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. : )

Teaching design for change – great ideas from Emily Pilloton

Emily Pilloton delivers an inspiring TED talk that is worth the 16 minutes you need to invest to hear her message. People who give of themselves to assist those in communities where there is real need are special. Emily and her partner, Matthew Miller, have relocated to Bertie County in North Carolina and are trying to reinvigorate the community by using design principles to transform the learning opportunities of students. Their hope is that the student led projects that emanate from this will help bring the community together and provide benefits for all. They are committed; both of them have recently studied and received teaching certification so that they can teach their design-build class called Studio H. Emily has written a post worth reading on Design Mind that expands on some of the ideas she discusses in the above TED talk.

Their idea is reminiscent of Project Based Learning principles and requires students to be immersed in what they’re doing for three hours a day. They are rethinking education to meet the needs of the community they live in and care about.

Lessons here for us all.

Knowing thyself

Gary Wolf suggests here that in order to operate effectively in the world you have to know yourself well. I think I know myself pretty well, but I’m not sure I want to know all this about myself. At this stage, I’m not all that interested in tracking every heartbeat, oxygen level, sleep pattern or footstep I take. If I did, I think it would only serve to raise my anxiety levels. I might think I was poised to leave this mortal coil earlier than I anticipate!

But if you do know an app that checks your blood pressure easily, send me the details. My doctor will thank you for it!

Crowd accelerated innovation – time to step up.

All teachers should watch Chris Anderson (the guy who heads up TED ideas worth spreading) talk about crowd accelerated innovation, and the impact this IS having and WILL HAVE on how people educate themselves through web based mediums like online video. At one point in the video Chris talks of how TED presenters like Jill Bolte Taylor really raised the bar with her TED talk, literally forcing others to step up. Will it be online video education providers like Salman Khan who do the same for education?

Methinks it’s time to step up.

I’m figuring those of you reading this now are a few rungs up the ladder already. It’s time to introduce a few people who are at the bottom of their ladder of understanding to 18.53 minutes of Chris Anderson speaking to them, and we just might see them take the first step.

School’s out Friday

This is the poet, Rives, speculating on the mysterious hour of four in the morning. It’s worth hanging in there for the entire 8 minutes of his performance, just to appreciate the effort that’s gone into sourcing the material for this clever and very amusing TED Talk. Wouldn’t this make a great investigative activity for a group of students, who just might find that they could immerse themselves in the hunt for appropriate examples. It’s a task I’d find fun. It could even be a really useful team building exercise for staff on a Professional Development day. Imagine groups coming back to deliver their findings on the mysteries of different hours of the morning!

Long weekend ahead for Australians as we commemorate ANZAC Day. I hope your weekend treats you well.

Enjoy. : )

School’s out Friday

I tried to catch some of the TEDxOntarioEd event last weekend, but got there just as they were going off air. What was playing was this TED Talk, recorded at TEDIndia in December 2009. It’s Alexis Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit, a social-voting news website. This is the story of Mr. Splashy Pants, and how the Reddit community helped to make him a Greenpeace marketing asset. It’s a wonderful, fast paced and funny insight into how social media works. I defy you not to smile as you’re watching.

Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be contemplating the future of my Ning networks (!) and thinking about the classes that begin in Students 2.0 next Wednesday evening. I’ll also be planning for the SLAV Shared Learning Conference at Etihad Stadium next Monday where I’ll be delivering a presentation about Cybersafety.

Rest up.

TED 2010

TED 2010 (Technology, Entertainment, Design – ideas worth spreading) took place over the last four days in Long Beach and Palm Springs. Thanks to the magic of the Twitter hashtag #TED, I’ve been able to keep track of some of the talks that have sparked enthusiasm and discussion.

Jamie Oliver was the recipient of the TED prize. It’s awarded to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and ‘One Wish to Change the World’.  Jamie’s wish was this;

Jamie Oliver

“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.”

He delivered a talk entitled, ‘Teach every child about food‘, and in true Jamie Oliver style, he delivers his message passionately.

The other TED talk that’s been released is Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ demo of augmented-reality maps, Microsoft’s development available through their Bing search engine. It’s very cool; definitely worth watching.

Sir Ken Robinson delivered a talk about education that received much praise in the Twitter stream. A quote from his talk came through from an attendee;

“Our education system is impoverishing our spirits as much as fast food is depleting our bodies.”

His talk not yet been released; one to watch out for on the site.

TED would be a wonderful experience, I’ve no doubt. It’s invite only with 1000 or so people attending. Talks are released on the site every week. Bookmark the page – it’s worth visiting for inspiring talks to show to the students you teach and the colleagues you work with.

A TEDX event is being organised for New York  (TEDxNYED) on March 6th. TEDX events are independently organised and Alex Ragone from Collegiate School is one of the organisers. The line up is brilliant and they will be streaming the event live. Worth staying up for I think. One for the calendar.