The Why of Schools in 2030

November 1st, 2012 Dennis Harter No comments

earcos12This is the theme of this year’s EARCOS Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur (Follow: #elc12 and @EARCOSORG) this weekend.  This question is recalling many of the arguments and discussions had on the blogosphere in the past few years.

Is our curriculum tied to tradional subjects outdated?

How will online tools be a part of learning?

Are the structures of a “course” outdated and overly rigid?

How can we individualize the pace and path of learning?

These ideas and questions were introduced in the opening remarks by EARCOS President Tim Carr (Head of School at Jakarta International School) and the opening keynote by Dr. Milton Chen of the GeorgeLucas Foundation and EduTopia.

This is right up my alley as a former techie turned administrator self-purposed with changing the way we have kids learn.

Looking forward to it!

(hoping it’s not a sign of things to come that the first session I attended turned out to be a full room waiting for a presenter than never showed!)

More posts of learning to come!

Powerful tools 4 Challenging Times

September 8th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Kevin Honeycutt

There in that digital playground with or without us

Tools are always turned into toys.  Tools and toys have converged.

We have outsourced our brain’s typical role of remembering things yet we sever this connection for kids when we deny them a “limb” – they will use this for the rest of their life

Kids can change the world or ruin their lives with a click

Amazing music apps for iphone and ipad. (guitar, harmonica, woodwind)

Awesome!

Categories: ProD Tags: , , ,

_blank matters

September 8th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Unplugd 2011 Conference in Canada where they got together in Algonquin to figure out what matters.

An experience for networked learners to come together and connecting face to face without other connections

#unplugd11

They discussed what matters.  Fill in the blank, _______ matters.

Search this on google

unplugd.ca

Matter together because people matter.

Categories: ProD Tags:

Gettin’ started

September 8th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Learning 2.0 Keynote:  Superkimbo – Kim Cofino of YIS and Always Learning

Our story is about connection and places and culture shock

Lessons from Asia for education today

  1. mobile
  2. just in time – not just in case
  3. adaptable
  4. quick
  5. customizable
  6. no fixed values – value of object is defined in the moment and by the people involved
  7. always on
  8. collaborative
  9. blend of old and new – technology is not at the expense of traditional values
  10. global

It’s not where you are, but who you are connected to.  Imagine the possibilities.

Here

September 7th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

Have arrived in Shanghai and found all social media that I use blocked other than my blog.  This will be where I post notes and reflections from the conference.  Looking forward to a great few days of learning.

Categories: ProD, Random thoughts Tags: , ,

Giddy

September 6th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

I’ve been out of the game a little bit and so I have to admit that I am incredibly excited to be heading to Shanghai tomorrow for the Learning 2.011 conference.  Great opportunity to reconnect with leaders in the Technology and Learning field, while also re-igniting my passion for learning outside of the traditional subject areas of schools.

I’m going.  Will I see you there?

Getting back into it

September 1st, 2011 Dennis Harter 3 comments

Pick your tune…

“It’s been a while…” – Staind

“It’s been a long time, since I rock and rolled!” – Led Zepplin

“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio…” – Simon and Garfunkel

And I’m sure there are many others.  Regardless, they all capture that at a current posting rate of once every 6 months, I can hardly expect anybody to still be at the other end of this.  I have good excuses like “it was my first year as an administrator” and “I have a young family” and “I’m so busy learning that I don’t have time to share”.  They’re all legit, but in a time when we abandon an RSS feed that hasn’t gone bold in months, it would be unreasonable to think anybody’d still be here.

And yet I write.

I write to get my thoughts out.

I write to get my thoughts together.

I write because I need to frame those thoughts – to reflect on where I am, what I’m doing, whether I’m heading in the right direction and maybe to figure out if I’m making a difference.  Maybe not accurate, but somehow it feels like sharing it (even if it’s with no one) seeks validation or at least like-mindedness.

In the end, it doesn’t matter, because the real difference we’re trying to make is with the students in our care.  This is where I look for a difference to be made.  This is where we must find out if learning is better (if kids are better!) because of what we do.

(And apparently I write to go off on tangents.)

“Back to life.  Back to reality.” – En Vogue (that’s right, I quoted En Vogue) (update: apparently I didn’t…I quoted Soul II Soul!)

So I’m getting back into writing the blog.

And I’m getting back into, with the school year underway, trying to Build Understanding at my school.  Supporting and learning from my Principal as we lead faculty and students to better learning, challenge, reflection, and global awareness.

And that’s the key to our school’s Mission – to build understanding.  Understanding of content.  Understanding of self.  Understanding of others (including the global community).

I’m in my second year now as an administrator, so I don’t get the excuse of learning the job anymore.  I’m back.  I want back into the community of learners/educators out here and I know I’m going to have to earn my way back in with contribution.

I’m getting back into it.

image by Mike Rohde, Flickr Creative Commons

Working towards a positive school culture

January 14th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

I had the fun privilege of addressing the student body with the “message” to start the semester this week.  When you plan, write, and ultimately deliver these things, you worry and wonder how students (and teachers) will respond to what you have to say.  I have received some positive feedback and in an effort to document my forays into school administration and the learning I make every day, I am posting what I had to say (minus the slight improvisations and the minor word choice changes in delivery).

I hope that it set a tone for positivity and looking out for each other in our student body.  I admit I had a particular issue in mind as I considered what to say.  We have great kids here – welcoming, warm, and globally minded.  But they are also incredibly privileged teens.  Here’s hoping the students responded well to the message and it continues to build understanding for a positive school community and culture.

What I said:

Welcome back everyone.

As we head off into the second semester, I wanted to remind you that your friends, your school, your community need you. At the start of the year, Mr. Bradley, his geese and I reminded you that your success DEPENDS on the people around you. Your friends, your teachers, your counselors, your parents, even your administrators.

We are all in this together, I said. Well okay, Zach Efron said it in HS Musical, but I wasn’t quoting him at the time.

But as we head into this semester, stay together. Help each other out. Stand up for what’s right. I’ll say that one again. Stand up for what’s right.

We all know how we want to be treated. How people should be treated. And we know when we are being hurtful or teasing or just being mean. There isn’t a person in this room who doesn’t know what that looks like, sounds like, reads like on Facebook, or most importantly feels like (from either side).

So don’t let it happen. To you or anyone else. Don’t be that guy or that girl. It is possible to approach each other with optimism, friendliness, and respect. Idealistic, sure…but all it takes is choice to act positively rather than negatively. To act instead of turning a blind eye. You will never regret helping someone who needed help even if they didn’t know it. But you will always wish you had if you don’t help and something really bad happens.

It is your choice to treat others well. Your choice not to tolerate it when others don’t. It’s your choice to help keep your friends safe and ensure EVERYONE gets the respect we all deserve.

Yesterday, I asked the seniors to make sure that they got to know each other in the next 5 months. To enjoy their last semester together before everyone heads off after graduation.

Maybe the rest of you are luckier…you have even more time to get to know the amazing people that are sitting all around you… think about it…in this room are amazing people… people who sculpt or sing, or write, or run really fast, or make music or poetry or find math as easy as breathing. People who dominate on a court or field or video game … and people who somehow know exactly the right thing to say when you feel sad. You all shine somewhere, somehow. Honestly, this theater is filled with awesomeness.

Some of you are shy and some of you are bold. Some of you talk and some of you listen. But all of you have feelings. All of you can feel proud and all of you can feel hurt.

I can stand up here and ask you to follow rules, but instead on this first day of the semester, I remind you what looking after each other means. It means making sure EVERYONE has a chance to shine, to feel good and be true to themselves. It means not tolerating gossip or hateful comments and catching yourself when you might be making them. It means being honest and fair rather than hurtful and mean. It means understanding that obstacles can be overcome if we help each other. All it takes is for each one of you to decide, “I can do that.” “I can treat people well.”

I’m excited about the semester. Before you know it, it’ll be June. Balance your learning, your school life, your social lives, and your family. Look after yourself. Look after each other. Ask for help when you need it. Stand up for what you know is right and fair.

We ARE all in this together, and you are an awesome group to be in it together with. Learn, have fun and it’ll be a great semester for everyone.

See you tomorrow!