G’bye Dubai, Dunes, & Didactic

Interesting thing about Dubai. In education, we share thedubai-1990.png visionary talk about conceiving things and then making them happen. In Dubai, there is the physical manifestation of that. They are going bricks and mortar big time. A town (right) that in 1990 was a figment of Dubai 2003a royal imagination has become real in less than twenty years (left, 2003). And more to come (below left, this year). What happens in the end will not be a failure of imagination. Maybe it’s the response of a farsighted culture that knows it last-year-2007.pngneeds a paradigm shift (real, not talk). The oil is running out (they know the date: 2010) and they need something to takes its place. So they acted. In our own culture, we need somebody to take our generation’s place as innovators and leaders–let’s hope those of us in education can produce the goods. Dubai shows all is takes is the will and the money. 🙂 Now for apetersamhall.JPG little photographic proof of the dunes. I am there in my black ski cap –I truly snow skied just two hours before–with friend Sam Farsaii, of Irving ISD, Amir, the absolutely mad Emirati driver, and Peter Schneider of Atomic Learning. In the photo leftflat-keitha.JPG, Flat Keitha of the desert. Emulating the travels of Flat Stanley, Keitha who at retirement discovered a health problem that made impossible to travel, now virtually travels with friends. She kept trying to get lost but we always found her. More on Dubai later, and more at Darcy Hardy’s blog . Move forward in time with her (first shot, my discovery the DEN webinars were blocked in by the telephone monopoly). Finally, two bits of media. First: It occurred to me that for students, a school day can be like a 20-hour plane trip from Dubai to Los Angeles—nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no talking. What effect would media have? On the last leg, some cabins had self-selecting video players with a myriad of choices as well as the main movie offered by the airline. In the other cabin (coach), no choice: just the single shared screen. Coach, it occurred to me, was like media in the old film strip/movie/VCR classrooms. Everybody watches the same content. Business and first class were what the technology allows–individualized selection. What percentage of people were doing what in both cabins? With notebook and pencil, I observed that in coach, of 80 awake people, 29 were watching media. Three were doing work on a laptop. The rest (33%) were watching the same movie–and at the same time. In the other cabins, where there was media choice, of the 20 awake individuals, 12 (60%) were watching media. Not a single person was watching a simultaneous presentation with another person. It might make you wonder whether we were missing a few kids in the days of simultaneous viewing. But to me it indicates the importance of simultaneous, shared media viewing with classes. It creates a common base and a common point from which to branch–and teach. As students, we all sang “Ring Around the Rosie”, that centuries-old plague song. Gave us Business Classsomething in common with plague-infested Europe. Wait, somebody comment with a better example….Lastly, Emirates Air has cameras in the noses and belly of their airplanes. Nifty! What is below is the landing at JFK from Dubai. At the last, I switch from the bellycam to the nosecam. I don’t think those guys in the orange jackets have figured out that they’re on camera. Enjoy. And watch for Keitha.


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