25 posts categorized "September 2007"

September 30, 2007

Digital Holidaymakers

Deserted_beach Jings, I wish I had come up with this one. "Digital Holidaymakers".

AB reports on Maggie Irving's addition to Prensky's rather tired and simplistic notion of "digital immigrants" and "digital natives", the 'them and us' that has offered the lazy, the ignorant and the technophobe a way out of just past the technology (I have some sympathy for the latter, a good website for the second and no time for the former).

Digital Holidaymakers are that third group we all know:

What does she mean by digital holidaymakers? Quite simply, they aren’t trying to emigrate anywhere. They are quite happy where they are. Worse still, when on digital holiday, they’ll try the new customs, quite happily go through the process and then at the end of their time in ‘digital land’, go back home to their own comfortable customs - they way they do things quite satisfactorily already.

How do we turn Holidaymakers into Emigrants?
To get them out of this never-ending circle of trying, shelving and carrying on regardless Andrew's suggestions are spot on. Yes, we need permission to experiment (and fail) and yes we need to raise expectations that there is more to life than text (try a well-crafted podcast or a short video to get your point across quicker).

But I would also argue that we need to start looking at every national project, initiative, curriculum design project and learning experiment having its own new technologies specialist on the team, right from the start. Formative assessment without technology is good, but with a learning blog or online portfolio gains so much more educational traction. A cross-curricular project as part of Curriculum for Excellence work is great, but with technology actually stands a chance of becoming more than yet another short-term project.

Just as the photo of the holidaymakers' idyll would suggest, the ideal holiday of deserted palm beaches seems OK now, but it gets boring after a couple of weeks, so we shelf it, and get back to doing things the way we always did. The change we experience for two weeks on holiday is something we enjoy - we go back every year and do it again - but we still don't work out that we could change the way we live our 'real lives' to reflect what we enjoyed on the holiday.

While Learning and Teaching Scotland has an admirable new technologies staff, there are only a very small number of us. New Zealand has a smaller population than Scotland, but a team of 36 dedicated to new technologies and curriculum alone. Glow, the national intranet, has attracted a wide range of interested groups across the country, groups with expertise and a desire to see the most effective use of technology in the classroom. They could provide an incredibly powerful momentum for change in curriculum, but it would be a mistake to think this will happen naturally.

Somewhere along the line, there needs to be more alignment, perhaps, between the new technologies people (we tend to be met with "teachers won't use that, it's too new, it's too complicated", before the tool tips a year or two down the road), the mainstream technologies people (I would count Glow in this) and the curriculum development people. Maybe it's not just alignment, but integration. If we don't then we can expect some things to happen:

Star_alliance I don't think we're necessarily the "digital travel agents" that Maggie and AB think we are, but maybe we need to join forces in our own Star Alliance. In the airline industry I wouldn't like one group of the aeroplane to come to the party last of all: the designers make my trip enjoyable, the engineers make it feasible, the pilots make it possible and the hospitality people make it bearable. If any one of these groups is not involved in the making and continued running of the craft, in equal order, then the aircraft is no longer attractive. The Star Alliance group together these talents every day to make sure that everyone has the most comfortable, enjoyable, up-to-date, modern, technologically advanced, safe and on-time journey possible.

I'd like see more of a Star Alliance in Scottish education, why not global education, to make sure that everyone has the most comfortable, enjoyable, up-to-date, modern, technologically advanced, safe and on-time educational journey possible.

Star Alliance

This week I'll be mostly... in New Zealand

Auckland_at_night I'm quite glad I don't have to commute here every week. The 27 hour flight over via LA (and the 28 hours back over China, Mongolia and Russia) make this Auckland jaunt quite a trip, especially with a six week old babe to keep me company, but it's setting up to be an amazing couple of weeks in New Zealand.

This week I'll be keynoting the ULearn07 conference in Auckland's Sky City, as well as doing a day-long pre-conference live web workshop and a couple of sessions on Thursday afternoon at the conference itself. I'll be blogging all the notes for these sessions as they happen, including a special set of notes for Foreign Languages teachers.

Next week, I'll be working with teachers and people from CORE, the education not-for-profit people here, in Hamilton and Christchurch, to find out what makes New Zealand education tick, see what we could learn from this beautiful country, share some of our work in Scotland and, above all, create some links that will last us into the future.

Six Degrees of Separation?

I can't express how grateful we are for the support of CORE, for getting us here in one piece and taking so much care of us. I hope that I can give enough back to the educators of New Zealand to make it all worthwhile. I guess that's what the bloggers' café and my own digital native are for ;-) Interesting point number one: many of the people who founded CORE were also joint founders, with Stephen Heppell, of Ultralab. Interesting point number two: an enthusiasm for sailing is the thing that brought these education innovators together in the first place.

Keeping in touch
This fortnight you can follow my take on ULearn07 and New Zealand education here on edu.blogs.com, by learning how to subscribe for free to the blog or regularly flicking over to the ULearn07 category on the blog.

I'm going to be doing something different for Learning and Teaching Scotland's Connected Live, writing up some posts with more of a comparison angle, between Scotland and New Zealand's education opportunities and futures, and publishing some video and audio from my experiences here.

I'd also be keen to recruit some guest authors from New Zealand for our NZ Season on Connected Live.
If you've never blogged before, or just want to write the odd post with your perspective, please drop me a line.

If you want to hook up with me while I'm in Auckland, feel free to leave a message at reception of Sky City Hotel, or catch me in the Bloggers' Café, at the CORE Education stand (next door to the Bloggers' Café) or at the RED-Apple Stand.

In the meantime, although this post looks like it was posted on Sunday night, it's actually breakfast time on Monday morning, and that's where I'm off now. I quite fancy one more of these.

Update: Just seen my paranoid mother's fantastic use of technology to follow our flying in real time - I was fascinated by Air New Zealand's Google Maps rendition of our journey in real time, and now you can do it, too!

Pic: Starry Night by PussPaw

September 27, 2007

Berkshire: beautiful and baltic

Doing some work today down in Berkshire (or up from London, mind) with a bunch of modern languages teachers. More notes here to follow.

September 26, 2007

Connected Live sums up the Festival

Connected_live_blog I've been finding LTS's new web project, Connected Live, quite a challenge to help bring together, but its coverage of the Scottish Learning Festival both last week and now is second-to-none, thanks to the wide range of interesting folk writing for the main blog, the Tartan Podcaster's superb mini podcasts, and some great captures from the film crew.

I've just written a mega summing up of all things Stephen Heppell, covering all the keynote videos, filmed interviews and blog posts about perhaps one of the most inspiring honorary Scots I've heard speak (he only ever seems to say nice things about us; that makes him a Scot in my book :-)

Coming over the next week there will be more podcasts from Mark, interviews with fascinating kids and teachers at the Festival, and the Learning Festival mini documentaries will start appearing soon.

Connlive_2ndlife I'm also hoping to host a series of discussions on the keynote speeches from the Festival in Second Life, once people have had a chance to visit our Connected Live Virtual Conference Hall and have a look and a listen (you may wish to view them online instead). A (very) few of us met there the other night and had a wonder. A few others turned up late to the party and felt a bit alone.

How do you keep on top of all this cool stuff?
There are a few ways (aren't there always?) of keeping all this stuff on the top of your list of professional development. the main thing to remember, and something I'm really keen to have marketed a bit better by us (note to self), is that nothing we publish takes more than five minutes to read, view or listen to. It's snack-sized portions of professional development for the teacher that really doesn't have the time but does have the desire to learn.

Soon you'll be able to have text messages or RSS to your phone, with all the latest from Scotland's national education agency and hundreds of Scotland's schools.

We've had loads of positive feedback, and a few people saying they want more 'hefty' CPD. Is snack-sized the way to go? Well, we'll still be putting loads of full sessions out on audio podcast and carrying out plenty of video shoots with interesting teachers and classes around Scotland.

Hefty CPD can live on, but fun-sized has just entered the market.

We can't teach the new literacies soon enough

Tennis_stars_official Cross-posted at ConnectedLive.

This morning's news reports tell us enough is enough. If a pair of Britain's young sporting hopefuls can lose all their funding in one fell swoop after doing what millions of other kids do on a daily basis, then what are the consequences for our kids when they reach the world of 'professionalism' too?

Tennis_stars_bebo The story is this: two young tennis stars lose their funding after posting pictures and confessions on Bebo, the social networking site, that show them lauding a "lifestyle" (well, probably the odd weekend) of drink, partying and eating junk food. Welcome to the average world of the average UK teenager (although I'm sure plenty of readers of this blog may wish to disagree in relation to their own kids; you can, that's allowed, but I've taught enough to know that this story is far more frequently true than most adults care to believe).

Mind your language
Before you say it: it's not the fault of Bebo. Or Facebook. Or any of the other social neworks that our teenagers are using. It's the fault of... us. The whole village. A couple of things that these kids clearly did not know:

  • Public profile means public: searchable, findable, befriendable;
  • Google Cache = People Cache: if it was ever public, ever, then it stays public, forever in the Internet Archive. When you want to publish a picture from a drunken night out immediately compare it to the thing that means the most to you later in life. Would I want my kids to see me like this? When I'm a consultant doctor, politician, priest, building contractor going for a job, would I want the clients to see that?
  • Who's a Friend these days? It's hard to know, and how often do you update the status of Contacts, Friends, and Top 8s?
  • Your profession will start sooner than you think: these kids were 17 and 18, and have just lost everything they had. As the lotto slogan used to go, It Could Be You.

Social networks aren't bad, in the same way as a car isn't a bad thing. But if you don't know how to drive them then you're sure to have an accident one day, and you might well bring others down with you.

What's your Local Authority, Administration or school doing to prevent this happening next week to your students?

September 24, 2007

Scottish Learning Festival discussion in Second Life

Connlive_2ndlife After a really hectic week at the Scottish Learning Festival, C4 In The Wild and TeachMeet07, and having had barely a chance to catch up over the weekend, it's with some trepidation that I enter tonight into Second Life to host a quick general discussion around the event. If you missed the F2F event and want to find out what people thought were the hits and misses, this is the place to come.

Head over to the SLF07 Island at 7pm British Summer Time tonight (late afternoon in North America East, lunchtime on the West, early morning in New Zealand and Australasia) for a 30 minute banter about what the highlights were for you. Later this month we'll start hosting regular, pre-planned discussions on more precise elements of the Festival, based on some of the video and audio coverage we'll post in world.

To join in just download Second Life for free to your computer and use this weblink to find the action.

In the meantime, you can catch up with the continuing Festival coverage, with videos, podcasts and blog posts, over the next few weeks on Connected Live.

September 20, 2007

If you were wondering where I had gone...

I'm having far too much fun blogging, reading, watching and listening about the Scottish Learning Festival over on Connected Live. Want to join me?

September 19, 2007

The day the Bebo Boomers saved school

Comment is free story on Bebo
Originally uploaded by Edublogger
I've written a piece on how UK teens' social network of choice, Bebo, helped Edinburgh kids save their schools last month. You can read it on the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog.

Please do leave a comment - do you think that the story gives to much importance to the kids' actions on the social networking site?

Jings - running out of time!!!!

Just wanting to show the power of the blog, and instant publishing.

September 18, 2007

What it takes to keep an online conference going

Packing up
Originally uploaded by Edublogger
When you're not just speaking at a conference but helping maintain a new website that aims to bring all the social media coverage together, you end up needing a heck of a lot of kit to make it all happen.

When I laid it all out on my bed this morning I wasn't so sure it would fit into the Crumpler, but it all did. You can click the photo and see the notes of what exactly all this gubbins is. There was even room in the suitcase for a choice of clothes over the Learning Festival. A rare luxury indeed.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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