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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Conference Week

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. 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! 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. 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...

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EARCOS Admin Tech Cohort – Reflection

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...

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Changing Conference Models

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...

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Connecting People or Connecting Content

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...

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