This online conference kicks off today with a keynote by Kim Coffino. Kim currently teaches at International School Bangkok and has been on the international school circuit for around 8 or 9 years. Her keynote Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education is a 39 minute scene setter. I've only listened to the first 14 minutes so far - the section on Culture Shock. But Kim has made a few points that I'd like to comment on.
Firstly, she makes the now well made connect that many of us (western teachers) live and breathe what we know. Our view of the world is heavily influenced by what I refer to as our own KER (knowledge, expertise and reputation). She points out that her eyes have been widened to the richness in other cultures only through the contact that her travels have permitted. (So I can see the connection coming that I'm sure she will make between the power of technology to connect students globally and the growing desire to make these connections by both students an teachers.)
Once Kim gets past the introduction she hits on a number of the issues - those of mobility, customisation, 24/7 always on, tradition and new co-existing, just in time delivery, flexibility, collaboration, adaptability. She uses the backdrop of everyday life in Asia to good effect to make her points. The metaphor of everyday life and how education should be part of this and not stand apart from it.
At one stage she alludes to iTuneU and other online course availability to allow students (and teachers) to develop personal learning networks. I've often referred over recent years to the "long tail" economics approach to K12 education - I firmly believe that Chris Anderson's concepts of long tail economics can and will apply to K12 education - and quite likely in the realm of private education first. (Memo to self - finish listening to Chris's book "Free" - there is a powerful message for education in the first message that Chris delivers about the Monty Python experience of "free" with their Youtube channel!)
OK - lots more to pick up I suspect in the rest of Kim's presentation. But for now - off to class!