Flatclassroom Conference Day 1: WOW

When you create a conference around students it takes on a whole new meaning. When you challenge those students to take on a project that will impact the world….it means even more. I wish I could describe to you the energy level that was in this room that that you see to the left. Students from around the world, thinking together on how to solve global issues using technology. This was just the beginning, from here they broke into teams and by the end of Monday they will pitch an idea to the world. That idea will also be the focus of the next flatclassroom project. I have to say….in all the prep work that Vicki and Julie did for this conference right up until the point it started I still did not have a clear picture of how it was all going to work. 10 minutes after we started…the picture became much clearer. These students are focused, are dedicated, and man how I wished this could just be school and not a weekend conference. Not everything went smooth, the Ustream channel was in and out, but I think we ended up capturing most of it. The Elluminate session with EduCon 2.1 was not good, and the audio setup in the Auditorium wasn’t perfect. The nice thing is these are all add-ons to the conference and are not really the reason we’re here, they are just ways we’re trying to share our collective knowledge here in Doha with the rest of the world. The greatest impact tool by far has been the Chazty chatroom that we’ve set up. Vicki introduced it to the students and off they went. There conversation at times was so deep that one student wrote: “This is so good, I’m forgetting to listen.” By far the highlight of day 1 was the Skype call with Thomas Friedman. The kids asked some very good questions and Mr. Friedman did an excellent job of answering them. It was a great moment. The question I wanted to ask and didn’t get a chance to way this: Seeing that we are in a world wide recession, what do you think the world will look like on the other side of it? Will new countries rise to power and old giant get left behind? Will the new world economy that emerges look different than the one that went into the...

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Doha and Flatclassroom Conference

In just a few hours I’ll be flying to Doha, Qatar to take part in the Flatclassroom Conference. Just how flat is our world? I will fly 10 hours, meet with teachers and students from around the world and then fly back to Bangkok all within 3 days. To think that travel alone is this easy anymore. That we take for granted that we can hop on a plane and be anywhere we want in the world in a couple hours…or at most a day is mind boggling. Getting to meet students, teachers, advisors, and consultants from around the world is an honor. You can follow the conference here. Be ready for some blog posts from...

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31 and counting

Well we’re back from our winter holiday to Prague, Vienna and Zurich. It’s 4am and I’ve been awake since midnight. I usually don’t jet lag this bad, but it’s hit both of us hard this time. What can I say about our trip? It’s Europe, it’s beautiful and someday we’ll live there….it’s a goal and with the number of international schools there are in Europe a pretty good chance it will come through. So this trip brings my wife to 33 countries and myself to 30. I’ll hit 31 the end of January when I go to Qatar for the Flatclassroom Conference. I still have to pinch myself from time to time to think this really is my life. As my wife and I talked earlier this year, we realized this would be the year we visited more countries than our age. We’re both 32 and with an average of about 4 countries a year over the last seven years we’ll look to out pace our age for some time to come. The only thing that might slow us down is running out of countries. 🙂 On an interesting technical note, while at our friend’s house in Prague, I was jealous of how fast her Internet speed was. I did a speed test and found she was connecting at 4MB per second. “I just asked for the normal one” she said. Normal? 4MB is normal? I then talked with John Mikton, IT Director at the International School of Prague, about the speed over dinner one night. He told me that the government wanted to make 8MB per second the standard in the country. A fact backed up by Wikipedia: The typical ADSL connection in Czech Republic is 2048/256 kbit/s (8192/512 kbit/s from year 2008) with data limits of several GB. Speeds, data limits, Fair User Policy (limiting link speed based on amount of transferred data) and overbooking vary per each ISP. John went on to tell me that he got a call from his ISP telling him he could upgrade to an 8MB line and also reduce his monthly bill. Is it just me or is that crazy? And then there is Zurich. While there visiting Jason Welker, we went skiing one day about an hour outside of Zurich. While on the mountain, Jason had Edge data service on his iPhone and at the bottom of the mountain it...

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