T is for Topi

Openness. Badges. Digital Portfolios. Personal learning spaces. Learning Analytics.

Can anyone blend these features together, offering educators and learners and space where they can collaborate, where their privacy is respected, where a digital narrative of learning is really useful for students?

Just before leaving for Singapore where Slush will be taking place next week, Topi Litmanen tells us more about ClanEd – what it is, how it can be used by educators and what is coming soon to this transformative elearning tool.

Thank you Topi for your time and inspiring change from Helsinki!

Twitter  – Claned

Note:

There is a small glitch in the connection which I did not edit as I prefer simple streamlining –  apologies! 

Leadership Connections in Times of Disruption

My world – a universe of connections, random, deliberate, global.  As I reflect on the connectivity I engage in and with, it does not seem unusual to me. I have spent my life living across the world, in places that no longer exist other than in memories. Bubbles of memories make up who I am.

Memories?  Love lines written across the sky. Nothing more, nothing less.

As I quietly navigate information, ideas, personalities in the cyberseas of the internet, there are others who, like me, share the same concerns, interests and dreams. Dreams of equality, dreams of creativity and innovation, transforming education into a more joyful, effective and transformational space. Our thought bubbles coincide and connections are sometimes made. At times, these connections take place silently, almost intrepidly as I read their web writings and share their inspiration with others.

Among all the debated and constantly referred to issues in education today, there are two which glare out, desperately screaming for attention: effective leadership and the need to transform education. Before one goes on, possibly agreeing with me, these two issues are not new nor only required for our current times. They have always hung over our heads, looming needs with few practical answers. What has caused the current disruptions in education is, among other factors, digital learning – from OER to MOOCs, to all the tools and platforms which enable open communication and creativity in self-expression, which is open and accessible to all. Just as the printing press caused havoc and mayhem in regard to leadership in education, just as societies began making education accessible to all, today’s digital devices have opened up deep questions on educational and social change.

My next guest is no outsider nor stranger with these issues.

George Couros is the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division. He resides at the Centre for Education working closely with the all schools in the division, as well as the Future PlanningTeam, Lead Team, Learning Services Department and Information Technology Department where he pushes the leading edge in implementing Alberta Education’s new Goal Two – Educational Transformation. George has worked with all levels of school from K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school based administrator.

He additionally co-facilitates Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results leadership training, is a leader on the effective use of social media to improve student learning. He is a sought after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement. George is also the creator of the Connected Principals blog site as well as the founder of Connected Canada.  His focus is to help organizations create optimal learning environments for innovation within schools.

Although George is a leader in the area of innovation, his focus is always the development of leadership and people and what is best for kids.  He uses humour as a way to connecting with all of those that he works with.  His presentations are known to be both informative and entertaining, yet creating an emotional connection that helps people move to the next level.  His mix of research, personal stories, and practical ways to implement new learning help participants feel comfortable in taking risks in their own learning.

You can learn more about George at his site georgecouros.ca.

Join us here as George reveals his reflections on leadership, connecting with others and how education is at best, a wonder of social transformation.

If you have questions on these topics, please feel welcome to leave them here.

What qualities do you think educational leaders should have? Is education for confirming a society’s leadership or for transforming societies?

Towards the Future

I carry the past, present, future, with me.

There is no present without past, no future without breathing the present. With every step, every breathe, every sunrise, I face the future.

And find myself on the blade where all pasts, presents and futures intertwine. In silence.

For there is no need to disturb the order of the universe when all moves forward in harmony.

Tony Gurr is  a professional who faces the future, bearing in mind past and present. Tony is a seasoned teacher, trainer, consultant, writer, keynote speaker – and as he himself, defines it, a  LEARNer.

qualified teacher with a wide range of experiences in ELT, EAP, ESP and business / workforce training, he is also a trained Instructional Skills Facilitator (both ISW and FSW). He has worked with a wide range of disciplines and academics on improving classroom learning and teaching in the UK, Middle East, the US, Australia and Turkey.

Tony is also an experienced educational managertrained coach, and leadership mentor and has supported the learning and growth of a wide range of teacher leaders, supervisors and educational planning teams. He has worked on a series of major learning and teaching transformation initiatives, managed innovative curriculum and assessment renewal projects, and led a range of quality and institutional effectiveness programmes in Dubai and across the Gulf. He has also collaborated with a number of innovative US colleges and Australian educational providers on a wide range of workforce development programmes and capacity-building partnerships.

He draws on his wide range of practical, ‘hands-on’ experience in schools, colleges and higher education institutions and is most often described as a ‘thinking doer’ who really loves learning,  change and  improvement – and helping others ‘do more’ with what they know. He is currently based in Ankara and heads up Momentum Learning Solutions – as its lead consultant and CLO (Chief Learning Officer).

Tony is married (to a Turkish national) and has one daughter (currently at university in London). He is an avid blogger and his blog – allthingslearning – is popular with educators, trainers, curriculum and assessment specialists and educational managers (as well as his mother-in-law).

Join us here as Tony candidly reflects on training teachers today, issues which arise in teacher training and gives us a peek review of his forth-coming book.

R is for Rabi

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Friedrich Nietzsch

Katmandu is not particularly known for its night-time views. If anything at all, it would be for its hushed darkness and crying crows. The conversation that follows shares,  not only the educational sounds of Nepal, but also the sounds you may hear in certain quarters of this sprawling capital.

I was privileged enough to have first met Ravi at his office in Katmandu, before visiting other regions of Nepal. Still brimming with the energy of a happy academic year which had just ended, I listened quietly to Ravi. However, at that moment in time, I still did not have the necessary points of reference to fully understand him. Problems were meant to be solved. Solutions were always at hand. There were always options to introduce. Or so I thought.

Some issues did puzzle me; but I had not seen enough nor experienced enough, first hand to fully understand.

On returning to Katmandu, Ravi graciously agreed to do an interview with me. I tried linking up online, so to save him time and the distance to my location. However, there were technical  glitches and in the end, we recorded our talk. Even to sit and talk a while, was a challenge – we had to walk about, looking for a quiet location where we would not be disturbed and where the recording would have good sound quality.

In the end, we sat outside, besides a swimming pool. You may here other sounds of life surrounding us; they are sounds of life.

Rabi Karmacharya, was born and raised in his native Nepal. Having won the opportunity to join a youth meeting in Canada was the beginning of a new way of life for him. He later took his degrees in the USA and shortly after graduating from his master’s, he got a job in Silicon Valley.

Living in the fast lane, earning well, holding a dream job in the world’s most sought location for high tech, would be sufficient for any young professional, anywhere in the world.  Rabi used his time perfecting his tech skills, loved what he did, but as he looked beyond his shoulders and observed how his peers were living, something struck him: was he going to spend the rest of his life working hard in order to buy a bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger, better whatever?

It was at that point in time that he looked deep inside himself and decided to return to Nepal. Life had to have more substance, more meaning to him.

And so Rabi began another chapter in his life. Against everyone’s opinion, he set up a tech company which became successful in a short span of time. At the height of his company’s success, again Rabi was left hollow, still restless, still looking for meanings.

He left the company and gave the managing position to another Nepalese who, having completed his degree,  had returned from the States. Already one can see how Rabi is a mover and shaker when it comes to social change, for in Nepal (or in many other places for that matter), one does not easily step down from a CEO position to pass it on to another who can continue implementing change.

Vision, belief and energy are words easily related to  Rabi. Having experienced education both in Nepal and in the USA, he decided to open another company. A different kind of company.

OLE Nepal is an organisation focused on education and technology. Not any kind of NGO, but one which refuses to pay bribes to officials in order to get things done. No simple task in Nepal. From teacher training to implementing ICT in Education – in a nation where roads are scarce, electricity regularly rationed and teachers absent, OLE Nepal has come a long way, opening centres and projects throughout the whole country.

Rabi – Mind Mirrors

Thank you Rabi for your time, insights and sharing your passion of quality and change in society  education!

If you would like to know more about Rabi’s work and contribution towards Change, visit the

Open Learning Exchange of Nepal.

K is for Kostas

“… making learning more interesting, more engaging”

“a trip … learning new things fast – and learning quickly.”

“everyday learning becomes part of your life..”

“… we are on the brink of a revolution”

Thank you Kostas for your time and participation! Many successes to you, your team and of course, schooX!

If you have any questions regarding schooX or would like to discuss educational disruptions further, why not drop Kostas a tweet @vaskos44

Disruptions

Eyes wide open yet not seeing.

I too have quietly encountered those who still resist change, those who will proudly say how they don’t need technology and carry on behaving as if the 1960’s were frozen in permanent motion, how with eyes wide shut they are as dependent on today’s technology as I am.

Eyes wide shut and the world spins onwards.

Technology is beyond what lies in one’s immediate vision. Technology wraps itself around me, my words blinking on an empty sheet, flickering, while digital delights draw me closer, seducing me with the quiet assurance that there is more to life than living with eyes wide shut.

Seduction becomes disruption.

Disruption, a way of life.

My next guest embraces disruption with managerial flair and a passion for education. Eyes wide open.

Kostas Vasiliou was born and grew up in Greece. Kostas studied Electronic Engineering and Management at the Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki and the University of Athens respectively.

10 years ago he joined a small Greek software house with 30 employees and served this company from several managerial positions helping it to grow to a company with over 100 employees and a turnover of over €8Μ. It was this experience that provided him  with the vital knowledge of how to grow a startup company.

With a great passion for knowledge and learning, always seeking for new challenges, he co-founded schooX 2 years ago.  SchooX, is a startup dealing with online learning and knowledge management. The Vision of the team is to change the way people get educated and disrupt the market of education.

Join me here as Kostas explains what exactly schooX is, how technology is disrupting educational structures and shares a vision for 2012.

You can find learn more about Kostas here and here .

schooXThe Academy for Self Learners