Shift Our Schools Podcast: Season Two!

The second season of Shift Our Schools kicks off tonight as David and I along with Kim Cofino reflect about the Learning 2.008 Conference in Shanghai. We’re changing things up this year starting with a new website dedicated to the podcast. Click on the link above or the picture to head to the website. We are in iTunes and ready to go! Click here will take you to our iTunes page where you can subscribe to the podcast to be downloaded automatically. Once again this year we will broadcast live on the web. (Click on the Live page on the website). We have also set up a Skype account for the podcast and will try and have live call-ins for those that want to join the conversation. We’ll see how this goes in the first couple of weeks and decide whether or not to keep the feature (link down the sidebar on the website). We’ve also started a Diigo group so that listeners can share links around our essential questions. Please bookmark them with the episode number that the link refers to. As usual each podcast will revolve around an essential question. Here is just a taste of some of the questions we’ll be struggling with this year. Where do you start the shift? How to infuse information literacy throughout the curriculum? How to shift wehn the administration is not on board? How do you shift administrtors? What are some shifted practices? Why do I podcast? It’s a different conversation, it’s talking through rather than writing through your thoughts. Honestly I was not planning on doing the podcast again this year, but I had people at NECC and at Learning 2.008 tell me they were waiting for us to start the show again. So, I do it not only for my own reflection and thought process but for those that listen as well. It’s about sharing ideas, thoughts, and knoweldge and I hope that is what we do on some level. You can get a schedule of the podcasts on the website. We record live at 7pm Bangkok Time (GMT+7) or 8pm China time (GMT+8). The podcast focus on International Schools and International Education, we hope you enjoy this small glimpse into the world in which we...

Read More

Summer thoughts and reflections

I had all intention of writing a final blog post from NECC on what I was thinking the last day of the conference and where do we go from here, but you know what…it’s summer time and right now my priorities are with spending time with friends and family. We’re down to just 3 1/2 weeks before we fly out to our new home in Bangkok and just trying to prepare for departure has me running around. So much daily life stuff to take care of when really I just want to sit and enjoy the summer. So today I’m doing just that. I’m sitting here on the porch with my mom getting stuff done. NECC: It’s been interestings reading what everyone has posted about the conference. Some people agreeing with my take on the conference and others saying that my posts are “rather scathing“. I mean no disrepsect to ISTE or NECC. Trust me….I know the work it takes to pull off a conference, and not one near the size of NECC. My thoughts on the conference are just that, my thoughts and what I was needing or looking for from my experience there. Learning is individual and we all learn in different ways and in different formats. For me NECC is a time to play with new tools, to have disucssions, and most importantly to meet my network in person. I get four days a year to meet the people I communicate with online, people I consider real friends from all over the US and world. Last year Blogger’s Cafe gave us a place to play with tools and have conversations. It was out of the way and there were no expectations of things to happen there. It was just what the name inferred. A cafe with a relaxed feel and friends new and old popping in and out. Last year Blogger’s Cafe was working for me. I would go to a session come back, blog the session, and have conversations. On top of that….the Starbucks stand was just a short walk away. 🙂 I was looking for that same feeling this year and never did find it. Many people did find it in different places and I’m glad they did. I just never found my grove. I enjoyed my time with friends and meeting new people in my network and just people in general. I taught...

Read More

Thoughts on conferences

So the first full day of NECC 2008 comes to an end and I find myself thinking more about conferences, how to create them, manage them, and make them relevant to participants then I thought I would. Have I mentioned the conference we’re doing in Shanghai? 🙂 I’ve been thinking a lot about spaces and how important it is to create spaces for learning and conversing at the conference. Today I ran into cognitive overload. Ewan McIntosh does a beautiful job of explaining exactly how I was feeling today. At one point I literally had to find a quiet corner in the Hyatt to just take a breathe and relax. I felt like calling a time out and just pausing everything for a second. So here are my thoughts on designing and organizing a conference. Pace: The pace of the conference is an important aspect to consider. Chris Lehmann and I talked about this for a bit yesterday. How much time do you give between presentations? How many presentations do you have during a session? Both of these help to determine the pace of the conference. At NECC this year the feeling of many (including me) is that the pace of the conference is just to fast. Many sessions are closed to participants 15 minutes before they are do to begin. One person in the Blogger Cafe today talked about showing up 30 minutes early to get into a session and the line was already forming outside. Here at NECC the sessions run 60 minutes with varying start times in between sessions. With sessions filling up so fast, people feel an urgency to get to sessions quickly and then once there, feel like they can’t “vote with your feet” and leave a session because there is no guarantee that there is another session with space.Scale to Size: I talked about this in my last post and I think it is something you must make a priority if you are planning any type of conference. Your conference venue and the number of sessions you run per hour are two factors that you need spend time thinking about. At NECC this year I saw a sign that stated there were over 13,000 participants. A quick count of the number of presentations that were offered at 11am this morning was 33. A little simple math 13,000/33=394 people per presentation. 394 people per...

Read More

EdubloggerCon and my need for Beta Time

Back from EdubloggerCon for the day and taking a break in the hotel room, catching up on the latest NECC chatter and reflecting on the day. I was worried before I got here of two things: 1. That EdubloggerCon this year would be different, to big, to scripted, and not unconference enough for me.2. That the NECC Unplugged sessions would over run the Blogger’s Cafe and leave us no place to converse. I hate to say it but my worries about #1 came true today. Last year in Atlanta it was small, we had three break out sessions with the largest session having about 30 people in it. This year we had three break out sessions with each group having 50 to 80 people in it. Much like Twitter these days, EdubloggerCon failed to scale in size and voices, learning, and conversations were lost. I think two things happened that we (as we all must take responsibility for EdubloggerCon as we create it) over looked. David Jakes brought up the point that we overlooked the physical space of the conference and what we were given. The large room we used was not set up, nor did we ever take the time to set it up to really be used in a way that included/engaged people in a conversation. I went to 1 1/2 sessions in the room. Look at the picture to the right…does that look like an unconference, conversation session to you? I walked out of the second session as I was way off to one side, had a hard time hearing, and was not engaged in the conversation titled: If the Leaders Don’t Get It, It’s Not Going To Happen. Secondly, I think we need to remember who we are…who this is for. We talk all the time about getting outside the echo chamber and let’s face it, EduBloggerCon is one big echo chamber. I look at the title of the session above and think: Yeah….we know that. We (90% of us here and watching live) know that leaders don’t get it and if they don’t get it it’s not going to happen…I know this already and the discussion did nothing but tell me that others get it too, that there are many ways to solve this issue, but all our schools are different and we solve the issue in different ways. By 1:45ish a bunch of...

Read More

Ready, Set, NECC!

Landed in San Antonio today around 1:30 from Seattle. Left at 5:15am….is it bad when a 5 hour flight seems short and you actually look forward to sleeping upright on the plane? We arrived with not air trouble, checked in and then drove back to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law. We only have 5 weeks this summer to spend time with friends and family so scheduling time is important. So this trip is a conference for me and time for my wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law to spend some time together (Sister-in-law works in AZ). We went out to dinner tonight and then walked around a little before coming back to our hotel room where I found a tweet from Will Richardson who was live streaming from a restaurant on the River walk. Five minutes later I’m having a drink with Will, David, David, Dean, Brian, Laura, Bud and others. So let NECC begin! The conversation started tonight..as it usually does when you get a bunch of us together and I know tonight was only the beginning. I’m still thinking about things that were said and will continue to reflect on tonight’s conversations as we head into the EduBloggerCon tomorrow. So much to learn, so much to discuss, here we go with...

Read More