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ASB Un-Plugged 2010 -- Transforming Teaching and Learning
Author: Dr. Shabbi Luthra , Dr. Paul Fochtman | May 27th, 2010

By: Dr. Shabbi Luthra (Director of Technology, American School of Bombay) and Dr. Paul Fochtman (Superintendent, American School of Bombay)

ASB Unplugged

ABS Un-Plugged is a biennial international 1-to-1 Teaching/Learning Conference held at and sponsored by the American School of Bombay. Educators from all over the globe and with all levels of experience in 1-to-1 programs come to learn and share ideas about teaching and learning with technology. This year the conference was held from February 24th to 27th. During these four learning-packed days, the school opened its doors and classrooms to share all that they do. Over 300 participants from 70+ schools and universities around the world and the US came to ASB Un-Plugged to engage in developing and articulating a vision for a 1-to-1 learning environment, and for learning from each other about successful strategies and experiences. Some schools brought teams consisting of administrators and faculty. This was a fantastic all-in-one learning opportunity for audiences ranging from classroom teachers to technology directors and coordinators, from principals, superintendents and business managers to tech support teams.

ASB Un-Plugged 2010 was organized in collaboration with the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation (AALF), the Near East/South Asia Center of Overseas Schools (NESA), and The Laptop Institute. There were many highlights of the conference. One of the special highlights was a full day AALF presented Preconference Workshop -- 21 Steps for 21st Century Learning Workshop. This was a preconference offering for schools who are interested in initiating, building, and launching 1-to-1 Laptop/Tablet programs. Bruce Dixon, 1-to-1 pioneer, and Susan Einhorn, the Executive Director of the Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation, guided participants through the complex process of envisioning and deploying a 1-to-1 program at their schools. The pre-conference helped participants set the ground work for building a program at their schools as well as setting a context for many of the sessions at the ASB Un-Plugged conference.

In addition to the AALF workshop, the conference featured a broad spectrum of content with seven concurrent strands. AND Student Showcases, Classroom Visits, Learning Institutes, Workshops, Job-Alike Sessions, Flat Classroom Workshop, and a TEDxASB event.

Classroom Visits & Student Showcases

Participants got a glimpse into the American School of Bombay's world of learning with laptops and tablets. The school opened its classrooms to share the work teachers do every day with their students. Attendees witnessed and experienced 1-to-1 classroom teaching and learning and how 1-to-1 functions during a school day. They heard teachers and students share their best practices, strategies and techniques that have proven to be successful. They saw the crucial role that tech support plays in the success of this learning culture.


Participants also shared their work and ideas with everyone by presenting workshops at the conference. They shared how they or their school are integrating 1-to-1 technology in the classroom.

Hands-on Learning Institutes

Participants had a fantastic opportunity to work with education leaders across six strands of tech integration: Creativity & Innovation, Research & Info Fluency, Flat Classroom, Assessment, Leadership, Project-Based Learning, and Tech Support.

Creativity and Innovation

Led by Scott Klososky, this strand focused on the teaching of creative thinking, constructing knowledge, and developing innovative products and processes. How can we apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, and create original works for personal or group expression?

Research and Info Fluency

Too many students are not sure how to separate fact from fiction on the web. Led by Doug Johnson, this strand focused on the effective application of digital resources to gather, evaluate, use, and think critically about information in a 1-to-1 learning environment.


Assessment is integral to teaching and learning. Involving students in performance-based assessment embedded in practice allows a unique perspective on learning. Led by Dr. Helen Barrett, this strand focused on using electronic portfolios to assess and evaluate student learning.


Leadership plays a crucial role in creating a successful technology-rich 1-to-1 learning environment for students. Leaders influence cultural norms and values. They shape the culture of a school through new visions that the school’s members can believe and act upon. Led by Dr. Scott McLeod, this strand focused on how leaders can build a shared vision and a shared culture, and how they can work to sustain this culture with social and technical support structures.

Project-Based Learning

Led by Andrew Churches, this institute focused on project based learning and effective formative and summative assessment, and how to engage 21st Century Learners a range of Web 2.0 tools. Andrew has created Bloom's Digital Taxonomy and used it as a framework for unit development, higher order thinking skills, and the development of assessment tools that provide simple and appropriate feedback for student growth and development.

Flat Classroom

The Flat Classroom is a global collaborative project that brings together middle and high school students. This project embraces a holistic and constructivist educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the world to create globally aware students. Classrooms are flattened as teachers blog, share personal learning networks via nings, collaborate on wikis, and reach out to those who share a common curricular perspective. Fifty students and educators from several schools around the world participated in the workshop. It was led by Project Founders and presenters: Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, and supported by Bernajean Porter.

Tech Support

Tech Support is essential for the success of a 1-to-1 environment. Led by Mario Fishery and ASB's Tech Support Team, this strand focused on the resources and policies necessary to build, maintain, and support a robust technology infrastructure for effective teaching, learning, and administration of a school.

Job-Alike Sessions

ASB Un-Plugged 2010 provided a unique opportunity for educators in similar roles (e.g. MS Social Studies, K-3 classroom teachers, principals, tech directors/coordinators, etc.) to share tech integration ideas and resources. We began our conversations and sharing prior to the conference through grade and topic specific groups on the ASB Un-Plugged ning. Job-Alike sessions were opportunities for all educators to learn from each other, to collaborate and expand our knowledge and practices, and to continue our conversations post-Un-Plugged.

TEDxASB -An evening dedicated to the power of ideas to inspire thinking and change attitudes.

Another highlight of the conference was a TEDxASB event – a highly curated evening program featuring 18-minute talks by the conference speakers in the famous TED style, plus music and video interludes. You may have heard of TED or visited the site www.ted.com. TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. TED is owned by a not-for-profit foundation whose mission is simply to spread good ideas to the world. Much of the content ends up being offered free online.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The American School of Bombay hosted its second TEDxASB event on February 25th during ASB Un-Plugged 2010. This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED. Our event is call TEDxASB, where x=independently organized TED event. At this TEDxASB event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connections.

The theme of the event was “Embracing Leadership, Innovation, and Change.” In a world transformed by human ingenuity and technology, one thing is clear: social technologies invite any individual to become a leader, an innovator, and a change agent. Powerful tools for connection, collaboration and communication by active stakeholders in the 21st century will fundamentally transform our societies. Hence the theme: Embracing Leadership, Innovation, and Change. The speakers were Bruce Dixon, Doug Johnson, Dr. Scott McLeod, Dr. Helen Barrett, and Scott Klososky. The talks are posted online on the TEDxASB site and on the TEDxASB Facebook page.

ASB Un-Plugged 2010 was designed to help guide educators and schools as they consider embracing a 1-to-1 learning environment. We look forward to continuing the conversations at ASB Un-Plugged 2012!

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