On behalf of the ECIS ICT Committee, I would like to wish you and yours a Happy New Year. At the same time, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge some of the unfortunate hardship and tragedy around the world, such as December’s Pakistan school shooting, the missing Air Asia flight, and the recent Paris shooting. Given how global our international school community is, we are often closer than we might like to such tragedies, and it’s important at times like this to think about and remember others and to always hope for a better future.
January is time for thinking about the new year, often guided by reflective thinking that happens during holidays. For many of us, this means brainstorming new project ideas, updating and revising technology plans, and revisiting ideas from years past that we haven’t had time to implement yet. This month we focus on professional development and how we might re-think the professional learning that happens at our schools.
Please remember that your input is valuable to the entire ECIS ICT community. If you are interested in contributing an article, or have ideas, resources, links, or information about upcoming professional development opportunities that you would like to share, please send them to me at email@example.com a week before the first day of the month and I will be sure to highlight them in the next edition of the blog.
On behalf of the ECIS ICT Committee
Rethinking Professional Development
For many of us, “professional development” once conjured up an image of a session spent listening to a speaker talk about a specific topic. This model has evolved over many years, and a variety of styles are available–hands-on activities, group discussions, thinking routines–to make the experience more engaging and meaningful for participants. Further, the idea of a rigid schedule with strict time slots, highly-organized activities, and a focus on goals and outcomes has given way to more flexible ways of thinking about professional learning. In addition to a number of formats, a number of radically different models have emerged over the past few years. These include:
- Flipped professional development, where participants watch a video or read materials in advance to prepare for an activity
- Fed-Ex days, where participants are free to focus on an area of their choice, with no restrictions other than they must “deliver” the next day
- Un-conferences that are intentionally scheduled without set topics or timetables, so that conversations and discussions can emerge organically around relevant topics
- Speed-Geeking, much like speed dating, where participants attend many short 5-10 minute sessions on a variety of topics, rather than focusing on a single topic
One might argue that professional development has also transformed into professional learning. Rather than something that happens at a specific time (during a workshop) or in a specific place (at a conference), professional learning can take place anytime and anywhere. Indeed, you might consider reading this blog post as professional learning. Even better, the idea of professional learning shifts our roles from that of educators to that of learners, so that we become part of the learning communities at our schools. With this in mind, here are some other ways to think about professional learning:
- Following experts in any topic or networking with peers, using Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other technologies.
- 20% time, where a portion of one’s working hours are intentionally spent on something not directly related to one’s job. (Google is a famous company that has supported 20% time; Google Maps is one example of a product that emerged from one Google engineer’s 20% time.)
- Using resources such as TED talks to engage with different ideas.
Just as the new year is a time to reflect and rethink, it is also a good time to consider ways of redesigning professional learning at our schools.
ECIS ICT Subject Conference – March 2015
Registration is now online for the ECIS ICT Subject Conference at the Bavarian International School (BIS)! The main conference will take place on Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2015. An optional pre-conference will be held on Friday, March 20. Full information is available online at the following link: ECIS Technology Conference 2015: Bavarian International School. Note that special pricing for partner hotels is only valid until January 22; please refer to the Accommodation tab on the conference website for more details.
Design Thinking, Making, and Un-Making Across the Curriculum
American School of London is hosting a Design Thinking workshop on January 31st. Would you like a hands-on introduction to Design Thinking, a process for problem solving which draws on creative and critical thinking skills? Curious about the Maker Movement, and how its principles can be adopted in education? This one-day workshop will introduce you to ideas and practices you can adapt for your own classroom. Registration materials are available online here.
Swiss Schools Cloud Camp featuring Google for Education and Appsevents
The Cloud Camp will take place here at the Inter Community School Zurich campus on Saturday February 7, 2015 from 8:00 to 4:30 p.m. This one day events with three strands; Google Apps for Education for Beginners, Intermediate/Advanced, and Google Apps for Education Certified Admin course. For full program details, speakers, schedule and registration please refer to this link.
First Central European Cloud Camp
The First Central European Cloud Camp will take place in Vienna, Austria on February 27th, 2015 at the Vienna International School. This is a great professional development opportunity for all educators working with Google Apps For Education technologies and a chance to meet and network with fellow teachers in various regions of Europe. Additional information and registration details can be found here.
Mediterranean Center for Innovation in Education
The Mediterranean Center for Innovation in Education has open registrations for a variety of upcoming events in 2015:
- Join us for one of our upcoming Google Summits! Registration is open for both the Tunis Summit (February 13-14, 2015) and the Genoa Summit (April 25-26, 2015) — we are also still accepting presentation proposals for both events, so submit your ideas today!
- Interested in becoming a certified Google Educator? Enroll inone of our Google Educator Certification Workshops to master the skills, concepts and process of becoming a certified Google Educator and, if desired, a fully-fledged Google Education Trainer. Our next two Google Certification workshops are scheduled in Casablanca, Morocco (January 23-25) and Barcelona, Spain (February 23-25). For additional information about these workshops and registration information, visit http://www.medcie.org/google.
- Spring Professional Learning Institutes — Registration for our Spring Institutes, to be held in Dubrovnik, Croatia from March 10-11, 2015, is still open. Six different two-day institutes will be offered on topics related to blended learning, social media, global citizenship, creativity, inclusivity, multi-lingualism and promotion of teacher collaboration. Additional information available at http://www.medcie.org/dubrovnik.
- Start planning for summer! Our Summer Institutes have recently opened for Early-Bird registration. 16 two-day, intensive institutes on a variety of engaging topics, led by dynamic, expert facilitators — and all in the fantastic beach-side setting of Marbella, Spain. Additional information available at http://www.medcie.org/?page_id=813.
2015 FNO Paris Mini Conference: Making Laptop Writing and Thinking Powerful and Persuasive
How can schools make sure laptops actually contribute to student performance? Join Jamie McKenzie for two days of nitty-gritty, practical strategies to optimize your school’s return on investment in terms of student learning. More details are available online here: http://fno.org/paris2015.html
Flat Connections Updates
Graded School (São Paulo, Brazil) is hosting the Innovate 2015 Conference on March 4-7, 2015. The Innovate 2015 conference marks Graded School’s commitment to re-imagine the school that best serves and inspires students for tomorrow. Join innovators from across the globe to engage in dialogue designed to ignite new ideas and build the foundation for change our students deserve. For more information, visit the Innovate 2015 website at https://www.graded.br/page.cfm?p=7085.
EdtechIST- International Educational Technology Conference – 18-19 April, 2015
Edtechist is a two day event in Istanbul, Turkey, where some important educational technology leaders will deliver masterclasses one day prior to the conference and hold half day sessions during the conference.
The topics are: iPad in Education, 21st Century Teaching & Learning, BYOD /1:1 Programs, Leadership, Creativity & Innovation, Professional Development, Maker Movement & Design Thinking, Online Learning, Technology Infrastructure, Digital Citizenship, Digital Storytelling, Gamification.
Attend half-day workshops by the renowned experts in educational technology. Alan November, Gary Stager, Connie White, Suzie Boss, Bernajean Porter, Greg Hodgson, Mario Fishery, Rory Newcombe, Sharon Brown Peters, Suzie Boss and more to be added. http://www.edtechist.com/speakers/
Call for presentations is now open! If you are interested in presenting a session, please fill out the form until February 14th. Early bird registration deadline is March 6th. We invite you to our amazing city and one of the best Educational Technology Conference experiences ever organised. If you have any questions, please let us know. Hope to see you in April!
Project Zero Atlanta
CASIE and Atlanta International School are hosting Project Zero Atlanta, May 10 – 15, 2015. With an over-arching theme of Think-Create-Innovate, the Atlanta conference will invite educators to reflect deeply on ways to build and sustain engaging, enriching and rigorous learning opportunities; to encourage problem-finding and problem-solving; and to develop the disposition to act to make the world a better place. See the following link for more details: http://www.casieonline.org/events/pz/atl.