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Aug 28 / Justin

Finding Balance

Finding balance

A word you hear a lot nowadays (particularly in EdTech circles) is “Balance”

Usually it’s invoked in conversations around allocation of time between work and personal/home life. Certainly that is the main one most of us need to think about.

However, I find the challenge to balance is something that comes into almost everything I do. It would be easy if the only balance we had to worry about was between work and life. If that were the case the classic 9-5pm thing would work as a solution. However, I find my days are a constant dance between competing commitments. In particular with work. I  co-manage an educational startup which means there is always something to be done and a million other things I could be doing. A choice to do one thing is a choice not to do something else. Sounds trite, but it is meaningful when ultimately decisions impact on one’s own livelihood and even more so when others are counting on you. This is something that you can only really understand having done it I think. So it’s not just balance between work and “life” but within work as well.

005_DSC_1114The same is true within my personal life as well. My wife and I have been given the gift of a beautiful new baby daughter. To say it is “life changing” to put too fine a point on it! It’s life transforming and in a great way. Of course having a daughter is wonderful but just like competing work requirements every minute spent with her is is one minute my wife and I don’t have together anymore, and I miss that private time with her. Of course we are a family now which is a different kind of wonderful, but things sure are different. This is worth of a whole blog post (probably a whole blog!)

At times the search for balance can be disheartening. Sometimes it is easy to think all the energy I’m putting in is “a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Janet is a great source of support in these moments (which probably come too often). However, today while writing an email to a group that required me to list all the various events 21st Century Learning International has coming up this year I came away feeling pretty great (and frankly kind of amazed) at what we having going on. Of course there are a ton of other things I want to be doing but reflecting on things I can’t help but feel proud of what our team has been able to build over the past couple of years.

This inspired me to write a post (which this turned into) with a list of all the projects we are involved in:


We have done quite a bit of consulting over the past year with several projects ongoing including with schools such as Dulwich College International, Shanghai American School, International Christian School (HK), United World College (HK) and more. I’ve enjoyed the consulting work a lot (the major downside that it takes me away from my family). However, the learning has been immense. It is clear there is a need for these kinds of services for International Schools as leaders work through the various challenges of making meaningful use of technology.


We are working on a major survey of parents and students in Hong Kong with a bespoke survey instrument. We are hoping that in the long haul this can become a country by country or regional survey. Schools need better and more accurate data on student and parents skills, attitudes and behavior with technology. I’m confident that in partnership with the consortium we have assembled (in partnership with ISF HK) we will do that.


It is the second year of our 21st Century Learning Teacher and School of the Year awards. Those are that have submitted entries are great and I’m looking forward to meeting the finalists at the conference in December.


This is certainly our biggest year ever with tons of PD events lined up in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Seoul and Perth.


Shanghai TeachMeet (Free)

We are trying to create these free events in as many cities in the region as we can. They are basically get together with teachers and edtech folk from schools to socialize and share good ideas. You can come just to visit but are encouraged to present either a 2 minute or 7 minute presentation. Best part is that we sponsor the drinks and some snacks!

IPad Art Workshops with Cathy Hunt. (BJ/SH/Perth)

Suitable for secondary art teachers or any primary teacher. Cathy is a dynamic and engaging presenter.

For Beijing go to this link to register but first find out below which is the right workshop for you!

  • Teacher Workshop – Primary  – 22nd September
  • Teacher Workshop – Secondary – 23rd September

For Shanghai go to this link to register but first find out below which is the right workshop for you!

  • Teacher Workshop – Primary  – 24th September
  • Teacher Workshop – Secondary – 25th September


Hong Kong and Singapore TeachMeets

Both are on October 9th this year and are the third and second ones we have run in these cities. In the past they have had great attendance and those that have come along have had a great time.

Transforming Your Classroom Workshop

Led by Kim Cofino this workshop is ideal for teachers looking to amp up their technology integration. Framed by essential questions: “What does transformative learning look like?” and “How can we transform learning for all students?” Teachers attending this workshop will walk away with new tools and frameworks to amplify their use of technology.

Seoul 21CEduLAN

This is a pilot event for us – a low cost grassroots EduTech conference in Seoul. It is intended for educators in Korea, but if you are based nearby and want to catch a short flight we won’t refuse you – there are already a number of educators coming from Thailand!


Music Education Workshops

There are two individual one day workshops to choose from suitable for music educators or classroom teachers that are looking to support more dynamic multimedia projects.


Ed-Tech Staff Job-a-like

This year there is a really special added bonus to attending the annual conference. We are proud to be hosting a EdTech staff job-a-like that is being organised by schools in HK/South China region. This event has been going on now for the last 2 years and last year had over 100 attend. 21C has taken over the logistics of the event and we are inviting Tech Directors and their staff to come to HK on December 10th – one day before the pre-conferences begin. The event is priced very competitively at $12USD to encourage schools to bring their entire tech team. There are three tracks – Tech Directors, Tech Coach and Technical Staff (for IT managers and front-line staff).

7th Annual Conference

This is our biggest event yet with over 10 pre-conference events, 5 outstanding keynote speakers and 30+ practitioners workshops.

Visit the URL below for more information: