Sunday, 26 April 2009

Education Leadership Summit

So, day one of Apple's Education Leadership Summit. Firstly, what a pleasure to see so many influential, creative people come to HK to talk to the education community. Heppell was the same as ever, completely engrossing, and what a bonus to see Greg Whitby, hadn't expected him to be there. A good excuse to embed one of my fav vids (below).

Over 200 schoools from 21 countries represented, a truely global event.

First up, Dave McMaster of Canadian welcoming all and talking about their tech journey. Then Tom Kelley from IDEo with a hugely entertaining session on innovation. Some really interesting definitions of the types of innovators and a real bonus, a FREE copy of his book. I was too cool to get in the line to get him to sign it though, maybe I'll sneak it to him tomorrow when nobody's looking.

Vivienne Stewart from the Asia Society was next to speak concerning education and globalisation. Her words struck a real chord and have massive significance for a school like ours. Our "Islands of the World" project with among others, Martha's Vineyard and the Orkneys is a start, but we clearly have much to do in fostering the sort of collaboration and understanding she talked about. As usual, it's all about giving teachers explicit support and the time to explore the possibilities available to them. Hopefully our upcoming International Day can be a springboard for more of this work.

Lunch was an extended one, purposely I assume to give people the chance to connect. I was lucky enough to meet Noah Katz from Renaissance College's Digital Technology Team. One of the features of events like these is that just when you think you might be beginning to master the skills, concepts and knowledge you need to move forward, you meet somebody like Noah who makes you realise the journey has only just begun. He was naieve enough to give me his contact details... big mistake, Noah!

A discussion panel on 21st Century Leadership followed by a breakout session gave us greater opportunity to explore global collaboration and some good ideas from Greg Israel.
The day ended with John Couch, VP from Apple Aducation talking about Apple's Vision for Modern Education. All you need to know about John's session is that it was due to finish at 5.30 and at 5.50 on a Saturday evening, everybody was still sat listening.

With events like this there's little chance for deeper reflection until the event is over, so the above is a brief, rushed summary of Day One. I'm off to Day Two now!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Apple Conference Countdown - Bring It On!

It's fair to say that I'm pretty excited about this weekend's Education Leadership Summit at Canadian International School. I've spoken to quite a few teachers who are attending in the last few days and it seems I'm not the only one! Clearly Hong Kong is ready for this type of event now and it's to Apple's credit that they have assembled such an impressive list of speakers and persuaded delegates to attend from all over Asia. It's important that the ed-tech community here in HK builds upon this weekend and moves forward, not only at our own conference in September, but also in the future.

Hopefully, more exciting collaborative projects like the one documented below will be born this weekend.

On another note this will be the first major conference I have been to since the "Birth of Twitter" and I suspect that it will be a major feature of the conference, providing an interactive back-channel to the proceedings and enriching the conference experience for delegates. Twitter is a great tool for teachers. It helps them to learn. Yes, it has been trivialised in the media to an extent, but it's helping teachers to connect and converse with each other. Without Twitter, we would not be involved in the Islands of the World project, which came about through a Twitter contact.

Thanks to Tom Barrett (again!) for pointing out US Principal Bill Carozza's blog post with regard to teacher's use of Twitter - well worth a read. He makes the telling point about the tool;

"Twitter and its ability to form a PLN has been one of the most useful professional development instruments in my 25 years in the biz"

So, I'll be sure to have my laptop charged ready to tweet the weekend away...

During my teaching career I've heard the word's "Thank goodness it's Friday" mentioned a few times. That's how I feel... I can't wait to get to work... on Saturday morning.

Global Collaborative Project

You know that you are beginning to win the battle when a student approaches you at the end of the lesson and asks if you can post links to what they've just covered on 'your blog'....


P4 have begun to look at the global collaborative project on islands that I've been tweeting about a lot recently. We looked at the project Wiki and also located the other schools using Google Maps. We spent time looking at Hong Kong Island making sure we knew the districts so that we could explain them to a student from another school.

During the next session we will begin to assemble the resources we need to present information abour our island life and about our school. As we were looking at satellite images of the skyscrapers in and around mid-levels we thought about how the students of one of the schools in the project might feel about our island. Their island, in the Orkneys of Scotland has a total population of 70 - most of the buildings in mid-levels have at least that number living in them!

Google Maps is a great resource for studying your own locality as well as that of others - here's the link.

For this of you who want to explore Hong Kong a little more why not take a look at out Google Earth quiz from last year?

If you would like to know more about our global islands project, the Wiki can be viewed here. We've only just started but hopefully more should appear shortly.

Monday, 20 April 2009

An Apple a Day

This weekend sees Apple's Education Leadership Summit taking place at Canadian International School. The gathered array of keynotes and workshop leaders are as impressive a group as I've seen in one place and the whole event promises to be extremely interesting.

A number of staff from Kellett will be attending throughout the weekend and I hope it proves to be a rewarding experience. I'm really looking forward to hearing Stephen Heppell speak having attended Schools for the Future conference he was leading many years ago.

The conference is perhaps an indication of Apple's determination to conquer the education market in Hong Kong. They appear to have made a conscious decision to target this area and it's good to see a company clearly committed to working in our sector who understand the issues and who can work with teachers to develop pedagogies.

Their strategy appears to be working. A recent unscientific poll I carried out in some of our classes shows that Apple are now the dominant home computer in many year groups.

For the first time ever in my teaching career I heard one of our Apple pupils utter these immortal words; "Man, I really hate Windows" !!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Visiting HKFYG HQ

During the Easter holiday I was lucky enough to be invited to a meeting with LEAD (Learning through Engineering Art & Design) at their Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups headquarters in Quarry Bay. Along with Joanna Cheung from LEAD, Jane Harris from CIS and Dr Felicia Tsang (LEAD Project Consultant) we discussed the upcoming World Scratch Day and the Hong Kong event which will take place at the Cyberport on Saturday 16th May.

As can be seen from the agenda I will be sitting on a panel discussion at the end of the day tackling "A New Paradigm of Teaching and Learning". During the meeting we discussed some of the issues surrounding this topic and how we might as a group support teachers in their understanding of how teaching and learning might look in this technology-rich era. It was an extremely interesting meeting as we covered many aspects, including how teachers are learners as well as students these days and how some teachers find that concept difficult to come to terms with. In relation to Scratch we also looked at different formats of assessment and discussed how teachers could use formative assessment within their work.

I'm really looking forward to the day at Cyberport and to meeting teachers from the whole of Hong Kong who have been using Scratch in their classrooms, as well as supporting those who are yet to use it.

In the two meetings I have had with representatives of LEAD I have been extremely impressed by their knowledge and understanding of education technology and it is clear they have been undertaking some fascinating creative projects in HK schools. I'm looking forward to developing our relationship further.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easter in HK

Easter hols are almost over, hope everybody had a good one.

Here's a few of the places I visited, maybe you've already been or you're considering going there at some point. Anyway, here are a few thoughts.

First up a visit to Shau Kei Wan to the Museum of Coastal Defense. Based within and around a coastal fort the museum documents Hong Kong's relationship with the surrounding sea and the various conflicts that have occured on it. It's a great way to spend half a day, especially if the weather's not too hot and there's plenty of interest in the different historical displays, which are broken down into different time zones. As an added bonus, there are some big guns to look at as well!!

Next up was Wonder Park Plus, situated on the 6th floor of the World Trade Centre in Wan Chai, this much hyped Japanese gaming centre has long been on my list of places to visit. Whilst it's true there are a huge array of fantastic arcade games available within the centre the problem is that they are all in the adult section. It's hard to understand why games such as Virtua Tennis and all the motor racing games there are deemed to be only suitable for adults. All that's left for the under 16s are the grabber type games which are frankly a waste of time. Wonder Park Plus gets a big thumbs down from me, I'm afraid. My junior sidekick was not happy there!!

Given it was the holidays that means it was necessary to visit some of the great shopping areas in HK, namely my two favourites! No, not IFC, but 188 gaming mall and Sham Shui Po Flea Market. Great fun as always.

So, refreshed and rested it's time to start a new term. There are some really exciting things going on in ICT this term, not only at Kellett but in the wider HK ICT community as well.

More on these developments soon. Meantime, here are some of my holiday snaps!

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.