School’s out Friday

Thanks go to Frances Manning, who pointed me in the direction of this amazing virtual choir, featuring 2052 performances of ‘Sleep’ from 1752 singers in 58 countries, individually recorded and uploaded to YouTube between September 2010 and January 2011. Here’s an explanation of how it all began from the Virtual Choir site;

The Virtual Choir began in May 2009 as a simple experiment in social media, when Britlin Losee – a fan of Eric’s music – recorded a video of herself singing “Sleep” and shared it on YouTube.

After watching the video, Eric responded by sending a call out to his online fans to purchase Polyphony’s recording of “Sleep”, record themselves singing along to it, and upload the result…

…Ever ambitious, for this latest Virtual Choir project Eric called for 900 singers to record themselves singing “Sleep”. At the final tally he received 2052 contributions from singers in 58 countries.

Upon previewing the video at TED 2011, Eric (and the choir) received two standing ovations – testimony to the power of the internet to connect people of all backgrounds and abilities and create something beautiful across time and space.

People are interested in coming together to create something special. If only we could harness this kind of energy in fields like medicine or science, where people could come together to share thinking and make concerted efforts to address issues affecting mankind. Collective action always seems to me to be such an altruistic act, benefiting all, but many people can’t get past the ‘what’s in it for me’ approach.

Been a big week. The CCAEducause conference took it out of me, and I’m glad to see the start of school holidays this afternoon. Time to recharge the batteries. I’m even thinking of starting a mosiac project tomorrow. I just need to clear my headspace and do something that will enable me to see something creative emerge.

Enjoy your weekend. Seek sunshine and soak it up. : )

Re-focus is on the agenda.

Frances Manning writes two very good blogs. Yes, two! I’m flat out managing one. HFS conversations and Personal Thoughts about Learning. She posted this video on her personal thoughts blog and titled it Re-focus.

I watched it and it connected with me. I long for the down time right now. I’ve just finished up with reports, an inquiry week that included an overnight stay in the city, and the downright business of life. And all on the back of 18 days in China recently. I’ve hardly blogged and I feel a bit out of the loop with things. Holidays are on the horizon. I hope to get back to good form and start my thinking happening again.

Re-focus is on my agenda!  (As is updating my blogroll – I’ve discovered so many great blogs this year and haven’t had time to reflect this in the blogroll. That will be rectified in the next couple of weeks – stay tuned.)

Sheryl’s visiting Australia (and Toorak College!)

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll have some inkling that I’ve been helping Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson set up an Australian arm of their Powerful Learning Practice initiative. This group is going to be global in scale including schools from the United States, New Zealand and Australia. I’ve been working at getting schools here in Australia to join this initiative and am pleased to report that we have schools from New South Wales and Victoria across all sectors; Independant, Catholic and Govt. Schools.

Some of the people leading these school teams include those writing blogs. Dean Groom, Judy O’Connell, Frances Manning, Rhonda Powling and Tania Sheko. Three of those names are Teacher-Librarians. Great to see them at the helm of change in their schools.  It’s going to be very exciting leading our schools through what we all hope is going to be something transformational for our colleagues who are taking the leap with us. I first started reading about Powerful Learning Practice in December of last year. I could see that it had the potential to shift my school and it’s teachers towards an understanding of the power of these technologies to reach out and make a difference to the learning environment for our students. We start the program on Sept. 8th. Our United States participants will be having a fact to face meeting at Freidricksburg Acadamy and we’ll be joining them via ustream. I’m excited to see that there are names I am already familiar with from our United States and New Zealand participants. Elizabeth Helfant, Alex Ragone, Lenva Shearing and  Jane Nicholls.

What is really exciting for me is that tomorrow I am finally getting the opportunity to meet Sheryl. She’s in Melbourne to keynote at the Expanding Learning Horizons conference being held in Lorne. She’s visiting my school tomorrow to present to the staff here about 21st Century learning and Learning communities.  I hope the people I work with realise the status Sheryl occupies in the Educational Technology sector and pay heed to the message she delivers. I’m sure her visit is going to make an impact; I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with Sheryl and get to know her during our Skype chats. It’s going to be wonderful meeting her face to face at last!