Sunday, April 5, 2009

Radioactivity- Kraftwerk

This video is from the German band Kraftwerk. They've been around for a long time. I used to dance to this song in clubs in NYC when I was in college. The video is new, the message (song) still urgent. The video is from a January 8,2007 concert.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Connection

Just got back from the Earcos teachers conference held in KK, Borneo. The theme of the conference was; Our Global Impact My Responsibility, Service, Stewardship and Sustainability.

I started to feel uncomfortable about this conference when I found out that it was going to take 4 flights in total to get to this beautiful island paradise. At the time I didn't connect sustainability and the fact that the cost to stay in the beautiful 5 star resort for 4 night would pay my mae ban's salary for 2 months.

My roommate and I both felt distressed and I felt like I had made decisions about the conference without much thought. We decided to take action. We approached the gentleman who was in charge of the conference at the Thursday night cocktail hour and made a request. We asked if we could address the teachers the next morning before the keynote speaker and invite others to join us in a dialogue to look at ways to offset our carbon footprint at the conference and at future conferences. He said yes. The next  morning we ended up meeting with about ten other interested teachers and we came up with some great ideas like, providing teachers with community service opportunities before, during or after the conference, having a vegetarian day during the conference, having a way to offset our carbon footprint based on the air travel to get to the conference available to us at the conference. If you traveled on Malaysia Airlines  you can click on the link to find out how to offset your carbon emissions due to your flight.  We will organize a way for our fellow concerned colleagues to communicate and continue to work on ways to make conferences 'more green'.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Island:The Collapse of a Society

Easter Island: The Collapse of a Society

"This video was created by the AS IFS group of the International School of Tainjin to Illustrate what can happen when a society overuses its' resource's. Please use this video to educate others and get animated and join the AS IFS."
 I saw these students present their videos at the Global Issues Network conference in Bangkok on March 20. Please take the time to watch this video. It is very powerful!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twittering and my digital footprint

On Friday afternoon, while at the GIN conference, a fellow 20 -something year old teacher turned to me , after a particularly good workshop session, to say that she really felt the urge to twitter. I smiled at her. I realized that she was talking about doing something on her computer. I remembered hearing the term twitter in class but couldn't quite remember what twitter was about. From the context of our situation I assumed that she meant online chatting. I tucked the twitter encounter in the back of my head and decided that I would have to investigate twittering in the future.

To learn more about twitter go to

On Saturday, after attending the GIN conference, I decided that I really wanted to hear what other people were thinking about the conference so I did a google search. I found Dennis Harter's comments on his twitter. This was just too coincidental. I decided to go to the twitter website and sign up. I thought about how this would affect my digital footprint. Since I joined up for our tech classes my footprint has increased dramatically. Now when I google myself I get three pages of results when previously I has about three posts in total. I thought about what Silvia said. Maybe increasing my digital footprint is a good thing. I am out there and connect with the world on the web!

When I signed up for Twitter I was asked to fill out the typical information one is asked when joining a social networking site. This time when I was asked to type in my e-mail account and password. I thought, I don't want Twitter to go through my e-mail. I'll just give them a fake password. My strategy didn't work. No password no Twitter. Then I was asked to set up a user name. Again I paused. Is this the kind of tool where I want people to know who I am or should I assume an alias? Should I set up a special e-mail account that I use only for the specific purposed of registering to join networks? What's a person to do?

Global Issues Network Conference ISB Bangkok 2009

I have the privilege of being able to attend the GIN conference this weekend. The presentations and keynotes have been inspiring. Friday's opening keynote speaker was John D. Liu We learned that environmental degradation can be reversed as illustrated by the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation project that was started in 1995.

The afternoon's Keynote speaker was 17 year old Ryan Hrelijac
Ryan was inspired to start building well's when he was 6 years old. He build his first well in 1999 in Uganda. His foundation has built 441 wells in 16 developing nations. 

Saturday morning we heard Dr. Mechai Viravaidya He is affectionately known as Mr. Condom and his chain of restaurants and resorts in Thailand called cabbages and condoms provide good food and you bill will come will a condom in place of the traditional mint. Dr. Mechai has worked on zero population growth initiatives, HIV/AIDS education and now the 'Village development partnership model;sustainability through community empowerment and the village development bank." He says ' We should be moving away from the welfare approach;business is the only way out of poverty.'

Natasha Yogachandra, an 11th grade student at Rumrudee  started The hope is life foundation She has built libraries and schools in several countries in Africa and Asia.

Lek Chailert is an animal rights activist. Her passion is elephants and she advocates for the rights and welfare of elephants in Thailand. She told us to contact The Lonely Planet and other travel guides that suggest that tourists visit local attractions that exploit animals. We should ask these guide books to take a more socially conscious position and stop guiding people to venues where animals are not treated humanely.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Adopting and adapting

I read Marc's article with interest as he mentions that one to one computing schools are the way to go and next year I will be at a one to one school. This has made me feel that my students and I had better be using our computers in a meaningful way to extend learning and I'm still working on figuring out what that is going to look like. I guess I will need to consult my students and use them as my teachers since they are the digital natives and I'm the nomad in the technology arena. I realize I'm still at that stage, like when you are learning a language and you still translate everything back into English (in my case) to understand and I'm aiming towards understanding in the language of study. To be a little more clear, what I'm saying is now I learn about a technology tool and think how can I use that in class versus seeing technology tools as an integral part of learning and not something that is just added in. Does that make any sense?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Apple Saturday

I spent my Saturday at the Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok attending the Apple Think Ahead Roadshow.  We were invited to learn about some Mac tools that could be used in the classroom.  If one of the purposes of the day was to get us to covet the ipod touch then Apple had a good marketing strategy. Thank god the touch wasn't on sale at the hotel or I think I would now be the proud owner of one. 24 hours later, I covet the touch still but it no longer seems like a necessity. Adrian Lim, one of the hosts, told us a story of how just a regular guy developed an application that would allow you to turn your touch into a flute. Apparently the guy became a millionaire by selling the application on line for $1  a download. We also learned that the most recent iphoto application has face recognition abilities do if you type in the name of a loved one every photo of that person will be pulled up from your library. Next, if you have a digital camera with a built in GPS- I bet you didn't know that newer cameras have this feature- iphoto will be able to sort your photos by location. Nifty or unnecessary?

I didn't read my agenda very carefully because it wasn't until I was nearly at the hotel that I realized that Kim was one of the presenters. She did a great job! We learned how to use Garage Band to put together a podcast. In the morning session we learned how to combine still images and video clips to make a short (2 minute) movie using imovie.

We were treated to a delicious lunch. Apple is holding a three day workshop in Hong Kong in April. The workshop is free you just need to get yourself to Hong Kong. I want to go.

My original plan was to stay for the morning and leave before lunch. I'm glad I stayed for the whole day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Connectivism the new constructivism?

I understand that the students we teach today may have jobs that have not even been invented yet and they they will probably change careers several times in their lifetime and that as educators we need to provide them with the tools to be successful in jobs that may be beyond our imagination. 

However, what if the future looks more like "Soylent Green" and less like "2001 A Space Odyssey"? 

I think about Indigenous people in various parts of the world who have incredible knowledge of the natural world and how that knowledge is passed down from generation to generation-the old fashion social learning network.

I think about the 'useless bits of information' that I had to learn in college a quarter century ago that I can still pull out of my head and that on occasion do serve me well.

I was reading Chrissy's blog about putting all her eggs in one technology basket and wonder what WOULD happen if the world had to be internet free for a day or a week or a lot longer? 

I guess since I entered adulthood in a pre- internet world I would attest that learning can and does take place off line and maybe, I would argue, in a more visceral way. I will never forget the first time that I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It had to be at least 20 years ago and I remember waiting on line to see it and being surprised at how small it was and being distracted because the painting was under glass and there was glare on the glass. It was summer and there were a lot of tourists and I remember looking at the other people who were sharing this experience with me. Is this just me sharing a memory or is this an example of me constructing my own knowledge? Was this a pre-web 2.0 social network?

I'm trying hard to be open minded and excited about using social networking as a positive and powerful tool to help students construct or if you insist connect to form knowledge. I do see the power of making sense of new information with others- I have read several of my colleagues blogs on this article-thanks Harvey, Vu, Teresa to name a few. This has helped me in my thinking about the reading so I guess there is something to be said about connectivism.

I would just hate to think that those who do have the opportunity to see the Mona Lisa face to face would choose not to because it would be easier to do a google search and pull up an image. 

World without walls...

This article provided me with a lot to think about. Some quotes that resonated for me are ;"We must find our own teachers, and they must find us".  " We need to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second". I guess I'm trying to figure out how to be an effective connector."More than learning content, the emphasis is on using social networking tools to teach global collaboration and communication, allowing students to create their own networks in the process". I hope that if we are communicating with people from around the world then we will think more about global issues as being our issues. 

However, what I find disconcerting is that if you think about the number of people NOT connected through social networking,if the world were a village of 100 people only 1 would have a computer, then does this method of educating ourselves and our students continue to exclude the majority of the world's inhabitants? 

I agree that in our current world  thinking critically, being skillful at sifting though all the info out there to focus on the 'good stuff' is essential. After all content is just a google search away. I guess I can accept that since it's not humanly possible to sift through all the info on the web  alone we need to rely on our social network to help with this herculean task. We need to be discerning about who our social network consists of, another herculean task. 

 I'm pleased to see the human elements of nurturing relationships, negotiation, communication, planning and healthy balance between screen time and face to face time are considered essential.

Why AM I taking this class??

I'm not taking this class for credit. I'm not taking this class because I am a techie or plan to become one soon. I'm taking this class because when I read articles like Engage Me or Enrage Me I realize that I have a lot to learn in order to catch up (is it possible?) and then keep up (impossible?) with  technology that  is changing my life in the classroom and outside of the classroom.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chris Betcher's Presentation

Good practical information. I learned some good strategies for doing a google search. The hoax websites were interesting and could be a good teaching tool for getting students to evaluate websites- a valuable tool. I enjoyed learning more about wikipedia and how to follow the history of how an entry is constructed. Interesting discussion about the reliability of wikipedia.

Comments on Clarence's presentation

This morning before class I went to my classroom to pull out some papers to photocopy for Monday's class. After Clarence's presentation I'll put those papers away and post the task on the class wiki. Kids will plan their rice negotiations on the wiki and do their reflections on the wiki. Kids will comment on each others reflections- Much better than paper and pencil. However, will the internet be working on Monday??? Will the wiki cooperate??? Do  I remember how to embed a video on the wiki? We will need to have a plan B just in case technology doesn't work for us.

I want my students to be 'hubs'. I agree with Clarence that students need to understand that there is a big world out there and that students need to develop a global perspective. Technology can be the tool to allow that to happen.

I'm excited about having kids read current info about the environment, innovations- good and bad in science, technology. 

 Some questions- How do you sort through all the info to get the best , most accurate, reader appropriate stuff? This seems like it could potentially take A LOT of time to manage and just read all the info that could come my way. How do I keep up with all of this? I've heard of delicious and twitter. However, what are these 'tools' and what is the potential of these tools? I realize that teaching kids how to access relevant info is the key. The content that we teach today may very well be totally irrelevant  in 5 years but the skills to access, sort and evaluate info are the way to go. I know I need to 'be present in the network' to facilitate kids learning with technology and being active, productive participants in the social learning network. However, I have so much to learn to get up to speed and then I worry about keeping up with the speed at which technology is changing.