Thursday, March 29, 2007

Earcos07 - Day 1

Great start to the conference.

A student from my school, ISBangkok, gave the first ever student keynote address. As expected, she was incredible, speaking to what it means to be a Global Citizen. She emphasized that it took more than being an international student, but also required breaking down barriers that exist between nationalities within an international school and bringing common experience to all. She likened her journey towards global citizenry to exploration for the New Atlantis. A new world of global awareness and of solving global issues.

Not without intent, this led well into the keynote speaker Jean-Francois Rischard who spoke about topics from his book High Noon: 20 global problems and 20 years to solve them. He spoke to global issues that need to be dealt with AND CAN BE DEALT WITH, but require systemic changes in the way the world can approach them. While his outlook seemed bleak, his solutions were do-able...if only world leaders would listen. At times, I wonder whether world experts can get together and begin to develop solutions without the world leaders' blessings.

I attended two sessions by Ian Jukes today. He spoke on the exponential times that we live in. Change is inevitable, but more importantly it is nearly incomprehensible. The degree to which access, processing power, information, and bio- and nanotechnology will infuse our lives in the coming (soon) years is crazy. His best line of the day: "the difference between science fiction and reality? Science fiction is more believable." So what are the implications on our curriculum? What curriculum? Content can no longer be the focus...higher order thinking and communication must be. I worry less about the technology skills of students and more about their ability to use with responsibility, with understanding, and with critical evaluation. We cannot prepare them for the tech. that will exist. But we NEED to prepare them for the thinking that they'll require.

So when and how can we re-invent schools to focus on thinking skills instead of "content"? Who makes this call and how do they make it with majority teacher, parent, and administrative groups that are stuck in 1960's educational needs and outcomes?

Good stuff.

Looking forward to hitting Jeff's workshops in the coming days.

[if you are reading this post, then you are visiting Harter Learning. I am in the process of moving the blog over to edublogs (for a variety of reasons which I detail on that blog) under the name, Thinking Allowed. If you are one of my few subscribers, you may want to switch to the Thinking Allowed Feed, though for the near future, I am going to post on both blogs.]

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