My first blog post from NECC! I’m checking out a much more intimate session with Jim & Mali (friends & this morning’s keynotes), as well as Julie Lindsay and a few others, on transforming education with global perspective.
Julie Lindsay/Qatar Academy: Co-founder of the Flat Classroom project, totally worth checking out. Giving some great background on IB and the education system in Qatar, a country that has always fascinated with me. Love getting a chance to get a glimpse of a country that knows its traditional resource base/source of wealth won’t last forever and is actually trying to do something about it. And the massive wealth makes the process quite an interesting exercise–not every day you get the chance to reinvent yourself and have the resources to actually make it happen. (Wifi in the park… love it).
Education City is interesting… the connection between Julie’s comments about moving from colonialism to a knowledge society while building a city that seems to be filled with American universities and a focus on getting “an American education” is… well, I need to find out more. The point about giving girls the option of an American education (since going abroad is not an option in most cases) is a good one. No time for a whole lot of depth, but there should be some good info posted at her pbwiki
Next speaker, didn’t catch name: works in Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, and UAE, for Michigan State… this should be interesting. First American U to open a full campus in Dubai… he runs a great program in Ed Tech (oh, maybe I should check that out ). Interesting that his initial outreach internationally wasn’t met with happy smiles. Despite that, it seems to have grown into a pretty big program pretty quickly… who knows how this will transition to Jim & Mali’s work.
Sounds a lot like the challenges he’s presenting as challenges of ed tech in the ‘developing’ world are actually universal. Especially if you’re somehow lumping UAE into the ‘developing’ category. And… he’s out of time.
Trudy Sweeney: emerging technology in Australia. New PM is ramping up computers in students’ hands. Ooooh, flash-based learning objects. Not loving any of this so far… Oh but now she’s moving on to talking about blogs, and making some good points about teacher understanding. She’s talking about points very similar, if somewhat less eloquent, to those of Peter Levine in Civic Life Online (PDF of his chapter, and [shameless plug] check out mine[/shameless plug] in the same book ) about ‘the audience problem’ for user-generated content in the classroom setting, giving the long-tail, etc etc etc.
Talk about ethics (which usually refers to IP/copyright) around here is always interesting/troubling because it’s so often set in the ‘this is the law (or my understanding of it), and this is what we have to follow to be ethical’, rather than questioning whether the various laws around IP around the world actually reflect our shared sense of ethics when it comes to using/sharing/remixing our own and other peoples’ work. Random sidebar in my head, not really the focus of this session, but I would like to see a more active discussion in fora like this about copyright in the 21st century, especially since countries (like Canada) are in the middle of setting the tone for the topic for at least the next couple of decades… oh, she just compared Ning to Moodle. Seems like apples and oranges to me, but I guess I’m biased/way-too-focused/way-too-involved in this space
Jim & Mali, iEARN Canada, SCSDB: Really good points that the technology is a mean, not an end. I’d like to say it’s nothing revolutionary, but so many people just don’t get it. Interesting point (that even fewer people get) is that standards are more of a mean than an end as well… I’d love to see some kind of research from their point this morning about whether or not the projects they do drive student interest in current issues, and whether that’s limited to the topics they’re covering, or whether they’re developing really well-rounded global citizens. Great to see that they have been able to offer the kind of data administrators like to see (test scores (no comment about the merits of that), engagement).
Questions from the audience: Great TIG plug Mali ‘Go talk to the guy in the red shirt, booth 4053!’… I love it. Next question is a bit more interesting, about the network lockdown issue, about the balance between security and collaboration. Julie makes the excellent point that digital citizenship/media literacy is the key, not solely filtering. “Web 2.0″ access is vital for creating engaging learning experiences online today–back to Jim’s point this morning about “Lord of the e-Flies”… if we block and don’t educate, where are kids getting the info/learning about some of the issues surrounding ip/safety/etc/etc of the social web? (plus: kids know how to beat filters)
Battery dying–time to post!