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On Monday the MLB (Baseball) draft started and one of the Mariner Bloggers that I follow Jeff Sullivan had this to say about the draft:

This afternoon or evening, the names of several future disappointments will be announced. Zero or one or two or three of the players will develop fully. Many more will develop partially, and the rest will develop not at all. It sounds so grim and makes it all seem like a complete waste of time, but the math isn’t really different in other professional fields. Most of us are destined to disappoint. High baseball draft picks just get more publicity than most of us do.

That sounds down right depressing but it is so accurate and I think you could apply it to hiring anyone for any company, organization or school. You hire on potential, hopes and dreams. Much like companies baseball teams take risks on young potential players hoping they will work out. Some do, others don’t, while still some who are drafted at the very end of the day make the biggest impact for a team or company. 

I think about education and students. We don’t get to hand pick our students, we’re given a class list in August/September and we’re told to develop them and help them reach their full potential. We’re not allowed half way through the season to say “Look kid you’re not cutting it here, we’re going to send you back down for more work in the minors.” We’re told to help the student reach their full potential no matter what. 

I think of coaches who know they don’t have the best team, but they do the best with what they have. Helping everyone develop, staying positive, and providing support where needed. They dream of days when they’ll have that ultimate state winning team. But until then they battle through the hard years doing what they can to develop players. 

Baseball General Managers get paid a lot of money to pick potential players……and fail most of the time. 

Educators get paid much less are given a bunch of players and are successful most of the time. 

 

Not sure if any of this makes sense…but that paragraph has been running through my head since I read it a couple days ago and I needed to write some of these random thoughts down.

From Venturebeat.com

The girl, 17, had been helping her grandmother count the 72-year-old woman’s personal savings. Apparently wishing to impress her friends and the world at large, the teen snapped a picture of the cash and uploaded it to Facebook.

Within hours, masked robbers showed up at the girl’s own house with a knife and a club, breaking in and stealing cash and personal possessions from the teen’s 47-year-old mother.

I read this the other day and was wondering if this girl ever was taught about social networking and where her information goes. 

facebook
Some rights reserved by ifranz

I then starting thinking about the autonomy I had as say a 13 year old. My parents knew where I was 99% of the time, knew who I was hanging out with, who I was talking with and where I was physically…seeing there was no digital place for me to be yet. 

I think about the autonomy a 13 year old has today. The autonomy to post, talk, respond, take a photo with anyone they want without parents knowing about it…and being able to share with people that their parents might not know. 

These are new behaviors we need to be teaching in schools. We teach how to share, in the physical world. We teach how to cooperate, in the physical world. We teach how to stay away from danger in the physical world. But do we teach these same skills in the new digital sense? Why not?

If we know we are all spending more time online, in online relationships and communicating more online than in person these days, why are we not teaching these social-networking skills?

We talk about making friends, in the physical world. We talk about what it means to be a good friends, how good friends trust each other and how good friends watch out for each other….in the physical world. 

Are we teaching social-networking in the digital world as well? If not are we doing our students, our community, our society a disservice?

Over the last few weeks I have received a hand full of e-mails all asking the same question. 

What would you recommend?

MacBook vs ChromeBook

Laptop vs Tablet

Tablet Laptop vs Tablet Slates

The problem is that’s not the right question to be asking. Don’t get me wrong, I know what everyone is asking and dealing with. There are a lot of compelling options out there right now and at the end of the day the best option is the one your school can afford. 

However, if you are looking at a couple different platforms then your school must have the budget to do some shopping and thinking about which platform is best for students and this is where our question begins. 

Do not ask “What should we use to go 1:1 with?

Ask “What do we want students to create?

I wrote about this in my Technology Plan (Free PDF that needs to be updated) a few years back. The technology should support the learning which means we need to know what we expect students to create (key word there) with technology. 

Let’s take 3rd Grade as an example. I would expect 3rd Graders at my school to:

  • Collaborating on Google Docs
  • Blogging (including uploading of images)
  • Creating simple movies
  • Creating simple podcasts
  • Commenting on others blogs

I would sit down with the 3rd Grade team and have them help me brainstorm this list. Remembering to stay focus on what we want students to do, not what we’re currently doing (sometimes a big difference!). 

ipadclassroom
Some rights reserved by mikecogh

Why do I focus on creating? Simple, we want every student to be able to consume information via technology. That’s a given and each of the devices above allows you to consume information, there is nothing, other than form factor that really sets them apart. If you only want students to consume information the choice is easy…a tablet such as an iPad is made to do just that. Looking at the quick list that I created I’m now going to go and look at all my options for hardware and choose the best fit that allows my students to do everything I want them to do. In the case above everything listed, except collaborate on Google Docs, can simply be done on an iPad. So, using this list (and I know it’s not complete) I would go 1:1 with iPads in 3rd Grade and then have a cart of laptops available for the Google Docs piece.

This is the question I started with in my recent blog post about what my dream school 1:1 program would look like. At the end of the day the right device is the device that allows your teachers and students to do what they want to do and are not held back by the technology. Make your decision on what you want students to create and you can’t go wrong.

Featured Image: Some rights reserved by rwentechaney

I received a tweet a couple days ago asking why I still believed laptops, in this case MacBooks, are the right choice for middle school and high school students.

Now before I begin, let me state that I firmly believe a 1:1 (one computer per student) program no matter what the connected device (device connected to the Internet) is better than no 1:1 program at all. If a school can only afford an iPad for ever student then that’s the best choice.

However, many schools, especially here internationally and private schools in the states, have the option to buy either an iPad or a MacBook and for them I am recommending MacBooks for Middle School and High School 1:1 programs.

Consumption vs Creation

iPadkid
by umpcportal.com

At the end of the day the iPad is designed for the consumption of information. This is not the shift I’m looking for in education. Yes…you can create some things on the iPad but it doesn’t take long to max out the iPad’s creative potential. I am not talking creating music, or taking a video. I’m talking the mashup of videos from different sources, the creation of music from different sources as well as the programs and apps I want students to be creating today.

Apple sees the iPad as a consumption device, and it does a really really good job of it, giving the consumer a beautiful interface to consume through. Apple’s latest announcement where they unveiled iBook Author I think just makes this point stronger. You create the textbook, or any book for that matter, on the computer and you consume the information on the iPad. As much as I want digital textbooks, what I really want is students to create their own books.

For middle school and high school students I want them creating sophisticated projects, I want them collaborating, like I’m doing today on a Google Doc using the built in chat feature. I want them making apps, videos, and music…not the kind that get a couple views, but the kind that go viral.

If you want to plan for the future

macschool
by torres21

Now if you really want to plan for the future, and by that I mean the next two years, then students should have both an iPad and a MacBook. I know one school who is looking at this option and I believe that’s the future.The iPad and tablets will are changing the way we consume information no doubt about it. We need to be preparing students to consume information that is digital, updated, and constantly changing.

We also want need creators and that’s where I love to focus my time. We do a really good job in schools have kids consume information, we don’t do a very good job of having them create new information out of what they are learning.

My Perfect School

I’ve been asked on several occasions what my perfect school looks like. Today as it stands in January 2012 this would be my perfect school.

PreK – 1st Grade: 1 iPad for every two students: iPads stay at school owned and managed by the school.

2 – 3rd Grade: 1:1 iPad program: Each student has their own iPad and iPads primarily stay at school and can be checked out by the parents to take home if need/wanted.

4th Grade: 1:1 iPad and 1:1 Laptop: The iPads are allowed to be taken home and are tied to a guardians account. The school purchases a set of “standard apps” anything above that is up to the parents. The laptops stay at school and can be checked out by the parents to take home if need/wanted.

5th Grade: 1:1 iPad and 1:1 Laptop: Same as 4th grade however the students at some point during the year gain the responsibility of taking both the iPad and the Laptop home. 5th Grade is a great time to do this because:

  • In 5th grade students still only have one classroom teacher. This sense of classroom community is a great place to talk about responsibility and practice it.
  • A good time to practice taking care of your devices before hitting middle school where students have 4 to 6 different classes in 4 to 6 different classrooms with 4 to 6 different teachers.
  • Allow students to learn to organize their digital lives so they are not trying to figure this out at the same time they are learning a new “schooling” system of lockers, freedom and multiple classes.

6 -12th Grade: 1:1 iPad and 1:1 Laptop: Both devices become the sole responsibility of the student. The school loads a “standard” set of software on all devices and the students/parents are responsible for managing the rest.

Of course there are a lot of things “schooling” that would need to change too and trying to bring this into a school that already is established and has a history would be messy…very messy, which is why most administrators won’t attempt it.

But if I was starting a new school today….this would be the given and every parents would know from day one what we’ll be using and here’s what we would expect from the students and from the parents as their responsibility for learning.

Disclosure: The following thoughts/reflections are not necessary the views of ISB or its community

It has been a few weeks since we were in a virtual school situation here in Bangkok. Although the flood water continues to slowly move South into Bangkok our school has reopened with no immediate threat to flooding in sight if at all.

floodingimage
SOME RIGHTS RESERVED BY MITH17

Some rights reserved by mith17The school was closed for a week, along with all schools in the Bangkok area, by the Ministry of Education. ISB is lucky in did not get hit by the floods. Not all International Schools were as lucky.I have done presentations throughout Asia on preparing for school closure as it seems they follow me where ever I am in the world. Saudi Arabia with terrorism, Shanghai with Typhoons, Bangkok with riots and flooding, and even Washington State with snow and earthquakes. Depending on the situation many times schools try to move into an virtual school situation. Here are some things that no matter why the school closes seem to be factors in having a successful virtual school experience.Blended Classrooms to Virtual Classroom is an easy Transition  Those teachers who use technology on a daily basis in a blended classroom environment have the best success when it comes time for virtual school. The technology is already in place and more importantly the students know where to go to find information and what the expectations are. The students and educators who struggle the most are those who have to try and set up the technology at the last minute….it just doesn’t work.

Virtual work isn’t Homework Virtual work is different than homework and both educators and students need to understand this. Many teachers not being trained as online educators have a hard time understanding what kind of work can be done other than just “busy work” or homework type of assignments. Creating lessons that are interactive, that are deeper in meaning then what educators are use to giving online is PD time worth spending.

Videos are Good Students like videos. They really like videos that their teachers have taken the time to make. Quick 3 to 5 minute videos (no longer then 10 minutes at the most) seem to always get high marks for students. A good YouTube video isn’t bad, but there’s something about a teachers touch that kids still enjoy.

Preparing Students for the Future

future of elearning  

Lastly I think every school should follow the lead of Idaho and require every high school student to take classes online as a graduation requirement. If for no other reason than to prepare them for the university that awaits them. The lastest research from universities shows that online classes in undergraduates is still on a very steep raise with over 500,000 more undergrads taking at least one online course last year than the year before.

According to the Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011 report, university presidents view online learning as a very significant part of their future school plans, which means more and more students will be taking classes online. The key finding in the report were:

  • Over 6.1 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year.
  • The 10% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population.
  • Thirty-one percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Reported year-to-year enrollment changes for fully online programs by discipline show most are growing.
  • Academic leaders believe that the level of student satisfaction is equivalent for online and face-to-face courses.
  • 65% of higher education institutions now say that online learning is a critical part of their long-term strategy.
  • There continues to be a consistent minority of academic leaders concerned that the quality of online instruction is not equal to courses delivered face-to-face.

With the economy where it’s at, online schooling also makes fiscal sense for many families. As a university student you can take your classes and still live at home saving anywhere from $10,000 on up in room and board cost.

 

If we believe that part of our job as educational institutions is to prepare students for their future then I believe we need to prepare them to learn online.

So a new school year is upon us, as today was the first day for students at ISB. I spent the first hour helping new middle school students find their way around the school….what fun. ISB set a new record for the amount of new students this year. A HUGE turn around year with 100s of families leaving and 100s more filling their place. It always makes me wonder what’s going on in the bigger picture that you have this kind of turn around in a year…..interesting….and I have no answer.

As the new year begins though I’m thinking about my job and once again supporting teachers. This is a touchy subject and the reason why I’m putting it out there is to see where everyone else is on this idea.

My job is to support teachers in using technology in their classroom. I don’t have any classes of my own I support full time. But I’m supporting an initiative that we all believe in but isn’t required. It’s not required that my teachers use technology. It’s not required that they rethink how they teach in the era of open access to content. They’re not required to rethink education as they know it. Their job is to teach….and they do a good job at it. We had 100% pass rate of IB diploma students last year….again. Our students continue to get into top colleges and universities around the world and parent feedback continues to come back that we’re doing a hell of a job educating their children. 

So, why do we need to change?

Why do we need to rethink education?

Why do we have to even worry about technology?

and

Why do they have to use me?

 

The answer is they don’t. Some choose to at different times, some are really thinking about the future and where this is all leading and other classrooms I never see the inside of.

I’m here because teachers, at some level, are forced to use technology. E-mail, Moodle, PowerSchool are the three programs that everyone has to use. So yes….I’m need to support the use of these with teachers, but not in learning, not with students, basically so teachers can do their job. 

And I have no problem doing that…..they’re just paying me a lot of money to be an application support person.

So it comes down to working with the willing. Working with those teachers who are thinking about doing things different, thinking about their students, their lives, what they’ve grown up with, and how that might affect them in and out of the classroom. It’s working with teachers who are willing to take risks, to try something new, to be uncomfortable. 

A colleague of mine often refers to us a “used car sales people” and that’s what I feel like we are sometimes. We’re selling a product, and idea, a method that doesn’t need to be used….is not mandated. Sure it’s supported IF teachers decide they want to try it. But at the end of the day they don’t need to.

So we end up with some kids getting 21st Century Skills. Those kids who happen to have teachers who are thinking about searching, finding content, communicating, and using global connections. Other kids, who just so happen to never get the right teacher leave our system not getting those skills. Is that OK? Or is that just the way it is. 

So I work with the willing. Those that ask me for help, those that I team teach with, that we explore new options with. I work with the willing because that’s who wants to work with me…..on a voluntary basis…and that’s really where my job stands. 

I’m here to help

If you want help

If not…that’s OK…I’m here if you need me

Is it OK to only work with the willing? Or is this a school thing?

Photo Credit: Superkimbo

passport
Flickr ID: clappstar

I can’t believe I have been back in the States three weeks already. Summer goes way to fast. Family, friends, and the continued remodel of our condo has filled my time which has kept me away from the computer…that’s a good thing when it comes to vacation time though. 🙂

Now I find myself some 30,000 feet over the mid-west on my way to Washington D.C. and the JOSTI conference. I was asked by the U.S. Deptartment of State and the Jefferson/Overseas Schools Technology Institute (JOSTI) organizers to represent the EARCOS region (Southeast Asia) as they discuss a program called the World Virtual School.

It also means that I miss out on this year’s ISTE conference. I’ll be following via Twitter and other streams but not the same as being there and connecting with your PLN in person and making new connections. Next year for sure in San Diego!

This year marked my 9th year of being overseas. Each year the U.S. seems more “foreign” to me. The more global I become the more strange the U.S. becomes. What is interesting is the fact that I get to see huge changes in the use of technology within American society. Unlike those that live here who see the technology slowly roll out. I get 6 weeks once a year to see how technology is changing America.

This year is no different and here are a couple of my early observations.

 

Social Media:
We know it’s everywhere, we know it’s what the “new web” is about. But it fascinates me to see Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Yelp signs in 99% of all the places I go to in Seattle (we’ll see if DC is the same). The last couple of years you’d find a sign here or there, but this year the Facebook f and the Twitter t are front and center in most shops. Asian societies aren’t there yet in their adoption of these tools for customer connections. American based companies are leading the way and we’ll see how long it takes, if ever, for this kind of social media induction to take hold in other parts of the world. Favor: US

socialmedia

QR Codes:
I predicted this would be the year these little buggers would show up in American society and I have to say not a bad guess on my part. What I notice from last year is a refinement of there use to really connect the physical world to the digital world quickly. Last summer they were around but used in some strange ways, or ways that probably were not working….but this year there use is becoming refined and in most cases I have found them to be very useful. Anyone who has been to any large city in Asia knows that QR Codes have been round for a good 4 or 5 years so it’s good to see the US finally catching up to these useful little codes. Favor: Asia

Instant Connectivity:
Many international travels, myself included, are still very frustrated with the lack of choices in the US when it comes to getting connected quickly and cheaply. How can the same data connection in Thailand cost 60% less than it does here in the States? Why can I walk into any shop in China buy a SIM Card for my phone and 100 minutes for $10 and a months worth of data for $15 and be up and running in less than 10 minutes. Here in the US there isn’t an easy way to get people/travelers connected…and if you’re not willing to sign the big 2-year contract….be prepared to pay through the nose for everything. I just can’t figure out why a company wouldn’t get on board with the rest of the world…..and don’t even get me started that because I’m on a pre-paid plan I can only have an Edge connection and not 3G on my Android phone (both AT&T and T-Mobile). Favor: Rest of the world

Economic Turn-around:
In Seattle anyway it feels much different this summer than last. Last year people seemed down, worried, and stressed. Some of those feelings are still there but there is also hope and optimism in the air that last year I just didn’t feel. This being said with all four of my closest friends, both in education and out, jobless. But all of them see light at the end of the tunnel….and that’s a good thing. Favor: US

Education:
An even hotter topic than it was last year education continues to struggle in the media and at all levels of government. Educators are frustrated, parents are frustrated, the government is frustrated. A lot of that frustration, I think, also coming from fear. Fear of the unknown and the feeling of the shift that is happening. I’ve been overseas for 9 years, 6 of those in Asia and the world is shifting and its pace is increasing. I think American’s feel that and don’t know what to do about it. What we do know is we can’t keep doing what we were doing because that doesn’t work anymore. But how do we “fix” a system that for so long kept America as a world leader? How do we “fix” a system that we’re still trying to figure out where it’s broken while the world continues to shift and mutate around us?

I think back to my days in Saudi Arabia even to conversations at the Education Project in Bahrain and the middle east. For generations now the Saudi’s haven’t had to work. The country made enough money to pay all of its citizens. They imported workers from around the world to do all the work and sat back and enjoyed the riches that came from the oil. Now with the green movement and oil supplies being depleted governments are trying to find ways to re-educate their citizens to work. In Saudi it is called “Saudization”. Where Saudis are slowly replacing the imported work force. Its been unsuccessful in most areas. Convincing a nation that they now need to work is not easy. Why change when everything seems to be going so well? For generations they were taken care of by the government…..and still are to some extent. But now they’re being asked to change, to work, to be a part of a different future…..and it’s hard. It’s hard to change when everything around you seems the same.

I think the same holds true for the American public education system. For many years it worked, we all reaped the benefits of it, but it isn’t working any more. All we know is what we all went through, what we all succeeded at: Parents, Politicians, Educators, we are all part of the system that needs to be changed and that’s hard because it seemed to work so well for so long and it’s scary when you can feel that the thing you held true, that you really knew because you went through it isn’t good anymore. We want to hold on, we want to “fix it” and it’s hard to let it go.

It’s a great time to be in education….and a tough time….and I think it’s going to get even tougher as public school systems just were not built for the fast pace world of today. As online learning in high schools continues to explode across America I think we’ll see public high schools be the first to crumble to their knees in a heap of dust before being rebuilt. That’s the revolution not evolution that Sir Ken Robinson and so many others have talked about the past few years. It’s the revolution that I touch on in my TEDx Talk, and it’s the revolution that needs to happen if the K-12 American public school system stands a chance to compete in a new world that is fast, flat, and connected. It won’t happen to all public high schools as some are making the change. Those with innovative leaders and the freedom to explore and try new things are succeeding…but that’s a small percentage of schools out there. 

Don’t get me wrong America has a lot to offer. The best university system in the world, a government structure that works and that people believe and trust in (both in American and out). A work ethic that I’ve only seen rivaled by the Chinese while I lived in China. Forward thinking in human rights, and free-will for all, and a culture where any man, woman or child has the opportunity to be what they want to be.

But does America have the ability to adapt, to go into beta mode and figure schooling out on the fly? Because the world won’t stop turning to allow us to figure it out. We need options, we need creativity and we need the ability to take risks, try new things, and the ability to say we failed and be OK with it. That’s what will make the public school system strong again…the same work ethic that made America a world leader in the first place will have to rebuild an education system built for a new and constantly changing future.

(Full Disclosure: I own stock in Google)

The more I read about what Google launched at Google IO a couple of weeks ago the more I’m convinced that I’m going to continue to love Google and its products as well as where they are taking us into the future. 

HTC Incredible S3 weeks ago I traded in my iPhone 3G for an HTC Incredible S that had just been released in Taiwan and I haven’t looked back. The speed, the form factor, the 8MB camera on the back and 1.3MB camera on the front…and an open platform. 

I bought my wife an HTC Desire a year ago and we both fell in love with it. It was my wife’s first Smartphone and she was nervous at first about figuring it out. 2 weeks later she couldn’t live without it. 

When it comes to Android what I love is that because it’s open-source companies can take the base product and put their own spin on it. I love what HTC has done with their HTC Sense interface on top of Android, it really gives it a polished finish that rivals any iPhone. 

I also like the idea of widgets that you can put on the screens. I’m all about reducing my clicks, and having my calendar, contacts, and friend stream always open saves mini-seconds of time throughout the day that add up. 

But what I think excites me most about Google and Android is the future. 

At its recent Google IO conference they talked about Android@Home where they are releasing open APIs that companies can use to build into their home products like refrigerators, light switches, sound systems, etc. If companies adopt the standard then smart-appliances are in our not to distance future….and again because Android is open it basically could runs in the background allowing each company to put their own look and feel to the user interface (UI)

Then there is what Google continues to do with automobiles. We already know they have a car that can drive itself, but now they’re partnering with Ford to make our cars even smarter. 

Open Wins

Google has shown again that creating open platforms in the long run win out. There are now more Android phones in the US than iPhones and it’s predicted that by July there will be more Android apps than iPhone Apps

Then there’s the app building piece which, I’m not sure if they did this on purpose or not but looks and acts a lot like Scratch the MIT game building software.

So a school could have a computer game building class one year and the next year have an App building class where the skills build on each other (please tell me there are schools out there doing this?).

Wikipedia beat Encarda, Linux is the backbone of the Internet, Blogs beat newspapers, and Twitter is taking down nightly news.

In the long run open wins, it gives people choice and allows for creativity. 

The Importance of Failing

I also love the fact that Google takes chances and fails…and not little chances…big chances. Google Wave, Google TV (so far), Google Buzz, all products that Google hasn’t had a hit with…and that’s OK. 

When you’re pushing, when you’re being innovative, you’re gonna have failures….and I for one like to celebrate those. Good companies (and teachers) can fail big, get back up and try something else.

Constant Beta

I really wish I could convince educational leaders in this notion (as I wrote here). Google products are always in constant Beta. They still make somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 tweaks to Google Search. Google Docs is constantly getting updates and tweaks, and the same goes for Chrome, Maps, Android, and most other products. They are constantly innovating, seeing what works what doesn’t. Building on the positive and throwing out the negative. 

Teachers do this daily with their students, constantly adjusting to student needs, what’s working, what’s not….however are we doing it at an organizational level? Or is education “good enough” and we’ll continue to build curriculum like we’ve always done.

I’m excited for the future….I don’t know where all this is going, what my home will look like in 5 years, what this device I’m typing on will look like in 5 years….but I’m excited to see where it’s all going to lead. 

When we live in a connected world we have a personal stream of information that is comforting to us. Take this COETAIL participant for example who details his wonderful Sunday immersed in his personal information stream. 

I’m sure many of us have been there….relaxing on the couch yet totally immersed in information…information that we want because it’s relevant to us at that time and we’ve chosen that particular information.

IMG 0634
Is he really alone?

Now think of our students with their iPhones, Blackberries, iPods, Laptops, PlayStation 3s, and every other device that they interact with. All of these devices allow them to create and tap into their personal stream of information. A stream that they have created be it friends, news, updates, or status. They’ve decided who they want to connect to, and who they want to learn from. 

Then they go to school, they walk into classrooms and the door closing behind them signals a disconnect from the personal stream…you see their heads go down, their body language shows they’ve switched off and for the next 90 minutes they sit there listening to you talk about your information, not theirs.

You can be the most dynamic teacher in your school but how do you compete with a personal information stream that is waiting just beyond the door of the classroom? A stream that everyone knows is waiting there to be tapped into again. 

I think of the conferences I’ve been at where participants….mostly teachers….get frustrated when the Internet connection goes down…why…because they’re disconnected from their own personal stream and that’s just unacceptable at a conference….otherwise known as their classroom.

Yet we ask kids to do it everyday and to not complain.

The problem with education is we teachers can not compete with the personal information stream. It’s a battle we will never win. 

So the only option is not to compete with it, but to embrace it, use it, foster it, and acknowledge that it exists.

Once we stop competing against the stream and embrace it, a world of opportunities emerges. A new world full of connections, passions, and possibilities.

The Education ProjectI’m in Bahrain to attend the Education Project. A conference that is being hosted by HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalif. His idea is to look at education on a global scale and bring together educational thinkers from around the globe to discuss and think about educating every child (Don’t ask me how I got invited to this….way out of my league here). The list of speakers is amazing and it’s great just to be included among the names on the list.

It’s a bold task….educating every child in the world and looking at the different models from different countries. It’s a big question and one that I truly believes has technology in the solution. For many children in the world education has to do with lack of information and teachers….two things that technology can solve even in the most rural of places if we can get them connected.

I believe the answer lies in cell technology and the ability to connect students to information. If you haven’t watched Sugata Mitra Ted Talk yet please do. I do believe he’s on to something and I think we can take what he’s started and spread it. Cell towers and cell technology now covers most of the worlds population. Cell technology is out pacing all other connection types world wide and once the cell towers are in place increasing there speed is nothing more than changing the signal on the equipment.

You can read my reflections from last year here. Looking forward to some more deep thinking around global education.