Watch “ISTE 2013 Closing Keynote, Adam Bellow: You’re Invited to Change the World” on YouTube

This was a brilliant keynote talk by a great teacher and communicator who I am proud to say is very much a part of my Personal Learning Network.
Adam called his talk “You’re invited to change the world” and he stated that it is not just the use of the great and ever-changing powerful technology, it is about the ability of all of us who believe in releasing our students from the shackles of an outdated system to allow them to use the technology to express themselves, to share and communicate and ultimately to change their world and ours.
It was a real “tour De force” using great slides and brilliant use of video from a master of the use of media. It was a very personal talk that explored Adam’s own life and world. Knowing him as I do (as a Facebook friend) I was not surprised to see his kids mentioned and shown so much. There were times when I felt he kept the emotions he felt just at bay and I know that he felt it afterwards.
I would recommend anybody interested in technology in education to watch this video and be inspired. I gave him a standing ovation from my front room here in the U.K.!

My “Digital Classroom” Hangout

Today I participated in a G+ Hangout called “The DigitalClassroom”. This was a general discussion by a really good group of educators, as follows:

1. Sean Cavanagh:@EdWeekSCavanagh(Moderator)
Assistant Editor for Education Week

2. Angela Maiers:@AngelaMaiers
Founder and President of Maiers Education Services

3. Troy Hicks:@hickstro
Associate Professor of English, Central Michigan University

4. Jackie Gerstein Ed.D.:@jackiegerstein
Online Adjunct Faculty for Departments of Education

5. Darren Burris:@dgburris
Teacher & Instructional Coach at Boston Collegiate Charter

I was able to follow the discussion and participate by making comments as I watched. I therefore found myself responding to details of the discussion by the speakers and also to respond to my fellow participants.

There was general agreement by us all that new technology is a game changer but, as Jackie Gerstein stated, the mere fact that it exists in a classroom does not mean that it is effective. Angela Maiers talked about the need to realise that Web 3.0 is about “contribution”.

By the end of the discussion I felt that I had gained more than any Twitter discussion that I had participated in before. I strongly recommend you to look at the YouTube video of the Hangout. It shows the power of the media and the potential for this kind of thing for students as well as teachers.

The OpenIdeo Design Challenge

IDEO
IDEO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I am a great fan of Ideo, which I believe has some of the most creative minds on the planet thinking about solutions to real world problems.

 

Yesterday I found out about “OpenIdeo” which is an online platform where anyone can contribute to new designs with a social purpose. Here is a video of what they do and how they do it:

 

 

I was attracted to the latest featured challenge:

 

How might we all maintain wellbeing and thrive as we age?

 

I decided to put in my own small contribution based on the idea of a website where people can share, support others and find their passion in life. This is my introduction:

 

“There’s that thing that you knew you always loved but never did, well life is for exploring your passion. Let’s start an on-line community to feed, support and mutually inform the “achievement of a life’s dream”.

 

I inserted a video of Dolores Cannon talking about how she has found her life’s passion in writing and communicating and how it keeps her going and hardly ever feeling ill or depressed.

 

My last quote was: “The inspiration is summed up wonderfully by Dolores Cannon in the video. Finding your passion helps you to overcome illness, gives you a reason to get up in the morning and inspires you to achieve at whatever it is that you love the most in this world. If you can help others or inspire them as well then we have an added bonus.”

 

So far it has had 23 views and 1 comment from Annie Lin of the OpenIdeo team. She wrote:

 

” So true. I think finding/pursuing one’s passions is important across age groups, but I can see it being especially important for the retired community! Thanks Malcolm. Looking forward to additional thoughts from you and others about what this community (which helps people pursue their passions) might look like!”

 

So, I’m up and running in less than 24 hours and I look forward to any future feedback on my idea. I can also feedback to others on theirs and hopefully some great ideas will come from the challenge that can help to promote a healthier and happier “old age” for our ever-growing 60+ population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you believe in magic?

One of my favourite songs is “Do you believe in magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful. The song was recorded in 1965. It has a lightness and joyousness that seems to represent an innocence of first experience, of delight in being alive and specifically being young. Here is a link to the song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1Ta1UUB05w

The  video plays the song alongside a picture of Disney’s version of J.M. Barrie‘s classic children’s story “Peter Pan”.

The idea of innocence and the Sheer joy of childhood came back to me today as Google did one of their famous Google-Doodles to honour what would have been the 85th birthday of Maurice Sendak who wrote and illustrated the classic children’s book “Where The Wild Things Are”.

sendak

Sendak understood the wild imaginations of the child and the fact that we are all born to live as well as create stories, adventures and fantastical flights into unknown and incredible places.

On a day like this, when we think of Sendak, do we not, all of us, have some regret for the loss of the magic?  When the monsters leave our lives and grey reality enters do we not lose something very powerful within us?

Fortunate are those who still romp with wild things of their imagination and let the magic do its work.

Designing a new mobile phone interface: The GSMA mWomen Challenge

mWomen

The above video was one of the entries in an intriguing design competition to make a user-friendly interface for mobile phones that could be used effectively by women in the developing world who currently have no access to their use.

The mobile phone is probably the best technological development for communication, business and learning that has ever happened for developing countries. They often have isolated communities and bad roads, they have problems with access to health and other amenities and they do not possess a fixed telecommunications system as exists in the developed world.

The problem is greater for women than men because they are often barred from mobile use because of cost, opposition from partners/husbands and their literacy levels (which are related to social and cultural factors that deprive many women of a basic education).

I was very impressed to see the results of a competition run by the mWomen section of the GSMA, the mobile phone developers organisation.

I think the idea of linking design to real world (especially development issues) is an excellent one. I would like to encourage any readers of this post to try the same challenge with their students (or if you are a student just try it).

Can you design a better mobile phone interface for women’s use in the developing world?

Technology should relate to human use and do what it can do best, make life better. The chance to improve women’s lives has so many resultant potential effects, the decrease in poverty, disease and the raising of literacy and the potential todecrease population growth. This design challenge should be applauded.