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I’m so confident in my pick for what 2011 will be about that I’m publishing it before Thanksgiving Holiday in the States. Before we begin let’s take a look at the history of my predictions. 2007: The Year of the Network (Can we say Twitter and Facebook) 2008: The Year of the “Live Web” (Ustream.tv and other services take off) 2009: Bringing Social Learning to the Masses (Education goes deeper in understanding social connections) 2010: The Year of the Mobile Web (iPad, Android, iPhone do I need to say more?) I’ve never been as confident as I am this year about what we’ll see explode onto the scene in 2011. These little black and white 2 dimensional bar codes are going to start showing up everywhere. QR Codes or Quick Response Codes have been around for a couple of years now (1997 according to Wikipedia), and like most technologies we’ve seen them the past couple of years start to creep more and more into our lives. The power of QR Codes and why I think this is the year for their explosion has to do with my 2010 prediction being the year of the mobile web. Now that SmartPhones (still don’t like that name) are becoming more and more the norm and will continue to gain in popularity in 2011, we have a reason to use these perfect little squares of information. The second reason is because the level of skill needed to use the QR Codes has dropped significantly in recent years.  You basically need two things. 1) A QR Code and 2) A QR Code Reader The QR Code: Some rights reserved by Adrian Short Take a moment to make one yourself. Head over to my new favorite website http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ where you can enter a link, text, a phone number, or text message and click generate. In an instant you’ll have yourself a fantastic looking square. Now what do you do with it? That’s up to you. I like to right-click on the picture and choose “Save Image As” and download the .png file. Now that it’s an image you can: put it in a document, print it off, or put it on a website. Anything you can do with an image you can now do with this information. The QR Code Reader: Next you need something to read the QR Code with: For your Desktop download this one (Windows, Linux, Mac): http://bit.ly/bRLO3C For iPhone, iPod (need a camera) users: i-nigma is my favorite at the moment and they have readers for basically all devices that have a camera now. For Android users: QuickMark is a good choice There are hunders of them out there now….search and find one for your phone/platform that you can live with and you’re ready to go. Now What? Well let’s have at think about this. One thing the book industry has been having a hard time with is creating a social feeling around the old medium. How do I find other people who have read the same book that I’ve read and discuss the topics with them? I’m just finishing reading I Live in the Future and Here’s How It Works by Nick Bilton (more on that later) where Nick puts a QR Code at the beginning of every chapter. As you read a chapter you can scan the barcode with your phone or computer and be...

by corykrug I’m dumping another technology phrase that I think its time has passed by. A few years ago I stopped using the phrase 21st Century blah, blah, blah. You name it we were calling everything 21st Century. I haven’t missed that phrase in my vocabulary as I believe it is just the way things should be now that we’re 11 years into it. I was thinking about this phrase again the other day as I was talking to seniors…who were born around 1994 and who started their official schooling sometime around 2001. Why are we still using the phrase 21st Century this and that when for our students….it’s always been the 21st Century. It just is their world. That brings me to the next phrase that is going to leave my vocabulary. The notion that Technology is just a tool I have heard this said way too often-to the point, I believe, that some educators are using it to hide behind when it comes to using technology in their classrooms.  Is Technology a tool? Yes. Is it JUST a tool? No. Technology is a Skill The more I’ve been rolling this notion over in my head the past couple of days the more sense this makes to me. If we call technology a skill…then a skill is something we need to teach, something that needs to be learned. If we call technology a tool then it’s just something we use. The problem is you need to have the skills to use a tool before you can use it propertly and have it effect your life in positive ways.  A car is a tool, it gets us from point A to point B. Now we could load the car with people and have someone push it down the road. That’s using the car as a tool for transporting people from point A to point B. But once we learn the skill of driving the car it becomes a lot more efficient. A lot more practical. A pencil is just a tool, but until you learn the skill to hold it correctly it doesn’t do you much good. Viewing technology just as a tool never allows us to get past the substitute stage of technology innovation. A stage were we just continue to subsitute one tool for the next. Quil and ink for pen and paper for word processing. The skill of writing an essay remains the same the tool just changes. No new real skills are needed when we subsitute one technology for the next.  You buy a new car and it works just like your old car. Sure buttons are in different places, newer, faster, easier….but at the end of the day the same skills you had driving your old car fit into the new car nicely (which is why we haven’t seen any radical change in car design since…..hmmm…the Model T). If we view technology as a skill then it allows us to look at what needs to be taught and understood by a generation that is growing up with it. The skill of evaluating digital open content, the skill of organizing your digital resources. The skill of creating graphics. The skill of digital content design and web design. If you are looking for a good starting place...

Will Richardson wrote a blog post over at SmartBlogs that has been rolling around in my brain for a couple of days now and it’s time to put some of these thoughts down and see what you think.  First I’m a big believer in the “Flipped Approach” not because it’s new, it isn’t, not because it’s about lecture…because it isn’t, but because it has educators talking and thinking about new ways of teaching….and that is aways positive.  I do a flipped presentation that is my number one requested presentation at the moment but it’s not your typical flip presentation. I never talk about video, I never talk about “replacing lecture”. I talk about the classroom and what it looks like when content is everywhere.  Will takes, what I think, is a very conservative definition of flipped learning: For the uninitiated, the flipped concept suggests that we can now use technology to offload many of the more mundane classroom tasks — lectures primarily. It’s not hard to see the appeal, with the advent of Khan Academy and easy screencast-recording technology that allows any of us to give a lecture for homework and free up time for in-class problem-solving and discussion. But here’s the thing: flipping is nothing new, and as it stands, most flipping that I see doesn’t flip the most important switch that I’ve been discussing here — moving ownership of learning away from the teacher and more toward the student. Why can’t, what we’ll call a flipped approach, move to include ownership of learning for the students? I have talked about different ways I have worked with teachers in using a flipped approach in their classroom here, here and most recently here. The last example I linked to empowered students to take control of their own learning and write what they felt and learned that in the end got myself, the teacher, and the students in trouble with the government of the country I was in at the time (left out for obvious reasons…but you can figure it out). The teacher was threatened with jail time by the government and was asked to “leave politics out of teaching history”. In the end we had to pull down all blog posts written by students. Empowered learning? You can be the judge. Here’s the thing we need to remember about the “flipped approach” if we think its job is to replace the lecture we need to rethink what it’s about. As many times as I have presented on this approach I’ve never had a teacher come up to me and say,  ”I lecture all the time and I know I need to change”. The fact of the matter is very few teachers actually lecture all the time. Lectures aren’t a bad thing either. Both Will and I make livings now lecturing to people. Lectures aren’t bad when used properly to motivate, inspire, or push thinking. So the flipped approach is not about replacing the lecture.  To me the flipped approach is about thinking deeply about how we use the time we have with students. Maybe “flipped” is the wrong word…but it’s the word of the moment so if that’s what it takes to create change that’s what I’ll use.  I constantly talk about one simple question that everyone should be asking themselves: What is...

Just a quick post to point to two pieces of information that shows the slow march we’re seeing to online learning and how it is going to effect high schools in the near future. The disruption is near for sure. A small study done by Millenial Branding with college students shows that many believe they can get as good if not better education online. Here are some figures from the survey. 50 percent of students said they don’t need a traditional classroom to learn, but 78 percent do think that it’s easier to learn in a traditional classroom than online. (associationsnow.com) Not sure what to make of this. Is it a good thing or bad thing that 78% of students think it’s “easier” to learn in a traditional classroom? I have talked to people who have taken online courses and most do say they are more work as you can’t “hide” in an traditional class but not in an online course. I would have rather them say it was more educational or it was more “fun” to learn in a traditional classroom. Not sure what the questions were on the survey…but not sure I like “easier”. 43 percent say that online education will provide them with courses of the same or higher quality than traditional colleges. (associationsnow.com) So not all of them believe online is the way to go….but they do believe it is the way education is headed. There are some other good stats to look at in the survey. As this survey comes out asking millenials in college about online education, News. Corp’s Amplify launched a High School MOOC course. The first course is an AP Computer Science course and is aimed at preparing students to take the College Board exam. The online program, taught by an experienced high school teacher, is free to students. And an added option, called MOOC Local, which provides schools with students in the CS MOOC additional resources, will cost $200 per student but is free to schools for the first year. (gigaom.com) So if your school doesn’t offer AP Computer Science and you have students that want to take it, now they have a choice. The MOOC Local option looks like the future to me. Where a school has a “coach” who helps students when they need it, who can be that connection and even connect students within a school. Think how this could change what it means to be a teacher….. Anyway….just two articles that have me thinking this week. It’s not that online learning has to be “better” than traditional. It just have to cost less, give students time to work a job, or fill a course need/want that their local school doesn’t offer to start making a mark on high school education. I think of these articles and the day I spent with Alabama ACCESS online educators a few weeks ago where they have the third largest online high school serving over 65,000 students. Or as the director put it 65 – 1000 student high schools. We’re going to continue to see growth in this area and the MOOC approach will be part of it for sure. Related posts: Virtual Learning in a Crisis K12 Online 2006 Conference Create your online profile Cross Country online PD...

Flipping History

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By Stefan When most people think of the flipped classroom model or reverse instruction, which ever term you like best, they automatically think videos, screencasts, and when you get down to it lecture based instruction.But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact every time I have helped a teacher flip their classroom in the high school it has never involved videos. Instead it involves students actively finding information, making sense of it, and then coming to class ready to discuss with the teacher what they have learned, what questions they have and, what it is they still don’t know/understand. Currently I am working with a history teacher who came to me with some “really dry historical content” that he needed to cover in his 11th grade Thailand and Southeast Asia history class. We discussed some options and settling on following a similar set-up that I used in a English classroom last year. First we came up with an essential question to focus the students. That essential question will be the summative assessment in some form or another when we finish this unit. The essential question: How does the past influence the present? Next the teacher came up with sub-questions to help the students focus their research and transfer of knowledge. What is the relationship between the ‘modern’ and the ‘traditional’ in this time period? How was the Thai nation conceptualized or interpreted during this time period? That is, how was the notion of ‘Thai-ness’ or what it meant to be ‘Thai’ defined in this time period? Did it change over the course of this time period? If so, how and why? Analyze the evolution of social forces during the time period. For example, what is the relationship between the ‘old’ order and the ‘new’ order during this time period? How did different social forces try to make use of the machinery of the Thai nation-state during this time period in order to control or influence state power? What is the role of Western influence, both direct and indirect, within this time period? What is the Thai response to such influence? by Sailing “Footprints: Real to Reel” (Ronn ashore) For this specific unit the students are studying Thailand History (required class for all students in Thailand) from 1932 – Present.Next we listed the skills we wanted students to gain through this unit of study. Become better searchers of primary source documents and quality web sources Be able to post a blog post with media relevant to the content Be able to leave a quality comment on a blog Then came the knowledge and understandings we wanted students to gain. Understand how the past influences present day politics in Thailand Understand Thailand’s role globally through the years Know the role that Thailand plays in the global economy Once we had those in place we set out to create the structure over the next two weeks. Both the teacher and I felt we were crunched for time as the student’s Global Citizen Week (all students leave on a week trip to global destinations) made for a natural break in learning. With that in mind, here’s what the class periods looked like: Thurs – 1/26 1932 – 1948 Group A Blog Post due Saturday 6pm Group B Prepare for Discussion on Monday...

In this lesson we will be focusing on learning if you can trust a website based on its looks. We will use the great fake site thedogisland.com. Students in this age love this site and easily get sucked in to all the great pictures and writing about how great this island is for dogs. A fun place to start the conversation on authenticating your resources. Extension: If you really want to mess with your kids you can have them search Google for Dog Island. Now the website talks about a fictional island for dogs but in reality there is an island named Dog Island off the coast of Florida in the United States. But it’s just a small island and no….you can’t drop off your dog there to vacation. So if you want to take this lesson a step further you have this in your back pocket. 🙂 Set Up: Students can all be on their own device or in groups of 2 or 3. Groups might actually be better as you can give students time to talk to each other. I will use the phrase “turn and talk”to indicate time when students should be in discussion with each other.  Prime The Pump: Put on your acting hat as we’re going to sell students on the fact that you found this great website called “Dog Island” the other day while looking for information on the web. It’s an amazing web site about an island just for dogs where they can go on vacation and live happily (if you have a dog you can sell it even more that way!). Tell the students that this island sounds fantastic but you’re really not sure about it and you want them to help you find out more information about the island. You can give them the URL and give them some time to explore the site on their own and turn and talk to each other about the website. How do we know if we can trust a site? There are a couple of key pieces of information that will help us decide if we can trust a site or not. Each of us needs to make up our minds if we can trust the site, in the end it’s a judgement call on the user’s part. But these key pieces of information can help us. Authority Currency Content/Purpose Audience Structure/Workability Chris Betcher has a great presentation that outlines these 5 points with questions you can ask students or they can ask themselves when evaluating a website. Apply these five points to the website and allow students to Turn and Talk about what they find. Using the Google linkto:Syntax Google can also help us find out if a website is worth trusting by telling us what other websites on the Internet are linking to the website we are looking at. Have students open up a new tab to Google.com In the search box type: linkto:http://www.thedogisland.com These results show which websits are linking to thedogisland.com Allow students to “Turn and Talk” abou the results What do you notice? Who is linking to this web site: Note: All links to this site are either internal, meaning that the website just constantly links to itself, or there are websites made to tell people that these...

Anna left a comment on my blog post about 1:1 program with MS and HS students that reads: My son attends a school where MacBooks are required from grades 8-12, and students use many different assistive technology tools. I believe that 1:1 is great as a learning TOOL, but because students have their laptops with them all the time, there is no “down” time when they have to use their own initiative to think, dream, plan, create w/o a screen. He gets up and will open the laptop before breakfast to play, he will play or noodle around with his iTunes in the car on the way to school, on the way home from school, and every other time that kids used to be unplugged. He is not creating, he is consuming. It is a huge fight in our household. What advice do you have for parents in dealing with this dark side-effect of a mandatory BYOL environment? by One Laptop per Child It’s a good question and my first response is what is your school doing to help train parents on both their responsibility and management of technology that the school provides? Here at ISB we do a couple of different things. We first have a mandatory meeting that at least one parent has to attend we run the same training three to four times at different time periods for parents. Of course the kids make them go as they want their laptops. We also run a set of 5 courses called the ISB Technology Certificate for Parents. We’ve taken 100 parents through the program over the past two years. Now, not every parents will take it, but enough do and they talk to other parents and the message we give in the courses spreads through the community. Spreading an understanding of the use of the laptops and what parents can do to help support their children at home. If a school is going to give every students a laptop, I feel, they have an obligation to not only train students but parents on good use of the technology. My Advice For Parents: Remember That You Are The Parent When it comes to technology, many parents feel that they do not know enough to create limits and boundaries. Because of this they do not feel right taking the technology away. You are still the parent and in your house you make the rules. You have every right to take the computer away from your child if you feel they are not having enough “down time”. I know one family that the whole family felt out of balance so they unplug the Internet in their house. So everyone has to be disconnected at the same time. They use this time to reconnect as a family and just have some ‘down’ time. Create Family Rules The #1 thing you can do is have a conversation with your child. I strongly encourage every family to sit down and talk about exactly the points you raise. Make family rules that everyone can live by. No computer before breakfast, no computer in the car while someone is driving, etc. These are good times to be disconnected and be together as a family. If the parents also abide by these family rules then there...

I have been pondering this question for some time now. What does it mean to disconnect? We all say we need to. We all believe it’s healthy for us (any research out there?). What does it truly mean to disconnect. Here are some scenarios I have been playing through my head: I frequently go for runs with my wife. I have my phone strapped to my arm and it tracks my run via GPS and posts it for me and others in my running social-network to view and encourage me. Am I disconnected? I went for a drive today listened to the radio, Sirius Satellite, and used the cars built-in GPS Navigation system to get to where I was going with live weather and traffic updates. Am I disconnected? I worked out for an hour today with my phone strapped to my arm and the video of my workout pumping through my ear-buds. Am I disconnected? If you listen to music while you run are you disconnected? If you watch TV while you workout (drove pass a gym today that had them connected to the treadmill) are you disconnected? I’m sitting here in my very quiet house eating dinner, no TV, no radio, just me my cat and this blog post. Am I disconnected? I don’t know the answer to these but I am becoming increasingly frustrated with people saying we need to disconnect and then they turn around and use their built in GPS to navigate home. I know, I know…that’s different! Or is it? The problem no longer has to do with disconnecting or the amount of screen time one gets. What the conversation I think needs to turn to is a simple one really. Are you consuming, using or creating with technology? What we really mean when we say “Kids need to have balance” or “I need to disconnect” isn’t really about disconnecting, I would argue, but rather about being less of a consumer. TV and radio started it…so really it’s their fault (if you want someone to blame!). All you could do with that mass communication was consume. It turned us all into a bunch of consumers. Sitting around our radios and our television sets consuming information, relaxing, and just being. As far back as I can remember in my schooling years there were calls for a limit on the amount of TV we were suppose to watch…all of which is consuming. So I want to have a different conversation. Sure we still need to disconnect in that out in nature, reflective zen sort of way. Totally for that. But I also want to have the conversation that we start looking how we interact with technology. How much time do I spend consuming vs creating? To me this starts to get to the root of really what we are talking about. The 1% rule states that the number of people who create content on the Internet represents approximately 1% (or less) of the people actually viewing that content. For example, for every person who posts on a forum, generally about 99 other people are viewing that forum but not posting. Let’s start with this. That approximately only 1% of people are actively creating content on the web today. In 2012 the BBC released a report saying...

The more I talk to administrators, present to school boards, and persuade educators that we can no longer ignore social-networks the more I am understanding that what schools/districts need is a new position. Now I’m sure in this current state of economy we find ourselves in that this won’t happen for a lot of schools, but I do believe private schools and those who are in highly competitive areas (like here in Bangkok) can not ignore this position any longer. The Position is called an Online Community Manager and it’s not a new position. In fact the Wikipedia article about the position has been around since August 2008, so don’t think what I’m proposing here is a new position….it’s just new to education. At the recent EARCOS Leadership Conference (Conference for International and Overseas Leaders) I had two packed sessions talking about how schools need to start moving into these spaces. I believe the sessions were packed as leaders understand where their community is getting more and more information from about their schools and they are trying to understand how to engage a community in a new social-networked world. I believe there are two reasons this position and schools in general need to have someone managing their online communities: 1) Protect their identity: Private international schools have a large transient population which means there are always new families looking for the right school. More and more people are relying on the Internet and reviews from others who already go to the school. I’m sure the same hold true for most private schools in other parts of the world. Schools need to be in these social-network places so that they can control what prospective families are being told. 2) Engage their community: I think this goes for all schools today. More and more we’re expecting information to find us and want to spend less and less time searching for or going to one more place to get the information we seek. Therefore, schools need to start engaging their school community where they are and stop expecting them to come to where you’re at….that’s a change we’re seeing on the Internet in large part to social-networks such as Facebook where you can “Like” something and have new information show up in your news feed (finally mass adopting of RSS). According to Jeremiah Owyang there are four tenets of the community manager: Community Advocate Brand Evangelist Savvy Communication Skills, Shapes Editorial Gathers Community Input for Future Product and Services Originally these were written for the business world, so I’ve remixed them as a starting point for educational institutions: 1) A Community Advocate As a community advocate, the community managers’ primary role is to represent the school community. This includes listening, which results in monitoring, and being active in understanding what community members are saying on both school ran and external websites. Secondly, they engage school community members by responding to their requests and needs or just conversations, both in private and in public. 2) School Evangelist In this evangelistic role (it goes both ways) the community manager will promote school/district events, student accomplishments and updates to community members by using traditional marketing tactics and conversational discussions. As proven as a trusted member of the community (tenet 1) the individual has a higher degree of trust and will offer help and support. 3) Savvy Communication...

The last couple of working days and the rest of this week I’ve been talking with high school students about why we (ISB) have given them a blog to start building their ‘Professional You‘. When I put it in terms of Facebook is the ‘Social You’…the you with your friends, and the you while hanging out. Then your blog is and should become the ‘Professional You’. The place you mold who you are, what you are interested in, and where you want to go. The you you want colleges and universities to know about, that you want your employers to know about. The you that is preparing for life after school. I get a lot of head nods when I explain it this way. They also appreciate that the blog is theirs. They have full admin rights, they control it, design it, layout it out, organize it. They are building their professional self…..and they get it. They get how important it is, they get that it’s something they need to be doing, and they’re excited to get started. Of course the Professional You can and sometimes overlaps with the Social You, and that’s OK. Your goodreads.com account can post both to your blog and to your Facebook account. You can create a Facebook Fan Page to show a more professional you to colleges and universities. I also hope that some of the things you learn in social groups transfers to your professional reflections. There’s a blurry middle where content overlaps and on the extreme left and right you have your Facebook profile and your professional profile. But that blurry part…that’s the tough part. That’s where decisions have to be made. Where students at the age of 13 need to start making decisions that we never had to make. We never had a professional side at 13….we didn’t need one. But if you are going to have a social side on the Internet then you better also start building your professional side. We’re starting in 4th grade with student blogging, starting to build their professional you. What we’re hoping is we’ll get ahead of the curve of the Social You. That students understand that when they start a Social You that there’s this other part that people see, read, and respect and that side is just as important, if not more, than the Social You. Making decisions in that blurry area we hope become a bit easier. Do you have a Social You and a Professional You on the Internet? Where do you draw the line? How are you teaching students to manage both? Related posts: How fine is the line between socialization and social learning Social Networking Workshop for Parents College students warned about social-networking...