Excited to be part of this conference in Australia next June
I’m proud to have been asked to be part of this conference in Sydney as one of the facilitators. List and short introduction of the other facilitators found below. This text is from the conference website. More information to be found there. Sydney 2014 Flat ConnectionsThe Flat Connections Conference is a unique event that includes students and educators to envision the future of education and of learning communities as they use leading technology tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking and digital storytelling. The conference is diverse in participation while allowing smaller groups to work with leading world-class presenters in a “flattened” environment where virtual participants from remote corners of the world also join in the conversation and action.
Flat Connections Conference is produced by Flat Encounters, designers of alternative conferences. Educators will leave the conference understanding how to collaborate globally and a better understanding of how educational technology supports this and with skills and contacts in hand to start projects. Students will leave the conference with leadership skills, technology skills, presentation skills, and a better understanding of diverse cultures and collaboration.
Join us in Sydney, Australia. June 18-20, 2014
Flat Connections Conference 2014 Facilitators
Michael Furdyk is the Co-founder of TakingITGlobal (www.tigweb.org), which provides innovative global education programs that empower youth to understand and act on the world’s greatest challenges.
Frank Guttler is a film/video educator, professional development trainer, Adjunct Professor of Instructional Media at Wilkes University and is a Lecturer of Cinema & Television Arts at California State University Northridge.
Anne Mirtschin is an award winning teacher from Victoria, Australia whose most recent major awards are ICT in Education Victoria Educator of the Year and Australian Computer Educator of the Year 2012.
Kristina Stoney began her career teaching english and science in south India with students eager to learn. In the following fifteen years, she has been dedicated to designing and facilitating programs that unleash the potential of young people and has worked in Guatemala, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean.
Chris Betcher is a blogger, podcaster, speaker and author, and an active member of the Australian edtech scene. He shares openly and freely through his blog at www.chrisbetcher.com, and has presented at numerous national and international education events.
Julie Lindsay is the Director of Learning Confluence P/L, and the co-founder of Flat Classroom®. She has worked in six different countries in the past 15+ years as IT Director, Curriculum Coordinator, E-Learning Coordinator and more!
Changing the way we teach
Today we were featured on National radio. NRK P2 EKKO aired a 20 minute program where the students and I talked about working in the global classroom and how we use the net to connect. It was a fun experience for me because when the reporter did the interviews 2 weeks ago, I did not know what my students had said. Some might consider that a risk, but knowing my students I knew that their answers would be along the same line as mine. It made me very proud to hear what they had to say about writing blogs and connecting online. And how seriously they take their work and how well they do. When working with students you have to realize that what they are capable of most times will surpass your imagination!
Changing the mindset
A mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools.. Source: Wikipedia.
What is the greatest obstacle to changing what goes on in the classroom. In most cases it boils down to what the teachers believe is the right thing to do and sometimes how much they trust their students. In this rapidly changing world the most important output for the students is not what they know today, but if they know how to learn. Do they enjoy learning and exploring, do they know how to find reliable information? Those are the questions we should be asking.
The flipped classrooms
Last week our county invited us to join a project called the flipped classroom. They feel that an initiative with money might boost the teachers incentive to start using this in our classrooms. We were fortunate to have both Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergman here at our conference in 2011 and I have followed the discussions about the flipped classroom online. Book by Aaron and Jonathan here. Instructional videos for the students to watch, at home or at school makes sense. But it is not what makes real authentic 21st century learning in your classroom. : Real, authentic, student driven, sticky learning can’t be branded. It’s just learning. If we were doing real, authentic, student driven, sticky learning in our classrooms to begin with, why would we have to “flip” them? Quote. Will Richardson.
Why we want to change
Every time I talk about change I will get a comment like this: So, what is the bottom line with regard to student learning? Have you seen any measurable changes in attainment of student learning outcomes as a result of this change? I suspect that if measured using some sort of standardized exam, there would probably not be too much change. Ref: post, why I gave up Flipped instructions by Shelley Wright. She lists all the reasons why we want to change what goes on in the classroom. And I quote: yes. I think it’s because they’re better at learning, adapting and problem-solving. But for me, that’s not the bottom-line. It’s their engagement and the responsibility they’ve assumed for their learning that really matters.When you shift to student-centred learning, the role of the teacher changes significantly. Most of the time my job was to listen and watch – to figure out when to ask questions of my students so they would think more deeply, and when to let them struggle. It’s completely different than anything I learned when I was a pre-service teacher!
Every teacher is teaching for the test, and every students is concerned about their grades. Lets not pretend otherwise. We all want our students to excel. It is the emphasis we put on those tests that matter. And right now I’m only talking about my own subject. Yes we do midterms, in fact my students are writing theirs as I type this! We still focus on all our competency goals and doing well at exams. Even so we have plenty of time to connect and learn from others. We still have time to make learning interesting, fun and the same time hard work. And we spend a lot of time talking, discussing and figuring out how to do this together! I try to help them learn to learn and how to reflect on their thinking and learning. We work on developing skills such as using research tools, finding and evaluating sources, and collaborating with peers. By the end of high school they should all be professional 21st century learners. And we did find time to enjoy the radio show today!
This is a collaborative research effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education. In the effort that ran from September through October 2013, the carefully selected group of 38 experts who contributed to this report considered hundreds of relevant articles, news, blog posts, research, and project examples as part of the preparation that ultimately pinpointed the most notable emerging technology topics, trends, and challenges for Norwegian schools over the next five years. This report informs education leaders about significant developments in technologies supporting primary and secondary education Norway. Twelve emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving educators and key stakeholders a valuable guide for strategic technology planning for Norwegian schools. Source: NMC Horizon project.
Implications for school leaders
Having had the honor of participating in this work I have had time to speculate in what trends we will be seeing in our schools five years from now. And as usual I’m probably much too impatient. But I think the report could be a way to start some interesting conversations in our schools And some of the questions I have are: How many schools are prepared for what the report predicts will happen in the next year? I know many counties have started with BYOD already. In Akershus this is our first year, and it seems to be working well. Where we need to see a change is probably in the use of “Cloud computing”,” flipped classroom” and” Social media” to connect and to learn. If you could predict the future, where is your school one year from now?
Comparison of “Final 12” Topics Across
October 2013 kicks off the Connected Educator month in the USA!
The U.S. Department of Education’s second annual Connected Educator Month kicks off this October and will have events to plug into year round. The Connected Educators initiative’s mission is to help educators thrive in a connected world. The question is how to get more teachers connected since those who already are connected are the once most likely to read about this initiative. Be sure to follow the hashtag #ce13
More and more we hear about digital divides. Many assume it means the difference between old teachers and young, affluent families and poor, quality schools and schools that perform poorly. Whatever the cause is, it is our responsibility to make sure that all our teachers are connected and that all our students are too. One of the benefits from being a Connected Educator is that you can help your learners become Connected Learners as well. I spend a lot of time with my students talking about how to connect and how much we can learn from others. It is important is that you practice as you preach. You can’t assume your students will acquire 21st century skills and be connected if you are not. You have to lead by example!
Taking it global
Last year we wrote the book Connected Learners and this year we traveled all the way to Lesotho, South Africa to help our friends with technology and to show the students how to write their own blogs. Since we were there last year they have been able to upgrade their computer lab with 8 computers on a Windows 8 server, in addition to the 15 laptops we have brought over. They are really practicing BYOD, with 3 different operating systems. Windows XP, Windows 8 and Umbuntu! That is a true challenge especially since they have a poor internet connection. Our advice was to writhe the blog posts in Word first and then copy them over to the blog We choose to use Edublogs.org since they do not require an email address.
Expand your network
Remember this month, Connected Educator Month, to connect globally! This in an initiative from the US government. But to be a Connected Educator you need to remember this. Follow educators in other countries. Follow people who do not always have the same ideas as you, and help students in other countries, struggling to connect! Get started!
Blogs by Lesotho students please comment!
Who will you make peace with?
In August we received the following message:
Dear Ann, You recently showed interest in Peace One Day’s Skype in the Classroom project. This is an opportunity for groups of students to Skype with Nic Frances Gilley, our education ambassador, to learn about Jeremy’s journey to establish an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date.
This week our class will be Skyping with Peace One Day and we are looking forward to it. To prepare for the Skype conversation will will be looking into the material provided on their webpage and prepare questions for the interview. After the Skype talk we will be posting the result on our blogs!
Who is Jeremy Gilley? Write a paragraph about his background.
- Watch this 5 minute introduction and write notes, see techniques here.
- In pairs compare notes and discuss the video
- Watch the documentary below and make 5 questions to Jeremy Gilley
- In pairs compare your questions and decide on 2 questions you could ask
- After Skype meeting write a post on your blog and answer the famous question: “What did I learn in school today!”
- Follow PeaceOneDay on Twitter and make sure to send a link with your new post and include their Twitter handle. https://twitter.com/PeaceOneDay