I've posted a new articles over on the OSC IB Blogs site: Literally a Digital Citizen in the Student Blog section. I've re-posted it here. 

Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest for students and for teachers.

"A country without boarders"

creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by archer10 (Dennis): http://flickr.com/photos/archer10/4066976166
Talin, Estonia. creative commons licensed (BY-SA)
flickr photo by archer10 (Dennis):
A story in the Guardian this morning made me laugh, and then think! "On 21 October, Estonia’s parliament unanimously voted to extend national digital e-residency rights to foreigners by the end of the year. With this e-residency programme, the least populous country in Europe, of 1.3 million people, intends to attract around 10 million “digital citizens” by 2025." (Read the entire post at this link.)

Up until now, in my world of ICT in education "digital citizenship" has had quite a different meaning. It has been defined as "the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use." (Digitalcitizenship.net)  IB schools generally try to educate their staff and students of all ages in the nine themes of digital citizenship (Respect Your Self/Respect Others: Etiquette, Access, Law;  Educate Your Self/Connect with Others: Communication, Literacy, Commerce; Protect Your Self/Protect Others: Rights and Responsibility, Safety (Security), Health and Welfare).

But with the advent of Estonia's e-residency concept, perhaps we should consider a broader definition, or another term.  Perhaps something building on  "digital participation"?  In the Glossary from the new Technology in the IB document, digital participation is described as "The process of participating in digital culture by creating and receiving content online. Digital participation encapsulates concepts such as digital citizenship and branding. Digital participation assumes that the online world is a participatory culture that one must learn to navigate in order to contribute (Jenkins 2009; Hague, Williamson 2009)." (The Role of Technology in the IB Programs-Prepublication, 2014, p.20)

What is e-residency in Estonia?

Estonia's new e-residency is explained in this video from Reuters:

(A transcript can be found  at this link.)
and in the video on http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2014/s4136006.htm from the Australian television.
This audio is a little more critical: http://www.dw.de/estonia-e-residency/av-18117130  (Deutsche Welle)

The Estonian Government page  writes: "The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by using secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians for years already. By providing e-residency, we are moving towards the idea of a country without borders."

Hmm...certainly a new twist for "digital citizenship".  A new paradigm for "International Mindedness"?


I posted two new articles over on the OSC IB Blogs site: Privacy in the Teacher Blog section and  in the Student Blogs. I've re-posted the teacher version here.

Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest for students and for teachers.

I’ve been trying to write this post about privacy, digital privacy, “privacy as a human right”, the "right to be forgotten", and social networking, for awhile now. But it seems every time I sit down to put words on “paper”, a new facet of the discussion is brought to my attention by a blog post, video, news story...

First, we should consider the concept of privacy. Privacy can be described as a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people.

For the purpose of this post, we can split this idea into physical-real-world privacy, and digital privacy. And within those two, we can split again into “areas over which I have total control” and “areas over which I have no control, given the life choices I have made”.

Maggie Hos-Mcgrane described this last area well in a recent blog post, Privacy, is it always a good thing?

“For most of us there is already "big data" about where we live, how old we are, our family and friends, where we shop, what we buy, what movies we have seen, what music we have downloaded, photos we've added to various sites about places we have been, our medical records, pharmaceuticals we've taken, websites we have visited, our emails, tweets, phone calls and messages we have sent and received and images of us taken on security cameras. Most of us have given up all this data willingly - we are happy to trade our privacy, safety and security because we see the benefits of greater connectivity.”

One of the areas you might not be so happy about, and which you can control is described in Facebook's Latest "You Are The Product" Message: We Will, We Will, Sell You And track your credit card, too by Helen A.S. Popkin (13 Nov 2014)
“...While couched in the language of "friends," this (Facebook’s recent update of its Privacy Policy) is actually about targeted advertising. If Facebook knows exactly where you are, it knows exactly which advertisements for local establishments to show you...Facebook's new data policy is where you'll find the explanation on the information collected when you buy something through the social network. This includes: '.. your credit or debit card number and other card information, and other account and authentication information, as well as billing, shipping and contact details.'“

There are choices you can make within Facebook, and there is the choice you can make not to have an account at all with any online social group for which you are the "product and the profit". Do you value your privacy to the point of leaving Facebook (or other social networking sites) altogether? By creating a unique password for each of your online accounts? and changing them often? Do you encrypt your email? Are cookies enabled on your web browser? Read more along this line in a post by John Naughton, Why the internet has turned us into hypocrites .

The decisions you make take time, consideration, and a concept of where you want to be on the "privacy scale."

The diagram below, created and shared for an edcmooc course by Guy Cowley might help you consider your own privacy. Although he was not thinking especially about the privacy issue when he created it, but more about technology in learning, I think it's helpful for our topic, too. Guy writes “...it is all about us – how we behave and whether we choose to use technology as a facility to help us to improve, or whether we allow ourselves to be seduced and diminished by merely indulging in it...This does not come for free however, it requires effort and thought and a conscious positioning with technology and applications which makes them likely to contribute positively to personal growth...”

Credit: Guy Cowley Used with permission

If your teaching includes the concept of privacy, watch this video from Common Sense Media, Although it's filmed with Middle School students, the experience illustrated could be used with older students, too (even with adults!)

How To Create Responsible Social Criticism: PBS

The recent matter of Sam Pepper's "social experiment" videos has inspired a lot of discussion and debate. Here at Idea Channel, we thought we'd take this opportunity to talk in this video not specifically about Sam Pepper, but about media in general, and it's ability to comment on serious social issues. If Sam Pepper's video successfully critiqued assault, then why all the uproar? If media can be potentially hurtful, then how can we best comment on social issues? Watch the episode and tell us what you think! 

Once again, the PBS Idea Channel has a posted a video worth watching,  and discussing (especially with media-using students). Every moment with your audience matters.

NPR: How Do Simple Questions Lead To Big Discoveries?

This morning, the TED Radio Hour (National Public Radio) shared this page with me through my RSS reader.

I was immediately interested in the title, so I watched the video.  The first example made me think - Oh, wow! Every PYP teacher investigating force and motion needs to see this!

Screen shot of
"When Richard Feynman was a young boy in Queens, he went for a walk with his dad and his wagon and a ball. And he noticed that when he pulled the wagon, the ball went to the back of the wagon. And he asked his dad, why does the ball go to the back of the wagon? And his dad said, that's inertia. He said, what's inertia? And his dad said, ah, inertia is the name that scientists give to the phenomenon of the ball going to the back of the wagon." (link)

"SAVAGE: One of the funny things about owning a brain is that you have no control over the things that it gathers and holds onto, the facts and the stories. And as you get older, it only gets worse. Things stick around for years sometimes before you understand why you're interested in them, before you understand they're important to you."(link)


This is Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode From Curiosity To Discovery. "Why do some people spend years trying to answer a single question, or even risk their lives to discover something new? In this hour, TED speakers explore how curiosity leads to unexpected places."

On the web page, there's an excellent audio interview with Adam Savage. (The transcript is here.)

There are many more bits of the interview and the video that will help  PYP teachers clarify their own thinking about units of inquiry in which their own knowledge base may be a little shaky.

And the video itself is a great example of good "Powerpoint" - complex ideas are illustrated clearly and simply.  I wondered if TED had any "behind the scenes" videos that would help me understand how this video was made.  I found http://ed.ted.com/lessons/making-a-ted-ed-lesson-visualizing-complex-ideas  which helps a bit.

Moral Machines and Happy Humans

I posted two new articles over on the OSC IB Blogs site: Education for Tomorrow in the Teacher Blog section, and Moral Machines and Happy Humans in the Student Blogs., which I've re-posted here. Both posts present similar material with some additional thoughts for the students. 

Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest for students and for teachers.


Image credit: creative commons licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by jmorgan: http://flickr.com/photos/jmorgan/5164271

We're used to robots - we read about them, see them at the cinema, in art, graffiti, learn about them in science and technology class, we build them, and our lives are full of them.

The other day this video, "Humans Need Not Apply" from CGP Grey, came up in my YouTube subscription:

The script for this video is at http://www.cgpgrey.com/blog/humans-need-not-apply, and links to all the technology mentioned is on the "About" tab on the YouTube page.

Watching the video, I was struck by the very broad implications of "we" (and I couldn't help being reminded of some school situations I know when listening to the conversation between the Luddite horses). I wondered, can the future be this bleak, problematic, cut-and-dried for humans? Will our lives become too full of robots? I searched for other opinions...

The video below made me feel a bit more hopeful (although it's directed at "teachers", I think the word "Learners" would work, too:

Then, as if in answer to my searching, a handful of blog posts appeared in my RSS reader the last few days:

MIT study says robot overlords could make for happier human workers - describes one way the "Humans need not apply" scenario will come to pass. (Note that this is a tiny, tiny study.)
"Automation in the manufacturing process has been around for decades, but the new study aimed to seek out the sweet spot where human workers were 'both satisfied and productive.'
" 'We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates,' said project lead Matthew Gombolay..." (Engadget, 25 August 2014)
From eBookFriendly comes a post and two info-graphics about "New technologies and the education of tomorrow"
"New technologies are shaping the way we learn. The more we control them, the bigger impact we can have on where the education evolves. An interesting infographic created by Aleksandar Savic for Lenovo shows the opportunities advanced technologies give to educators and students."
MakeUseOf offers an article titled How Computer Technology Will Transform Schools of the Future. Look at Point 2 "Robot Graders are the Future":
"...Luckily, we have robots for that now. Khan Academy includes exercises after every few lessons to let you test your knowledge of the material covered, and users instantly know whether or not they got the exercise correct, and can access hints on solving the exercise..."
Engadget informs us about one of the ways robots are getting smarter, and how we can help them in Robo-Brain Teaches Robots How to Understand the World.
"...According to project lead Ashutosh Saxena from Cornell (the study's a joint effort between Brown, Cornell and Stanford Universities as well as the University of California, Berkeley), his team's goal is to "build a very good knowledge graph -- or a knowledge base -- for robots to use." Think of Robo Brain as Wikipedia ... that robots can tap into when they need to understand how we speak and how we see the world -- both extremely important if they are to organically perform their tasks..."
More about robot learning can be learned from this video, Robot Learning: Perception, Planning and Language":

I couldn't help but begin to think that the IB Learner Profile should perhaps become the "Human Profile"...
"The IB Learner Profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. .. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose." (ibo.org)
Having seen a world "peopled" by robots in the posts and videos above, I thought about the Learner Profile (inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective). Which of the Learner Profile attributes could be used to describe robots? Which can describe only humans?

On a well known Theory of Knowledge web page I found a link to this post, under Ethics: Teach Robots Values So They Won't Kill Us With Kindness
"I am deeply saddened by the inability of robots to do something as simple as telling apart an apple and a nectarine," says engineer, futurist and CEO of Poikos, Nell Watson. Speaking at The Conference in Malmo, Watson makes the case that as robots get smarter and more capable, we are going to need to teach them human values in order that they don't end up destroying us -- either out of malice or kindness.... "The most important work of our lifetime is to ensure that machines are capable of understanding human value," she (Nell Watson) says. "It is those values that will ensure machines don't end up killing us out of kindness." (link)
Ah yes - that tricky phrase "human values"!! If you listed your own personal values, would you "look" like a robot, or a human? If you are attracted by the field of robotics, how do you imagine defining, and then teaching "human values" to a robot? What will your ethics of artificial intelligence be? You might want to read The Challenge of Moral Machines, by Wendell Wallach, in the July/August 2014 issue of PhilosophyNow.
"...The building of moral machines provides a platform for the experimental investigation of decision-making and ethics. The similarities and differences between the way humans make decisions and what approaches work in (ro)bots will tell us much about how we humans do and do not function, and much about what, and who, we are."

Is the Internet a Public Utility?

Another fine video from PBS Idea Channel:

Be sure to click over to YouTube for the list of links for further reading.

Have you met a MOOC?

I've a new post over on the OSC IB Blogs site:  What's in a MOOC?, which I've re-posted here. Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest for students and for teachers.

What is a MOOC? This video from Dave Cormier will explain:

As with so many things, when looking for a good beginning introduction, I come to Wikipedia for a basic definition of MOOC: "A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC; /mk/) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the webIn addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent development in distance education which began to emerge in 2012."

MOOC: Every Letter is Negotiable
creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by mathplourde: http://flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/8620174342

Last month in this space, Barbara Stefanics wrote about iTunes U. MOOCS from other providers are a similar source of learning, but not connect to Apple's iTunes delivery. You can find a MOOC by looking at the webpages of providers like Coursera, FutureLearn, EdX, or by consulting MOOC-List, an aggregator (directory) of Massive Open Online Courses from different providers. There is a table on the WIkipedia page which compares providers.

Because they are (mostly) free, online, and although delivered in real time when you "go to class" is up to you, MOOCs are an ideal way to investigate something you need to know more about, or are just curious about! After you have enrolled, how much work you do is up to you - no one is looking over your shoulder. If you want to watch every video, and read every file, you may, but you don't have to. If you want to work for a certificate, you may, but you don't have to. If you want to participate in the forums, you may, but you don't have to. This is self-directed learning!

This video from the New York Times is more than a year old, but is still an accurate description of the evolution of MOOCs.

MOOC media has almost replaced watching television for me - there is not much on broadcast television that interests me, and there are so many MOOCs I would like to explore! When considering a MOOC course, there are two aspects to consider. One is the content - as with any course - is it well prepared? Is the teacher knowledgeable? Is this the information you expected to explore? The second aspect is the production: Is this course merely the video of a lecture, with poor sound, and low resolution of projected slides? Was the media created for a web format? Is the course "package" of webpages easy to understand and navigate? Only you can judge whether or not a course is worth your time and interest - and you didn't pay US$60,000 a year to attend it!

I strongly urge you to consult the tag cloud at MOOC-List (and follow them on Twitter) or check the OpenCulture list of free online courses, and select a course that interests you. Perhaps your school doesn't offer this material? or not in such detail? or you're just curious about the field, and want to know more? A MOOC is a great way explore at your own pace, to dig deeper into a subject you already love, or just get a preview of a new world.

PBS Idea: "What Does IKEA Say About The Human Condition? "

Another interesting video from PBS Idea Channel,  published on Jun 4, 2014
"...While a huge corporate entity may not be the most likely place to find discussion points for the human condition, we're going for it anyway. For example, what is "The IKEA Effect"? What is it about building your own furniture that is so satisfying (or frustrating)? And those stores... oh, we can undoubtedly find some metaphors in their labyrinthine layouts. So what DOES Ikea say about the human condition?"
Watch the first section of the video and find out!

A "trip to IKEA" is a common experience for many International School students, as is investigating the "Human Condition" through elementary, middle, and secondary school in an IB school.  Is this the perfect video for IB students?

The Revolution in Asking & Answering Questions

I just received an email of a new blog post from one of my online mentors, Dan Russell, has posted this video of his TEDxYouth talk at Palo Alto High School.  

Published on Apr 29, 2014
Daniel Russell is a senior research scientist at Google. He investigates and analyzes Google users' habits and practices in an effort to improve the search experience. His innovative Google-A-Day encourages users to flex their searching skills to find answers to intriguing questions.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

In his email/blog post, he writes 
"Historically,  "doing research" meant doing a bunch of things that don't actually have all that much to do with understanding the questions at hand.  You know what I mean:  going to the library, collecting photocopies of articles, organizing them, punching sets of holes so they'll go into your binder, copying data from one place to another, filtering it, cleaning things up.  If you think about it in terms of pure efficiency, doing research is hard partly because there's so many OTHER things you have to do along the way to get to your goal.  
So, what's the core of research?  
I think it's asking the right questions, getting some kind of answers back, and then iterating on that idea.  Ask a little, learn a little; refine your ideas and then test them out."  (http://searchresearch1.blogspot.ch/2014/05/the-revolution-in-asking-and-answering.html)

As he says in the video, to do research today, (or to move from not-knowing to knowing) you need to understand the tools, the gendre, the media, the content.

Do You "Choose" To Have Your Privacy Invaded By Using Tech?

Another thoughtful video from PBS Idea Channel

Published on Apr 30, 2014 
CHANGE YO PASSWORDS! The recent Heartbleed bug was, for many, just another reminder that our information will never be secure on the internet. We feel vulnerable and hopeless in the face of a long string of privacy concerns, and many argue that this is an inevitable result of technology. But since our culture has wholly jumped on the digital bandwagon, do we as individuals truly CHOOSE to sacrifice our privacy? Or maybe the better question is, how much do we even choose to use technology? Watch the episode and find out! 

Think about the issues raised in the video, and then read this post on ReadWrite: "Google Promises To Stop Trawling Student Gmail For Ads" (notice this does not apply to individual, private accounts).  Stephen Downs pointed me to this article on the Digital Education page of Education Week, Google Halts Scanning of Student Gmail Accounts which includes Google's statement, and reactions by several education technology professionals.
"Schools have to look at what happens to their data once they no longer want to use Google Apps for Education, too," said Reidenberg, who worked on a study released in December about privacy issues associated with cloud computing in schools. "Is it completely deleted from the Google system, or does it stay in the cloud forever?" While the service is free, he indicated that Google can make money by other means. "What's the quid pro quo? If they're not paying with cash, they're paying with privacy," he said." (link)

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo
by sskennel: http://flickr.com/photos/sskennel/2050977429
What happens to your data?

Medieval Studies Quizzes

I'm marginally involved with an IB DP  History Medieval Options - Route One course, finding resources, videos, minding a wiki and a Paper.li aggregation for the subject. One of the sites I subscribe to is Medievalists.net, a very rich source which "provide(s) the most comprehensive coverage of news, book reviews, articles, games, movies, pop culture and more."

One of Medievalists.net's editors, Peter Konieczny (@medievalicious) has been busy creating Medieval quizzes on Playbuzz.com.  Like so many sites where anyone can create a web-based media product, Playbuzz is a mix of useful academic quizzes and pure pop. It's almost impossible to search efficiently. Once you find one that interests you, try clicking on one of its tags to find more.

Konieczny's Medieval quizzes are fun, and academically valid.  Multiple choice, per force, but still - useful if you're reviewing for an exam. Click on the links below to go to the quizz on the Medievalits site.

Medieval London Quizz

The First Crusade Quizz

Kings of Medieval England Quizz
(Scroll within the quizz below to continue to the next question, or click on a number at the top of the first screen.)

On a fun, but less "factual" quizz, is What is Your Medieval Profession?

(My results pinned me as a Witch Doctor)
Screen shot from http://www.medievalists.net/2014/03/24/medieval-profession/

Teachers live in media, too

I've a new post over on the OSC IB Blogs site: Teachers live in media, too, which I've re-posted here. Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest. 

We live in media
Poster created by Tom Woodward
A few weeks ago I wrote a post for students about using Twitter.  I urge you to read it, and then continue on with this new post.

  "Quick catch up, or background info: "Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them." Wikipedia About Ted Nelson, whose quote is illustrated in the poster at the left: "Theodor Holm Nelson is an American pioneer of information technology, philosopher and sociologist. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published them in 1965." Wikipedia"
Nothing on the web is static, especially in the realms of social media.  Since the post for students about using Twitter linked above, Twitter has re-designed their users' profile page.

Lance Ulanoff wrote about the changes on Mashable, Twitter's New Profiles: Everything You Need to Know: "...I look at other users' profile pages fairly often. It's where I learn about who they are through their profile picture and their brief description of themselves, which may include details like job, location and a link for more information. In other words, profile pages are important, especially for brands, celebrities and new users." and, I would add, teachers.  Ulanoff describes how to create a new Profile Page that represents you, but does not give too much away.

While the Twitter blog  gives a simple explanation of the new look, and how to use it, on Wired, Kyle Vanhemert writes an in-depth article about the changes, and why you should pay attention to them: "...The new profile design, though, is a slightly different play. It does make Twitter easier for newcomers to understand, offering a shinier, more product-like public face to people who arrive directly at a user page. "But it also positions the Twitter profile as a destination unto itself, apart from the newsfeed entirely. It’s a concession to an entirely different use case than the one Twitter was built upon. “For some people, it’s all about that real-time newsfeed,” Bellona says. “For some, it’s just like, ‘I want to see what a celebrity is up to.’ Both should be really great..." If you're a habitué of Twitter, go now to update your profile page.

If you're a new user, or have been thinking of investigating Twitter, read on.

Anatomy of a Tweet
Image cc: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/twitter-edu/
Read Twitter EDU, by David Truss, about getting started with Twitter - it's an excellent "why", and "how to guide".

Read what Mark Anderson, at the ICT Evangelist, has posted about #MyTop5Tips for creating a Twitter PLN:  He begins, "There doesn’t really seem to be a clear common consensus as to whether a Twitter PLN should be a professional or a personal learning network. Certainly I think it should probably be a bit of both. Also, as when dealing with all social media, you should be mindful of your school’s social media policy. You should also be mindful of protecting your own professional identity when posting online."

 Mike Reading, at Education Technology Solutions, writes about "How to use Twitter in the classroom without compromising your professional relationship with your students". He ends his post "Twitter is a fantastic tool for building your professional learning network and finding resources and teaching ideas."
Are you wondering how you might use Twitter in your teaching?  Read this extreme case from the University of Windsor, Using Twitter in the Classroom for Student Engagement and Exchange. "Professor Ryan Snelgrove teaches Ethics in Sport, a required first-year course, to 225 students in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Windsor. Reflecting the University’s emphasis on student experience, Dr. Snelgrove wanted to foster classroom engagement, but realized the limitations of time for verbal engagement. However, with almost all students arriving in class with a smart phone, tablet, or laptop, he decided to take advantage of these tools, using Twitter as a tool for contributing opinions and comments."

Have a look at 10 Amazing Ways For Teachers & Tutors To Use Twitter In Education by Saikat Basu on MakeUseOf. First,  Basu outlines reasons why Twitter is a good study tool:
  • Teachers can connect to their students on a wider level as well as on a personal level.
  • Interactions can be taken beyond the classroom as Twitter is omnipresent in our smartphones and laptops.
  • Twitter allows for customization of learning depending on the student i.e. differentiating learning for different students.
  • Twitter can be used to quickly connect to multimedia resources (e.g. YouTube or Vine) and turn education into edutainment.
  • Twitter gives new opportunities to connect to other learning communities and new educational content.
  • The very nature of Twitter – brief and to-the-point makes for rapid broadcast of learning.
He then outlines and illustrates 10  methods of learning with Twitter:
  • Hashtags
  • Quickfire recaps and quizzes
  • Language Learning
  • Twitter as a Bulletin Board
  • or as a Wall
  • Role Play on Twitter
  • Create Class Newspapers with Twitter Streams
  • Seek Mentors with the Help of Twitter
  • Parent Teacher Meet with a Tweet
  • Take a Break
I leave you with a video, Using Twitter in the Classroom, by Alice Kassens. "A tutorial showing how to use Twitter in the classroom based on my experiences in my Principles of Macroeconomics courses at Roanoke College."


I have to go update my Twitter profile page...

Should we have a pedagogy of technology?

Sharing a slide stack from Ashley Casey, a University lecturer, PhD in Physical Education, which contains some beautiful slides, and remarkable metaphors.


Risktaking and discovery

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo
shared by 
I urge you to read a recent feature article from The Atlantic, The Overprotected Kid, by Hana Rosin. It's very long, but well worth reading to the very end.

Being a teacher, as I read this article I thought about how Rosin's ideas relate to my experience: school playgrounds I've seen; the reality of school recess on those playgrounds; thinking about the new  IB Learner Profile attributes; and with the concept of the PYP (and MYP) curriculum model in mind. 

I wonder, can the "inside" of the school-classroom-curriculum propose that
  • "We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
  • We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global signi ficance.  
  • We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
  • We express ourselves con fidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate e ffectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
  • We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
  • We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
  • We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive di fference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
  • We understand the importance of balancing di fferent aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
  • We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development." (The new IB Learner Profile)
After reading the Atlantic feature about how "a preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer", I  thought about how this relates to what goes on inside a classroom. Considering all sorts of contrasts current in current educational writing led me to the idea that perhaps the emphasis on testing, scores and accountability inside a school is the mirror of "safe playgrounds", and another aspect of a childhood under control, as described by Hana Rosin in her Atlantic piece.

And that led me to wonder about discussions within the PYP  community as to how the play facilities provided by a school outside the classroom, outside the school building, reflect the PYP framework for learning. Does the concept of "recess" or "break" often become simply a timetable consideration, rather than a part of the pedagogical picture, with a continued emphasis on learning?  Does the play space and equipment provided reflect what is expected, or affordable, rather than provide an environment that would encourage critical and creative thinking? I think that sometimes a school's support for  Learner Profile begins and ends at the school door. 

We Live in Media ...using twitter

I've a new post over on the OSC IB Blogs site: We live in Media... using Twitter, which I've re-posted here. Visit the OSC-IB Blogs site and explore the posts on other areas of interest.  Here's the site's tag cloud (the links will work):


We live in media
Poster created by Tom Woodward

Yesterday morning I read a handful of  interesting posts about Twitter, and found the poster shown at the left,  by Tom Woodward. As it all followed on a long Skype conversation with a colleague about Twitter, I felt that all the signs were pointing to  today's blog post focusing on Twitter. Quick catch up, or background info: "Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them." Wikipedia About Ted Nelson, whose quote is illustrated in the poster at the left: "Theodor Holm Nelson is an American pioneer of information technology, philosopher and sociologist. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published them in 1965." Wikipedia

In his post, David Lee King wrote about how to Improve Your Twitter Engagement, pointing to a post by Twitter itself What fuels a Tweet’s engagement?  Twitter wrote that "Each Tweet represents an opportunity to show your voice and strengthen that relationship with your followers. Adding a hashtag, photo or video to Tweets undoubtedly makes them richer, but does it bring you more user engagement? We wanted to find out...It’s not just about optimizing every single Tweet, but about building a compelling way for your followers and Twitter users to connect with you."  

On Engaget, Mat Smith wrote about how Twitter is experimenting again, tries replacing 'retweet' with 'share' button:  "...it could be an epoch-defining change to what the social network called one of its core features: retweets. So, it's possibly not a big deal, but in Twitter's latest experiment, (retweet has) been changed to 'share'.." perhaps to make it feel more like another social sharing site. How do you feel about this?  Is "retweet" an integral part of the Twitter experience?  Does "share" carry the same meaning?

On Gizmodo,  Ashley Feinberg  wrote that Twitter's Losing Sight of What Makes It So Great. She describes other ways that Twitter is morphing towards the look and feel of that other social sharing site. "Once confined to the strictest of social network diets, tweets are now free to run rampant. Theoretically, under these new rules one tweet could contain four photos tagged with 10 different friends. That is one crowded canoe, that still leaves you room to babble."  She goes on to list and discuss many of the changes in Twitter's formats possibilities and allowances, and  ends her post with this sentence: "What Twitter needs to realize is that encompassing more ground doesn't necessarily mean more users. And that it's at its best when it gives us what Facebook doesn't." I would tend to agree with her. "In instilling a strict, 140-character limit, Twitter forced you to cut your tweets in to their most basic, witty, and informative forms... Brevity, as they say, is the soul of Twitter."  Four photos, videos, tagging, hashtags, and 140 characters of text will push many of us to find a "Twitter reader" - perhaps Flipboard will fill this role.

Regarding  unlimited tagging,  has posted about How To Prevent People From Tagging You In Twitter Photos on Read Write "...thankfully for the privacy-conscious, you can determine who, if anyone, can tag you."  She gives clear directions for changing your settings from the default "anyone" to one of three choices: Anyone; Only people you follow; or No one. Have a look at 10 Amazing Ways For Teachers & Tutors To Use Twitter In Education.  Is there anything in this list that your teachers don't know about?  Would you like to share with them? Maybe send them a Tweet?

Twitter Wall - Screen shot from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-ways-to-use-twitter-in-education/