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

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A quick scan of the program shows the following tech sessions were offered this year at EAROCS.

Technology Integration: 2
Future of schools: 6
Technology Tools: 2
Multimedia Tools: 5
Information Literacy: 3
Podcasting: 2
Web 2.0: 3
Tablets: 1
1:1 Implementation: 5
Cyber Bullying: 2
E-Portfolios: 1
Blogs: 2
E-Books: 1

Wiki’s aren’t mentioned at all, which is kind of interesting. Guess I know what I’ll be offering next year 😉 If you take Ian Jukes out of the program which I’ve put under the Future of Schools category, there is a pretty good range of offerings. I was told by others that this is the most technology sessions ever offered at the conference. Which is great to hear. Interesting is the number of 1:1 Implementation sessions that were offered. Everything from schools that have done it, to schools who are thinking of doing it. In a years time I think many of the International schools that were here will be either starting to implement their 1:1 programs or at the very least be well into the planning stages.

There were 5 sessions on using Multimedia tools, I wonder how many of those talked about sharing the projects on spaces like YouTube, or TeacherTube, or other public spaces? I wasn’t able to sit in on any of those sessions but it would be interesting to see if we are encouraging teachers to put this stuff on the web for feedback and to contribute it to the growing body of knowledge.

Overall it was a good conference with some great technology sessions. It was good to talk and discuss with other technology leaders in the area on what is happening at their schools and what direction they are going. Hopefully we can keep the conversation going throughout the year and continue to move International schools into the 21st century as a region and not as independent schools.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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On DeckJust finished editing and uploading the quick 8 minute podcast from my podcasting session here at EARCOS. If you want to have a listen head on over to On Deck and give it a play. I’m also proud to announce that you can now subscribe to On Deck via the iTunes music store. You can head over to the site and click on the iTunes button or search for “On Deck” in the iTunes music store podcast session.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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Yesterday in my presentation I talked about how educators and schools view Wikipedia. Where some schools have blocked the site and other schools have not blocked the site. How some teachers are allowing students to use it as a research site, while others are not.

This is still in debate, but I think we’re missing the bigger picture of what Wikipedia or Wikibooks allows us to do. We need to quit looking at Wikipedia as the end result and instead look at it as part of the learning process. Why not go to Wikipedia and use it as a learning device. Use it in our classrooms as part of the learning experience.

We talk about how our textbooks can not keep up with the changing nature of information, that information changes at to rapid of a pace. That non digital text is out of date by the time it’s in print. The image to the left is of an Astronomy book that is currently for sale here at the conference. This is the newest textbook produced by this company (Full Disclosure: I did ask permission to take this photo).

Why are we so afraid of Wikipedia. Why aren’t we using Wikipedia to study, for example Pluto. You could have your students read the text and read the Wikipedia article and then compare and contrast. I’m not saying everything in the textbook is bad, there might be information covered in the textbook that is not covered on the wiki page. If that is so, your class then is able to contribute their findings to that wiki page.

The problem is we view Wikipedia as a research site, rather than a site waiting to be edited. If you view Wikipedia and Wikibooks as a place to write the text rather than read the text, we change the Wikipedia from a place you go to gather information, to a place you go to write about, evaluate, and add information. That is a mindset that is very powerful. Engaging students in the writing of a Wikibook, or a wiki article could be used year after year as information changes. Your lessons might change, your content might change, but the learning goal could remain the same.

We need to change our mindset, students want to create and contribute, they are already doing it in spaces like myspace and youtube, why not allow them to create and contribute to the largest single web site, or to create the next textbook. Empower students in the learning process and at the same time teach them how to analyze this information. Let’s face it…whether Wikipedia is blocked or not in your school, it’s still the number one or two link when you search from home…and that’s reality!

[tags]earcos07, wikipedia, wikibooks[/tags]

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Just wanted to send out a quick thank you to all of those that attended my two sessions yesterday. My podcasting session saw about 50 or 60 people turn out. I wish the audio would have been better (go figure you need an audio connection for a podcast session) but all and all I think it went well.

My second session on Students as Creators and Contributors was a little smaller audience somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20. We talked about how students today want to create and are contributing to this new information landscape. Thanks to everyone who had to listen to me ramble on for 90 minutes. BTW, 90 minutes is a long presentation!

A long day, but worth it. Met some amazing people and made connections with some other bloggers and put faces on blogs. It still catches me by surprise when people come up to me and say “Hi Jeff, been reading your stuff for awhile.” It’s strange how you can feel like you know someone without ever meeting them F2F. It’s part of the flat world effect I think. That you can follow someone’s thinking for an extended period of time and never actually met them, but feel like you have known them forever. I always thought the stat that 1 out of 8 married couples in the US met online last year was strange….but maybe it’s not as strange as I think it is. I’ll have to rethink a few things.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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After following the Blue Skunk blog for almost 18 months (as long as I’ve been blogging), I finally got to met the one and only Mr. Doug Johnson. I had two presentations of my own today so Doug’s was the only session I got to sit in on. He talked about having an IEP of technology use for teachers. I like the idea and would call it a IETP. A Individual Educational Technology Plan. There is a technology plan that talks about the technology, and there is an educational plan that talks about education, but an educational technology plan would outline exactly how a teacher would use these tool in their classroom to enhance learning. I envision having teachers fill out their own IETP. They can identify their strengths and weaknesses. They then sit down with the IETP committee which consists of the building administrator, the TRF (Technology Resource Facilitator…my job next year) and go over the plan and create a document that outlines how that teacher will use technology to enhance the learning experience for their students. We would outline the help needed, the equipment needed, and the amount of PD requirements that need to be met by both the educator and the TRF. As a IETP team they create a comprehensive plan that is unique to that teacher.

I’m still working through this in my head. I mentioned it to our Middle School Curriculum Coordinator who was also at Doug’s session and I could see the wheels spinning in his head as well. Hmmmm, this one will be rolling around in my head for a couple of days.

Nice to finally meet you in person Doug! Thanks for making me think!

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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Cross Posted at Techlearning.com

I am in Bangkok, Thailand this week taking part in the 5th annual East Asia Regional Counsel of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) Teacher’s conference. Ian Jukes and Doug Johnson are here as well discussing the technology ideas with some 1700 international educators from around the region.

Today was the first day of the conference and I have to say it was one of the best opening keynotes to a conference I have been too. The keynote was from a student, that’s right a living, breathing student from one of the International Schools here in Bangkok. Last year, EARCOS started a new Global Citizenship Award and the 2006 recipient was our opening keynote this morning. Maia’s biography reads as follows:

Maia comes from Japan but has lived in many cities around the world, including Lagos, New York, and Vienna. She is currently a senior and IB Diploma Candidate at the International School Bangkok [but has also attended the United Nations International School, the American School in Japan, and Vienna International School]. Maia is fluent in English, Japanese, German, and French. She serves as Student Council President and has been active in local tsunami relief. Maia is heading to Harvard University in September, where she will study Political Science and Economics. She was ISB’s recipient of the EARCOS Global Citizenship Award in 2006.

Maia’s keynote was entitled “The New Atlantis;” here are the notes I took during her speech:

What is a global citizen?
A great question that really makes you think. What does it mean to be a global citizen?
A multinational student body does not make an international school.
Diversity is accompanied by unity.
Cultural unity can be born from laughter.
A global citizen travels in many different ways (What’s your way? How do you travel, make changes, and bring unity from diversity?).

I have been to conferences in the past where people ask where are the students? This conference is putting them center stage. What a great way to not only involve students in a conference, but also motivate 1700 educators into learning something new. Maia’s keynote lasted about 45 minutes and ended with a standing ovation.

We need to remember to involve our students, to keep them at the center of what we do. Her message was straight and true and brought home what education is all about…preparing students for their future.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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After dragging my wife away from the beach, we’re back in Bangkok ready for the conference to begin tomorrow. I’m just putting the finishing touches on my wiki handout site (click the wiki link in the nav bar at the top) and making some final adjustments to the presentations.

My first presentation tomorrow is on Podcasting, but in the list of presentations they put a wiki description. That should be interesting. A wiki podcast presentation…that will stretch me. 😉

Our opening keynote tomorrow is from Jean-Francois Rischard titled High Noon: The Urgent Need for New Approaches to Global Problem-Solving.

Sounds interesting enough…I’ll blog it, but there is no wireless. I know this isn’t a tech conference, and I’ll probably be the only geek blogging it, but shouldn’t wireless just be a MUST at any conference in this day in age? I can’t believe that a hotel of this caliber wouldn’t already have it in place. Frustrating really.

I also have my camera with me and hope to capture some pictures from the conference to add a little visual aspect.

OK, off to meet Justin Medved for a drink. I’ve been talking with Justin for over a year now and he’s been a great resource from the International School of Bangkok to bounce ideas off of. Only having a one hour time difference has allowed us to Skype ideas back and forth.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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It’s the usual rush as we leave for the airport in 30 minutes for Bangkok. 3 hours of sleep and my wife just getting out of the shower. By 5pm tonight I’ll be sitting here:
So I’ll be disconnected for a few days before flying back to Bangkok for the EARCOS conference. I’ll be blogging a lot during the conference, so look for updates around the 28th. Until then keep the conversation going!

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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I haven’t had time to do a lot of blog reading lately, hence the 900 unread feeds on my netvibes page….ug. I have however been playing with a couple of new tools…well, new to me anyway.
Twitter.com I don’t get twitter. Really I don’t. My wife just keeps saying “This is so stupid” which pretty much sums it up. But for some reason, it is so much fun. My mobile phone doesn’t work here from China so I’m using the IM feature that allows me to post to twitter directly from Google Talk, although twitter seems to be having problems with the IM feature of late, so I’ve been stuck posting directly on my twitter page. I do like the IM feature when it’s working though as it gives me updates when the people I follow post something to their twitter account. Frankly, I’m loving it…it’s a great way to keep in touch with people you know and have a look into how their day operates. The most interesting part to me is the time difference. I post I’m eating dinner and Tim Lauer posts he’s driving to work. So even though it’s stupid it is quite fun.

Google Notebook I’ve finally had a play with Google Notebook and LOVE IT! It’s one of those tools I’ve been wanting to explore, but needed the reason to do so. While I’ve been researching and putting together my presentations for EARCOS, I’ve used Google Notebook to keep track of my notes on the web, highlight and save, stats, and other facts to use in my presentation. I then simply share my notes with the public and paste the link into my online handouts. No need to recopy all the information into a wiki or onto a page. I just have a link to my notes….a great feature and one that I can see students using in the classroom. It almost makes researching fun…..almost!

EARCOS Everything is pretty much set for EARCOS. Still working on my presentations, but then again with information changing so fast, I’ll probably be working on it until I present. Every time I think I’m done, something new comes up I want to add. I’m looking forward to meeting Ian Jukes and Doug Johnson at the conference. Two great guys who inspire me on a daily basis. I’m also looking forward to meeting others that I’ve had contact with. The Technology team at the International School of Bangkok should be around, as well as others from the International School of Beijing, Japan, and a host of other International schools. It should be fun.

[tags]earcos07, Google Notebook, Twitter[/tags]

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The EARCOS Teachers conference (East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools) that I will be presenting at later this month now has a hitchhikr page. The tag for the conference will be earcos07.

If you are planing on going and will be blogging the conference please use this tag. I’ve also e-mailed EARCOS to see if they will add this somewhere on the web site.

[tags]earcos07[/tags]

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