Karl Fisch’s Keynote to Horizon Kids

OK, I know that some of you may be just sick of hearing about horizon. It is a great project and it is my life right now! (Along with efolios, senior movies, and 5th grade bloggers).

Thank you Karl Fisch!

Karl Fisch so kindly delivered the keynote address to our horizon project over the weekend and it is embedded in the wiki.

Really, it is a keynote to all students, because what he says is applicable to you in your classroom as well:

With the Horizon Project, you now have the chance to improve on my vision. In some ways, your task is easier than mine was, because you have the Horizon Report to use as your basis. But in other ways, your task is much harder. While I could make up the future, your vision has to be much more grounded in current reality. And your vision has much more potential to impact people around the world, because what you guys create will be seen by students, teachers and schools around the world. They really want to know what you think the future of education looks like – your ideas really matter. While that might be a little bit daunting in some respects, I hope you also find it exciting. Because just like I was trying to do, you can help all those students, teachers and schools – you can help change the world.

It is exciting that so many are helping with the Horizon project.

Remember, horizon is not the only game in town!

Remember, though, there are many other great projects out there who are part of this grassroots educational movement to connect classrooms for better cultural understanding: flatplanet, Global Virtual Classroom projects, Technospud projects, ePals, Youth Bridges, Susan Silverman‘s projects, and so many others (this last site lists a lot of great places!)

Yes, our dual purpose of horizon by nature is to document best practices in such open projects and thus has involved many great people. We are blessed with their presence.

But lets remember that this about connecting students for their better good. It is part of a good education to know that you are part of a world with differing cultures, people, and even languages. It is important to see yourself as part of that world where techno-personal skills matter.

It is important for teachers to model connecting.

Yes, Horizon is a great project, but there are many others who are also doing great projects. I blog a lot about this project, well, because I'm a part of it.

I invite you to share about your project and how you are connecting students globally either here in the comments on your blog.

I have so much to learn and hope to never have the “not invented here” syndrome, we all need to work together to formalize and share the best practices of teaching in a collaborative world.

And if you believe you have an expertise to share, please join us in the horizon project, send me an e-mail about how you want to help and join in and share! coolcatteacher at gmail.com.

We hope to expand to more classrooms in the fall, join in!

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One thought on “Karl Fisch’s Keynote to Horizon Kids

  1. Vicki, there’s no need to ever apologize for talking about the Horizon Project, or any other project in which you are involved! I know from personal experience how exciting these projects are. They do take over your life because you never really know where the learning will take you.

    You invited us to share our own projects and I’m so excited about the new one I’m working on that I’m bursting to tell the whole world. My colleagues and I from McMaster University’s YES I Can! Science project, http://www.yesican-science.ca, have been developing and delivering collaborative projects where we connect K-12 students with scientists and engineers working in the field. The past two years we have connected hundreds of classes from around the world with scientists working in Antarctica to study the aerobic capacity of Weddell seals, (Polar Science, http://www.polarscience.ca). These marine mammals are amazing! They dive hundreds of metres under the ice, exercising vigorously (hunting their prey), without breathing for up to 80 minutes at a time! Scientists are hoping that by understanding the adaptations that allow these animals to work under low oxygen conditions, they may be able to develop therapies for people with heart and lung disease. Our students were able to conduct and share their own research with each other and the participating scientists. This process helped them gain real insight into current scientific research. (We are very honoured to have received an Edublog Award in both 2005 and 2006 for the project!)

    Our current project, even though we are still planning it, has already taken on a life of its own. We will be working with an American astronaut who is going to the International Space Station (ISS) and a Canadian astronaut who has already been to the ISS. Our timeline for launching the project was already tight, but we just found out this week, that our astronaut has been “bumped up” a crew and will be launching in early June! We can sleep once the project’s over, so this will be our “lives” until then.

    Our target audience for the project is grades 4 to 12. That’s a broad range, but we’ve found that multi-age groupings make for vibrant learning communities. While we have designated “experts” to work with the students, we find that experts arise from within the group of students as well. Having older and younger students working together, automatically sets the expectation that peer to peer mentoring will occur.

    Since the International Space Station is itself a result of international collaboration, it’s our goal to facilitate international collaboration between groups of students.

    Teachers will have lots of choice in activities from a variety of focus areas to guide their students’ investigations. Students will have opportunities to:
    -understand their own country’s contribution to the building of the ISS and the related benefits;
    -examine the need for an orbiting laboratory;
    -conduct experiments to gain insight into the challenges and benefits of living and working in orbit;
    -conduct plant growth experiments in simulated conditions to those on the ISS (these are going to be so cool 🙂
    -plan their own investigations arising from the questions they have based on their interactions with the astronauts…

    We are hoping that the project will excite the imaginations of teachers and students alike, bringing in teachers who have had little experience so far in using Web 2.0 tools. As for the students, manned missions to Mars are planned for their lifetimes. Who knows? Maybe one of the students who participate in this project will be part of such a pioneering mission.

    Oh ya, I almost forgot. Keep checking http://www.yesican-science.ca for updates. We’ll let you know the project URL as soon as we “turn it on”.

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