Almost Seven Hours of Sleep
I did a good deal of doctoring of this picture to bring out the actual buildings.  It was taken from the balcony of Jeff’s apartment — on the 31st floor.

Surprisingly, I got some sleep last night.  I slept for much of my flight from San Francisco to Shanghai yesterday — or was it the day before yesterday.  At any rate, I seem to have almost entirely skipped a day.  The interesting part is that February 11 is my birthday.  So I skipped my birthday.  Doesn’t that mean that I can be 54 for another year? 😉

I am fairly isolated here, staying at the Shanghai Racquet Club.  But I have seen so little.  I hope that I see more.  They have me pretty busy her.  Today, I’ll be conducting four workshops, three on using digital media, and one about video games and education.  This will be a lite day!  😉

The school, although called an American school, appears to be quite international, with 40% of the students U.S. citizens.  I suspect that it is a lot like other American international schools I’ve worked at, where students are being prepared to enter and attend U.S. universities.

Anyway, not a lot to report yet.  I’ve mostly slept here.  But I truly get a sense of being in a very flat part of the world.  This was certainly evidenced by the large number of freighters I saw sailing in and out of Shanghai harbor and throughout the Chinese Sea as we were approaching the country in our lumbering 767.

Shanghai just arrived in Shanghai about two hours ago.  Jeff Utecht picked me up at the airport and took me to his apartment where we looked at the skyline, and took a walk through part of old Shanghai.  The picture to the right is a small shop that sells dried eel and duck.  At least they looked like ducks.  Then he dropped me off at my room, which is only a couple of blocks from one of the SAS campuses.

Time to turn in, except to say how excited I am about being on the flat side of the globe for a few days.

School 2.0 Currency

My last day at the TCEA conference was almost over when I started working on this article.  It had been an amazing three days of some great presentations, topped off by Wes Fryer’s net safety session.  The only thing left was the Blogger Meetup, which was disappointing in his mass, but certainly not it’s quality.  Tim Wilson, Wesley Fryer, and I went over to Starbucks for a coffee, chai, and something with too many syllables to remember.  Alas, it was a new Starbucks and they wouldn’t take my card.

While waiting for these two very smart guys and our mind boggling conversation, I sat and thought back to a blog I wrote several months ago, listing some of the qualities of the video game experience that I thought might be worth considering as points of influence as we continue to redefine and retool our classrooms.  Miguel had asked me to address School 2.0 in my keynote yesterday about Millennials, so I’d revisited that list and edited it a bit.  Yesterday’s version was:

  • Responsive
  • Sharable Rewards
  • Personal Investment
  • Identity Building
  • Collaboration
  • Value Adding
  • Dependable

I got to thinking about the second quality, sharable rewards.  That item came from times when I have listened to my children and their friends talk about gaming, often sharing what level they were on, or what powers they have achieved, or their digital assets.  There is nothing tangible in what they are earning in these games.  They can’t put it in their pockets or spend it at the dime store (uh, WalMart).  Of course they may be developing characters and auctioning them off on eBay to raise money for college, but that’s beside the point.  The value is in the sharing, in the conversation.  It is a reward system that they want to talk with each other about.  What sort of reward system might we make a part of the classroom that learners will want to talk about.  I didn’t know it at the time, but an answer occurred to me several days ago at the TRLD conference in San Francisco.

I may have blogged about this already, but right after my presentation on Millennials was over, and I had packed up my computer and stepped into the hall, several educators were standing around talking about the presentation.  I walked up and mostly just listened as they told stories about their students and their digital experiences.  Of every story that was told, the common thread that ran through them all was audience.  With MySpace, IM, YouTube, etc. All of them involved, in some way, having an audience to share to.  Even as they play solitary video games in groups, usually one plays and the others watch. 

It’s also one of the driving energy points of the new web, that the commodity that we strive for is eyeballs, we seek attention.  Perhaps that is it.  If students are learning, in such a way that they are expressing what they learn, engaged in conversations of some type, with audiences, earning attention, then that may be a useful reward.  (blogging, wikis, podcasting, social networks, social media, and what ever comes next)

It’s not a new currency for the class room.  It’s just a turn-around.

We ask our students to, “pay attention!”

Perhaps we should ask them to, “Earn some attention!”

Alas, time for many many many hours over the Pacific.

2¢ Worth!

Rutt, David. “Coins.” Rutty’s Photostream. 2 May 2006. 10 Feb 2007 <>.

IM-Speak in Class

I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by the Associated Press about students’ use of IM-speak in their class assignments.  To some degree, it made me sound like the lone quack out there who is “celebrating” our children’s invention of this new grammar.  I’m comfortable with that characterization.

University of British Columbia student, Philip Jeffery, wrote a blog article yesterday (How texting may be affecting writing behavior?) about this issue along with our children’s willingness to expose themselves online by revealing personal information.  It was a very balanced piece of writing, as Jeffery is a Masters student in the area of Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrating on computer supported cooperative work, with a broader interest in…

..pervasive games, CSCW, cultural anthropology (ethnography), digital environments (e.g., Flickr, YouTube), and mixed realities (using mobile techologies in physical spaces).

A commenter of that blog, by the name of Beth, wrote.

Call me an old fogey, but I think that in the context of a college or university paper, standard English spelling should be used. IM-speak is fine for IMing and text messaging, where time/characters are limited, but it isn’t necessary in a university paper.

I respectfully disagreed with Beth, who describes herself in her blog as “..a freelance scientist, educator, artist, model and social engineer”.   We tend to give writing assignments with the assumption that the pinnacle goal of all children is to become a college professor.  We seem to want to train our children to grow up to be scholars.  There is history to this, where there was a time when you went to college to become a scholar.  Most other occupations were achieved through apprenticeships. 

When Beth writes to her scientist friends, she will write in a style and with a vocabulary that is different than what and how she will write to her model friends.  In writing about social engineering she will speak from the same creative energy as with art, but the voice will still be different.

My point is that we should be teaching students to communicate with audiences in order to accomplish goals.  The style of communication, the vocabulary, and even the spelling will depend on the audience and the goal, and that’s what we should teach. 

What I was trying to express in the AP interview, that resulted in the Seattle PI article (and others) is that we should respect todays children for the trails they are blazing through this new frontier of information and communication.  We should be paying a lot of attention to them.

2¢ Worth

Image Citation:
mayan, kareem. “Myspace-IM-2.” Reemer’s Photostream. 9 May 2006. 9 Feb 2007 <>.


Wesley Fryer is delivering a 90 minute session on safety and social networks.  A couple of things have occurred during the first few minutes.  Like many presenters the last two days, including myself, he has asked, “How many of you know about Web 2.0, social networks, skype, etc.” and many hands went up.  At what point can we stop asking that question?

Another indication of progress is that as we are talking with each other about what social networks are, and reporting to the group, a number of tables have mentioned that social networks are forcing us to rethink how we do our jobs, deliver content, facilitate learning, etc.  It’s not School 2.0, but it is the conversation!, this is a great service.  Recharge zone.  There are several tables around the conference center with power strips.  Attendees can plug in their laptops and charge up.

Teaching the Great Law!

I’m in a session about copyright and fair use, and just got my first good explanation of the T.E.A.C.H. law, which among other things gives distance learning teachers access to fair use.  I knew about that.  What I didn’t know, is that according to this law (according the the presenter) is that if you are a school and receiving any federal funds, you are required by law to teach your students about copyright law.

I wonder how many other federal laws we are required by federal law to teach our students?  What is, where is, who is the power-base behind this?  The question is rhetorical!  Just another indication of who has who’s ear.

NETS Update

A testiment to what is possible when a conference environment provides WiFi.  I’m sitting in a presentation about opensource software available for blended teaching, and I check e-mail, find a WWWEDU message from Art Wolinsky, about the state of ISTE’s NETS.  So give it a read, and let’s lend our voice.

It seems hard to be lieve that NETS is already 9 years old.  In tech
terms, that’s ancient.  ISTE is keeping pace by revamping them and
wants feedback.

See article at:

See draft at:

Provide feedback at:

It’s amazing was a non multitasker can do with today’s information tools! 😉

Wolinsky, Art. “[WWWEDU] Draft of new ISTE Tech Standards.” E-mail to Subscribers to WWWEDU Mailing List.7 Feb 2007.

Jeromy Koester on Second Life

I’m sitting in a session about Web 2.0 and video games (A Web 2.0 Fully Interactive Classroom: Video Games).  The presenter is Jeremy Koester.  He’s an engaging presenter, with an interesting way of expressing himself.  Definately a native, a twitcher 😉   Entertaining.

He’s showing a YouTube video about a NOAA project on Second Life.  The title of the video is NOAA’s Virtual Island.  Very interesting and some intriguing instructional applications of virtual environments.  He is now demonstrating Second Life.  He’s a fox (gives some tips on selecting an avatar), and is now standing on a map of the U.S., a real time weather map.  It’s clear in Houstin, but raining in Austin.  SL is running very well and smoothly on his Toshiba.  I find that SL is pretty jerky and clunky on my Mac. 

Jeromy is now showing us a map and zooming out, showing the vastness of the work, looks like hundreds of islands.  Jeromy is out of time.  He spend much time delivering what I would consider a testimonial of a digital native educator — which was quite valuable.  This one should have been longer than 45 minutes.

Thanks, Jeromy!


So!  I was walking through the exhibitor hall this afternoon, and happened upon the Discovery Educator Network book, where Hall Davidson was doing a presentation for a bunch of educators, seated in front of him.  I stepped up to listen to a bit of the presentation, and then noticed that one of the teachers was actually advancing the slide with, what looked like, an old iPod Shuffle.  Then I realized that it was some sort of remote that she was operating, pointing it toward a black iPod, resting in its cradle, next to the projector.  He was using the iPod to drive his presentation. 

That’s just too cool for school!

Will’s Clickable

Just finished my Millennials presentation for the Tech Coordinators luncheon — a tough gig, with all the chinking silverware.  So I’m resting, at Will Richardson’s presentation.  He has demonstrated how clickable he is.  If you type Will in Google, his blog is the third non-commercial site listed.  This is very impressive.

I tried it with DavidKing David came up as number one, followed by Michelangelo’s David.  Then there’s David Bowie, David Weinberger, and Jacques-Louis David.  Then number nine was Harry and David, offering gourmet fruit baskets with entrees, appetizers, and home style desserts.

I gave up there! 😉