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And ears and minds and hearts.

I have presented to large audiences before, but probably not to 1200 teachers. That is a lot of people to excite or inspire.

I was the first plenary speaker for the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building (PGCB) conference for teachers in the Philippines.

Given this was right after lunch, I opted to include a backchannel and mobile learning stations. You see the latter in the foreground of the panoramic photo and in the second tweet below.

I thought it unwise to try to get the crowd to connect with #edsg when I reached the PLN part of my presentation. Some were struggling to backchannel and my tethering was spotty at best. My Macbook Air was away from me and beside a projector, so I could not toggle windows and programs.

A few were inspired to establish their own PLNs. This is what one person shared in TodaysMeet.


I think the talk went well. There were lots of thank-yous and kind comments in person. The audience was also active on the backchannel despite about only a tenth of them having stable Internet access.

Here are some remarks in the backchannel in TodaysMeet.


There was a series of replies in the backchannel that all said “boring”. Participants were responding to my question: What is wrong with lectures? We had a light moment when I said I hoped they were answering my question and not calling that part of the presentation boring!

I am not sure if I will try mass learning stations again. I might try again in a different context, e.g., where access and bandwidth are not issues.

But there was one thing I did not expect. I had about 100 groups come up to take photos with me. I was practically blind from the popping flashes! When I met larger groups, I turned the tables on them and took groupies. Here is one example.

I could not but help noting what mobile devices participants used as cameras. About one out of ten used an actual camera. Almost nine out of ten were on Android devices. Less than one in ten used an iOS device. There was the assorted mix of phones, tablets, and phablets (in that order).

Whatever device they used, this was indicative of a Facebooking, Instagramming, and tweeting generation of teachers in the Philippines. I hope they take my advice and encourage their students to create just as they create with social media.

On a more personal note, the event was a sacrifice on my part. I used some of my leave to do this and I gave up a pleasant lead up to a family holiday. I missed my family for two days. My Macbook Air and iPad mini also suffered water damage on the way back. But I draw comfort that some of the teachers will take the new ideas and run with them. Long may they last!

I’ll make up for not blogging today with a bumper reflection tomorrow.

This kept me busy…


This is my concluding slide in a plenary talk I am giving for the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building teachers’ conference in the Philippines. By the time you read this, I will be enroute to Manila. After a good night’s rest, I present tomorrow afternoon before flying back later that evening.

My concluding message to the Filipino teachers is that they must understand their students, learn from them, and even be like them before they can begin to teach them.

I still think that talks are necessary evils. They may be good at creating awareness and inspiring people, but they are not good at ensuring meaningful learning or sustained action. Talks are like hit-and-runs in that sense.

What matters is the aftercare. Often the ones hit are left to their own devices. Sometimes they are given some form of support or guidance. Rarely is this support or guidance sustained.

It is not enough to reach out to people for change. They may find your message inspiring and buy in. Ideally they take ownership of the change processes.

But I have found that if you are not there over a sustained period, the change efforts peter out. You must also be there to nurture and teach. That is what I am basing my consulting services on once I leave NIE.

I have about a week to go before I fly to the Philippines on an ICT mission.

I have learnt that teachers from about 400 schools will attend my session. This means that there might be about a thousand people in attendance.

I have been told by organizers to deliver a talk. I have been told to keep the examples simple.

I could give the organizers what they want. Instead, I aim on giving the teachers what they need. This might mean helping them see/hear what they do not want to see/hear.

Instead of a lecture, I will start with a story. Instead of just telling I am going to take a risk and get them to do several activities whether they have their smartphones or not.

It is going to look messy and it is likely to get noisy. But I am confident that I can organize the chaos and manage the productive noise.

I am going to try to create a beehive. I am planning to create a buzz, and like biologists who have studied bees, there will be clear compartments of productive activity even if the untrained eye does not detect it.

I am also going to shake the hive. I plan on creating enough cognitive dissonance so that the teachers fly out their comfort zones.

But I hope that is as far as the hive analogy goes. I hope not to get stung too badly in the process!

Hot on the heels of a local seminar talk I did yesterday comes a gig in the Philippines at the end of May.

This request came on rather short notice, but I had to help. This is my title slide for now.

According to the documentation I have been provided, the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building (PGCB) programme is jointly run by Ateneo De Manila University, the Department of Education, Philippines, and Singapore’s Temasek Foundation.

The #edsg group has been generous with their ideas. I hope to share some simple, significant, and sustainable ideas with Filipino teachers who wish to leverage on technology.

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