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Posts Tagged ‘keynote

I reflect after any talks or workshops I deliver or facilitate. My hour-long keynote yesterday, Don’t Play Games with Gamification, was no exception.

If the unsolicited feedback I received online, during the lunchtime conversations, or even as I tried to use a restroom are any indication, the keynote went well.

I also amazed by the efforts of @Reinventionist2 who made his thinking visual at the conference. He was kind enough to show his work to me and to ask for my signature.

All that said, I am my worst critic because I know what I had planned and what I had to leave out.

I shared what I intended to do here. I took the risk of biting off more than I could chew, and despite telling participants we might only have time to cover two of the three main parts, I had to leave out some more.

In trying to create opportunities for participants to interact with one another during the keynote, I took up more time than I should have. I dislike it when others overshoot their time and I am sorry for throwing the schedule off.

My ‘live’ demo of apps using AirServer went off without a hitch thanks to the efforts of people working in the background to unblock ports. I had my mifi device there just in case, too.

Of the three shared online spaces we used, we under-utilised one, Padlet. I had to push participants for time and I resorted to asking people to share their thoughts verbally instead of reflecting online.

I am glad that I decided to stick with TodaysMeet since it was and still is a proper backchannel. Google Presentation’s Q&A is still not quite there yet. A few took to tweeting with the hashtag #simgeconf. Very few. So I am glad that I had my own backchannel and Q&A area.

I was also able to work in answers to questions raised by folks in the pre-conference Google Forms poll. I hope I managed to answer the pertinent questions and I “hijacked” part of the panel session at the end of the day to bring up a sensitive but critical question that someone asked in the poll.

Speaking of the panel, I thoroughly enjoyed the panel session because all of us, moderator included, were candid and humorous. It was gratifying to see the audience laughing and taking notes well into a Saturday afternoon.

Post-draft note: I just received an updated version of the visual map of all four speakers’ talks. Many thanks to @Reinventionist2, aka Thum Cheng Cheong, for his brilliant work! [Full-sized version]

It has been a hot month of April in more ways than one. 

I rarely rely on air-conditioning, but I have had to use it several times this month to get a decent night’s sleep. 

I have also enjoyed the most varied work ever since striking out on my own as an education consultant since August 2014. 

In early April, I evaluated the ability of future faculty to facilitate modern learning. Last week I sat with colleagues in what might be called a Board of Examiners meeting. We were bored of examining because the series of learning experiences is unlike anything I have ever been involved in. 

In the middle of April, I delivered a keynote and participated in a panel for the Social Services Institute, the professional development arm of the National Council of Social Services, Singapore. It was wonderful to see a major player wanting to shrug off the shackles of traditional education. 

Not long after that I flew to a conference overseas to facilitate conversations on the flipped classroom vs flipped learning. The strange thing is connecting with Singaporeans there that I could more easily meet at home. 

After returning from my trip, I met with a passionate edu-preneur and professor after we connected via my blog.

Another connection was a result of my keynote. It will take place via one of two Google Hangouts that will bring April to a close. I hope that it will bring more opportunities in the months to come.  

The other Hangout is a result of my flipped learning talk last January at Bett 2015. I am tempted to call it remote mentoring and hope to repeat a strategy I tried at the more recent conference. 

The exceptionally warm weather here is not the norm at this time of year. The variety of work I have had is not the norm either. While I hope the muggy days and nights go away, I do what I can to keep the sizzling work in play.

I felt privileged to play active roles in SSI Enables 2016, an event held yesterday that was organised under the umbrella of the National Council of Social Services, Singapore.

Delivering my keynote at SSI Enables 2016.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Chan.

I was the keynote speaker on social media-enabled PLNs and a panel member on how to move a system forward.

I do not think I have ever walked away from a keynote and thought to myself that the session was perfect. I invariably look critically at my performance and wish I had used a better turn of phrase or had done something else.

However, I walked off the stage feeling very satisfied yesterday.

The audience gamingly got involved in the pre-keynote activities of taking part in a poll and completing a word cloud in AnswerGarden. During the keynote, the backchannel often scrolled faster than I could read.

During the panel session, the organisers took my advice to use a free tool, Dotstorming, to raise questions that could be voted up. The audience took to it like fish to water.

During the panel session, at lunch, and during my interaction with various people, I received reinforcement, validation, and positive comments. For example, I kept getting feedback from different people that they had never before experienced learning of that kind and quality. That was high praise indeed.

Social service meets social media-based learning

But all that time I thought I was just saying the ordinary:

  • The timeless competencies are learning, unlearning, and relearning.
  • All three are enabled by social media ‚ÄĒ particularly Twitter ‚ÄĒ in personal learning networks (PLNs).

This was a reminder that:

  • An old message can be a new one to someone else.
  • Keynotes can be interactive and involved if you design for learning, not for speaking.
  • Panel sessions can be less like a fishbowl and focused more on answering participants’ questions.

I still have some unfinished work even though the face-to-face component is over. While I have processed the questions in the backchannel, I have yet to analyse and answer the 50 or so questions that were raised in the poll. I will do this while I am away at a conference next week.

Social service meets social media-based learning

I am putting the finishing touches on the keynote that I deliver this week.

To create an interactive seminar — I am told it is called a masterclass — I have asked participants to complete an online poll (Google Form), install a QR code reader on their phones, suggest ideas in an AnswerGarden, and watch a YouTube video. They need to do this before we meet.

During the keynote, I will get the audience to participate in a TodaysMeet backchannel, another AnswerGarden, and a Padlet exit ticket Google Form quiz. They have the option of getting to these resources and my Google Slides via their QR code readers. I will also share some data from the poll and AnswerGarden to help them visualise their learning.

In terms of content, I aim to help participants uncover just two things: 1) three core 21st century competencies (unlearning, relearning, and learning), and 2) using social media to create personal learning networks (PLNs).

I believe that the core focus and PLNs will help the social service sector overcome problems like a lack of resources (by using what they already have) and addressing a diversity of learning needs (by connecting with communities).

I seem to be on an annual “pilgrimage” to the Philippines of late.

In 2013, I delivered a keynote for the Philippine eLearning Society. In 2014, I was a plenary speaker for the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building conference. This year, I was invited to keynote at De La Salle University, Dasmari√Īas.

My reflection of the keynote I delivered last week in the Philippines has three parts:

  1. The design of the session
  2. The implementation of the talk
  3. Some takeaways from the experience

I have written about 21st century competencies (21CC) but had not delivered a keynote on it. So when the organiser asked me to share some thoughts about it, I crystallised four key thoughts:

  • There are far too many confusing 21CC frameworks.
  • Such frameworks comprise of some competencies that are not uniquely 21C.
  • The frameworks tend to describe 21CCs as destinations even though they are actually moving targets.
  • It is wiser to set direction instead of destination, so I suggested my audience keep learning, unlearning, and relearning instead.

Instead of taking a whole hour as recommended by the organiser, I designed something that could be experienced in 30-40 minutes. Why try to teach more when learning more is the goal?

To that end, I relied on my usual tools of a TodaysMeet backchannel and AnswerGarden brainstorm word cloud to solicit responses. I did this despite knowing that connectivity at the venue was bad.

There was no wifi. About half of the 500-strong audience had phones and perhaps only a tenth had a reliable connection. Up on stage I had a mifi device that swung from 4G to 2G connections on a whim.

Third and fourth year university students also participated in the event. While adults tried participating in the backchannel, some students went off task. But I noticed that the backchannel was self-policing.

The backchannel was not the main topic so I did not refer to what was happening during the keynote. I had also noticed that when I moved from my Google Slides to TodaysMeet to demonstrate the latter, that almost wrecked my presentation due to the unreliable connection. In a different context (and possibly a future one), I would use interactions in the backchannel as a teachable moment.

I tested AnswerGarden several times before I went on stage. Unfortunately, the service was down the morning of my keynote. Thankfully I had the backchannel as a makeshift tool.

Technical aspects aside, I stuck to my plan of telling a series of interconnected stories. Judging from the informal feedback I received, things went according to plan.

Several people walked up to me to tell me how the learn-unlearn-relearn message was easy enough to internalise. They liked the clear structure and stories.

They also liked a slide I use every now and then:

We have 21st century learners taught by 20th century teachers in 19th century classrooms.

I started using this quote several years ago with the hope that I could stop reminding teachers of this. Unfortunately, extremely slow changes in schooling and university means I have not. I can tell entertaining stories as a result, but this is one I would gladly bury. This will only happen if teachers adopt these as core 21CCs: Learning, unlearning, and relearning.

I took a huge reduction in my usual compensation as a speaker because the university could not afford more. But I agreed to do this because I had worked with the contact person two years ago.

There was about 40 days between initial contact to actual delivery. This was a relatively short time considering the administrative tasks that need to happen for an international exchange. But my gut said do this because the message was important. Perhaps having me as the messenger was important too because I live by the tenets of constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning.

These tasks reminded me how administration should support higher tasks like teaching and learning instead of dictating them. If the organisers were not going to let administration get in the way, I was not going to be an obstacle too.

Even though I was in the Philippines for just few a days, I met warm and wonderful people (one outstanding person is Jen Padernal who was recently featured by Microsoft). Like the Bhutanese I worked with five years ago, they do not have much, but they do much with what they have. Like most worthwhile things in life, connecting with people that matter matters most.

With Royston and Jen.

I learnt that the Filipino higher education system will experience a seismic shift next year. Their pre-university or college experience is K-10, not K-12. The K-12 system starts in the middle of 2016 and there will be no first year cohort in universities. This has huge implications on the faculty members. At the university I spoke at, only about 10% of the faculty had Ph.Ds. and the majority were teaching staff. This meant that quite a few could be asked to leave, retire, teach in high school, go on extended leave, or become researchers.

Even though I was not aware of this impending shift before I made my way to the Philippines, my message was poignantly relevant. While this academic earthquake happens, they will need to learn new ways to teach (e.g., video is the new text), unlearn wrong things they learnt in school or university (e.g., lectures do not have to be the default method), and to relearn (e.g., what it feels like to be a learner).

I delivered my keynote address at De La Salle University, Dasmari√Īas, yesterday. I am sharing it openly here.

Many thanks to @jen_padernal for taking the photo while I was in action!

How Do We (Re)Define 21st Century Learning

I leave today for the Philippines to deliver a keynote address for De La Salle University.

I have been offering sneak peeks at a few of my slides on Twitter. I share all the sneaks here in this blog entry along with one other slide that did not make the cut.

The slide I decided not to use was the alternate cover below.

Alternate cover slide.

I¬†referenced MOE’s¬†21CC “Swiss roll” in my slide deck and thought this cover might have been a cheeky nod (or not) to it. I decided against using it as my audience might not relate.

The frustration of being confused by a variety of 21CCs and models was a more likely concern. So rather than invite them to bite into a model designed for our context, I share some directions (instead of destinations) they can take.

How Do We (Re)Define 21st Century Learning

I opted to do this to illustrate the frustration and biting into something.

Some 21CCs are not unique to the 21C. Most competencies are moving targets.

My critique of most 21C models and frameworks.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ‚ÄĒ Alvin Toffler

A famous quote to lead up to a simpler, more dynamic 21C model.

Lectures then and now.

Lectures: One of several things to unlearn in the 21C.

Learn with technology the way students live with technology.

My call to relearn what it is like to learn today.

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