Sunday, 28 October 2007

Pangea Day - The Power of film to unit people and strengthen understanding

I've written about Pangea Day before, the wish of Jehane Noujaim to tap into the power of film in order to strengthen understanding and compassion among people.

The project is gaining momentum as we move towards Pangea Day which will be celebrated around the world on the 10 May, 2008. The website with details has been recently updated and is well worth a look at .

This project highlights yet another way that technology has been used and will be used to destroy borders. This time the borders are not just the physical borders of cinema complexes, not even the borders of countries. This time the borders being overcome are the those placed on us by the media. Technology has allowed the general population access to the power of film --- most mobile phones these days come complete with their own inbuilt video camera allowing the bearer the ability to create their own narrative, to recount events in their life as they happen and then share these with whoever they please.

Can this be a concept we can use to empower our students and give them a voice?

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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

K12 Online Conference 2007 - Inventing new Boundaries

The pre conference key note for the k12 Online Conference 2007 is now available to listen to. The title of the keynote is "Inventing New Boundaries" given by David Warlick

It is an exciting time for educators and students - boundaries and borders are coming down. We are in a position to have some control over shaping what the schools of the future will look like.

The traditional boundaries of fences and text books, even the notion of the classroom are being challenged. David asks educators and students to be resourceful, creative and imaginative when creating new boundaries - new boundaries that are necessary in order to create the 'traction' required so as to allow us to move forward.

His themes are very much linked to my post yesterday and I consider him one of my Yodas.

This keynote is definitely well worth a listen --> "Inventing New Boundaries" given by David Warlick

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Monday, 8 October 2007

New Imagery for School and Schooling: Challenging, Creating and Connecting

imagery for schools and schooling
is the title given to the upcoming ACEL conference in Sydney.

The title of this conference has raised some questions in my mind over definitions and the power that these definitions have in being impediments for change. Let me explain.

By defining a school as such, to most, this implies physical boundaries, bricks and mortar, institutions, schools bounded by fences, teachers in classroom and students at desks. If we do not radically change our perceptions of this definition schools will remained stagnant, modelled on the factories and line workers of the industrial revolution. The world has changed, schools and more precisely education needs to imitate this reality. If we don't we will have a system that will inadequately prepare students for the future. The YouTube video below highlights this.

The subtitle Challenging, Creating and Connecting is the essence of education in 2007 and beyond. Those very elements are the terms that define Classroom 2.0. No borders!

The conference has some world renowned speakers ready to impart their understandings and predictions for the future of schooling. Wish I was there!

Maybe if this conference is truly challenging, creating and connecting the organisers may consider podcasting the keynotes for those of us who can't attend but would have loved to?

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Saturday, 6 October 2007

Off Topic ... or is it: The War Tapes

Another TED talk, this one is by Carolyn Porco (filmmaker
of The War Tapes) .…
. The project involved giving soldiers in the national guard a camera and
filming from the front line for a year. Powerful stuff.

Liberation I guess is a matter of perspective!

Is this off topic? The blog name after all is 'ICT integration in the classroom'. Well I would argue that it isn't off topic. The War Tapes film is just one example that the actual ICT tools have moved into insignificance. I didn't watch this film thinking I wonder what camera they used? I wonder how they edited the film? What font did they use? All of that faded into insignificance as I was moved by the content and the emotions that this film evoked. It was substance not the technicalities of construction that mattered.

Bringing it back to classroom ... it's the thinking and the literacy that count. Consider the skills you used when watching this film, whether you are pro the war in Iraq or against it.

The development of ICTs has made the dissemination of a message no longer bound by the 'media' but has placed the power into the hands of the people. The Net has provided the platform for discussion and debate. Allowing us to question truth and perspectives.

What do you think?

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Fly me to the moons of Saturn ... let's get over IT

I've recently been listening to TED. From their website ...

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It
started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from
those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader."

They hold an annual conference that brings together some of the most inspiring thinkers and doers of the world. They are asked to give 18minute talks about their lives and passions.

Their most recently released talk is by Carolyn Porco. The title of her talk "Fly me to the moons of Saturn" . This the ultimate result of what our teaching and learning is all about.

The talk is inspiring in itself ... but it made me think. It made me think about the careers and jobs of the future. What are we preparing our students for. If we don't embrace ICTs as tools are we really giving our students the best chances of succeeding ... allowing them to reach for their moons, exploring worlds not yet detected.

This sort of science didn't happen because of conformist thinking, I suggest it happened because of divergent thinking. Thinking outside the norms. Taking chances and being creative. I really believe our focus should shift from integrating ICTs to pedagogy.

Let's get over it ... the tools are there ... lets just get on with the job and use them. Let's focus on the teaching. Let's focus on getting our students up the ladder of higher order thinking. They already know the technology and if they don't they'll get it quicker than the immigrants!! Let's give them access and let them loose with solid pedagogy.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Teens make a difference in a virtual world

Even Unicef has embraced the virtual world and has used it to provide a meeting place or forum for the teens of the world. Teens came together in a special under 18s space in Second life to discuss their concerns about the future.

They have used their avatars to meet and converse just as in a conference that would have been organised in the physical world, although in this instance they are not bounded by physical boundaries.

A meeting like this a number of years ago would not have been possible. The expense alone would have prevented many from attending. Is this another positive consequence of the flat world, as coined by Thomas Friedman.

You can view the website and some video info at this link ...

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