Why There Is No One Way To Go 1:1

Why There Is No One Way To Go 1:1

This past weekend I flew to Vietnam to spend two days with the Senior Management Team (SMT) of the British International School of Vietnam (BISVietnam). A two day retreat that focused on a future with technology and a 1:1 program.  There are so many different ways to go 1:1 and in my opinion no one right way to do it. There are so many variables that need to be considered that 1:1 programs can look drastically different from one school to the next and still be successful. Here are a few of the things we discussed: Money:   It’s always the elephant in the room and the problem with dreaming of endless possibilities without considering the cost leads one to believe that the dreams can become reality and in many cases it is just not financially feasible to fulfill our wildest technology dreams. As much as we want to say money is not a factor…..at some point it always is. Infrastructure: In many countries in Asia this can be the most frustrating part of the whole plan. We all read, watch, and see the amazing things that are happening on the web. However, to do those amazing things you need a web connection. In developing countries like Vietnam the Internet is expensive, unreliable, and most of the time just plain frustrating. BISVietnam currently has a 2MB Internet line for 1600 students. Think about that the next time you want to complain about your Internet speed.   You can not consider going 1:1 without looking at the cost and feasibility of it from an infrastructure standpoint. Money put into your infrastructure is always well spent but it also means every dollar that goes towards infrastructural improvements is dollars taken away from learning devices. Finding the balance is important. One thing that I stress is do not spend money on you infrastructure for the future. Support the here and now. If a school spends money building up an infrastructure that looks to support learning years from now then you’re wasting money. You might know what you will need two or three years from now…but you don’t need that today. The chances are the infrastructure your school will need in the future will get cheaper and faster. Example: You know you’re going to need more server space as students store more and more data on the Intranet. Calculate how much storage you’ll need this year and next year. But only purchase what you need for this...

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COETAIL Projects Continue to Amaze

COETAIL Projects Continue to Amaze

This past weekend I made my 9th and final flight to Taipei where 25 educators from Taipei American School (TAS) wrapped up their final course, projects and presentations for the COETAIL program.    The COETAIL Program or Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy, is a 5 course 15 graduate credit program started by Kim Cofino and I in 2009. The program, only available to educators outside the U.S., continues to return positive results with 86% of educators who have taken the program saying that the coures and the learning have had a positive effect on their teaching practices 6 months after they finish the program. The fifth and final course asks educators to take everything they have learned in the first 4 courses and apply it to their teaching. We push the educators to try to use technology in a way that redefines the learning experience using the following definition: Redefinition: The computer allows for the creation of new tasks, inconceivable without the computer. As usual the TAS educators rose to the challenge and presented some fantastic learning examples as well as some failures….which in itself is a success. Here are a few highlights.  Nancy and Kathy put together this fantastic video for their final project. You can read about their reflections on their blogs. Allison Nave has done a great job of sharing and reflecting as she flips her middle school math class. Nyoli had her Algebra students create a Google Site for review purposes. Students don’t want the site public but she outlines the learning and the process. Barb outlines making book trailers with elementary students in the library and collaborating with Tara our librarian here at ISB. Scott and Laura reflect on using iPads with 1st graders. Steve talks about using Google Docs with 2nd Graders. Jennifer teaches music through creating a sound track for a movie trailer. It was great to see teachers stretch themselves on these projects as I encouraged them to push themselves and the technology so far beyond what they though capable that they failed…..and we had a few “successful failures” as Michael called it in his presentation. That’s a term I could get use to using. If you are an educator outside of America and you are interested in the COETAIL program. Head over to the About page where you can read about the program and put your name on the list to get more information. Our plan is to...

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Teaching Social Networks

Teaching Social Networks

Some rights reserved by Brice Reul  In two weeks time I have to give a presentation to our high school student body. I always struggle the most with what to talk to them about…..them being kids in general. I’ve got about 15 minutes to inspire them to use technology in ways that really matter.  Thanks to the Kony 2012 campaign I have a starting point to talk about this new world that they are going to create. I believe this generation could be the greatest generation since the great WWI generation years ago. They have the ability to connect and communicate in a virtual way that can bring real impact to the world. We are already seeing it happen: The 2008 Presidential U.S. elections, Arab Spring, London Riots, Occupy Wall Street, Stop SOPA, and now Kony 2012 just to name a few of the larger movements where social networking has had a direct impact on world changing events.  ….and the great news is….this generation is just getting started.  They have older generations running scared. From Iran to Syria, China, Thailand and most of the western world, governments and generations are fearing what is to come when this generation decides they have had enough, can connect, communicate, and bring about change in the blink of an eye.  I read a new term the other day: Slacktivism: The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research. I am still feeling my way around this new term and not sure I totally agree with its ideals. The cases I stated above are all cases where the rally cries within social networks saw real change in the world. Retweeting or reposting the Kony 2012 video is good for spreading the message, but what are you and I going to do in the real world that really matters? That’s what this will come down to. 100 million views on YouTube mean nothing if nothing changes for the better out here. And then there is our generations, any of...

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Too Many Projects Not Enough Time

Too Many Projects Not Enough Time

I can’t believe how time is flying by this 2nd Semester. It’s our last 6 months in Thailand and of course when you want time to slow down so you can fit everything in it does just the oposite.  No excuses, I haven’t made the time to blog lately and find myself sitting here at 6am in the van on the way to school with a moment to reflect.  What I’ve been up to: School:   All of a sudden the last two weeks have been packed! Our school is hosting the regional basketball tournament and this year we’re going to try and live stream the games as well as have students commentate them live. When you have 5 teams flying in from 5 different countries not everyone can travel with them, so streaming the sports has become almost expected by spectators back in their home countries to keep up with the action. We’ll be live February 2,3,4 here in Bangkok and you can watch the games and see how we set this up using Ustream, Google Docs, and a blog here. Also on the school front, I took advantage of the holiday season knowing that teachers were going to come back to school with new toys; iPhones, iPads, Android Phones and new computers. I saw an opportunity to provide some training to teachers around their own personal use of technology. We know that if you start using technology in your personal life where it’s meaningful to you that those skills and understandings transfer over to your work life as well. Learning to take a video of your kids and e-mailing it to family is the same as taking a video of your students and e-mailing it to the parents.  The after school sessions were the best attended sessions I’ve had so far this year even with the power going out during the Android training, we found an emergency light and carried on.  People are hungry for information, especially when it relates directly to their personal lives….make trainning personal! Ninja Program: Logo for our T-Shirts @ ISB The Google Apps Ninja Program that I started back in September and blogged about here has completely taken me by surprise. There are now over 150 educators who have access to the Google Docs. Seeing that there might be something here that I can support long term I decided to move all the files to their own Google Apps domain. So the Google...

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Stand-Up Desk Experiment

Stand-Up Desk Experiment

  It’s been about two months now since I’ve switched over to my standing desk here at school…and although the view of the white wall in front of me along with the discarded non-fiction books that are heading to better places isn’t the best view….the standing has been fantastic.There is a lot of reading out there about standing desks. I particularly like this one with the links in it as well. After reading this article I contacted B&G here at my school and had them move in this fantastic table. Each of our classrooms have a table like this that can be raised and lowered to any hight you want. It’s really the perfect size and I might just take it with me when I leave.     My setup (all school issued): A Henge Dock for my MacBook Pro (A bit fussy but the best thing out there I think) A LED 21-inch LG monitor 1920x1080px. Fantastic and not that expensive. Computer Speakers, keyboard, bluetooth mouse. The box my computer is sitting on was just here in the office so I’m using it just to get my monitor up to eye level.   The Benefits I’m seeing: More active: For me there is something to already standing to do the little things such as drink more water. The water cooler is maybe 15 feet away from my desk…now that I’m standing I’m drinking more water. I can click a link, wait for a page to load walk over fill my water bottle and come back. The walk feels good on the legs and I’m already standing…there is something mental to it….for me anyway. Less Shoulder Stress: I get massages at least once a week (don’t judge me I live in Asia). Before standing I use to have big knots all along my upper back and shoulders. Since standing they have all gone away and my back overall feels better. Knees and Feet: The first week my knees and feet ached along with parts of my legs I didn’t know existed. But after about a week they don’t bother me anymore. The body has adjusted and I’m feeling good standing for most of my day. Everything I read said be prepared for this. I was and was able to battle through it.  Appreciate Sitting: Meetings aren’t that bad anymore…I welcome the 30 minute meeting as it gives me a chance to sit and relax.  Walking is...

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