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

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sospodcastLast week David Carpenter and I kicked off season 3 of the Shifting Our Schools podcast. It’s taken us a while to get this season going and I’m not short on the excuses why, so I won’t even bother getting started. Needless to say we are started and we’re excited to be back for a third season.

As usual I can’t keep well enough alone and decided to push the podcast just one step further this year. So now not only can you listen to use live and chat on the website, or download the podcast later via iTunes. This year we’re also going to try to open up the Skype lines to you listeners out there and allow you to Skype in with questions or comments during the show. We’ll see how this goes and hopefully will be able to make it fly this year. We’re live every other Wednesday at 8:00pm Bangkok Time (GMT+7). The best way to keep posted on the show is by following me on Twitter.

Click the button to subscribe to our iTunes podcast feed for free!
Click the button to subscribe to our iTunes podcast feed for free!

Each show revolves around an essential question which we try to stay focused on (really we do). I’m excited for our next show and if you are at an IB school or an IB teacher you surely won’t want to miss:

Can the IB curriculum be shifted?

I have strong feeling frustrations about the IB program as a technology person in my role. We’re excited to have Justin Medved joining us from Canada and it will be a great opportunity to open up the Skype Lines and see what others have to say on the topic.

I hope you decide to follow us this year as we have some fun from Bangkok, Thailand to Casablanca, Morroco.

SOS Podcast Links:
Subscribe to iTunes (Free)
Diigo Show link Group
Google Calendar of Show Times
Blog RSS
Skype

I like it when other podcasters share their set up. A thanks to Leo Leporte, one of my favorite tech podcasters….or is that netcaster. I’ve learned a lot about podcasting just listening to the different shows he produces.

I wrote this page for the Shifting Our Schools site to share with others the set up I use to stream, record, and converse all at the same time. I thought I’d share it here as well. You can find links to the different equipment I use at my Amazon Store as well.

(What follows is the thinking of many people that I have the pleasure to work with every day. It is my hope that I can put into words, for myself, how we are trying to bring systematic change to our school in hopes that you might be able to use a piece of it to bring change within your organization as well)

Systematic change does not come easy. There are many factors, people, and a history to overcome. Yet educational organizations find themselves struggling with the changes needed to stay relevant in a connected, digital world.

There are many ways to approach systematic change, yet systematic change begins and ends with a vision. A vision of what your organization hopes to aspire to some day. A vision is never really meant to be accomplished, but is instead a guiding light for an organization. A statement that allows the organization and it’s employees to focus on the task at hand.

In the past we felt the need to have different visions. A school vision, a technology vision, a vision for learning. We have different visions to drive us forward in different areas.

When we get right down to it, there really only is one vision. One guiding light that hopefully everyone within the organization can hang their hat on. So how do we make sure our visions are relevant in today’s fast pace, digital world?


I’ve spend the last couple of days looking over different school visions. It’s not that school visions are bad, but instead what we need to do is expand our thinking on what they mean in today’s world. There are many school visions that were created at just the wrong time. Right when the world was changing, schools were revisiting their school vision. Many school visions I found were created/crafted in the late 1990s or Early 2000s. What we know has changed in the past eight years. We’re not talking little change, we’re talking significant change in what we know about learning, the brain, knowledge, etc. What we need to do is many cases is re-exam our visions and understand them in a new context.

Examples from vision statements (takin from schools I have worked at or will be working with):

The gift of cross-cultural understanding

In 2003 having an understanding of other cultures meant, in many cases, studying it in a book, maybe watching a video. Google Earth (2004), YouTube (2005), Skype (2003) weren’t created. Our understanding of what it means to be cross-cultural and the tools available to help students and teachers reach that vision in new meaningful ways has changed. It’s still important…but the context of what it means to be cross-cultural has changed.

Effective communicators who do so through clear and concise written and
spoken language, relevant visuals, accurate numeracy, active listening,
critical reading, appreciation of humor and artistic expression.

This isn’t a bad vision statment. But has the school as an organization looked at what this means in a digitally connected world. What does it mean to communicate effectivley in a world of SMS, IM, Skype, E-mail, Blogs, Wikis, Social-Networks? What does concise writing look like in an e-mail vs. a report? How do you read critically in a book vs the web? Artistic expression: YouTube? Flickr?

Our mission is to encourage students to be independent, lifelong
learners who strive for excellence and become responsible stewards of
our global society and natural environment, achieved within a
supportive community that values diversity.

What does this mean in a digitally connected world?

Students should have a mastery of the core concepts and factual
information needed to function effectively in our current and future
society.

What are teh core concepts for today? What factual information is needed?

As you past that vision statement today that I’m sure is hanging in your own office or hallway. Stop and have a read and then think do this apply to today’s learning landscape? In some cases it might be time to revisit the vision. In other cases it might be as simple as having conversations to expand the context of what the vision means in today’s world.

On Thursday during the Shifting Our Schools Podcast we’ll be looking at the Essential Question: Where do you start the shift?

In Part 2 of this mini series we’ll look at ways to start the conversation.

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 educate.