Interconnect ED

'Only connect...' E.M Forster

Author: Steven Caldwell (page 2 of 4)

Death on the Nile ~ Gamification and Mummification

‘In Cluedo it is so easy to be sucked into believing everything other players tell you. It is easy to start thinking that the suspect everyone is accusing must be the culprit because it has the opinion of many behind it. In Cluedo we should listen to others, of course. But we should also keep an independent mind. Is it possible that this person knows that the weapon wasn’t really the dumbell? Yes it is. In keeping an independent mind we have the power to challenge what we have been told and analyse it to be sure whether it is true or false’

~  Isabelle, a year 7 student

 

What dinosaurs are to early primary/elementary schoolers, Ancient Egypt is to early Middle Schoolers. Kids of all ages love the pyramids, exotic locations, accidental discoveries, the exquisite jewellery, mummies and alleged curses. But that can be where the fascination ends- Cool facts. The challenge for educators is to shift the learning from being the sort of study that resides purely in the ‘About’ domain of information, facts, figures and details into an engaging investigation in which critical thinking, synthesizing, problem solving, logic and application are demanded. We have attempted to bring the latter list to bear on the troubled life of Pharaoh Tutankhamun though imaginative play and a liberal application of Cluedo.

Note that in the introduction I did not use this year’s educational buzzword – gamification – but made a definite choice of the word ‘play’ Why? To be blunt, the word gamification is an ugly, ungainly hybrid that trivialises learning into mere entertainment and reduces games to a clever strategy that gets something across- a kind of a sleight of hand approach to learning – (*assumes condescending voice* ‘Guess what kids? You’re learning something and you don’t know that you are! Isn’t that neat?!’) I argue that existing games have validity in themselves. They can help us learn, practice, implement and normalise meaningful life skills as you’ll see below.

from http://www.mrdaley.com/wordpress/

Games and play have always played a part in Education and there is no sign of them leaving any time in the foreseeable future. This comprehensive infographic called ‘Gamification in Education’ presents the evolution of educational games. There is, however, a tendency to focus purely on computer games as being the most valuable in this *gulp* gamification revolution (educationrevolutionification?) and neglect some traditional gaming platforms that don’t need a console. Or an iPad, for that matter. Add to that the fad of offering badges for completing tasks (badgification?) and you could be forgiven for believing that 21st century learners are  virtual BoyScouts traipsing about the internet collecting patches. (Though many are, but these patches are the ones gamers are downloading for their MMORPGs.)

Where would be be without a CLUEDO?

Existing games can be a great vehicle for learning. With or without badges. Or, again, iPads. Here’s the associative thinking that lead to our choice of Cluedo as not only an initiating task but as a methodology for our investigation of Ancient Egypt.

  1. When you think of Ancient Egypt you think of pyramids and Tutankhamun.
  2. And the Mummy’s curse! Cool! Undead mummies lurching… No, Let’s not go there. Distracting.
  3. How did he die? What killed him? Where did it happen? Was it murder?
  4. Was it High Priest Aye in the Throneroom with a Canopic Jar?
  5. Hey that sounds like ‘Mrs Peacock in the Ballroom with the Lead piping!
  6. *Light Bulb moment* Let’s play Cluedo!

So that’s how we started- buying boardgames invented in 1929, not using Black Line Masters, or a Learning Management System that awards badges (though that would be a cool addition) or even iPads. Old Skool. Our aim? To see if the students could reflect on the skills needed to play and wonder if these could be applied elsewhere. After playing a few games in teams we asked them to consider what an historian was and then posed this question – ‘What can an Historian learn from playing Cluedo?’ Here is just one of the responses.

WHAT CAN AN HISTORIAN LEARN FROM CLUEDO?

By playing Cluedo, we developed many skills. From patience and persistence to making connections between completely

Students playing Cluedo

obscure topics and listening carefully, Cluedo is a whirlpool full of new knowledge. But is Cluedo really just a game that ages 9 – 99 can play? Or is it also a tool for historians and researchers to develop their own skills?

We are curious in Cluedo as we genuinely want to find out who committed the murder because we want to win!

We use patience and persistence in Cluedo, without even realising. When we feel like we are NEVER going to get the answer and uncover the truth, we tell ourselves (unconsciously) to be patient, and sure enough, the answer comes along soon if we persist.

We make connections between people, places and what other people have said, which also means we have to listen carefully as someone might let something slip by accident that might give us a huge insight into the answer. This also relates to the next point:

Keeping up with what’s going on in the game. Otherwise, you could completely lose track.

We definitely learn not to jump to conclusions, as if you do and you are wrong, your whole case will be wrong.

Lastly, we need attention to detail and precision, because you might waste your go completely if you haven’t paid attention to every last little detail.

But, when you think about it, people don’t just use these skills for Cluedo. Historians use them to help uncover the past. But really, are historians only people who call themselves historians? Or is anyone who has ever been interested in finding out more about the past a historian? Maybe the people who are historians professionally have had a bit more experience, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all be historians!

Firstly, historians need curiosity to set them off on their journey of discovery. One example of this is when my mum and I were clearing out my grandfather’s attic after he passed away, when we found his old World War II diary that he wrote in every day when he fought in Tobruk. This sparked our curiosity and we immediately wanted to find out more about this part of the war.

We used patience and persistence when we couldn’t find out any information straight away out of some books or the Internet. But it’s not just us who did that, as people all over the world practice all these skills, especially historians, when they are trying to find out information.

Yet, slowly, we began to make connections between the little things that we read in books and things we had heard off the radio, by keeping up with what’s going in the world through listening carefully!

We began to piece bits of information together, and learnt not to jump to conclusions, like when we turned up to an exhibition about the war at Tobruk to celebrate its anniversary and discovered how wrong we had been in some parts by jumping to conclusions with just a few bits of evidence. So we used the skill of paying attention to detail at this exhibition, making sure we looked carefully at each object.

We started off with a few clues and then discovered a whole part of grandfather’s life that we hardly knew about at all, through doing exactly what a historian would do, which is exactly what happens in Cluedo!

So, historians would learn how to use their skills from Cluedo in a way that could uncover a part of the past, by just playing a board game!

As you can see from the depth of this answer, that’s why we used Cluedo. True, this is a sophisticated response but it was one among many. Most pointed out ‘not jumping to conclusions’ or ‘checking facts‘ or even ‘listening’ were essentials skills that were needed to win the game, or if you were an historian, pose a credible hypothesis. Or, in the case of a detective, crack the case. And that’s where the imaginative play came in…

Crime Scene Investigators: CAIRO

detail from the forensic board

What was once a classroom is now set up with a slab in the centre. Around the edges are groups of desks with notecards and files marked CLASSIFIED. Behind on the wall are a series of boards with images hastily tacked to them. Some have captions that read ‘Deceased’ and ‘Location’ and ‘Suspects’ and ‘Cause of Death’. The students gather nervously around the slab and take in the gold sarcophagus (well, a laminated full size poster of it) that lies before them. At the head of the slab the person they think to be their teacher is lounging, hands in pockets and a strange fedora hat on his head. When he speaks it is not his normal voice but a gruff, bombastic one that is reminiscent of Gene Hunt from ‘Life on Mars’ (sans swearing). ‘I’ve heard from your teacher that you investigators know your way around an unsolved death. You’ve got your work cut out for you on this 3000 year old cold case. Are you up for the challenge? Who or what toppled Tut?’

Teacher-in-Role is a classic play-based method that has been used for decades, particularly in Primary/Elementary classrooms. Besides being a powerful way to introduce drama, role and performance codes to young children, it’s a great deal of fun for all involved – not least the teacher. It is sometimes forgotten that in the *shudder* gamification of education it’s not only the kids that need to be engaged and having fun as they learn. Playing the ‘Chief Inspector’ gave me an opportunity to push the boundaries of communication and keep each lesson fresh. Each student ‘bought’ the conceit that the mean-spirited cranky man was a role and he was good to talk to for some things but the teacher might be better for others. That was when I had to take off the hat and soften the voice. The ‘Chief Inspector’ belligerently demanded evidence and sources to back up their assertions whilst the teacher showed them how to find and cite them so the ‘Chief Inspector’ wouldn’t get mad. Team teaching this was also a great help- to extend the metaphor, we could then easily shift from ‘bad cop’ to ‘good cop’ if there were two of us in the space.

It was also delightful to see how quickly they appropriated the ‘Chief Inspectror’s’ forensic discourse, referring to Tutankhamun as the ‘deceased‘ and using terms such as ‘circumstantial‘ and ‘substantiated with evidence‘. Other students adopted a similar combative tone of voice and revelled in their role as detectives.

From there it was down to the grunt work of investigating the case. Students trawled through forensic data, historical accounts, watched Clickview videos and even ancient religious texts in order to find out what lead to Tutankhamun’s death. They took notes in their Forensic Investigator Notebooks – worksheets that, like their teacher, were also in role! What was so unusual in this whole investigation was that the students had a reason to be learning about the gods, the Nile, the role of the pharaoh outside of having to copy notes or study for a test – what they uncovered about the society might have had some bearing on the case. And it did.

One of the most startling discoveries occurred when the students were investigating education and entertainment in Egypt. Learning that few could write, it came as a surprise to find that Tutankhamun’s wife had written (or at least dictated) a letter that was sent to the King of the Hittites after Tut’s death. The details of this letter can be read here but my, how it fired up the case and shifted the investigation from gangrene as the main suspect back to cold blooded murder.

But it wasn’t all drama games masquerading as history. The fact that Tutankhamun’s body lacked a heart gave the students a significant reason to learn about mummification. This is where a web-based educational computer game (still in beta testing) was employed. Quest History uses the Unity platform to create smooth, effortless time-traveling experiences where students race against the clock to mummify a body under the watchful eyes of Anubis. Sure, it was gross and icky but each student was left questioning the absence of a heart in Tutankhamun’s tomb and some later developed intriguing theories to explain its disappearance.

The Hippo did it

Death by Hippo

The penultimate stage of the investigation was when each team stood in front of their peers and argued their hypothesis, citing evidence from multiple sources. They needed to be prepared to withstand the withering ire of their colleagues not to mention some significant questioning just like in History faculties the world over. The debates were warm, to say the least, as each group was determined to ‘win’ by disproving each other.

One of the most intriguing theories originally began as a joke explanation on how to structure a persuasive argument. Students successfully argued that Tutankhamun died from the result of injuries sustained in a hunting/fishing accident – he was, as they put it, mauled by an over-protective female hippopotamus. We sat through a dramatic re-creation of the attack and some hastily drawn but nevertheless engaging diagrams that captured the minds of their fellow detectives. Evidence from the tomb including the correct season of his death based on floral offerings found on the body as well as contemporary accounts of injuries inflicted in hippo attacks, were used to substantiate their case. Many students were convinced to the point of putting aside their own hypotheses.

Case closed

After testing their knowledge in the arena of their peers, it fell upon the detectives to submit a final report that argued a cogent case. Whether it was a hippo, a chariot accident, a disappointed wife, cerebral malaria or a power hungry vizier that killed the boy-king was not really the issue nor what was being learned. As Isabelle wrote in the quote that opened this posting, the game-like exercise was one that developed independence and confidence in challenging what is put before us- essential skills for any game or, indeed, for life.

Cluedo gave us the way in to play with the idea of becoming a detective. It highlighted the key skills we needed to employ and reminded us to stay open-minded yet critical of what the evidence seemed to suggest. And it was an enormously engaging eight weeks of fun with not a single badge awarded.

Next term we introduce Geography using the TV series ‘The Amazing Race” and a National Geographic board game called ‘Expedition‘. Get your passports ready, Year 7. Time for take-off.

‘You Can Be a Hero’

 “Play of the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.’
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

 
Over the past five years, Quest Atlantis has become a significant part of the learning pathway of our Middle School students at MLC School. For some students it is a social network to make and hang out with friends, for others a rich investigation of subject matter that intrigues them. Some students are driven to compete against their own limitations or against the strengths of others. Some pursue the creative opportunities to build in virtual spaces whilst some discover in it a way to find their voice.

Above the authentic learning experiences and immersive worlds rich with curriculum is the potential QA has to inform character and to construct identities. These three short videos, generated over the past two years with one cohort of Middle School students, shows how Quest Atlantis experiences can be an opportunity to shape yourself and the world.

PART 1 

PART 2

PART 3

 

An attitude of gratitude

Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.  ~Kak Sri

 

A few weeks ago MLC School was energised by the presence of two powerful thinkers, Ewan McIntosh and Tom Barrett who came to introduce staff and students to The Design Thinking Process as a means of re-envisaging learning. The men from NOTOSH did much more than that in the short time they were with us. Through a number of reflective practices, collaborative activities and robust discussions we reshaped aspects of what we used to term ‘curriculum’ and isolated a number of areas that we believed needed radical rethinking. We each pledged to work towards changing just one area for the better. I like a challenge, so I chose one that appeared in many places and in many guises over the two days – even in the workshops themselves. See the picture below to know what I want to work on.

I've pledged to address the pace of life at MLC

Anywhere. Anytime… All the time?

At MLC School we are proud to be a school that is embracing the ‘Learn Anywhere, Anytime‘ philosophy that is enabled by our innovations with online learning, virtual spaces, mobile devices and immersive experiences. We are risk-takers and future-makers. But this can lead to a ‘Anywhere. Anytime. All-the-time!‘ approach that favours stimulation over reflection, consolidation or even down time. When do we stop, turn off the email, stop updating our online units and rest the mind? Sometimes everything is just too fast, too connected to others and not to our own state of being. The drive to be connected all the time means that we can lose an awareness of our own needs and sometimes even what we value most. On a most basic level I am troubled by how many teachers who revel in the use of IT (including myself) complain of poor sleeping habits, primarily due to late nights updating online resources. What impact does an unrested mind have on professional practice and personal lives?

So how does one, amidst all this creative energy find space to stop, to rest, to reflect and to open the heart? Well, I just share what works for me and the millions of others around the planet- we meditate. So, in addition to the much-loved ministry of the school’s reverends, I have been offering meditation classes on and off since 2008. This year these sessions became weekly and increasingly well attended. Last term, many teachers, executive staff members and some senior students attended the early morning sessions whilst this term, up to 20 middle and senior school girls have been meditating in our new retreat space. They report increased levels of calm and reduced busyness of the mind. More needs to be done to support creativity with receptivity in order to alleviate the stresses supported by the Culture of Quick

Reflection in a time of change

This week I was invited by our new Principal to lead a reflection/meditation following on from her feedback session on our school’s new Master planning process. Being sensitive to the impact all the changes have had on staff, and the diminishing energy levels we face towards the end of a school year, the session was devoted to developing gratitude and kindness towards ourselves and the school community.

We shared what was on our minds, what we were feeling and what our needs were. Responses were recorded on different coloured paper and then  randomly distributed. Its a curious experience to have one’s own personal responses shared by another. It can soften attachment to one’s own problems and open up to a more empathic response.

Some of our needs were for-

  • reassurance
  • strong coffee
  • rest and sleep
  • a personal assistant
  • to go

Inspiration and perspective

To help us move into a more reflective mode, we watched the startling TEDxSF presentation by Louie Schwatzberg in which he invites us through stunning time-lapse photography and the reflections borne from youth and age to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for. You can see the ten minute presentation below.

Taking the cue from Schwatzberg’s words, ‘We protect what we fall in love with‘, the participants were challenged to open their hearts not to the wonders of nature on the scale put forward in the presentation but in our own school context. Meditating after wards, we called to mind those in the school who have supported us, both those we know well and those perhaps who we are not so close to. We recalled moments of connection with these people and brought appreciative ‘eye’ to bear on them, wishing for their welfare, imaginatively expressing our gratitude. This was extended to even the challenging people in the workplace and, most significantly, ourselves – what within ourselves and our lives are we most grateful for?

The same reflection task with the coloured paper was repeated after the meditation and the changes in emotional states and mental preoccupations were significant. Many were moved to think of their families and loved ones and the prevailing emotional state was one of calm. The final reflection was subtly altered from ‘What do you need?‘ to ‘What you can give?‘ The results are worth repeating. What can you give?

  • attention
  • happiness and joy
  • passion
  • smiles and hugs
  • care
  • a gift of my time

Cleary, it was a rewarding experience for the participants. An attitude of gratitude takes time to develop and when it does, time is what it want to offer others. It’s ironic that we often feel we lack time to achieve our aims but when we take time, our perspective shifts so we want to share even more time with others! Our self-orientation is reduced and the heart is opened to the needs of others. We feel calm, centred willing to act from that space.

I look forward to offering more sessions of this kind.

The Great Wall of Minecraft

“Play is the exultation of the possible.” Martin Buber

 

What follows is a short video shot on my iPhone that is less than 10 minutes in duration. It celebrates the passion, ingenuity, creativity, dedication and determination of a student who, when offered any way to present her findings in an integrated unit on the legacies of ancient civilisations, selected Minecraft as her method. She can see what is possible in such games. Pleas view to the end to hear her final remarks about what she likes about the game.

She built a huge section of the walll, did the research and learned an incredible amount about her topic. Then, feeling unfulfilled, went on to create traditional Chinese dwellings and then start construction of the Forbidden City. Her sources? Google Earth of course! One virtual model inspiring another. Why not books? She couldn’t get inside and work out all the proportions!

My role in this endeavor was just to encourage her to pursue her passion and question historical accuracy as you can hear in the video.

I’m downloading Minecraft even as I type this. There is so much to learn about play, dedication and creativity from these young experts.

Are computer games better than life? a reflection

 Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
Michael Jordan

 

Like many growing up in the late 70s and early 80s bright boxy video games were a favourite way to escape from the tribulations of adolescence. They shaped my view of the world. But so did the novels I read, the late night deep and meaningful conversations, the big ideas raised in school, the ubiquitous hormone induced arguments I had with my parents and the hours daydreaming in my treehouse . David Perry in his TED talk elevates the role of video games to the status of some god-like omniscient being that has shaped the generations since Pong and space invaders landed in our lounge rooms. And created what?…

Before I say any more you might like to view the whole talk here…

Before you think me a techno-luddite, I confess to being a gamer myself who recently has joined World of Warcraft after starting with its far superior younger cousin, Lego Universe. I agree with Perry that games have (or will have) the power to move us creatively and emotionally. They do have the potential to engage us fully in increasigly real-world issues in ways that model consequentiality, reflection, community and imagination. A potential. Not a consistent reality. Also. it’s impossible to ignore the economic statistics Perry revisits – computer/video games are a growing force in the world’s economy that, contrary to public opinion, appeals to women and young adults far more than we think.

Yet I am troubled by his talk.

Well, its not the self-confessed ‘addict’ whose powerful life-story evokes the pain/joy of gaming that upsets me – I can relate to so much of it. If anything the honest addictive aspects drew me in to reflect more deeply. My issue is with the field of games her drew on, the examples, the content of the presentation. All the games that he presented were combative, aggressive and violent. (Yes, he remarks about not many games having adult content, but what did me mean by that?) Games, for whatever reason, seem stuck in this ‘Defeat something, get something’ model. Richer stories that dabble in character and cinematography seems to make this more palatable. Whilst the graphics and cinematic qualities are phenomenal, why is it that the discourse of this pinnacle of art is all about me and my mates getting things? If games are so creative, so powerful, so god-like why are they so stuck?

Now, again, remember I play games and enjoy them but am questioning about the values they present. For me, games are at their best when they allow people to connect and forge friendships. They are awesome when they are strong allegories. They are epic when the skills and perspectives gained within them transfer to the outside world. (Do driving games make you a better driver? Do basketball games make you a better gamer? Do ‘Gangsta’ games make you a better abuser of women?! WTF?!) This is why the new generation of games needs to evoke our emotions and cause us to question our fundamental self-cherishing notions. Games like Quest Atlantis remove combat altogether, choosing the conflict to be in the arena of ignorance vs wisdom. But how many do that?

So, as this blog post was part of my training in 3D Gamelab, it might be prudent to reflect on how this TED talk might impact on my use of this new methodology. Here’s the thing, when I discovered Gamelab, I was so excited. Racing through the initial quests there was early success and, proud of my achievements, I posted my scorecard on Facebook, tagging my fellow Facebooking Gamelabbers in it to roar of my XP and slap their faces playfully with my virtual glove.

Finding myself waking at 4am to complete more quests and stay ahead of my colleagues was an alarm that something was a but askew. Later I would sneak away at lunch time to squeeze in more questing time. Meanwhile morning teas and conversations happened around me. People sought help for various personal crises and I was barely there to hear. What began as a means of exploring game-based learning became a full on assault on beating the game.  Thus Competition wrestled with Curiosity for control. (By the way, this blog was written at 7am on a Saturday morning so I’m not out of the woods yet…)

Where in game-based learning is a recognition of a space to stop and get perspective. Why the constant rush to move on? Can the games reward pressing STOP or even PAUSE rather than having the thumb on PLAY all of the time? Or even worse, SHOOT. Is there more to be learned in not playing for a time?

Anyway, big questions aside. It’s 8am. I’m off to work out my frustration in WoW with Milarepa my 13th level Dranei Shaman. or I could meditate…

*sigh* Choices, choices. This time, I’ll press STOP.

3D ‘Gee’-lab

“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents
still differentiate between a time for learning
and a time for play without seeing
the vital connection between them.”

~ Leo F. Buscaglia

 

You might not think it but I’m at Summer Camp right now. Amidst the usual daily activities a teacher engages in – enthusing, encouraging, counseling, creating, critiquing, cleaning, scheduling and caffeinating I’m also playing computer games alongside some friends old and new and learning about game-based learning through Boise State University’s 3D Gamelab initiative.

I’m not new to game-based learning thanks to Indiana University’s Quest Atlantis and some dabbling with Second Life. This Summer Camp is an opportunity to Beta test Boise’s CMS that has some striking features. In the image below you will see my scorecard which charts my progress though the course. I earn experience points in learning the design tools, understanding the pedagogical approach of game-based learning whilst also gaining points in my stumbling forays into World of Warcraft for schools and other online games.

Milarepa's 3D Gamelab score card

One of the key champions of Game-based learning is the visionary James Paul Gee. A task on the Mechanics of  game-based learning asked me to view an interview he gave to Edutopia and comment on three key areas. But first I’d like to share four of the salient points from the interview.

  • Future focused education needs to allow students to solve problems, think creatively, create collaboratively and innovate rather than churn through standardised tests.
  • video games are one significant way that young people develop skills in problem solving
  • video games are a continuous assessment that provides immediate feedback and a sense of progress
  • School textbooks are really game manuals that need to be used to support game ‘play’ but we tend to implement them as if they were the games themselves –

Clearly, Boise has listened to Gee’s passionate call for game-based learning to be taken seriously.

These are the three questions I was asked to reflect upon.

1. How might a teacher apply even ONE characteristic of games and game environments (choice, progress bars, etc.)  to a typical unit or module of instruction?

Choice is essential, particularly when working with adolescents. They crave ownership of their own lives. Also, choice can pertain to choice of one might learn a concept of skill, so we can cater for different learning styles here. For example, when teaching about figurative language one could write clear instructions or provide diagrams or embed Youtube videos or even ask students to create their own understanding to be shared with others.

2. What reflections or thoughts do you have about Jim Gee’s notion of the paradigm shift?  How will it change your school or institution?

I am an early adopter of game-based approaches. The greatest challenge is to have teachers see the value of games as means of sharing content as so many teachers are sadly content driven. Games also require flexible completion times given that one can play and replay to achieve mastery. Schools that have set hours for curriculum might struggle with this notion. It would certainly change the school if we were asked to make time for games across the board.

3. What unique insight can you take away from this discussion?

The consideration that text books are game manuals was a radical notion. Having just started playing World of Warcraft for this course I completely agree with Gee’s ideas on this. I baulked at the game-manual when presented with it despite its glossy appearance and reading it was a nightmare of technical language that bored me. Playing the game gave me a reason to refer to the book when I got stuck which caused a wonderful shift in my thinking.

The 3D Gamelab has a lot of offer. More on this later. But right now, having completed this Blog post I’m off to submit it and claim my prize of

a) knowledge

b) enthusiasm for the methodology and

c) 50 experience points!

 

Fear Itself – a Churchill Chat

This is a Vimeo video of the recent Churchill Chat for the NSW Fellows.

Fear Itself – a Churchill Chat from Steven Caldwell on Vimeo.

Tagxedo

This image below is a Tagxedo – word clouds with shapes and styles. The =y are easily customisable and you can upload different shapes too. The text is drawn from this blog. The URL is at the bottom of the image. Give it a try.

Milarepa's musings blog

Virtual World’s Best Practice in Education conference – reflections

Below you will find a brief overview of some sessions I attended at the VWBPE 2011 conference. One highlight not mentioned in the Voicethread was Botgirl’s discussion of how we construct identity in online spaces. Whilst I found the cheesy ‘reveal’ that Botgirl was actually a man, ‘hir’ comments were extremely intriguing and I hope to look into that in more detail later.

So, below you will find a brief summation of some of the conference including an audio of a pre-presentation discussion I had with Marianne Malmstrom (aka Knowclue) about our session together. Whilst I was not altogether pleased with how our sessions went, I think this conversation captured the essential elements we wished to convey.

iCare: summary of Churchill Fellowship final report

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston Churchill


It’s been a while since my last blog post: it being a lengthy, reflective and sentimental walk-through my Churchill Fellowship. In essence, I learned a lot about the effect of fear and negative mind sets around the use of technology by young people. The most inspiring people were those educators who embraced the possibilities rather than the problems that present themselves in todays tech rich environments. You can read more about my encounters with Knowclue and Peggy Sheehy and Barbara Stripling and the amazing Quest Atlantis team in my full report set out below.

You can access the full report, some of which is based on previous blog posts though most is original, in the embedded ISSUU below. For those who may not recall the purpose of the Fellowship, you can read my proposal here. To save you time, dear reader (should you like so many of us living in the ‘Pace Age’ and have only a nanosecond of personal time) I have placed the recommendations from the report in the following screencapture.

Screenshot of recommendations

Screenshot of recommendations

For those of you with more time, I invite you to read my full report below. I welcome your feedback and comments.

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