOS, conference, earcos08[/tags]

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