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2009 Announcements

Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence, and the Future of Education

Cross-posted on Always Learning

I could not be more honored to be the pre-conference keynote speaker for this year’s K12 Online conference!

I have been participating in this annual conference since its inception in 2006 and every year I am amazed at the quality of presentations shared by educators around the world. The opportunity to learn together over the course of the conference (and beyond) is one of the most inspiring and engaging experiences of the year for me. Of course, this year’s lineup is no different!

When I was asked to keynote this year’s event, I knew right away that I wanted my presentation to have a global focus. Thinking back over the course of my ten years of living overseas, I realized that in many ways my exposure to new ways of thinking about technology has been paralleled by some similar learning experiences in the real world. I wanted to explore those links between virtual and real-world perspective shifts, and in the process try to share what I feel is an interesting and unique perspective in the expat mindset.

I’ve also decided to try to practice what I preach and make this presentation a true global collaboration, and although I will be putting together and presenting the final product, I really wanted to make it based on group input. Thankfully, my personal learning network includes a number of outstanding international school educators who’ve been willing to help me in preparing my presentation (thank you!). Right now I’ve gotten a lot of great input and material from (in no particular order):

While these teachers have already sent me fantastic material, I would love to include other perspectives as well. Knowing that the deadline is just over a month away, I’m beginning to put the final pieces together, and would love to hear your thoughts, include your perspectives, and emphasize the power of global collaboration in the final product.

Here’s the presentation overview:

Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence, and the Future of Education

Everything I need to know about the future of education I learned, not from kindergarten, but from living overseas. Looking at daily life in foreign lands reveals a colorful spectrum of inspiring metaphors for the shifts we need to make in education. Featuring voices from students and teachers from around the globe, this presentation will start with a look through an expatriate’s eyes at some vibrant details of daily life in many lands. Often what we may find initially chaotic, disorienting and strange in other countries can actually spark new ways of thinking about teaching and learning.

Then, again through the voices and viewpoints of teachers and students from all around the world, we’ll examine the unique aptitudes which allow successful expats to thrive in any environment: adaptability, flexibility, the ability to understand differing viewpoints and constructs, and the communications skills to collaborate across cultural, religious and linguistic barriers. These are exactly the skills that future students and teachers will need to confidently enter the digital, global, converging, collaborative world of tomorrow – wherever they might be physically located.

Final Thoughts

What do you think? Does this sound interesting to you? Are you an expat or Third Culture Kid? Have you or your students participated in a global collaboration? What did you gain from that experience?


  1. Jane Ross

    Hi Kim,
    I’m Australian born but I spent many years in Indonesia as a child as my father worked for a joint-venture company in Jakarta. I feel so influenced by Indonesian cultures. I use my right hand out of habit and other body language signals that are Indonesian and quite foreign for Australians. I attended boarding school in Australia but always got to go ‘home’ to Jakarta every couple of months. But by this time I felt that I had 2 homes.
    I later married a Batak from North Sumatra after first being adopted by a Batak clan so that we could have a full traditonal wedding and continue the family line which is so important considering I married the eldest son! 
    You might ask – do I feel more Australian or Batak? Of course I still call Australia home but sometimes I feel on the ‘outside’ of my first culture. I believe I learn the most about who I am whenever I return to Australia. I always experience culture shock when I go back to Aus. Like I’m watching what’s happening – when actually I’m experiencing it first-hand. 
    It is by re-connecting with my first culture that I am able to see it from an ‘outside’ perspective.
    How has this impacted on ny teaching -I feel that I am able to view things with a broader perspective. Being fluent in Indonesian of course has given me so many skills beyond the obvious ones. I sometimes feel like I don’t fit in with either culture but I’ve learned to deal with that as my children are mixed and need to identify with both. I am in the middle neither here nor there. I think that the www has redefined how we identify with culture. To be able to connect on a daily basis with others from all over the globe compared to the past – of just reading the print in a text book has profoundly impacted on how we learn. My presentation for the K-12 Online Conference on ‘Living History – Authentic Learning Empowered by Digital Technology’, is in many ways connected to this topic too. I look forward to your Keynote Kim.
    Horas (greetings in Bataknese)
    Jane Ross
    ADE – Digital Technologies Specialist, Sinarmas World Academy, Indonesia

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  3. Lynn Stephenson

    Please could you advise me of the timings of this event. I am working not far from London, England and so on Greenwich Meantime (GMT) and cannot find the timings/agenda for the upcoming conference.



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