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During a 3-day meeting on the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on teaching and learning in primary education, our group watched this video as a provocation on how the changes in how students engage with information are changing and what it means for education. This video was created by the Consortium for School Networking to empower K-12 school district technology leaders (in the US) to use technology strategically to improve teaching and learning.

It’s a very powerful video that all teachers and curriculum developers should see and reflect on.

If you were to build a school today, what would it look like? What would you want students to understand about themselves? about others? about the world?

“The death of education but it’s the dawn of learning.” Stephen Heppell


ECIS Hamburg 2009

This year was my second time to attend and present at the European Council of International School (ECIS). Last year was in Nice, France and we experienced that glorious Mediterranean climate.

This year was in Hamburg, a lovely city in Northern Germany. Not a lot of photos from this work-related trip. My few photos were taken with a shaking (cold) hand holding an iPhone. So best kept hidden in my iPhoto events and not shared on the interweb. I didn’t really see much of Hamburg during the day except during the 5-min walk from the hotel to the conference site.

I attended a whole-day pre-conference workshop to be trained to serve as a member of the accreditation team for the Council of International Schools (CIS). This is my second accreditation training for/from two different international organizations and it was interesting to note the similarities (and differences) between the two in the approach to an accreditation visit. For me, another advantage of being in this accreditation workshop for CIS is meeting administrators and teachers from international schools that follow different curriculum models/programme. In a way, during breaks, conversations about education and the future of education is enriched by these different perspectives.

My colleague and I gave two 1-hour presentations on (1) new curriculum developments, and (2) current and future initiatives in the organization. Although we use PC at work, we now have access to a ‘floating’ macbook which can be loaned, so this time, the presentation was done on Keynote. The presentation looks so much slicker!

Apple was one of the sponsors in ECIS and they ran a few workshops. I went to one on podcasting as I have been meaning to start a project on getting Dan North to podcast his spectacular blog.

To me, one of the best things about ECIS this year is the keynote address. Wade Davis spoke about the extinction of cultures and what it means for the legacy that humanity leaves behind. In his book, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World, he argues that “the myriad of cultures makes up an intellectual and spiritual web of life that envelops the planet and is every bit as important to the well being of the planet as is the biological web of life.”  He lamented on the lost of language and predicted that of the 7,100 languages spoken today, half will not be passed on.

This makes me think about the death of the beautiful Filipino alphabet baybayin. Our alphabet was one of the casualties of the Spanish occupation. It’s a beautiful script and to me, it looks like waves of water – how fitting for a country of more than 7,100 islands!

The quote below was attributed to the Philippine national hero, Dr Jose Rizal (1869):

This language of ours is like any other,
it once had an alphabet and its own letters
that vanished as though a tempest had set upon a boat on a lake in a time now long gone.

“To My Fellow Children”,
English translation by P. Morrow

Here is a good link, maintained by Paul Morrow, to the ancient script in the Philippines: http://www.mts.net/~pmorrow/bayeng1.htm

Wade Davi’s book is a good read and comes with an annotated bibliography. Or you can also watch him here on TED talking about endangered cultures.

Oh, and I had a tweet-up with the lovely @gravesle who went to see our presentation. We had a lovely chat about collaboration and master’s classes and, of course, time for photo ops! Look on Leigh’s flickr. And here is her awesome site that should be on your RSS reader!

tweet-up @gravesle and @kloza

tweet-up @gravesle and @kloza

Three cheers

Work with a view © kloza

Work with a view © kloza

I don’t know about you but when I see a rainbow and I superstitiously suspect that I’m going to have an awesome day! And today, at work, I saw 3 rainbows at different times of the day. At one point, two were even overlapping!

Indeed, there were three great things about today:

  • My colleague and I are giving two presentations at ECIS in Hamburg this weekend. I’ve just downloaded a Keynote remote app which will allow me to control our presentation from my iPhone! I’m looking forward to meeting teachers during our presentations on new developments about the programme and on the different initiatives in the organization. There are some really good line up of presentations this year, too, so I’m hoping to attend a few of them. Of course, I’ll also be in our exhibition stand.
  • The symposium in April 2010 is going according to plan as we might have the second speaker by next week! Being part of a team planning for this symposium on learning and technology is one of the many things that really makes me love my job. It means I work with people I don’t normally work with, plus, I get to put a little group together to start writing blog entries relating to the theme of the symposium and contribute in choosing materials for the reading groups.
  • RT feature on Twitter

    RT feature on Twitter

    Twitter is really awesome for someone like me who is interested in what people like to share. It’s great for crowd-sourcing, finding out cool stuff about technology and education, and making connections with other educators. Last week a colleague asked me about how I use twitter and I thought about making a little screencast to share with people at work and other teachers. Maybe work on something using Google Wave? Any Wavers out there? Psst… leave me a comment! Anyway, today, twitter has launched another new feature on ReTweeting which twitterers know as “RT”. In the world of micro-blogging where every (140) character counts, RT is one of the best compliment you can have as it means someone is acknowledging that you have something worth repeating.

If you want to get started using Google Wave or if you are going to be on ECIS in Hamburg, leave a message or tweet me!

Learning networks

In this slide presentation by Mark Wooley, he talks about the value of creating your own personal learning networks using various Web 2.0 tools like blogging (including micro-blogging), social bookmarking, and social networking and, at the same time, he also invites you to learn with others.

There are 60 slides in this presentation (a bit long for me) but it has useful information for those who want to get started exploring web-based tools to access and manage information.

There are so many (Web 2.0) tools to choose from and a lot of them offer the same thing. For example, in choosing the right RSS aggregator or RSS feed reader, I think about how best to use it in terms of managing access, controlling settings, and how it connects to other things I use like my iPhone. But then I am not an average web tools user and I can (usually) tell a cumbersome new application and a potentially useful one after a few clicks. So, the decision to pick out the best tool does not take me long. For some, getting started in venturing into these  profusion of web tools is daunting, and Mark’s slide show does the trick in simplifying what you need to get going.

On another note, in the September 2009 article from Educational Leadership, Peter W. Cookson, Jr. proposes a concept called LearningSphere which is a “free and open-source Web-based portal and platform [that] would enable learners to access organized inquiry, demanding courses of study, and communication capacities that would join people all over the world in mutual discovery”.

I know it sounds like Google but apparently it’s not.

PYP online workshops

online workshop platformIB has been offering online professional development workshop for a few years now but it is only since last year when Primary Years Programme (PYP) has launched it’s first online workshop on assessment. I was a participant in the first run of the workshop and then, subsequently, observed the other iterations.

I found the first workshop quite daunting- there were too many tools available to click and I am not really sure where to go to find the understandings the workshop intends to develop. However, there was a really active group of participants who took the time (and it does take a lot of time!) to join the forum and participate in knowledge construction and sharing.

After a round of feedback, the moodle platform was tidied up and online workshop mentors became more savvy about supporting participants in scaffolding the use of the tools.

I am currently co-mentoring an induction to the PYP workshop for teachers who have recently joined a school implementing the programme. This is the second online workshop offering for the PYP. Paul, the other mentor, is very good in providing me guidance and we have developed a system using google docs to monitor the participants’ participation.

The second module finishes this Sunday and a new module starts on Monday. There are participants who join the forum at the beginning of the week, and some, towards the end of the week. As a mentor, managing time is crucial so that timely feedback and encouragement is given to those who have posted a response to the prompt at the start of the module.

Have you participated in an online workshop before?

Tweaking the blog

old PowerBook G4 © kloza

old PowerBook G4 © kloza

With two clear hours this evening, I thought I’ll write me a blog post. Instead, I found myself dusting cobwebs off my blog and spending an inordinate amount of time choosing the “right” theme in WordPress. I wanted a theme that has flexible-width, customizable header, widgets, and possibly dark coloured. It seems that there is no right wordpress theme that I can fashion to suit my liking. So what you see here will have to do for now.

Is it worth going for the wordpress.org?

If I get my own domain, can I choose any WP theme?

Gosh, how much CSS do I need to know to edit the themes?

I didn’t really want to talk about making adjustments to the look of my blog. What I really want to start writing about is a record of the things I get to do for work, which is usually very fun and very interesting, and I get to pay my rent by doing it!

Perhaps, next time.

Meanwhile, I’ll start with getting to know Mr Snow Leopard by turning off my computer and reading a book.

Virtual community

I feel lucky to be in a job where there is always something exciting happening. Today, we are getting the virtual community ready for project groups so we get to play with the new virtual community set up by the Digital Space Initiative team.

The virtual community has various tools we can use that allow group members to post a blog, join a discussion, upload files to share, and use wiki. These are common web 2.0 tools that many educators find essential to support curriculum work and participate in web-based communities.