Category Archives: Globalization

Flat Classroom Conference 2009

Via Julie Lindsay comes this info about the Flat Classroom Conference:

Flat Classroom Conference: Leadership Workshop and Student Summit 2009

Press release
August 29, 2008 – Doha, Qatar – Flat Classroom Project co-founders Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis in conjunction with Qatar Academy and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) announce the first Flat Classroom Leadership Workshop and Student Summit to be held January 24-26, 2009 at Qatar Academy in Doha.
Visit our website for more details:

Should be a good one.

Image Credit: Flat Classroom Logo,

APEC Cyber Academy 2008 Contest!!

I am still involved in the APEC Cyber Academy project, and it is time for another round of the International Online Contest. We have designed lots of new content, including a module on online safety and online etiquette that all students need to pass before being able to participate in the learning modules. The specifics are described below. We are especially looking for teams from North America and Europe, and hope that you will join us!

APEC Cyber Academy &
APEC International Online Contest

February 17, 2008 ~ April 19, 2008

APEC Cyber Academy (ACA, is an international networked learning environment designed specifically for K-12 students. The primary goal of ACA is to provide learner-centric, collaborative, ICT, and international learning experiences to K-12 students and teachers around the world. Launched in 2002, ACA is currently hosted by the APEC Digital Content Production Center (APEC CPC) under auspices of APEC/EDNET and the Ministry of Education of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). With its outstanding networked learning environment and high quality digital content, ACA has already attracted many international users. As of April 2007, ACA has over 15,000 registered learners from various corners of the world.

ACA hosts an annual, international, online contest. The nine-week event for 2008 will start on February 17 and end on April 19. The contest is composed of three programs: the International Networked Collaborative Learning Program (NCLP), the International Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cyber Camp, and the International Journalists. The first two programs, NCLP and ICT Cyber Camp, are associated with team projects and will only accept group entries. In contrast, International Journalists pertains to personal efforts and accepts individual entries only.

For more details about the online contest programs, please visit the APEC Cyber Academy at or e-mail:

International Networked Collaborative Learning Program

There are eight independent learning projects in the networked collaborative learning program: (a) Money: Currency, Purchasing Power and Investment, (b) Mallrats, (c) Food Pyramid and Food Labels, (d) Bacteria, Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance, (e) A Day in Our School, (f) Newspapers, (g) Holidays and Vacations, and (h) Weather and Natural Disasters. To participate in one of these projects, students need to form teams of 5 to 20, take part in weekly learning activities, complete assignments collaboratively, and communicate with their distant learning partners through ACA’s communication tools.


International ICT Cyber Camp

This virtual camping program focuses on learning both ICT and problem-solving skills. Participants need to form teams of 4 students for entering the cyber camp. The ICT Cyber Camp is composed of a sequence of four learning modules, which are Game Tent, Expo, iHunter, and Camp Fire Party. The program is designed with advanced and interactive technologies such as games and 3D virtual learning worlds.


International Journalists

Students are welcome to play the role of local correspondents for their classes or schools. After being authorized as a residential journalist by ACA, the qualified journalists are encouraged to try their best with digital storytelling, using technology to tell stories about their local communities respectively.


For the Networked Collaborative Learning Program and ICT Cyber Camp, the performance of each team will be evaluated based on an evaluation rubric (see Rubric handout). The winning teams will be awarded a group certificate of merit from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

The performance of journalists will be evaluated based on its own program rubric. The winning journalists will be awarded a certificate of merit from the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.

And finally…

ACA will host an awards gala and conference for the contest participants in Taiwan around October, 2008. Selected winning teams will be invited to attend the event. Traveling cost will be covered by Ministry of Education for invited overseas team representatives.

Image Credits: APEC (

NCSS San Diego, Saturday Session on Global Distributed Learning Tools

Global Schoolnet Foundation presentation

Global School Net provides online tools for collaborative learning. It partners with schools, businesses, univeristies, communities to provide online collaborative learning experiences. We can’t learn what we need to know by ourselves anymore, we need to tap in to larger networks: collective learning, collective sharing, online (a la Wikinomics, how mass collaboration changes everything (Tapscott).

Online Collaborative Learning (OCL):

  • creating an online shared learning community around a topic of study and a common goal.

  • creates a situation in which students share aspects of theire learning with a remote audience

  • sometimes called networked project-based learning, pbl….

  • incorporates constructivist aspects: production of artifacts; learning is a social act; dialogue and feedback

Internet projects registry on the globalschoolnet site. A resource to find existing collaborative projects and project partners.

Collaborative Learning Center: provides list of tools (not comprehensive) for different activities and examples of how they are being used. Examples shown and discussed today:

  • Photoshow presentation made by kids about being homeless in San Diego.

  • Twitter: global stream of consciousness. 140 characters, have to be brief. Twittervision uses a Google Map overlay so you can see where people are twittering from.

  • Bookmark sharing tools: Backflip, can do public and private folders, student folders, etc.

  • Tapped In: graphical user interface to a community

  • Google for Educators: online tools (lots of which are household names by now).

  • free and pay applications that can be downloaded and embedded into blogs and websites, such as guestmaps, counters, surveys, etc.

  • free email accounts without banners and advertising. Good for students who need email accounts.

Sign up for the GlobalSchoolNet newsletter, can be downloaded as podcast from iTunes (hyperlink this); Student Operated Press. (check on this for links)

Two projects by Global School Net (check these for links):

International Schools Cyberfair: modeled after the World Fair. 8 different curriculum units to teach students about their communities. Students work in teams and create a website about their community. Other schools review and provide feedback (has been running since 1993). Affiliate partners in many different countries. Check this out online. 2008 projects due in March 2008 (K-12). Seems very similar to the ACA project I’m involved in

Doors to Diplomacy: Similar, but focusing on global issues. State Dept. provides $2,000 scholarships for students (middle and high school).

Online expeditions: Connect students with real explorers through the Internet. Not a continuous project, but it looks very, very cool.

All in all this was a good presentation with some food for thought …


Image Credit: National Council for the Social Studies:

NCSS San Diego, Saturday Session on Florida Virtual Middle School

Florida Virtual Middle School is the first state funded virtual school, free to all students who are residents of the state of Florida (outsiders pay tuition). Funding is based on course completions, not seat time (performance based). Funding is now permanent. The school has been in existence since 1997.

Students (54,100) are all over the place (North America, Europe, Asia, South America), e.g. students with parents in the military, students going with parents on sabbatical. There are 425 teachers and 200 adjuncts.

Courses are developed by certified teachers/instructional designers, based on Florida standards and aligned with national standards. There is a wide variety of courses for middle and high school, including 10 AP courses plus review for the AP exam.

Completion rate is 80% or higher, which is quite good. They do have some measures built in to make sure that students keep working on their courses. However, it is self-paced. Enrollment started with 77 students in 96-97 (at-risk), now up to 54,100 in 113,900 half-credit courses in 06-07.

Last year, Florida passed a class-size amendment (smaller classes) and many school districts had to move kids to online courses to meet the requirement (there was about a 30,000 students).

72% public and charter
21% home schooled
7% private

66% Caucasian
34% minority (do have priority in registration process)

Use of technology:
Motivational, collaborative resources, content resources, variety of tools, etc.
Use of Elluminate, useful when kids collaborate over a distance, FLVS uses it for a lot of different events, like a global economic summit, career day, GIS day, World Hunger Day Forum, etc.

Meetings (student clubs, learning communities, e.g. Project Harmony), student enrichment (virtual office hours, oral components, exam review, virtual field trips, recess!), projects (collaborative group work), and training (30 pd opportunities per month are done online in Elluminate. It looks like FLVS very heavily depends on this tool.

Into the global classroom: 

Next, the presenters showed an example of a World Geography classroom. It was pretty interesting to see how content is laid out. It seems like it’s more project-based, not as linear, students can go back and redo and resubmit assignments until they master the standards. There is a lot more multimedia being used, especially videos from lots of different places. There is also more room for students to show mastery of standards in very different ways.

There is a lot of pressure from the outside. Lots of people are looking at FLVS, making sure they are held accountable for their students. Use Internet-based options like Exams are time and password protected. They do oral components as part of student assessment. Talking with parents and students on a regular basis helps too. Plagiarism is the biggest issues they have to deal with.

I liked the attitudes of the teachers. Even though the content they teach is fairly traditional in that it is tied into standards, the teachers seem to be much more flexible in how they teach and how students learn. It was great to see some teachers who get it!! Their presentation also showed the power of online learning, and how the geographic mobility of their students is really no big deal.

Image Credit: National Council for the Social Studies:

Pay Attention!


Following Karl Fisch’s series of presentations that have fostered a lot of discussion (see e.g. Karl’s blog), Darren Draper ( Technology Curriculum Specialist in the Jordan School District in Utah) has come up with “Pay Attention” and an accompanying list of resources. Much has already been written about this video, as it has circulated on the web for about a month now (that tells you how far behind in my reading I am!).

Karl Fisch calls it a “conversation starter”, Vicki Davis calls it “powerful and amazing”, etc., etc.

The thing that really caught my eye were a couple of very small parts of the presentation, namely student comments:

We have learned to ‘play school’. We study the right facts the night before the test so we achieve a passing grade and thus become a successful student. 

I’m not attention deficit, I’m just not listening (and we wonder why!!)

When I go to school I have to power down.

I really like this last one as it speaks volumes about what kids are capable of and what we do with them in formal educational settings. Kids want to learn, kids love technology and it’s an essential part of their lives (another student quote from the video: “When you lose your mobile, you lose part of your brain”).  How hard is it to put the two together? Or to put it in Darren’s words, Since most of today’s students can appropriately be labeled as “Digital Learners”, why do so many teachers refuse to enter the digital age with their teaching practices?

I think a lot of it still has to do with issues of control and fear, as I’ve discussed in my recent Innovate article (open content, but free registration required), David Warlick talked about in his post “Fear & Death! Fear & Death!”, and is a focus of danah boyd’s research. I will be hosting a webcast on this very subject on May 8, 2007, 12 PM EST. If you’d like to talk about this some, please join me then.

Image Credit: “Warning! New Stop Sign Ahead”. laffy4k’s photostream:

Intel Predicts a Ubiquitous Mobile Future


Interesting article I saw today on, entitled “Intel predicts massive changes.” Among the predictions:

1. Ubiquitous Mobility Will Become A Reality. With laptops already making up around a third of all PC sales, consumers and businesses alike are enjoying the convenience of mobile computing. As the performance, energy-efficiency and ease-of-use of portable devices continues to improve, people’s computing experience will increasingly be defined by what they are doing, not where they are doing it.

2. Carrying Broadband Internet With You. The coming year will see high-speed internet access move to the next level through mobile technologies such as WiMAX.

3. Technology: From Communication to Collaboration. Email, mobile phones and the internet were all about faster and easier communication. And they have had an amazing impact on our lives today. But we’re heading into a new realm as technology now allows us to enjoy a realistic experience through advanced multimedia communication. The results are more immediacy and spontaneity in our communication – making for a much better relationship-building tool – whether you are using video- or web-conferencing, for private or business use.

4. PC power inspires new usage models. Gaming, music and video downloads and streaming, imaging and all multimedia-related applications have become increasingly popular over the last few years.

Interesting predictions, although nothing really earth-shattering. What it does show is that there remains an emphasis on wireless and mobile computing. If technology develops on the scale that Intel predicts though, I think it will continue to push schools to either change or become more obsolete. Either way, the nature of learning will continue to change in that it will become  more:

  • augmented/enhanced/facilitated by digital tools;

  • participatory (with all sorts of implications for social studies education in such realms as civics education, global participation, activism, etc.);

  • equal, meaning that “underdeveloped” nations will begin to catch up because they are skipping the desktop/wired stage altogether in favor of wireless mobile devices, esp. cell phones. That this is already having an impact can be seen for example in Kenya, Venezuela, and the Philippines.

Hence the importance of new media literacy skills as I blogged about here.

(via HandheldLearning

Image credit: “Pimp my ride”. jurvetson’s photostream:

The Future of Education?


Here is the latest article in Time on the future of education, entitled “How to Bring Our Schools out of the 20th Century“, which I ran across via a this post by David Truss (which is worthy of a separate post in itself). For a change, the authors of the article focus on

the big public conversation the nation is not having about education, the one that will ultimately determine not merely whether some fraction of our children get “left behind” but also whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good information from bad or speak a language other than English.

Various people have already commented on this piece, including the likes of Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Wesley Fryer. All good posts, so no need to rehash their thoughts here. And by the way, the contents of the Time article are by no means limited to the United States. In fact, the article reminded me of a conversation I had with Graham Brown-Martin of HandheldLearning on mobile technologies and learning which included statements like:

Building schools for the future should not be about the architecture, but what school means. Is the school a building or a community, is a fundamental question; is school a community where learners with mobile tools can access information in different locations?

School has been a state-provided nanny. Is that really what we want educational systems to be about moving forward?” Kids need to be taken care of, but should be more than child care. Maybe kids should be at school to play and at home to learn. And what impact does that have on society?

Schools are going to be digitized out. You have to think in terms of Web 2.0 technology, different learning objects that are available everywhere, eventually we find something that we can understand.

With mobile technologies we are seeing a change. Students can assemble their own learning materials. Teachers will still be around, not replaced by technology. There will actually be more teachers, making all this stuff, making materials for learners. Inevitably, the definition of teacher is going to change from caretaker to teacher.

Maybe these are some of the conversations we should start having….

Image Credit: Nadya Peek’s photostream: