Wanted: A Bucket of Cold Water
By Bruce Dixon, President
Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation
Well, for someone who has spent the best part of the past two decades advocating laptop access for every child, you might think I would be leading the celebrations around the rapid escalation in initiatives that are making this a reality; and to some extent of course, I am. Over the past 12 months we have seen an unprecedented surge of interest from government and educational leaders in countries across the globe, who are now finally acknowledging the benefits for every child having access to their own personal portable computer as the learning medium of their time.
There is indeed much to celebrate in this ideal now finally becoming a reality, and recent reports that suggest more then 2 million young people across Latin America will have their own laptop over the next 3-5 years is but one snapshot of the momentum that is building around the world. The imperatives driving this have become undeniable, despite trenchant criticism from a small group who seem to believe that school should be a refuge from the digital world our young people are growing up in.
The expanded pedagogical opportunities, the affirmative research on the impact on learning, the potential for genuine 21st learning and assessment, and most importantly the chance to bridge the growing digital divide are just some of the compelling reasons that are driving what will become possibly one of the biggest levers for transformation in our schools in more than 100 years, if not ever; or maybe not.
Maybe not, if we continue to believe that a little box of technology, on its own, will contribute to anything significant without support funding for the critically essential infrastructure and professional development investment. Yet this is the challenge we are now facing. Despite never-ending chants from politicians and educators about the importance of investing "beyond the box", all the funding and focus continues to be on the box. Will we ever learn?
We all owe Seymour Papert much for his vision and insight in challenging the models of learning that have been perpetuated more by habit and convenience that by relevance, and his thinking has lead us to much of where educational computing is today. I have also in this column, publicly credited Nicholas Negroponte for dramatically escalating interest in laptops for students through OLPC, but they, like other initiatives around "affordable computing" now face serious challenges in executing on the vision.
I would be the first to lead the celebrations, if dropping thousands of laptops into kid's hands helped us significantly redefine the school experience for them, and made it more relevant and worthwhile, however, common sense tells us that the institution of school, is so very much stronger than that, and without a realistic perspective on developing effective strategy around implementation and long-term support for the necessary and fundamental change in teaching practice, we will be severely disappointed by the outcome of such an approach.
I could bore you silly with an endless stream of stories from 1 to 1 programs in every country that I have worked in over the past 18 years, and tell you of passionate commitments to funding substantial professional development, and infrastructure to support 1 to 1 initiatives, that somehow get lost in the execution, "Whoops, where is that money we allocated to support teachers as they strive to improve their practice? Oh sorry, we spent it all on the technology!"
I will write in future editorials about exactly where I think we need sharpen our focus, and in turn, as always very much welcome your thoughts.
For our part, your Foundation, AALF, is now seeking to urgently build a global network of experienced consultants and advisors who can hopefully assist and guide educational policy makers and political leaders in their strategy development and execution.
In the meantime, I would hope we might pause and reflect on the priorities we are setting in planning 1 to 1 initiatives, and how they will really deliver the most effective and worthwhile learning outcomes for our young people. Yes, having affordable computing will contribute, but without addressing the bigger picture much will be wasted; and maybe a big bucket of cold water to bring some reality to the process might be just what is needed.
All the very best wishes of the Season to those of you who celebrate Christmas, and to all our members, I hope 2008 offers your students the opportunity to build powerful ideas that ultimately might create a better world for all.
|AALF Leadership: Executive Director News and Thoughts|
|Executive Expertise and Decisions
By Susan Einhorn, Executive Director
Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation
One of the best parts of my job is connecting with so many dynamic, creative people at the school, district and state level, who are doing thoughtfully designed, innovative one-to-one projects.Many of these projects are in the United States, but I've also been speaking with educators in other countries who have joined AALF and kindly agreed to share their ideas, strategies, and research with the rest of the AALF community. For example, over the last two months I've learned about several interesting initiatives in Canada; the Notebook Research Project in New Brunswick, the eMerge project in Alberta, and the Enhanced Learning Strategy in Quebec - three different regions with very different approaches to implementing one-to-one initiatives across a large number of schools. Over the next few months, we will be sharing not only research from these initiatives, but also stories from both teachers and students. We know you'll find these stories enlightening as well as entertaining.
As AALF's Executive Director I get to make the "executive decision" as to which news stories are posted on the AALF home page. I try to select a variety of items, ranging from anecdotal stories about classroom 1-to-1 implementations to discussions of the pros and cons of major initiatives to provide inexpensive ultraportable laptops to children around the world. Frequently checking our News releases on our home page (www.aalf.org) is a good way to keep up with the latest 1-to-1 news.
Sometimes the articles we post offer a slightly different perspective on laptop learning. Here are two recent examples:
· The Laptop Club - Laptops Designed by Children - A group of children in grades 1, 2 and 3 at a North Carolina elementary schools has formed a "mini-laptop club." in which they design and create their own laptops with construction paper, and pretend to send each other emails, shop, etc.. Their designs and activities with their "laptops" provide a window on how young children think about and expect to interact with technology.
· Professors Declaring Classrooms Laptop-free Zones - A Montreal university professor has banned laptops from his classroom because he says his students are too distracted by the technology. Some support the ban, others say that with more and more new university students coming from high schools with one-to-one programs and fewer "sage on the stage" classes, maybe the professors need to rethink their teaching. (To let us know what you think, send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Check out these and other articles at www.aalf.org/News/default.aspx.
I'm also pleased to tell you that we are busy planning our spring Regional Leadership Summits. The current list of summits appears in the Conference and Events section below. More summits may be added in the next few weeks, so check the Summits page on the AALF web site (www.aalf.org/Events/cf_summits.aspx)regularly to get the most up-to-date information.
Also, in the planning stages for spring, 2008, is an AAL Practicum for schools and districts that have decided to go 1-to-1 and want to have concrete, practical guidance on planning, deployment, and community communications, as well as curriculum design and best practices for 1-to-1 learning in the classroom. More information will be available soon on the AALF website.
Happy Holidays to all the AALF community!
Research to Action
|Linking Foundation Learning Communities Together
By Karen Ward, Manager of Consulting Services and Communications
Anytime Anytime Learning
AALF strives to support educators around the world as they develop highly effective learning institutions: highly effective for students as well as educators.
Keep this in mind as I ask each of you to consider your membership in this organization from a different perspective. Think of a chain-link fence. The principle behind a chain-link fence is simple: each link, when hooked together by its neighboring link, will form a wall of sorts that very effectively accomplishes the purpose of the whole fence - namely, it provides a barrier. So what does this have to do with your Foundation membership? Well, we certainly don't want to build barriers between people; in fact, we strive to do exactly the opposite! One of our goals is to develop Foundation communities of learning wherein educators can collaborate and learn together about improving their practices. Current research informs us that when educators 'link' themselves together in regular learning, planning, and reflection they not only grow and improve themselves, but they help others around them do the same. Please consider yourself as a vital link in our learning community-each of you makes us all stronger!
So how does this idea of linking together empower us all? Let's focus on two specifics. First, in the November newsletter, Bruce Dixon, President of AALF, articulated the need for building common understandings and a common vocabulary so that we can better communicate concepts embedded into successful 1-to-1 initiatives. Secondly, in this same newsletter members were asked to reflect on experiences regarding their work of translating 1-to-1 evaluative research reports into positive academic outcomes for students. We know that these research reports and briefs enable us to build our knowledge about effective practices and systems.We also know that as we look for emerging patterns of information in multiple reports we can better understand how to design highly effective learning programs. We all recognize that turning research into action is a must for educators at the state, district, school and classroom level. As a foundation we also recognize the challenges of time, expertise, expectations for success, and fiscal constraints that this work presents. So maybe the best question to consider is, "How can we, as a linked world-wide community of learners and educators link together to turn evaluative research results into reality at each of our learning institutions?"
Let's start with a recently released report titled, Is a Laptop Initiative in Your Future? Funded partly by the U. S. Department of Education and published by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning) in 2004, the report authors provide evidence that helps us understand the positive impact on not only student achievement, but also teacher performance. Some of the report findings may surprise you. For example, improvements in instructional practice and the overall environment of schooling have been found to be associated with Maine's laptop initiative...over 70% of the middle school teachers surveyed agreed that they were better able to create instructional materials that met the state's standards. Success in districts throughout Henrico County, Virginia also offer perspectives on 1-to-1 effectiveness. In 2001 when schools implemented their initiatives in high schools 78% of participating schools were fully accredited, meaning that at least 70 percent of students had passed the Virginia Standards of Learning test. By spring 2003, every regular school in the district was fully accredited. In British Columbia's School District 60 (Peace River North), the Wireless Writing Project focused on improving writing among sixth- and seventh-grade students. A 2002-2003 study involving a pre-post writing assessment found that the percentage of students who produced writing samples that met or exceeded writing performance standards for their grade rose from 70% in fall 2002 to 92% the following spring.
As a community of educators committed to developing highly effective learning institutions we might ask ourselves, what best practices were employed to achieve these results? What leadership best practices? What technology mentor (instructional mentor) best practices? What classroom instruction best practices? And, how can we build a common understanding and vocabulary for educators at each of our institutions as well as for all Foundation members so that we might achieve the same types of results?
Beginning in January 2008 AALF research-to-action Communities of Learners (aka--research to action working groups) will begin tackling these questions. I invite all Foundation members to join one of these communities. Begin by identifying an area you are interested in learning about or perfecting. These Community of Learners focus areas include:
- 1-to-1 Leadership
- 1-to-1 Technology Mentors (instructional mentor)
- 1-to-1 Instruction
What can you expect from participating in one of these learning communities? Along with professional camaraderie and support you can also expect to build a common vocabulary and understanding that you can then take back into your schools and districts. Resources for this work will include your own 1-to-1 expertise as well as reliable published research reports. Support and guidance will be provided by the Foundation as you work to identify those best practices that insure success within each of the focus areas. As a group you will provide input in developing a resource which can then be shared by all Foundation members.
Please contact me (email@example.com ) regarding your interest in working within or supporting one of these Community of Learners. Can you imagine the invaluable experience and outcome for everyone from this linked focused work?
Best of wishes during this Holiday Season!
|1-to-1 Leadership and Learning|
AALF Advisory Board Announcement
The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. David Cavallo to the AALF Advisory Board.
Dr. Cavallo is Director for Central and South America of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) group, whose mission is to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are sufficiently affordable to provide every child in the world access to new channels of learning, sharing and self-expression. Dr. Cavallo is also the co-head of the MIT Media Lab's Future of Learning group, which focuses on the design and implementation of new learning environments and on the design of new technologies that will change the way people think about "learning" and "school." Dr. Cavallo has advised numerous heads of state and ministries of education on the adoption of advanced technologies for learning and the reform of educational institutions.
"We're thrilled Dr. Cavallo has accepted our invitation to join the AALF Advisory Board," said Bruce Dixon, President of AALF. "He possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience around innovative learning environments and the role of new technologies in learning. Dr. Cavallo's insights will help guide us as we explore ways in which the AALF can continue to assist countries around the world in implementing large scale learning initiatives in which all children have access to laptops."
|1-to-1 Global Storybook|
|Reflections From Experience: Renewing the 'Buzz' of Being a Teacher
Adapted from Transforming Learning, An Anthology of Miracles in Technology-Rich Classrooms
by Michael King, Bishops Diocesan College
Cape Town, South Africa
During the first week of laptops in my classroom, I was asked two questions (among others). "Sir, have you had a chance to look at the website I created for my father's business-it's on the Web?" and "Sir, what is a login code?"It was clearly going to be fun bringing those two poles towards each other.
I teach English at Bishops, an independent fee-paying boys' school in Cape Town, South Africa. During the year that we celebrated our 150th anniversary (1999) we launched our laptop project after two years of planning and preparations.Central to our planning had been the idea that the presence of laptop technology in classrooms would lead to a transformation in approaches to teaching and learning. We wanted our boys to be able to leave school completely comfortable and competent with computers. We had also held the view for several years before laptops that computer-usage in schools had to be a means to an end, and never an end in itself. We wanted the laptops to make possible a better learning environment for our boys-a way of learning differently from what had been possible in traditional classrooms. As I approached the actual teaching, I was looking forward to putting into practice the ideas that had been shaping our preparations for so long.
The first adaptation I had to get used to was breaking down the idea that the focal point of the classroom was, as in traditional classrooms, where the teacher sits, stands, or teaches from. What was interesting to observe was which colleagues embraced the intended schema for the arrangement of desks, and which reverted to a traditional pattern of straight rows with all pupils facing the front (and a wild spaghetti of cables, flylead and powerleads across the floor and the passageways between desks).
By the end of the year, most people agree that the laptops had certainly created extra motivation in the boys. Whereas four pages of handwritten work would have sufficed, twenty pages of typed essay were more likely to be the norm. Boys were willing to put in far longer hours getting something right than had ever been the case before. One evening I looked out of my window (I live on the school grounds) and saw a boy huddled up at the base of the mapppost outside my window. I guessed his lift was late, so I went out to offer him a phone call. As I got closer (and before he noticed that I was approaching), I saw that he was working away on his laptop. So I stopped, tip-toed away and left him to it.
Some experiences proved to be spin-off learning lessons for our teachers. Quite early on, a colleague wanted his class to write a passage of English with a specific world limit. He asked the class generally whether they knew how to use the word count function. "Yes, yes, yes" came the response. He checked individually. Every boy said he knew how to do the word count. At the end of the lesson, the rest of the class filed out, and one boy remained behind. When John looked up to see why the boy had stayed, he was horrified to find the boy in tears. "What is it, what is wrong?" he asked. "Sir, I don't know how to do the word count," was the reply. The boy had been too intimidated by the bravado of the others who knew (or claimed to know) the procedure. The boy had preferred to lie rather than reveal a justifiable ignorance about a relatively simple computer operation. We (our department) were all chastened by this story, which shows how difficult peer pressures can be.
The greatest moment for me came about three months after we started our laptop program, when one mother came to me and said that one of the first things her son had done when he got his machine had been to load up five or six games. Now, three months later, she saw him deleting all the games from his hard drive. She asked him why he was doing that. "Well, Mom," he said, "I don't get the time to play the games anymore, and anyway, the work I am doing is much more interesting than playing those games - they are just getting in the way."
In what ways has my own teaching changed as a result of being in the laptop programme? Instead of planning each lesson as individual lessons, I now create learning programmes that stretch over a week or longer. I consciously explore a variety of responses, all of which can be manufactured or presented through the laptop. The laptop gives me a vehicle with which to set up combined learning with teachers in other disciplines.
|Questions and Answers from Foundation Members|
Why One-to-One Learning?
In the November 2007 AALF newsletter we asked Foundation members to provide their insight to three compelling questions:
- What is your most compelling student learning reason for implementing a 1-to-1 program?
- What is your most compelling teacher learning reason for implementing a 1-to-1 program?
- Why should schools implement 1-to-1 learning programs?
Although responses were limited in number they provide insight to your experience and dedicated professionalism with respect to providing your students with the most dynamic learning experience possible.
In answer to the first question, more than half of you felt that preparing students for the 21st century was the most compelling reason to provide 1-to-1 classrooms. Additional reasons included student engagement, empowering students to construct meaning from classes, and an increase in student learning. Helping teachers to become learners themselves and focusing on student learning were equal in significance from respondees, while being able to differentiate instruction was also listed as important.
Included below are some of the reason Foundation members articulated in response to the third question, why implement a 1-to-1 learning program:
Ubiquitous computing isn't on the horizon, it has arrived, and we would be wrong to build a wall to exclude it from our learning environments. We should use the power of the computer in ways for which it is best suited: for visualizing complex forms and processes, for obtaining information quickly, for sharing our thoughts effectively. All of that learning power shouldn't be "over there" somewhere in a computer lab, but where the students and teachers need it, right now, in their hands.
The technology that students use outside of the school must become a part of the learning environment or students will find schools increasingly irrelevant to their lives. The world of information is increasingly found on line instead of in textbooks so we must teach our students to distinguish good information from poor as increasingly information is no longer vetted for its accuracy.
The world is flat. Students should be prepared to learn continuously for the remainder of their lives. Loving to learn will support that requirement.1-1 learning environment supports loving to learn.
To better equip students for the 21st century; to encourage students to be more self directed and give them the love of learning and the skills to continue learn and decipher data.
Schools are charged with the mission to prepare kids for the future. Technology is integral to life in the 21st century.
Thank you to those Foundation members who responded to the question, Why a 1-to-1 learning program? If you did not get a chance to share your expertise with regards to these three questions, please do so now - and please know that your efforts are supporting other Foundation members in their work as 1-to-1 educators!
|Foundation Member Insight|
| Why I think the time is right for Bruce Dixon's idea of the Technology Coach
By Melissa LeBouef Tothero
We know that today's learners are different than they were even a decade ago. Each year our K-16 schools are being called to serve increasing numbers of students who have lived their entire lives surrounded by and interacting with digital tools to gather and process information. These "Digital Natives" have grown up using computers, video games, digital music players, video cameras, and cell phones to gather and process the information that they use to construct their own understanding of the world. They really do think differently. They actually use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to think. It seems to me that it would not be a stretch to say that these young people truly are "Cyborgs." And because ICT has become so integral to their lives, they are simply not well served by traditional lecture-based modes of teaching alone.
Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. -Marc Prensky
If given the choice, these students would come to school carrying their own laptop computers ready to connect to the campus wireless network so they could get about the business of thinking and learning. Unfortunately for all of us, most Digital Natives attend traditionally structured schools that impose a single way of knowing on every student and are committed to an outdated educational philosophy based solely on transmitting a precise body of knowledge from instructor to student. A majority of our schools actually have policies in place that prohibit the students from bringing their computers to school. Our children are not allowed to bring the tool that Seymour Papert calls the primary instrument for today's intellectual work with them to school. It's unthinkable.
Interestingly, it is the influx of these Digital Natives into our schools that is providing the impetus for needed educational reform. It's getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that the cyborgs are coming. Ready or not, here they come. Many have already arrived in our schools and many, many more are on their way. Thanks to the visionary work of Seymour Papert and other educational pioneers like him, and because of the continued work of organizations like AALF, the old schoolhouse model is slowly, slowly giving way to new collaborative learning environments where teachers and students together decide what to learn, how to best create this new knowledge, and what technologies they should use to support the process. Research in neurobiology, social psychology, and learning science shows that 1-to-1 programs have the power to provide learning opportunities that vastly improve today's students' achievement, advance digital equity, and enhance teaching and learning across the disciplines. And case studies indicate that when carefully implemented, teachers and students actually love this stuff. Educational leaders, pressed to find ways to meet the needs and expectations of today's students, want to meet the challenge by implementing ubiquitous computing programs designed to support the creative use of ICT throughout the students' academic preparation. Okay. So, why aren't there more 1-to-1 programs in place in our schools today? What I really want to know is: Where is the revolution?!
I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they
can learn.-- Albert Einstein
AALF members have all read about it, and many of us have experienced first hand the magic that can happen in these exciting new technology-supported learning environments. Educators and students are being given opportunities to co-discover creative ways to leverage the unique skills, attitudes and interests of today's digitally savvy learners in ways that maximize the potential that technology brings to the teaching-learning process. Information and Communication Technologies-always accessible but rarely the actual focus of learning-enables each member of the learning community to get connected, construct knowledge in a personally meaningful way, and demonstrate their intellectual competence and creativity using a variety of modalities. Put simply, ICT provides the essential conditions in which Digital Natives learn. The spread of digital technology into every other sector of society makes it inevitable that it will eventually permeate school. Eventually, every student-and most pre-school children-will have more computing power than any professor of computer science has today. Indeed, already most home computers have more power than any professor had thirty years ago. And when children grow up with this kind of knowledge-technology it is inconceivable that school will not change very radically.
The choice is not whether we will consider deep changes in school but how many children will be lost before we recognize that we have to do so. -Seymour Papert and Gaston Caperton, 1999
Because Digital Natives think and process information fundamentally differently, we must address the reality that, as Marc Prensky puts it, "our instructors speak a different language than their students (that of the pre-digital age), and our faculty are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language." The way I see it, educational leaders today are faced with a fundamental choice. They can create, manage and lead innovation from within, or they can be pressured to change by outside economic and societal forces. Those who are fortunate enough to find themselves in positions of influence during this time of unprecedented cultural transition are being called to take on the complex role of vital change agent. Educational leaders are struggling to understand how they will manage to conjure up this new kind of learning community to serve both the digital natives (students) and their "digital immigrant" teachers. Let's face it, this is a daunting job description all on its own, and when added to the many existing responsibilities that educational leaders in K-16 already juggle on any given day, it is understandable that even the most seasoned, conscientious and forward-thinking principal, college dean, school board member and/or district superintendent would be hesitant in the face of launching such a comprehensive, potentially costly and media-attracting change in their school. Failure would be embarrassing, to say the very least. So this is exactly the point where Bruce Dixon's Technology Coach comes to the rescue! It would be a great comfort to any school administrator who is embarking on 1-to-1 implementation for the first time to know that he/she has the ongoing support of a senior education consultant who has been down that road before. An experienced Technology Coach can serve to break the inertia of uncertainty and fear by facilitating and guiding the integration effort on an operational level from the start to help ensure a smooth, efficient and successful 1-to-1 implementation. Knowing that constituents will embrace holistic changes to their established routines and protocols only if they understand the need for the change, the feasibility of successfully making the change happen, and their involvement in the process, the Technology Coach would begin by collaborating with school leaders to craft a vision for the initiative that elicits broad community involvement. The Technology Coach, drawing upon his/her experience and expertise, can serve as a guide for the implementation team as they plan, organize, and problem-solve the steps to create their new culture and to align people with the new vision. The Technology Coach can provide encouragement and support as the implementation team works together to bring their shared vision to fruition in spite of any obstacles that they may encounter along the way.
With the help of Technology Coaches, I envision increasing numbers of education leaders forging ahead to implement ubiquitous ICT learning programs where all members of the learning community are equipped with the digital tools they need to access and process information and communicate what they have learned with others. Pioneering school leaders are already leveraging ICT to transform the teaching-learning process in this way. Today's pioneering school leaders will become tomorrow's Technology Coaches, and so it goes. Ubiquitous computing programs are providing a platform for the reinvention of formal education to meet the needs of today's learners. Educational leaders, together with their Technology Coaches, can change the very culture of their schools by enabling learning incidents that are not possible without ubiquitous access to information and communication technologies. Over time, step-by-step-by-step, we can transform not only the physical learning environment we now call "school", but also the learning process itself, including the fundamental interaction among students, teachers and all members of the learning community.
Pioneering educational leaders, bolstered by the expertise of their Technology Coaches, can break through the inertia of fear to model the transformational leadership required to implement brand new 1-to-1 learning programs that engage and empower today's students so they may express what they know with passion and thereby achieve an entirely new standard of educational excellence.
Melissa LeBoeuf Tothero is a technology consultant who has been devoted to the field of education for over 20 years. She is dedicated to amplifying students' voices so they may express what they know with passion.
Conferences and Events
AALF 2008 Leadership Summits
AALF Leadership Summits are designed to equip educational leaders with the knowledge and vision needed to guide school or district programs towards a successful anytime anywhere learning environment. Join AALF and a distinguished array of educational leaders to learn about the components of visionary leadership in 1-to-1 learning. Summit dates and locations include:
- March 4, 2008; Fresno, California
- April 22, 2008; Calgary, Alberta
- April 23, 2008; Seattle, Washington
- April 25, 2008; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Visit the AALF website for additional Summit dates and registration information.
brochure and online registration is available.
The Laptop Institute
The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation (AALF) and Lausanne Collegiate School (LCS)have joined forces to co-produce the 2008 Laptop Institute to be held at Lausanne Collegiate School. The Laptop Institute, which will be the world's major educational conference devoted solely to K-12 laptop learning, will be held on July 13-15, 2008 at LCS in Memphis, Tennessee. The Laptop Institute is designed to be an international think tank for schools using or considering laptops or tablets as tools for learning. We encourage AALF members to consider both attending the institute as well as applying to be presenters or panel discussion leaders. Online information is now available at www.laptopinstitute.com.
Eastern Township School Board in Magog, Quebec, Canada is eager to share their 1-to-1 learning experiences, best practices, and learning curve at their Spring event titled, 1-to-1 Laptops: Why It Works. The event will be held on May 8-9, 2008. Interactive breakout sessions, school visitations, and a well-known keynote speaker are planned. A
Over the past 12 months AALF members would have attended collectively possibly hundreds of Conferences and events, and we'd like to know what you learnt! Too often we don't have a forum to share the wisdom and ideas that we hear either networking or from speakers at Conferences. So here's your chance! Set 20 minutes aside during or after your next conference, or one you have recently been to, and share your thoughts with us, so that thousands of your AALF colleagues in schools around the world can benefit from your experience.
Run under the auspices of the Microsoft Partners in Learning program, the Conference was targeted at educational leaders, educational policy makers, and politicians. Registration closed early with more than 380 delegates, coming from 55 countries. The focus was around Innovation in an Age of Accountability.
Reflections on the Third
School of the Future World Summit
Highlights and Takeaways:
- Closing Plenary was from Jean-Francois Rischard, author of High Noon: 20 Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them. Spoke with extraordinary clarity about the reality of 21st Challenges, and the thinking needed to solve them, which to me echoed stronger than the blurrier 21st Century Learning ideals. In this context we quickly realise our current thinking and skill sets will not create the necessary solutions. If you haven't heard him, buy the book.
- Extraordinary diversity coming from the presenters, which added a unique richness to the conference. I was taken by what some of lower profile countries such as Guatemala, Columbia, Mexico, Ireland and Scotland were doing. These and others are forging ahead with new ideas around what school could be, and building infrastructure to support it, and the discussion around the emerging plans for a move to 1-to-1 were extensive
- Queensland's Assistant Director-General Richard Eden set out a very clear strategy and technology foundation that is presenting an opportunity for innovation on a scale that seems unprecedented. His thinking was to build a cohesive and coherent framework, both from a technological and strategic perspective, on top of which teachers would have the opportunity to explore new directions for learning. Their Professional Development Framework is worth a look.
- AALF President, Bruce Dixon, presented the Opening Plenary with his thoughts around a New Age of Education, driven by the combined imperatives of Rischard's 21st Challenges, our student's immersive Digital lifestyle, the Globalization of Education, and the emerging focus on education of the Whole Child, ages 0-11. With, of course, Anytime Anywhere Learning underpinning the New Age. His proposals for intervention to create fundamental changer were insightful. His presentation together with other keynotes can be accessed on the Conference site .
Interest in the 1-to-1 sessions was significant, with many educational leaders looking for the answers to supporting 'digital pedagogy,' and the associated management of change in teaching practice that makes the investment in 1-to-1, and Anytime Anywhere Learning, worthwhile. AALF needs to offer more forums for discussion around this topic, as it looms as a key area of concern.
Next year's conference is likely to be held around November; if you are interested in attending, register interest on the site for an invitation when it opens.