Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creating a Worldwide (Online) "Technology & Learning" Conference

This is something I care deeply about.

After eight years of holding online and global education-related conferences (with hundreds of keynotes, thousands of sessions, and hundreds of thousands of attendees), I'm planning my most ambitious event ever: a massive, worldwide, online, and free conference devoted to technology and learning. Something that really helps to connect people and ideas, and to change education.

With your help, I want this to be a groundbreaking event.

In the survey that is linked below, there are four very quick, easy-to-answer questions that will help me to know what is important to you.

For those who are willing to go the extra mile, there are then five optional "deeper thinking" questions that address the role of technology in learning, the answers to which I will release in public form (all that give permission)--and will also use to produce a report on technology and education, which will be released for free in the coming weeks.

With sincere appreciation, and hoping to "see you online!"


P.S. Three quick additional notes:

1) I’m partnering with Acer Education to develop the free report and look forward to your responses. Learn more about Acer Education here: Big thanks to them!

2) Mark your calendar for our 11th annual (and free) "Hack Education" all-day unconference on Saturday, June 24th, at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio. Details will be posted at, where you can also enter your email address to be kept updated on event details. Hope you'll consider joining us for what is always a terrific day (and after-party!).

3) If you're interested in talking about sponsorship for this or any of the conferences I help run (the Global Education Conference, Library 2.0, the Global Student Conference, or any other), please email Thanks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"GEN Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future" + Holding Your Own Learning Conversation!

At the invitation of Adobe, I had a great set of experiences at Educause 2016, but the highlight (by far) was talking to Tacy Trowbridge, head of Adobe's Global Education Programs.

Adobe had just released their fascinating and candid report, “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future.” I had both the chance to attend a panel discussion Tacy led and to sit down for a one-to-one interview with her.

I'd like to suggest that you might find that the recordings below, as well as the materials on Adobe's Gen Z in the Classroom website, could form the basis of a great conversation in your education community. Their site includes this link to their study infographic, which might be a really good way to start the dialog. You could take each of their study questions and ask the following questions of those you are able to get together (teachers, students, administrators, parents, and/or community members):
  • Do you agree with the survey responses?
  • How might this impact our own learning organization or activities?
  • Are there other questions we need to be asking?
I've added more constructive questions you might use at the end. First, here's my interview with Tacy, and some notes.

INTERVIEW NOTES (with time marks)

00:25 I un-scroll the infographic.. and it's taller as Tacy!
00:40 The intersection of creativity and technology, and what that means for the future of education. State of creativity; the barriers for teachers; interviewed hiring managers.
01:05 Students being tech savvy - the ability to learn and think and use technology.
01:20 Creativity - student being creative problem solvers.
01:40 This study started with talking to students, interviewed 1,000 in an online survey; then asked their teachers.
02:20 Two questions: are you ready for Gen Z, and are you preparing them for when they leave?
02:55 It's really about teaching them how to learn, how to adapt to change, how to make sense of the world around them. Habits of mind rather than specific knowledge.
03:45 Creativity as a "shared space" of interest between students and teachers.
04:00 Students and teachers shared a belief in the importance of technology. Also, learning by creating and doing.
04:45 The gap between what students and teachers both want and what's happening in the classroom.
05:30 The sense of both nervousness and excitement about the future for students.
06:00 The importance of activities outside of school.
06:30 The ubiquitous access to smartphones.
06:55 Students want experiences that are relevant.
07:30 Finding the right use of technology for creating and solving problems.
08:15 Other forms of literacy at the nexus of physical and digital worlds.
09:00 What are your favorite classes, where you can be creative, and which prepare you for the future?
10:15 Where does creativity flourish? How do you encourage it?
11:30 The magnification of the human through technology.
12:30 Creating meaning, both online and in person.
13:30 Education as a process of self-discovery.
13:55 What is the call to action? More hands-on learning, more real-world experiences; opportunities to understand themselves as creative beings; think about the best ways to engage around technology.
14:45 The disconnect between the ways we're teaching in the classroom and the possibilities of technology.
15:15 We need to address how do students demonstrate skill and knowledge. Ways portfolios and transcripts are changing. Opportunities to do this in ways that are much more complex.
16:20 How do we see students leading that? Help to envision the way we create our identities online.

To add to the richness of that discussion, here is the recording of the panel Tacy led, called "What Do Today's Students Really Need to Succeed in the Future?":

And here are more constructive questions I've thought of that you might bring to a community discussion of learning:

  • Do students feel that they are learning about learning in your community?
  • To what degree do teachers and students feel that they are "agents" in the learning process, and not passive recipients?
  • What have been the most significant learning experiences in your own life, and what were the conditions that led to those experiences? How much of a focus on those conditions is there in your organization?
  • How much of learning relates to individual human interactions? Can those be quantified? How can they be supported?
  • If you could "reinvent" school, how would it be different?
  • What kinds of differences are there in access to technology by students and teachers, and how does that impact the learning?
  • Do you have a core philosophy of learning that we use to measure technology efforts and purchases?
  • How are creativity and critical thinking related?
  • How comfortable are critical and independent thinking in your learning community?
  • How effective are the methods of assessment in your community?
  • Are there differences in individual temperament, learning styles, and interests? How much of a role should these play in the learning process and planning?
  • What classes or coursework provide the most opportunity for creativity and engagement?
  • What percentage of your students feel confident of their learning skills and ability to self-direct?
I hope you enjoy this material as much as I have, and that you find it valuable in your own conversations.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Giving Away 5 Acer Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 Laptops Through Twitter. (Really.)

I’m partnering with Acer Education to give away 5 of their Switch Alpha 12 2-in-1 laptops. If you’re not familiar with the product, it’s a laptop that converts into a tablet with an adjustable display and full-sized keyboard to help you stay productive on the go.

Information about the laptops is below, but I know you want the contest details right away:
  1. Look for my daily Tweets during the next five work days on the contest at (@stevehargadon)
  2. Retweet (RT) and/or like my giveaway tweet to be entered. You can do as many retweets as you would like, but only one each day of the 5-day promotion will be counted! 
  3. You have to be in the US to win. I know, sorry to you international folks. I’ll still love you if you retweet, follow, or like, but you can only win if your mailing address is in the United States, since the giveaway includes shipping.
  4. After 5 (work) days of the giveaway tweets, we’ll randomly draw a winner, entering your name for every point you’ve accumulated.   
  5. Winners will be contacted by me and once verified, announced through Twitter. 
  6. The official Terms and Conditions of the giveaway are at
It’s important that I disclose that I’ve been contracted by Acer to hold this promotion. That being said, I absolutely love this device and the whole movement toward the 2-in-1 laptop. I’d like to believe I predicted this years ago--a thin device that a student (or a teacher, or a librarian, or…) could carry into a classroom, plug into a docking station with a monitor or two, a keyboard, and a mouse, and have as a full computer. (If I find that prediction anywhere in my past writing or speaking, though, will anyone even care?)

I feel like this is an inevitability for classroom computing. A long-battery-life tablet, add a keyboard for writing-intensive use, bring to the classroom and it becomes part of a full computer. Now, we’re not offering that full setup as part of this promotion, but the Switch Alpha 12 has this capability. But Acer is asking me to give away 5 of these devices (the tablet + the keyboard) through the above-detailed Twitter contest. (My job is not nearly this fun most of the time!)

It’s worth learning more about this device.

Here’s some of their promotional copy: “Quickly snap on the full-size keyboard to the tablet, via a magnetic hinge, and turn this tablet into a full powered laptop! The full-size keyboard is backlit and features widely spaced keys for comfy and accurate typing and folds over as a cover for easy transport and screen protection. The U-frame kickstand can adjust up to 165 degrees so you can tilt the screen to the exact angle you need, yet its sturdy enough to hold the device stable when touched.” 

CNET gives this device an 8.3 out of 10 rating.  “ For its price class, the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 delivers excellent performance in a well-thought-out design, and it includes a great keyboard.”

PCMagazine’s review doesn’t come with a rating, but they concluded:  “The Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 represents a strong value, standing as one of the fastest midrange tablets we've tested, but coming in at a reasonable price. The screen is sharp with a high resolution, and the USB-C port is a welcome addition to the single USB 3.0 port. There are some letdowns with the overall design, though, like the cheap hinge and the average keyboard. Given that the Acer's speed boost over the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 is modest and we like that tablet's design a bit more, it remains our Editors' Choice. But if the inclusion of USB-C is particularly appealing to you, the comparably priced Switch Alpha 12 is worth your consideration”

Hope you’ll participate!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wednesday Webinar - Turn Your PCs into Chromebooks, Now Easier Than Ever

"Turn Your PCs into Chromebooks, Now Easier Than Ever" (30 mins)

Date + Time:
December 14th, 2pm US-Eastern (click for your own time zone) 

GoToWebinar (online). Register for the link to the free live event, a calendar reminder, and to be sent the recording.

Installing CloudReady is the only way to turn your PCs and Macs into fully functional Chromebooks, making your existing labs and carts with older computers useful again.  CloudReady is compatible with over 200 of the most common models sold in the past 9 years.
Now, with our new step-by-step installation guide, CloudReady is easier to install than ever.  And your converted computers can be managed in the Google Admin console! Receive a special 15% discount at the end just by attending!”

Agenda (30 mins):
  • CloudReady introduction
  • Product demonstration
  • Free trial + special discount from The Learning Revolution

[This is a commercial event. The Learning Revolution project markets (and loves) CloudReady as a way of raising funds for our other virtual events.]

Interview with an Ed Tech Energizer Bunny - Amir Dabirian

At the invitation of Adobe Education, I attended the Educause Annual Conference this year and did a quick series of interviews about the education work that Adobe is doing.

For my second interview, I met for the first time (and was totally impressed with) Amir Dabirian, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Amir is himself a non-stop learner: he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from California State University, Fullerton; he also earned a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering there, and a Master of Science degree in computer science from University of California, Riverside; AND he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Industrial Marketing from Luleå University of Technology.

Amir moves about a mile a minute, and is having a huge impact on learning technology innovation in the higher ed world, transforming CSUF into a model 21st-Century learning environment that is secure and sustainable. Under his leadership, starting in December 2010, CSUF was the very first California State University campus (and one of the first institutions of higher education in the country) to invest in an Adobe Enterprise agreement for Creative Suite. Amir then advocated passionately to his peer CIOs in the system his vision for getting digital tools into the hands of not just his faculty and staff at Fullerton, but to all CSU campuses and--more importantly--into the hands of the students. 

Here's the quick interview I had with Amir (notes below):

Interview Notes (with time marks):

00:50 Why was it so important to get digital tools into the hands of students?
01:00 Student success a key driver.
01:30 40,000 students, digital literacy tools available to all of them.
02:00 The tools available today are game-changers. His passion is to make the tools available to all students.
02:45 High-impact practices are when students are involved and engaged in the learning process.
03:30 Differences between student and faculty responses to adopting tools. Student working with teachers become more engaged in the classrooms.
04:05 Change isn't easy in institutions.  What was your approach? The value of having the tools available.
04:55 You have got to make it easy.
05:50 Important that you adopt at all levels:  top-down, side, and bottom-up. You need everybody on the same page to adopt these tools to make an institution-wide commitment.
06:30 The tools are great, but it is the people that make it work.
07:00 Helping other campuses to follow the process.
07:35 You have to be committed to student success, and have the technology and people work together to make it work.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Bryan Alexander Interview - The Challenge of Advancing Digital Literacy in Higher Education

At the invitation of Adobe Education, I attended the Educause Annual Conference this year and did a quick series of interviews about the education work that Adobe is doing. A huge highlight for me was reconnecting with futurist Bryan Alexander, whom I'd interviewed in 2012 as a part of my Future of Education series, and whose work and voice I've continued to really appreciate.

Bryan was the lead author of the just-released Digital Literacy - An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief, which was commissioned by Adobe to "explore an increasingly pressing challenge for United States higher education institutions: advancing digital literacy among students and faculty."

From the report (emphasis mine):
A 2016 Pew Research Center’s study indicates that the digital divide in the US is no longer just about access to technology but rather fluency in using it. Socio-economic status is certainly a factor with low-income households unable to afford high-speed broadband and the latest devices, but only 17% of adults report being active learners who are “confident in their ability to use digital tools to pursue learning.” Indeed, the productive and innovative use of technology encompasses 21st century skills that are vital for being successful in the workplace and beyond. Higher education institutions must prepare students for a future where learning new digital tools is an intuitive process. 
Unfortunately, lack of agreement on what comprises digital literacy is impeding many colleges and universities from formulating adequate policies and programs. Discussions among educators and library professionals have included the idea of digital literacy as equating to competence with a wide range of digital tools for varied educational purposes, or as an indicator of having the ability to critically evaluate web resources — a component of information literacy. However, both definitions are broad and ambiguous, making digital literacy a nebulous area that requires greater clarification and consensus. 
The aim of this publication is to establish a shared vision of digital literacy for higher education leaders by illuminating key definitions and models along with best practices and recommendations for implementing successful digital literacy initiatives. 
Again, you'll find the full report here. My interview with Bryan is below, followed by some notes.

Interview Notes (with time marks):
00:30 Students have always been makers, but now we have more tools for making.
02:00 We need to embrace this because there are pedagogical benefits all over the place.
02:20 The historical arc toward "pro-suming" and learning by making meaning; constructivist pedagogy.
03:30 A major sea change and we are moving in the crest of it.
05:15 How the mindset of teaching changes when working with creators.
06:15 When students make stuff, it isn't necessarily "well-behaved" - we have to get used to this.
07:10 Critical thinking means there might be criticism or "push-back." How comfortable are you with your students arguing with you?
08:10 Long-standing tension in America between the liberal arts and the practical/mechanical arts.
09:15 Implications for institutions of this research, valuing students as makers.
10:50 The "dangerous" Web.
11:05 Students having their own website outside of the institution, having a "domain of one's own."
12:45 The fantastic place that is the library.
13:30 The promises of technology; when does technology actually transform?
14:50 Utopian hope for radio and how we killed its educational benefit; the mixed legacy of television.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 Global Education Conference - Final Day!

Wednesday, November 16th, is the final day of our the seventh annual Global Education Conference. It's been an amazing conference, hope you can join us for some of the final keynotes or sessions!


Great session with educators from Israel, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Nepal and USA. Wow! GEC, You rock!

The list of today's sessions, in US-Eastern Standard Time, is below. To see the the full conference schedule in your own time zone, with the direct links to session rooms, go to the conference schedule page

Want to volunteer to help moderate sessions? It's not too late! Sign up and information here. It's a ton of fun, you'll be doing some good, and you'll have the undying gratitude of the conference organizers!

Wednesday, November 16th

  • What does it take to make the world our classroom - Anne Mirtschin
  • (iEARN) Collaborative learning through an online magazine -iMagzz - Making Myself Heard - Geeta Rajan,Head,International Affairs
  • (iEARN) Partners of the Americas and iEARN: The Power of Connections and International Collaboration in Education - Mr. André Hedlund
  • CLASS: Connected Learning Activities through Social Service - Sebastian Panakal, Chairperson
  • Factors causing student anxiety in English speaking class: from first year students’ perspectives - Dr Thi Tuyet Tran
  • (iEARN) Hands for Peace - Almerinda Garibaldi
  • Studying Abroad and Its Broad Impact for Nursing Students in Diploma Programs - Nicole Hall
  • (iEARN) "Photojournalism for covering social issues in Tajikistan – raise the youth voice." - Firuz Baratov
  • Promoting cultural and geographical awareness through online exchanges - Mrs. Quratulain Hussain
  • (iEARN) Where Do The Children Play - Freda Goodman
  • Cómo Preparar Alumnos para el Siglo XXl Con Pocos Recursos - Fabiana Casella
  • Gamify Your PD: Leading Districts 'Win' with Teacher-Driven, Self-Paced PD - Julia Francis, Partner
  • Gomabseubnida, Seoul: How My Summer in Korea Made Me a Better Teacher. - Amy M. Barrios, Ed.D.; Associate Professor
  • The comparative analysis of different online education and blended learning solutions in the non-OECD context. - Dr. Pablo B. Markin
  • Connecting India Around The World - Ms Poonam Sharma
  • How meditation and creative imagination can prepare global students and teachers - Dr.Elena Puntaroli
  • Lesson Jamming Collaboration - Mrs. Maha Hassan
  • Micro-learning as a lifelong learning approach of the 21st century: Potentials and Challenges. - Mr. Mohamed Ramadan
  • (iEARN) Impact of STEM learning program on main stream education - Ms. Alema Nasim
  • El acceso global de profesores y estudiantes mediante cursos de micro aprendizaje y mensajería instantánea - Carlos Bravo Reyes PhD
  • How to facilitate cross-cultural projects in a digital exchange - Jack Haskell, teacher and educational coordinator
  • The Global Student News Network - Don Goble - Multimedia Instructor
  • Tips To Prepare Students for a 21st Century Global Class With 20th Century Environment - Mrs Fabiana Casella
  • KEYNOTE: Dmitry Savelau - "Education for Social Change: the Power of Collective Action"
  • Bringing the world into your K-5 classroom with new technology can help tackle prejudice before it begins. - Sanny Zuiderveld, co-founder
  • Global Classrooms - Teresa Kramarz, Assistant Professor
  • Middle School General Music...A Provincial Dumping Ground or Global Oasis? - Kathryn Smith, Middle School General Music Teacher
  • The role of curriculum in teachers’ understanding of Global Citizenship Education in one of public schools in Akmola region, Kazakhstan - Mrs.Zhanar Ordabayeva
  • Differentiated Instruction: Innovative Strategies to Increase Student Engagement, Motivation & Transfer of Learning - Lauren D. Pitts, Doctoral Candidate
  • Robotics Unplugged: Introduction to Engineering - Melda N Yildiz
  • Supporting Global Education in the Media Center and Throughout Your School - Daryl Weakland - School Library Media Coordinator
  • VIOLA - Values In Our Lives Always - Mr Drew Buddie
  • KEYNOTE: Tonya Muro - "Learning With the World through Virtual Exchange: Building Bridges, Breaking Down Barriers"
  • Creating Global Citizens in the 21st Century - Chantelle Kohn, Program Director
  • Faculty Inspiring World-Ready Educators: Global Ed Catches FIRE in Rural Virginia - Patricia Talbot, Associate Professor
  • Global Food Security Resources: Collaboration between agriculture and education - Jane Hunt, Education Consultant
  • Nuggets from the Gold Mine: Resources and Opportunities for Global Perspectives - Jay Harris, President and Creative Producer
  • Educación Expandida: Creación colaborativa - Profesora Cristina Velázquez
  • Generation Global: Navigating Difference Through Dialogue - Mrs. Muna Abbas
  • We Can Change the Picture With The "Matrix of a Learner" - Tracy Hanson, Founder
  • CLOSING KEYNOTE: Gavin Dykes - "Learnings with and from the Maverick Teachers Global Summit"
  • Final Notes - Closing the Conference