OVERPROTECTIVE PARENTS

“Hey Mr Tulley, if you think Americans are overprotective of their kids, you should see Indonesians!”

Running a school brings us into close contact with parents, and they come in various shapes and sizes. There are parents who leave education 100% up to the school, and there are some who check with the teacher on a daily basis.

But if any kid should fall during recess and go home with a scratch, we can expect a phone call from an angry parent wanting to know the precise position of every teacher at the moment of impact, and why someone didn’t anticipate the accident and catch their kid in midair. Another encounter with overprotective parents.

The movie 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do should be required watching for all middle and upper-class Indonesian parents, especially those with only one child…a boy. In Indonesian culture, the first-born boy is even more special than a girl or the second-born child, and is known locally as anak emas or golden child. Too often they are spoiled and overprotected.

In school, we like to treat all our kids like anak emas, but this does not mean preventing the normal scrapes and bumps that come from normal play and are a very important part of the learning process.

You don’t need to agree to all of the things that Mr Tulley says you should let your kids do, but his premise that kids are overprotected today is absolutely correct, and education suffers because of this.

Note: if you have difficulty streaming this movie, you may borrow a downloaded copy on CD from admin.

THE HORIZON REPORT 2007

The annual Horizon Report identifies emerging technologies that are likely to have a major impact on teaching and learning. While this report is concerned specifically with higher education, its conclusions generally apply to K-12 education as well. The report describes six areas of emerging technology that will impact education within three adoption horizons, ie. one year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. Tech savvy educators are already aware of much of this new technology.

The two technologies expected to be widely adopted in education within the next year are user-created content and social networking. Mobile phones and virtual worlds are in the two to three year horizon, while the two least-adopted topics, new scholarship and emerging forms of publication, and massively multiplayer educational gaming, occupy the four to five year horizon. Each of these six areas is expected to have significant impact in higher education within the next five years.

    Horizon: one year or less

User-created content refers to blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc. Free online tools mean that anyone can become an author, creator or filmmaker. These bits of user-created content which are an important contribution to the read / write web, are already being used in schools.
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Social networking is the main reason students log on, and it offers an opportunity to contribute, share, communicate and collaborate. Social networking sites, like MySpace, Facebook and Friendster, attract people, hold their attention, and get them to contribute – all qualities of good educational materials. Until very recently, schools have turned their backs on social networking.
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    Horizon: two to three years

Mobile phones provide a connection to friends, information, websites, music, movies and more. Their capabilities are increasing rapidly, and sometime soon they will an indispensable part of education.
M-Learning Works
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Virtual worlds present a chance to collaborate, explore, role-play, and experience new situations in novel ways. These spaces, such as Second Life and Active Worlds, offer limitless opportunities for education.

Science Learning Opportunities in Second Life
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    Horizon: four to five years

The new scholarship and emerging forms of publication refers to the new ways to create, critique and publish academic research. This use of a wiki serves as a good example.
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Massively multiplayer educational gaming which is engaging and absorbing, like the non-educational counterpart in the entertainment field, is expected to become an effective learning / teaching tool within four to five years. Thinking Worlds is an example in this area.
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ICT FOR TEACHERS

Rumah Sakit Sukabumi
If you think RSS is a hospital in Sukabumi, that blogging is logging in bogs, that web 2.0 is the set for Spiderman II, and that this (see photo) is podcasting, then you need ICT (Intra Cranial reTraining).

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Retrain your brain
And what’s the best way to retrain your brain? With PLNs or PLEs, of course, the new keys to CPD. Perhaps an explanation is in order: CPD is continuing professional development, which is so important for teachers. Professional development should be considered the responsibility of the professional, not the organization, which justifies the need for personal learning. PLEs and PLNs are personal learning environments or networks, and, according to Wikipedia, Personal Learning Environments are systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning, which has come to mean the use of Web 2.0 tools to provide PLEs.

Personal Learning Networks
A Personal Learning Network is a collection of resources that you can go to when you want to learn something. This includes family and friends, as well as books, journals and other forms of media. In this century, there’s also an extensive electronic network of resources that you can include in your network, including webpages, podcasts, and electronic databases. But it also includes human resources that are available to you via the Internet, your own personal collection of blogging ‘experts’ on various topics from all over the world. One way to build that collection of experts is via RSS Feeds, which allows you to subscribe to their blog content and have it delivered to you in your RSS Aggregator (e.g., Google Reader or Bloglines). Every time your experts produce new blog content, it automatically gets delivered to you, allowing you to tap their knowledge with ease from afar.1

Not just reading, but writing, too
Teachers who blog have said that the process of reading and reflecting enlarges one’s boundaries of what education can and should be. They have become better teachers, better communicators and more connected to the wider educational experience. They have even claimed that reading blogs and writing their own is the best professional development they’ve ever had.

Media illiterates
Most people working in education, in politics, and in the government are the equivalent of modern day illiterates, because they do not understand how to read and write on the web. There is really no other way to describe these people.2,3 Actually, they sound like the technology illiterates, described in the Edublog’s most influential blog post of 2007, Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? “If a teacher today is not technologically literate – and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more – it’s equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn’t know how to read and write.”4 They would certainly benefit from a course of ICT.

Notes
1. http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2007/08/creating-personal-learning-networks.html
2. http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2007/11/media-literacy-.html
3. http://staff.bbhcsd.org/schinkerj/archives/2007/10/19/21st-century-illiteracy/
4. http://edublogawards.com/2007/most-influential-blog-post-2007/

TEN DAYS, FIVE SCHOOLS

December 1
On the first Saturday of the month, I attended the opening promotion for Cambridge International School Indonesia, in Permata Hijau, Jakarta. This school will open in TA 08/09, another international school targeting Indonesians, using the Cambridge system. I took the opportunity to catch up with the MC Dez Breau, whom I first met at the 2007 ANPS Bali Leadership Conference. This fellow Canadian has plans to start a school in Jakarta. He has just formed a yayasan, and now he is searching for land, preferably dry. He told about a lovely property, a perfect site, until the neighbor revealed that it would be underwater in February.

December 3
Back at work on Monday at Sekolah Bogor Raya, the main event was the POM (Parents Advisory Board) meeting, which was ostensibly called to deal with questions related to our possible opening of the SMA in TA 08/09. The Foundation had met the previous Friday and approved the SMA.

December 4 – 6
Tuesday to Thursday I was in Singapore visiting United World College of South East Asia and Tasha. I met Ms Di Smart, High School Principal, who introduced me to various staff and took me to a German student Advent party. Wednesday night, after a day of purchasing at Borders, I was back at UWCSEA to attend a senior school chamber concert in which Tasha was performing. With over 600 DP students in grades 11 & 12 alone, this international school has a huge pool of talented kids. It’s always exciting to visit this vibrant campus (and my daughter).

December 7
Friday saw me at the opening of Sekolah Cita Buana’s new school near Cilandak. This school has a large special needs section, something that is not often seen in national plus schools. Thanks for the invite Ibu Dewi, and best of luck in your new location.

December 8
Saturday I was back at SBR for two meetings. The first, for SMP parents, had just two parents in attendance, while the second on internet safety had but one participant, who left very satisfied after 90 minutes of personal attention.

December 10 – 12
And on Monday I was off to Timika, Papua, to visit the YPS schools. A team from the Association of National Plus Schools, consisting of Daryl Forde, ACS/Tiara Bangsa, Ardina Utomo, Madania, and yours truly, was invited to determine the readiness for accreditation and steps needed in order to develop these schools into accredited ANPS schools. This school system, consisting of a school at Tembagapura and another at Kuala Kencana, is associated with Freeport’s enormous mining operation. Up at 2:30 am, departing for Cengkarang at 3:30, I arrived much too early at the airport for the Airfast flight to Timika, via Surabaya and Makasar. The short stopovers broke the flight into manageable chunks. We arrived at Timika shortly after 3pm (Papua is two hours ahead of Bogor time). Then after getting security clearance we headed for Tembgapura at about 2200masl, arriving by 6:30 for a dinner feast.

The two completely self-contained mine towns, Tembagapura at high altitude and Kuala Kencana at low altitude, are separated by a two hour drive all uphill in four-wheel-drive from Kuala Kencana. Before visiting in person I had taken a virtual trip via Google Earth, at least to Kuala Kencana, as the site marker for Tembagapura seems to be off in the jungle. Then I googled around a bit to to get a feel for the area. Interestingly, at dinner the first night, I was asked if I had come with any preconceived notions…to which I replied of course. The question had been asked with a negative connotation, whereas I think it would be negligent to go somewhere new completely unprepared.

In fact, I found very little on YPS schools on the net, no websites, and this led me to conclude that they may be underutilizing technology, which would be a critical mistake for a school in an isolated area. So before visiting the school, I SMSed a colleage at SBR to ensure that she had her computer at school that morning so we could demonstrate Skype for connecting kids. I had this grand vision of Papuan kids talking to SBR kids of the same grade level and seeing them via webcam. But, it was not to be. Internet access seems to be a commodity rather strictly managed by the company. They have a web marshal, who even blocked access to my RSS aggregator which I was trying to demonstrate. To circumvent this problem should I ever face it again, I have obtained a 3G modem, a device that will permit internet access anywhere there is a phone signal. Now I am fully Skype-enabled.

I was carrying my laptop and thus was able to donate more than 5.5 GB of downloads from the internet, including educational papers, powerpoint presentations, videos, movies and MP3 files collected over the last year. There are many hours of reading, watching and listening in those 5.5 gigas.

While kids around the world are joining global collaborative projects and are on the way to becoming digital citizens, Papuan school children are facing very real constraints caused by educational isolation, which can partly be overcome through technology.

BLOGGING IS 10!

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According to Wikipedia, today, December 17th, 2007 is the 10th birthday of the Weblog. In less than one month I hit 64, which may make me a record ‘aged blogger’. To celebrate the 10th birthday of blogging, Steve Hargadon, the creator of Classroom 2.0, has created a blog site (Celebrating Educational Blogging) to honor blogging and its impact on education and learning.

I have been blogging for less than one year. I started blogging because I was asking my staff to do so as part of a move into the 21st century. So far, only one has followed my lead, Pak Sigit, who authors the grade 5 classroom blog. Hopefully, together we are just the beginning of a movement of SBR teacher and student writers towards adopting Web 2.0 tools.

I have learned so much from blogging. The technical aspects of embedding videos, uploading photos, linking to websites are all easy now, but the first time took some trial and error. I still cringe whenever faced with code. The non-tech aspects, reading assimilating reflecting and finally putting finger to keyboard constitute the more important learning opportunities.
Flickr photo by Brenda Anderson

THE STORY OF STUFF

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“From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”
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