IMG_4348 In an age of 24/7 connectivity, and more and more people tethered to their devices, there is this growing feeling by many of the concept of a disconnect with connectivity with your immediate surroundings. This of course is different for everyone, and yes we have transitioned to a world were our respective digital ecosystems and grids play a growing role in our workflow and lives. That said, the people we connect with, collaborate and share through these digital ecosystems and grids are important and provide wonderful learning opportunities face to face in conference settings or virtually through our social media tools.

This month we would like to thank 4 members of our ECIS ICT committee who are stepping down as their tenure  has ended and then welcome 4 new members who will begin serving on the ECIS ICT Committee in August of 2014.

ECIS ICT Committee News

This year we have the following Committee members stepping down either as their term of services has ended or they are moving to a new region, a special thank you for their support, leadership and work over their tenure on the committee, thank you!

ChelseaPhotoChelsea Woods is currently a Technology Integration Specialist and Student Information Systems Coordinator at the Anglo American School of Moscow, where she has worked for the past 5 years. She is leaving the region in July for a new post as Technology Director at the International School of Phnom Penh.


Mariam MathewMariam Mathew is the High School Technology Coordinator at The American School in London. Originally from Canada, she has worked in California and New York, teaching Science, Mathematics and English. She has been a member of the ECIS ICT Committee for the past few years and supported the ECIS ICT conference at ASL in 2009.


leahLeah Treesh served on the ECIS ICT Committee from 2011 – 2013. As the ECIS iTunes U consultant, part of Leah Treesh’s role includes helping support schools in beginning to utilise and publish with ECIS iTunes U. She also works with them after publication with any help needed along the way. Additionally, Leah also is the Senior School Learning Technologies Teacher at Munich International School. Privately, Leah also teaches master’s technology integration courses through SUNY and conducts onsite workshops for teachers, administration and staff concerning learning and objective-focused technology usage in schools. Feel free to contact her at Leah.Treesh(at)

Mikton John MichaelsmJohn Mikton currently Director of Information Technology at the International School of Prague will be moving in August to the Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland joining the Senior Leadership Team as Director of eLearning. John has served for 6 years as Chair of the ECIS ICT Committee. Current Committee member Alan Preis, Director of Technology and 21st Century Learning at Atlanta International School, will take on the role as Chair of the ECIS ICT Committee in June 2014


Please join us in welcoming our 4 new ECIS ICT Committee Members who will join August 2014.

Sarah Woods

Sarah Woods is the IT Director and Secondary IT Integration Coach at Pechersk School International in Kiev, Ukraine, and has worked in both schools and the IT industry. She holds an MS Ed in K-12 Technology Integration and is a Google Certified Trainer. She unwinds by teaching yoga and traveling with her teenager.

ATD photo passportAaron Tyo-Dickerson is a Middle School IT teacher at the American School of The Hague. Aaron is in his eighth year at ASH, where he is also responsible for administering Google Apps for Education and Moodle, which are two of his passions. He also enjoys exploring new educational developments in IT: 3D designing (and printing), programming with Scratch and Python, and real-world creation with Arduinos and MaKey MaKeys.

Kimberly House: I am the educational technology specialist for the primary school at Bavarian International School in Munich, Germany. I’ve been in my role at the school for almost 10 years. I’m passionate about all things technology related and especially learning together with children and teachers.


School PhotoSeth Hubbert Director of Academic Technology French American International School, San Francisco Seth began his career in education as a Physics and Chemistry teacher in New York City, and developed an interest in the relationship between technology and student learning.  He has shared his passion by serving as a technology integrationist in schools, instructing university courses, and sharing his thoughts and experiences at international conferences.  Seth holds a BS in Physics from Whitworth University and MA in Education from Pace University.

Featured ContributionKevin J. Ruth, Ph.D. newly appointed Executive Director of ECIS starting Fall of 2014.
From Skunkworks to Connectivism: The Changing World of PD

I’ve been an avid reader of Tom Peter’s work for almost ten years now. In particular, I’ve always been fascinated by Tom’s mention of what is called a Skunk Works. To quote from his blog: “Lockheed invented the term “Skunk Works;” the Lockheed Skunk Works was a small unit, in Burbank CA, that used a totally unconventional approach to developing essential military aircraft in record time with an astonishingly small group of astonishingly motivated people. The generic “skunkworks idea” is […] a ‘band of brothers and sisters’ who are contrarian in nature, determined to go their own way and do it their own way, and who stink-up-the-central-culture as they pursue what they believe is an earth-shattering dream.”
About six years ago, based on my own early experiences in social media, it dawned on me that what we (in schools) call “professional development” was changing. Wittingly or unwittingly, a growing number of educators and edu-leaders were creating and growing a skunkworks that leveraged the burgeoning social media space and the relationships that such media facilitated. That skunkworks of informal learning has come to be known as a PLN, or personal learning network, whose principles are rooted in the theory of connectivism, as laid out by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (click here). At its heart, connectivism is about learners creating connections and developing a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge.
At that time, I was involved with several nings, Google Apps, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogging. I was engaged in them all at the same time because I was trying to learn about the merits and potential downsides of each. The one tool, however, that helped me begin to construct a very intentional ecosystem for my own personal growth and professional learning was Twitter. It hasn’t eclipsed my preference for personal relationships or my use of other social media tools; rather, it has become the central design element of my own PLN, which, to be honest, I never refer to as “my PLN.” I use this ecosystem every single day, and, as a learner, I wouldn’t function nearly as well without it. My network is in a constant state of evolution, and right now it takes the form of what I call a Learning Formula: Twitter + + LinkedIn + Feedly = Learning. That may appear surprisingly simple, given the overwhelming choices of tools out there, but it works for me. What these tools all have in common is that they function as curation tools for the information that nourishes me, and I have come to admire just how much value there is in curating the vast amount of information that exists in digital form. To be sure, I use plenty of other possible tools (I wrote this blog entry on Evernote, for example, because I use it to curate a vast amount of material via tags, including my own writing), but the four aforementioned ones are my go-to resources when I need to learn something, and that frequently involves asking questions. I ask questions on Twitter because people respond and point me toward the resources I’m seeking, or they might share their own experiences, which help to inform my mindset. I follow plenty of people on Twitter whose views I don’t share because I need to listen to diverse viewpoints to ensure that I feel informed on issues.
As Siemens and Downs (cited earlier) point out, connectivism, the practice of which is already evident among many educators and edu-leaders from ECIS member schools whom I follow on social media, presents “a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized.” Therefore, as I join ECIS fully beginning on 1 July, I am excited to connect to and with many of you, as we continue to shape and build a Learning Formula that resonates with members. A central design element of this Formula — the glue of the ECIS ecosystem, if you will — is our conferences, as face-to-face interaction is unique and tremendously generative, begetting collaboration, and, by extension, innovation.
I wish you all the best, as we look to the last months of the school year!
You are welcome to follow Kevin on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Digital Bytes: Blended Learning/ Online Learning

Infographic History of Distance Education

The Basics of Blended Learning

Building and delivering an effective blended course

Khan Academy Is Not The Progressive Model You Are Looking For

Blended Learning & the Learner: What’s edtech got to do with it?

The Busy Teacher’s Quick Guide To Blended Learning

What I Learned by Flipping the MOOC

Blended Learning in Early Elementary at Utica Community Schools

How Do You Communicate with Your E-Learners?

Are You Making These Mistakes with Your Online Training Program?

Lessons Learned from a Blended Learning Pilot

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Blended Learning in Language Teaching

 Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the Online Classroom

Flipped classrooms: Let’s change the discussion

The Flipped Classroom Model: A Full Picture

The Flip: Why I Love It – How I Use It / The Flip: End of a Love Affair

Blended Learning (and Teaching) is Messy #blendedlearning

Online Learning in the Traditional Classroom


Professional Development

Google Apps Events
Find out about a Google Apps for Education event in your area.
Upcoming Google in Education Summits produced in partnership with Google in Education:
Full schedule of events and locations

Flat Connections Conference – Sydney, Australia June 18-20, 2014
The Flat Connections Conference is a unique event that includes students and educators to envision the future of education and of learning communities as
they use leading technology tools such as wikis, blogs, social networking and digital storytelling.

ISTE Conference – Atlanta, Georgia USA June 28 – July 1, 2014
The ISTE Conference will be held in Atlanta this year and will feature hundreds of sessions on the theme “Connected learning, connected world”.
They are gathering input on keynote speakers for this year, feel free to submit your suggestions at
Information about registering for the ISTE Conference is available here:

Your words, your input…..
Please remember your links, your thoughts, your resources, your conferences/events are important to this blog if you have something you wish to have featured  drop us a note a week before the first day of the month

have a good month

John Mikton  and Alan Preis

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