Archive for ‘SOS’

Shifting Our Schools episode 2: How does making connections affect learning?

By , 24 January, 2008, No Comment

Show Notes


Justin Medved and Kim Cofino joined David and Jeff in welcoming our featured guest Julie Lindsay. Kim could only stay a short moment but will join us again in future shows.

Intro for Julie: Co-creator of Flat Classroom and Horizon telecollaborative learning projects. Julie and Vicki Davis wrote a Learning and Leading with Technology article on the topic. Access at ISTE but you will need membership to download the article.

|Essential Question|

How does making connections affect learning?


  • Learn from anyone anywhere
    • MIT opencourseware
    • Yale opencourseware
    • iTunes unverisity
  • Authentic audiences are created
  • Students understand the power of connections in their social lives we need to teach them how to use those same connections for learning.
  • George Siemen’s Didactics of Microlearning
    • I find informal publishing in blogs and online articles more rewarding than traditional publishing processes. The feedback on what I write informally is more immediate and, as a result, plays a greater role in the subsequent formation of ideas. Writing a journal article, book, or book chapter, is concerned with presenting what one knows. Writing in informal spaces (such as a blog) is concerned with inviting others to join in an exploration of understanding a phenomenon not yet fully known.
  • Learning is about connections. Connecting new ideas to what is already known or thought to be known. In a connected world we take that one step further and connect those new ideas to what other know and create new knowledge from it.

David: See his blog post

The SOS Team Discussion:

Julie shared explained how the Flat Classroom Project is based upon Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. You can access the wiki classroom for more information. She also spoke about the Horizon project from this past year and how it will continue next year. For more information, access the Horizon Project wiki.

We then spoke about the type of learning skills that come from students networking using digital learning collaboration tools. Check out Julie’s excellent post on global digital citizenship.

Justin shared 3 guiding questions developed at ISB based on the new literacy skills our students need. They are working at integrating these guiding questions across their curriculum. Our students will not just be citizens of their localities but will be participants in broader communities connected digitally.

The questions are:

  • How do I find and use information to construct meaning and solve problems?
  • How do I effectively communicate?
  • How do I responsibly use information and communication to positively contribute to my world?

For more information on this new literacy and curriculum integration, check out their Google Doc and wiki.

The question was raised about how we can deal with the ever changing world of new technologies and improvements to current tools that might lead our schools to switch from current online providers (i.e., blogs, wikis, etc.) to new ones. This will further be discussed in a later show when we focus on school portals and connecting to the community.

Take Away from the discussion: Part of shifting our instruction is realizing that teachers can be supported to learn how to use the the tools yet the real work is learning how to use the tools to create learning moments.

The 21st century skills that students need for communication, constant learning and creativity in our networked world obviously can only be developed if we design and implement learning opportunities where we use the technology that is becoming an increasing part of the business and everyday aspects of our world. These collaborative learning projects need to be scaffolded with clear communication of responsibilities along with rubrics to outline what is expected when students generate learning objects.

It is very important to have someone on staff in our schools who is staying on top of emerging technologies.

While some schools are looking to what 21st century skills their students will need and have revamped their mission and student learning outcomes, our school stakeholders need to review their mission statements to see if they are looking forward to prepare students properly. By using the UbD curriculum review process, we can then work to shift our instruction, learning content, and assessments to help our students reach the learning outcomes documented by our updated and relevant mission statements.

|Blog Posts of the Week|

Jeff: George Siemen’s post on Shifting Knowledge
David: George Siemen’s post on Connectivism vs Constructivism
Julie: Jabiz Raisdana’s post on Blogging & Connections
Justin: Kim Cofino’s post on Telecollaborative Tools

|Sign Off|

  • Next show is Thursday February 7th. Catch it live at 7:00 PM Shanghai time.
  • Our guest will be Clay Burell from the Korea International School. Check out his Beyond School blog.
  • Essential Question for the show: Passion for learning, how to nurture and grow it?
  • Don’t forget to post Web sites/blogs to the SOS bookmarking site that support our upcoming EQ.

Shifting Our School episode 1: Why Shift?

By , 13 January, 2008, No Comment

Show Notes


Jeff and David shared their goals for doing the SOS: Shifting Our Schools podcast. The overall theme is to help individuals and schools make the shift in how they teach to expand their learning communities beyond the walls of their classrooms and schools. As international educators located in Asia and connected through the East Asia Regional Council of International Schools (EARCOS), Jeff and David designed the show for an international audience.

Most folks connected to educational technology and the blogosphere know who Jeff is. So who is this David fella? David has been working as an instructional technologist, social studies teacher and counselor in international schools for the past 15 years. His most recent EARCOS school was Hong Kong International School where he taught in the Upper Primary school. He is now teaching at the very “shifted” Hsinchu International School. David’s focus as an educator is to work as a learning partner with teachers in designing and crafting learning experiences for the students. His blog is entitled Lessons Learned.

Jeff and David then discussed the format for the show. Each podcast will have its own Essential Question that connects to the overall theme of helping listeners make the shift. The hope is to include other educators along with a featured guest to have a discussion around the EQ. Everyone will then share his/her blog post of the week. These and other supporting online resources can be found at the SOS Podcast site. Some time will also be set aside for any further discussions that come up including ideas and/or questions that come from the audience listening live via Ustream. David and Jeff will then sign off with a reminder of the next podcast date, guest and Essential Question.

|Essential Question|

Why shift?

Both David and Jeff agreed that we need to do a better job in helping our students attain the 21st century skills they will need to be productive and adaptive citizens for a constantly changing world. Many of our schools are focused backwards on 20th century learning outcomes and teaching methods. We must transform how we teach and re-think what a school looks like, how it functions, as well as when and where learning takes place.


  • We have the technology so where is the shift in teaching?
  • The world is becoming more connected, how does that shift the way we teach and the way students learn?
  • It’s recruiting time in the international world. How does a school with a mission to be a 21st Century school shift it’s hiring practices?


  • The shift starts with good teaching and is enhanced by the use of technology and information literacy skills. It starts with focusing on what are the best instructional strategies that help our students construct their own meaning of the Essential Understandings that are the foundation of our concept-based curriculum.
  • The technology especially with social networking and other Web 2.0 tools expands the learning of the classroom connecting students and teachers to other learners. So much of learning is about making connections and thinking laterally to new situations and being creative in applying one’s new knowledge.
  • For more of David’s thoughts on why teachers and schools should shift, check out his blog post on the topic.

Take Away from the discussion: There is no set model for what a shifted classroom or school looks like. The shifting is a process that takes place on a continuum of learning and growth that professional educators are constantly pushing themselves to move along. Our passionate goal is to find new and improved ways to bring about true learning and understanding in our students. We work backwards via the curriculum review process in designing the assessments, instructional strategies and content/information resources that will guide our students to develop their individual understandings. We also build learning environments that continue outside the classroom with no time restraints on when learning takes place. These learning communities offer learners (students, teachers, administrators and parents) opportunities to pursue their learning interests and questions that arise.

|Blog Posts of the Week|

Jeff: David Warlick’s post on School 2.0
David: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s post on Learning 2.0

Check out all of Episode 1 resource links at our site.

|Sign Off|

  • Next show is Thursday January 24th. Catch it live at 7:00 PM Shanghai time.
  • Our guest will be Julie Lindsay from Qatar Academy. Check out her E-Learning Journeys blog.
  • Essential Question for the show: How does making connections affect learning?
  • Don’t forget to post Web sites/blogs to the SOS bookmarking site that support our upcoming EQ.