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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Live It

Beijing, China - 5:21 am, 2/24/2011
4:21 pm EST - USA 2/23/2011

Why China? Why was the first one held in Qatar? Why India last year?

Some has to do with sponsorship - finding innovative schools. But a lot has to do with living it.

You don't have to teach ABOUT China if you can live China. Some of you will participate virtually in the conference and see the sites go up and down, the teachable moments, you'll understand it better because you were either face to face and lived it or because you were virtual and lived it.

I have been living China for almost a week. Just now I'm able to get back on this blog even through my VPN. There are things I have to be wary of discussing even as I type that could cause sites to be blocked or for me to be viewed unfavorably. I am living it.

My students are living it (as you can see in the photo album.) The students who went last year with me to India are comparing and contrasting India and China in many powerful ways. They live it.

I'm living it to. The struggle of getting money into China. The struggle of the time zone differences with the US. The struggle of the ability to communicate with you back in the US. The tears.

Yes, we have a vision, but making visions happen comes at a price. It has been at a price and continues to be.

James Paul Gee has an excellent MacArthur report paper where he talks about that New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and "Worked Examples" as One Way Forward. The summary of this work says:

"He argues that DMAL will not evolve until a real coherence develops through collaboration and the accumulation of shared knowledge. Gee offers a concrete proposal of one way scholars in DMAL could move the area forward to a more cohesive, integrated, and collaborative enterprise: the production of what he terms "worked examples."

In Gee's sense of a worked example, scholars attempting to build the new area of DMAL would publicly display their methods of valuing and thinking about a specific problem, proposing them as examples of "good work" in order to engender debate about what such work in DMAL might come to look like and what shape the area itself might take. The goal would not be for the proposed approach to become the accepted one but for it to become fodder for new work and collaboration."

This conference will produce 41 worked examples of how global collaborative projects (using Digital Media and Learning) can be used to improve education. (See http://conference2011.flatclassroomproject.org) - these projects designed by students and teachers and administrators with participation from virtual participants and people from diverse backgrounds can give us some great thoughts and discussion points for how we can truly integrate global collaboration into our courses in ways that add meaning and improve learning.

This is a worthy cause. We've worked very hard to get the best in the business who understand this model of action-based conferencing undergirded by meaningful actions and outcomes for the participants to come here and honestly, most of them are barely breaking even on the trip, if that. Julie and I do not pay ourselves anything. This method of conferencing is in its infancy but we believe it is an important method of professional development and hope that the conference itself becomes a working model of effective action-based professional development and learning for both students and educators.

WE're excited and the conference is going to be great, but I will tell you that it has been a huge strain pulling this together... especially on Julie but also on me as well. Any support you wish to give our nonprofit is appreciated as right now we are faced with US and Chinese banks that have not handled our money transfers properly.

So, please join us virtually if you wish by joining our Ning and Wiki and viewing the conference on our Taking IT Global  portal.

Oh, one great thing - I can now get on Twitter and Hootsuite again after beeing Tweetless for most of this week! It has been a struggle to communicate this week. (Wonder why? ;-) and yes I know why - just can't say it.) Will tell you more later -- right now I'm living it!

Join us and live it to. You can be part of something that people are willing to sacrifice for to improve education. You can be part of a wonderful vision that has teachers connecting directly. Yes, we have a nonprofit, but for the most part we're just moving forward with a ton of amazing volunteers who believe it is time to stop lecturing about "action based learning" and "global collaboration" and "digital storytelling" and to do it for a change.

The hypocrisy of a lecture about project based learning doesn't happen here - we're to busy working and teaching. Let the fun begin! Live the change!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friends & Family

Hi everyone from the lovely city of Beijing in China. It is very exciting to be here with my students and my dear friend and fellow teacher from Camilla, Shealy. "Miss Shealy" and I are awake and have been since 3 am. Watching samurai movies with no English subtitles and talking about technology in the classroom as well as just the journey here.

Many of my friends are sitting back home about 5:22 pm on Saturday evening - heading to the movies or dinner. Yes, I'd really like to be with my husband right now heading to a movie, just laughing and spending time together - listening to music. Even more so I wish he was here.

It is funny as I travel with students I see them so upset to be away from boyfriends or girlfriends just desperate to stay in touch. Ah, teenage love!

1- Be present with your presence
And yet, there is a lesson in this. A lesson for me in that after this trip it is time for me to be home -- really home. Not on the computer - spending time with my family and REALLY there.  How many people are home in body but not in spirit-- if you spend all your time texting or on the computer are you really present?

2- Be empowering to those you love
There is also a lesson in how fortunate I am to have a husband that supports me. Kip got up at 3 am on Friday morning to drive us to the Atlanta airport. He has encouraged me to go and loves and trusts me -- my husband proposed to me 18 years a go this past Monday (Valentine's Day) when I was flying to Hershey Pennsylvania.  It is one of the core relationships that has defined my life... for the much better.

So, this is the second lesson. Are you the kind of person in a relationship who encourages the other person to grow and do and be -- to travel and be who they are? Or do you use that power over them to dissuade them from venturing out. When you love someone and they love you - you have a tremendous amount of power. I can honestly say my husband has never once put a "guilt trip" on me but has been the most incredible, supportive man.

When I came to him about this blog when I first started writing and told him I really felt I should do this- he said, "It doesn't matter what others think about blogging (at the time many frowned upon it) what matters is that you meet your calling in life and do it... if this is your calling I support you."

Are you being the kind of person to encourage the others in your life?

3 - Are you able to be trusted with the trust of others?
But also, third lesson here is -- are you the kind of person that the other person in your life can trust? I think one reason that Kip empowers me is that he knows that I am trustworthy. Not only am I trustworthy with where I go but also with my heart -- the heart is a funny thing -- you can be disloyal in your heart. When I travel and go, I have lots of friends but I have room for only one Kip. I will do things to inspire his trust in me including checking in and being open and up front about who I am with and where - I don't go off with men by myself - I just don't.

But finally, let's extend this past just a personal, intimate relationship.

4 - Who do you help others become?
We all have relationships. We all have power in those relationships. We all have relationships that aren't quite perfect at any individual moment.

You an empower or discourage. You can hurt or help. Any parent of teenagers has felt the barb of their tongue as they move towards independence. It can be devastating depending upon how tightly you hold on or how much they are ready to "be set free."

But when I look at my teenagers I have to know that sometimes they are just being ridiculous and that sometimes it can be the hormones talking. I said some things I regret horribly when I was a teenager -- to my parents. But I remember that my parents always affirmed and loved me so I was ready to come home.

So, my children may hurt my feelings but I also have to empower them and love them. Yes, I need to ensure they understand the importance of treating me with respect, however, authoritarianism doesn't work so well with teenagers - I must also behave like a person WORTHY of respect with how I respond to their behavior. Not quite a child, not quite an adults - that limbo time is a tough time for parents and children and yet I have to ask myself

"What do my words help them become?"

No easy answers with teenagers and yet, my very tall 6'6" son is with me in Beijing and we just spent 16 hours on two plane rides together. Honestly, we got along fine - even though I think I snored a bit and annoyed him. He finished and said "that was a tough ride - it was awful." I said to him,

'Traveling is tough and it is hard, but the journey is worth it when you enjoy your destination. You have to make a decision for yourself if you want to have the kind of job that travels like this or one where you can stay home more often. For me, I want to travel maybe once a year internationally and sort of limit my travel so I'm not gone all the time. Right now I've been gone too much and I'm pulling back for a bit, but you're right  - it is a decision."

OK, going to shower as we head out for learning and touring. I guess as I laid awake for the last 2-3 hours I've been thinking about the relationships in my life for truly relationships have gotten me here.

How do these relationships relate to technology?

Well, your face to face family should never really think that you love the computer or your "online family" more than them and if they do - examine yourself -- your presence is the only present they want sometimes and you don't have to take a plane ride to be there for your face to face family. Balance.

In all things, let's act nobly -- for truly as teachers and parents we are noble when we behave nobly.

Have a great Saturday night my friends in North America - Sunday awaits me here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/13/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/12/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/11/2011

  • The horizon report is out and will be the subject of our NetGenEd Project this year. Current trends:

    Time to adoption: One Year or Less

    * Electronic Books
    * Mobiles

    Time to adoption: Two to Three Years

    * Augmented Reality
    * Game-based Learning

    Time to adoption: Four to Five Years

    * Gesture-based Computing
    * Learning Analytics

    tags: education learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calling all Math Teachers! World Math's Day - March 1st.

World Math's Day is just a great collaborative emphasis on math - full of games, matching math skills against other students. We did it last year and the teacher and students loved it! Join the fun on March 1st (but sign up now and schedule your time in the computer lab!)

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/10/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Free Tools Bootcamps Starting with Google Docs at 3:30 pm Today

Updated with links: 2/12/2011

As part of Digiteen and Flat Classroom, we're always working to improve things. These projects are not only great opportunities for students but also as an embedded professional development opportunity for teachers - we meet, discuss, learn, and then the teacher DOES IT. As feedback from our last project, the teachers let us know they'd like a series of bootcamps separate from the teacher meetings so that the meetings can focus on the projects. So, we've put this together for them and for you if you choose to participate.

It is last minute for today, but here are the upcoming bootcamps that are open to the public. Join us if you can. Also note that on Sunday at 5pm Eastern, I'll be doing a session about participating virtually in the Flat Classroom conference in Beijing in two weeks. There is online graduate school credit available (1 hour) through virtual participation in the conference and limited spaces for adults and students.

Check back on this post for TBA links.

Google Doc Bootcamp
Date: Wednesday, February 8th
Time: - 3:30 pm Eastern TODAY
Leader: Vicki Davis, Google Certified Teacher
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043
Other Links: http://www.learncentral.org/node/136953

Elluminate Bootcamp
Date: Thursday, February 10
Time: 6pm CST (11 pm GMT)
Leader: Kim Caise
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043
Other Links:  http://www.learncentral.org/node/136951

Wiki Bootcamp
Date: Saturday, February 12th
Time: - 9:00 am - 9:45 am EST - 2pm GMT
Leader: Vicki Davis
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043
Other Links: http://www.learncentral.org/node/138801

Diigo Bootcamp
Date: Saturday, February 12th
Time: - 10:00 am - 10:45 am EST, 3pm GMT
Leader: Vicki Davis
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043
Other Links: http://www.learncentral.org/event/138800

RSS/ CMP Bootcamp
Date: Wednesday, February 16
Time: -  5:30 pm CST  - 11:30pm GMT
Leader: Kim Caise
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043
Other Links: http://www.learncentral.org/node/138805

Elluminate Moderator Bootcamp
Date: Wednesday, February 23 at 6pm
Time: -  6:00 pm CST  -  12am GMT
Leader: Kim Caise
Elluminate Link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2007066&password=M.7C82423468901E70B20D2FF2C8E043

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Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/09/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/08/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Calling virtual participants!

We are looking for students and educators who are interested in joining us virtually for the Flat Classroom Conference 2011, to be held in less than 3 weeks time.

All details on the wiki at http://conference2011.flatclassroomproject.org/Virtual+Participants

There will be TWO online meetings in the next 2 weeks to discuss this further.  Come and join us!  If you have students who are interested please let us know and encourage them to sign up.

The first information/ training meeting is tomorrow morning at 7am Eastern with Julie Lindsay.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/05/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/04/2011

  • As my marketing class analyzes how our school needs to market itself on social media. From Tufts university that tweets breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, to schools having "official bloggers (Johns Hopkins) there are many interesting ways colleges are using social media.

    tags: education learning

  • This website looks at the pros and cons of various controversial topics. Some interesting statistics on social media. This is a great website for looking at both sides of an issue.

    tags: education learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Daily Education & Technology News for Schools 02/03/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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