Follow by Email

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Tipping Point - Windows on XO

Yup. This is it in my humble opinion. The tipping point for XO - One Laptop Per Child. It's going to run on Windows now. OLPC also has a Board member on AALF as just announced (but not yet on the Web site.) So the business model now will make sense for real across the board, across multiple countries (read: US schools) ubiquitous use of One Laptop Per Child.

This is what we've been waiting for. We will likely see large increases in 1-to-1 implementations soon and not just using XO computers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Map of Future Forces Affecting Education Preso

On November 17, I presented before officers of the NEA and members of the NCSEA for Knowledge Works about their Map of Future Forces Affecting Education - on the "HotSpot" of Deep Personalization - along with the dilemma of standards and standardization - and with the educational ideas of participatory pedagogy and personalized learning plans. Researching the preso was about the most engrossing educational fun in some time - considering this idea of how people express their strong opinions and "do-it-yourself" motivation in ways that eschew traditional institutions, including education. Web 2.0 provides one means for this deep personalization, but by far not the only one - bumper stickers, tatoos, and lots more provide ways to express personal feelings and opinions as well. Through lots of use of Jing Project we looked at Harry Potter Fan Fiction, Voice Threads, uStream TV, and local newspapers with active "Comments" sections. With written permission of Buns and Chou-Chou (signed "hugs") from Rabbit Bites, we watched their interview of Andrew Keen author of "Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing our Culture" and grappled with what deep personalization in our society means to our classrooms and our roles as teachers and our own learning. We considered some schools offering project-based student-centered learning including Florida Virtual High School, Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy, and Minnesota's Harborside International School.

Now I wish I could say this paragraph is how we came to solid consensus and conclusions, and were able to find the balance between deep personalization and standardization, but of course we would have had to spend considerably more than a day on this discussion. However, it was affirming to see this many educators willing to roll up their sleeves and consider ideas that are expected to have a profund impact on teaching and learning.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

1-to-1 Resources

Posting resources that will be shared during a laptop roundtable this week, 10/26, at Tech Forum in Palisades, NY:

1-to-1 SIG and Wiki for ISTE members

Anytime, Anywhere Learning Foundation

Chris Smith of compiles 1-to-1 links:

Dr. Mike Muir’s 1-to-1 Laptop Learning Advocate

K12 Computing Blueprint – Resources for One-to-One

Maine Learns – Maine’s online learning community

One-to-One Information Services – includes case studies

Penn State’s Center for One-to-One Computing in Education:

Technology & Learning – The One-to-One Tsunami

The Irving Independent School District site on 1-to-1

The Lausanne Laptop Institute – A yearly 1-to-1 conference:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dr. Mike Muir on Laptops and Test Scores

Dr. Mike Muir posts an excellent article for ISTE on laptops and test scores for the new ISTE 1-to-1 SIG that formed as of this past NECC. Dr. Muir has a terrific blog, was one of the architect's of Maine's program, has added a great body of work and resources to 1-to-1 and happens to be a really nice person as well.

Basically what Mike says is that improving test scores is all about great teaching and that placing laptops into a classroom without understanding this will make no impact at all.

He's so right.

Monday, October 8, 2007

K12 Online Conference - David Warlick's Keynote

Listened to David Warlick's keynote for the K12 Online Conference earlier today. First off, I just have to say that David Warlick has to be one of the nicest people you will ever meet and talk to, which is all the more remarkable when you realize he is in the business of challenging educators. This keynote gave yet another example of how he makes ideas accessible and real while gently prodding and challenging us all.

Many analogies made sense for me from his keynote - the first thing being the idea that if there are no boundaries and therefore no walls, where do we get traction? How do we orient ourselves? He talked about how he isn't entirely comfortable with speaking to a video camera sans a live audience and how he misses the "furrows in foreheads" and other feedback when giving a presentation. If we have no walls and no boundaries how do we know where we are, where we're starting from, where we're going?

He talked about the Orson Scott Card book "Ender's Game" (which I love - I read it as an assignment in grad school) and how Ender's soldiers learned to work within the constraints of no real walls or boundaries, and even used the other soldiers who had been rendered unable to move, as traction. (Note: a fascinating aspect of this book not mentioned by David is how Ender and his sister become these agents of change in society, using the Internet-like communication described in the book to influence politics. They were pre-bloggers!)

He also said his was the last generation to look at their own fathers and see their future careers and in a touching evocative way described how his dad would shave and put on his white shirt and tie his tie every morning and go to work. David instead works at Starbucks, or in his basement office or on airplanes or at schools and corporations all over the world. He said we educators are preparing our students for a future we cannot describe, because the world of work is now so different.

The idea of networks and how students and young adults use their networks is another fascinating discussion he touched upon. How when he and his wife were at college on his son's first day there, that he continually kept checking his cell phone, sometimes closing it, sometimes texting something - to his friends all over the country who also were just starting college. When David went to college he said goodbye to his friends, some of whom he never saw again. His son didn't say goodbye - he took his friends along with him. (Note: I keep thinking - who's in our networks - how are we connecting - Twitter and listservs and social networks keep me rooted and allow me to ask amazing people questions and they ... answer! Teachers, of all people, need rich networks because the nature of the classroom can be isolating.)

So these adolescents and young adults are creating their networks full of tenacles and they come to school - and school chops off the tenacles. He said it's because we want the students to be who and what we want them to be, and don't accept who they really are. Whoa on that one, and wow and other things. I keep thinking of how we were told to "chunk" information - but that I found a lot of kids don't want the chunks, they want the whole thing. Tenacles cut off. I am still thinking about that one.

David also talked about how students and adults are creating material and publishing it directly from the author, sans editor or librarian. How then to create our own personal digital libraries.

Information overload was another topic - how information is competing for our attention - and what does it mean to be literate today? How to shape and reshape information? How to safely make mistakes?

He said one of the most important things we have to teach our students is how to teach themselves.

It would seem we need to model that and show them how we are teaching ourselves as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

This Thing Called Twitter

I just realized that my last blog post was September 22 and today is October 4! This was not the plan I'd had after speaking with David Warlick this summer when he talked about how important and vital blogging was to him - and after speaking with Will Richardson recently when he said his blog posts come out of reading or thinking about something and are intentionally "thin" because there's always more to add and that's how blogging should be.

But I haven't blogged since September 22. Why? I feel like I've been blogging and keeping up with things and thinking about issues and participating and writing and ruminating.

It's the little Twitter that's making me think that.

Because now Twitter is becoming how I keep up and converse and it's more of a conversation, albeit it a disjointed cocktail party conversation, than my blog has been and more than posting on other blogs has been. More than an RSS feed. More than a PageFlakes page.

I've got Twitterific always in my back pocket - or in the lower right hand corner of my screen.

And I follow some people and a few people follow me.

And I find out about things like the live Weblogg ED-TV sessions Will Richardson, Steve Dembo and David Jakes conducted last night from a bar in Chicago before the Cubs game.

Or that Andy Carvin is on NPR in San Francisco - right about now.

And the latest news from the K12-Online Conference fed right to my screen. Realtime. Short, sweet, to the point, tweets from the twitterati world.

So I'm really enjoying this crazy little thing called Twitter.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

NJECC - 1-to-1 Assessment and Pre-Assessment

Part 1: NJECC meeting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to NJ tech directors from NJECC at Montclair University's beautiful campus (see photo of this room) and also saw my friend Dr. Donna DeGennaro, a talented professor at Montclair who wrote Chapter 8 of my book.

The topic was 1-to-1 and the discussion was lively and challenging.  Trevor Shaw of Dwight-Englewood School (year 3 of their tablet PC program just beginning) kindly came to participate as a panelist and administrators from Springfield provided panelist expertise and advice as they are also in their third year.

Here are some ideas from that discussion.  One question came up about budget - how can a school district afford one-to-one?  We all agreed that the answer is varied and depends on the school or district.  Some have parents pay for all or part of the hardware, some use bond money, some reconsider how their budget is spent (e.g., not replacing desktops anymore but using the money for laptops.)  At The Urban School in San Francisco, selling parents on 1-to-1 was part of the approach at this independent 9-12 school, so they polled parents to see who was planning to either purchase a new computer or dedicate a computer just for their high schooler and nearly 90% said they were.  Urban offered to purchase the computer instead of the parents, put educational software on the computer, fix it, have loaners, and have it used in the classroom. As so many parents now consider a computer an essential part of their child's education, the program was a go.  

Another important discussion was about leadership.  It was obvious Springfield has solid leadership and commitment as does Dwight-Englewood.  We agreed that having both a principal/school head and tech director onboard are vital to successfully starting and continuing a program.  

One question was - what if the tech director is onboard but other leadership isn't?  Some said not to move ahead, but a few of us suggested starting with carts or with a pilot program to demonstrate what's possible.  An element here to consider is that the students are continually moving on to the next phase of their education or to their careers - and not preparing them with 21st Century learning skills hampers their success.

One agreed theme for success - 1-to-1 needs to be systemic and part of learning/pedagogy/curriculum and not just an isolated technology initiative.

Part 2. - Assessment and Pre-Assessment

The NJECC meeting discussions and several recent requests from schools have me thinking more deeply about assessment of existing 1-to-1 programs and pre-assessment for schools considering 1-to-1.  

While there are a number of components to evaluate before starting 1-to-1 including infrastructure (can the network handle 1-to-1), logistics (cases, transportation, insurance, repairs, loaners) and support issues (internal or external people to troubleshoot and repair), there are important philosophical elements that don't respond to the same "list-making" approach and require delving into mission, school culture, and the school's prevailing instructional model.  

If most teachers at a school or district are the center of the classroom most of the time and aren't comfortable with morphing from teacher to learner,  aren't sometimes the coach and facilitator, and don't walk around while children work independently or in groups, 1-to-1 won't achieve deep learning goals.  This doesn't preclude the necessity for some whole class activity and times when laptop lids or tablet pens are down.  It just means a different dynamic is operational when every child has his or her own powerful digital learning assistant.  The question becomes - can enough educators shift to embrace the potential benefits.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants - Is Our Thinking Wrong?

I am loving Classroom 2.0 right now.  This post is inspired by a discussion happening right now on the main page - go there and join up and jump in!

It's about Digital Natives/Digital Immigrants, an idea a lot of us have repeated after hearing and reading Marc Prensky - he came up with this conception that today's kids are, to quote him directly, "... all 'native speakers' of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet." And he continues  by saying that the rest of us are "digital immigrants" and retain "one foot in the past" as we try to interact with technology.   Go here for the exact article being quoted, found on Marc Prensky's site and downloaded 9/14/07.

What is being said on Classroom 2.0 is that this idea of being a digital immigrant is used by some as a "cop out", e.g., "I'm just a digital immigrant, I can't figure this stuff out." Additionally teachers are saying some colleagues are also making assumptions about kids, e.g., "they know all about this technology stuff, we don't need to teach them anything" that becomes a double cop out.  (Dating myself by saying cop out most likely!) Also, they've said that the "digital native" label was more for middle class males and left out a lot of others. 

Well, big wow for me!  Because I've been using this term to try to explain something - about today's kids, and how we have to reach them and not hold back.  And maybe some people heard the "digital immigrant" label and took a pass (although I hope not.)  

The idea of "these kids know all about this" is something heard since, well, forever, as a way to let them go learn technology without us.  Once I heard this from an administrator (not where I've ever taught or worked!): "these kids know all this stuff" as a reason for not teaching any computer classes whatsoever.  While kids are natural explorers, and many of we adults are not (probably not an intrinsic trait but probably because we were taught to "sit still, don't touch anything, and wait for instructions") - being an explorer does not mean you find the good stuff. Because unless your exploration is planned -- random exploration results in random understanding and learning.  You could be dropped off in Paris and be unafraid to explore and spend a lot of time there but if you didn't know there was something called "The Louvre" and didn't happen upon it - you missed it.

We do have to teach about technology, model technology use, question technology, jump in with kids while they're learning, challenge their assumptions and beliefs, challenge our assumptions and beliefs.  

And if a label no longer fits we should give it up.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Rethinking Tech Plans

Having written several tech plans, I usually look for a school's plan when we're talking about 1-to-1 or any educational technology initiative.  Recently a school said they didn't have one.  But ... what is a "Tech Plan" now -- and should there be one?  Should there be a Learning Plan instead (which includes technology)? Maybe with an Infrastructure Plan?  Along with a Hardware Evaluation and Replacement Plan?  And a Learning Community Plan for All Learners (Educators, Administrators, and Staff Included)?  

Tech plans used to be lists of hardware, software, network devices, protocols, operating systems, platforms, etc.  Then they started including more educational goals and objectives, and the hardware/network/software/etc. became an appendix in the back.  

But the target is moving so rapidly and schools that want to sit down and plan, as they should, might do better with a Learning Plan Wiki instead which would include how all learners will participate and progress, how infrastructure/hardware/network, etc. will support, how curriculum will evolve.  So that everyone can contribute, update, items can be added and subtracted, attachments can come and go, and stakeholders can not just view it all but be active participants.  I don't know of any schools doing this yet -- but likely some are - or will soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Proliferation of Web 2.0 Apps,, Teach the People, others

We know about Wikis, podcasts, blogs, Google apps (which seem to be increasing nearly every day - what about Google Sky, huh?  Amazing, and so many educational possibilities), Twitter, etc.  But there are new ones coming up all the time.  Tuesday I met with Jack Phelps to see which is an answer to Blackboard and Moodle, but adds a lot more, such as math functionality with a teacher-friendly approach.  It's being written in Ruby on Rails.  Could be very useful to schools - and right now they're looking for schools to pilot it - for free.  I've also been speaking with the people running Teach the People which is still in beta but is another fascinating concept - taking the idea (not the content) already done by several universities that are putting their curriculum online for everyone - but adding more tracking, feedback and other features.  They're also in beta and looking for participants.

All very exciting possibilities - and both headed up by Millenials - born after 1980 - who never knew about a life without computers as completely part of their environment. I wonder what else Millenials will come up with - probably more amazing things to transform teaching, learning and communities.   Makes me think of how important our jobs as educators are - to be sure technology is used in meaningful ways - and that our students learn about discerning use of technology and how the world can be improved with technology.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pushing The Higher Ed Envelope

 Just read this article in the in South Dakota which contained the quote from a regents administrator:

"K-12 is moving in their technology and we have no other choice.." - Regent James Hansen of Pierre, SD, above referenced article.

The "moving in their technology" is laptops in K-12 schools, which South Dakota has made a priority.  I was in Mitchell in June as a keynote at their excellent Laptop Institute which was partly held at DSU and involved teachers, administrators, and professors from Dakota State.

South Dakota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Michigan all have statewide laptop programs, and many states have district-wide programs.  So these students are now arriving at colleges and universities and pushing the envelope for more use of 1-to-1 for productivity and for teaching.  

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Integrating Technology Into Our Thinking About School Reform

All these things converged recently through conversations and reading blogs - about technology and integration of technology into our thinking much more thoroughly about school reform.

One was reading Will Richardson's post from August 7 (above snippet.) where he quoted Sylvia Martinez and Connecting Ed Tech to Ed Reform which made me think YES! (a favorite dog-eared book I can recommend by the way which is not about technology is Robert Evans "The Human Side of School Change: Reform, Resistance The Real Life Problems of Innovation") this makes so much sense - to connect educational technology to school reform.

One more thing  is that we have to be sure technology is thought of in an expansive way for teaching and learning, and not just constructivism but much more.  I always fear that we educational technologists may be boxing ourselves into an only-constructivist stance.

Then I listened to a podcast (scroll down to Episode 7 where he interviews David Elliot) from Chris Smith at Shambles (what a terrific resource) and where David Elliot talks about how his school used Grant Wiggins' Backward  Design/Understanding by Design as a framework for teaching and learning which also included technology.  

Earlier this summer I enjoyed this Teacher Tube which discussed how a Middle School in Australia had started a whole teaching and learning project - it started with having the students think about and understand how learning happens (something we often don't do - we teach the kids and expect that learning happens - but don't often talk about what learning is - what learning styles are - how the brain works.)  

Before that, I'd had a converation with Terry Dash, Director of Technology at The Pike School after she'd posted on the ISED-L listserv about a technology day involving teachers in the big picture thinking about technology -- not just having everyone view an LCD projector and show a few tech tools as so many tech professional development days often happen.  They opened up the thinking school-wide on what does successful technology use really mean.  Being in the trenches every day with teachers like Terry and so many others involves grappling with these big educational questions in a realistic way. 

Some are seeing technology as integral to teaching and learning and less as an "add on." Visiting Israel speaking and touring as part of the KATOM! Project, I was so impressed with how the teachers had actually redesigned curriculum when their students were given laptops. They didn't understand how remarkable this was - I said most U.S. schools had retrofitted technology into curriculum and not rethought or redesigned curriculum when 1-to-1 was introduced.  

Hopefully many more educators will really take this deep thinking approach to making technology integral and part of reform -- and not an add-on to what's already happening.  They'll seize the opportunity to consider the big picture and ask the tough questions about teaching and learning, how schools are changing and need to change, how the world is changing, and how technology needs to be right smack dab in the middle of it all.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Web 2.0, Web 1.0 and the Classroom

 I'm honing a new workshop and polishing my grad school class at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia and both have a similar content - emerging technologies/Web 2.0 for the classroom. Also starting to think about an update to my book (which is more than a year away because of research, editing, and publishing.)  And also thinking more about Web 1.0 - how we would all accumulate lists of resources and share them and have students find them.  I'd taught a number of workshops in the past providing lists of links for teachers and the invariable question would be "what do I do with these?" and many of us would come up with scavenger hunts or Web quests and virtual field trips, etc.  All creative uses of what we had - which was the hyperlinked Web.

But the exponential, interactive nature of what there is now is so far beyond anything that was then.  

Last year during the grad school class we started out thinking about podcasts and Wikis and blogs and RSS feeds and tagging and by the end of the class everyone was coming in to show new things none of us had even seen yet - (which we all know about now) - like Twitter and PageFlakes and SecondLife and Classroom2.0.  So what are we going to see this time around?  The exponential growth of Web 2.0 applications is astounding - not yet to the growth of hardware a la Moore - but quite amazing and shows no sign of stopping.  McLuhan said when there is great change, it's the artists who really understand it as it's happening - and I know educators are artists - so I really look forward to hearing from my colleagues and grad students about new Web 2.0 developments. 

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Social Networks - New Report

edWeek's Teacher Magazine reports on a new study from the National School Boards Association  which questions some of our Internet fears for kids.  The study, which is also sponsored by MySpace's parent company News Corps, along with Microsoft and Verizon, finds the stats on children who were pursued by predators to be lower than previously stated.  It also says we should evaluate MySpace and social networks for educational uses.

So here's my opinion for what it's worth - we do have to empower children with knowledge and understanding of the Internet, and what playing in a place where everyone can be watching really means.  

But - we are just now really learning what the read/write Web fully means - and there is a huge amount of untapped possibility for every classroom that exists right now.  A lot of it is for free (now at least.)  

If you think back to the early days of the Web, so many of us were enamored with just putting up simple Web sites, and with finding things online.  People put up lists of clickable links and aggregated all sorts of Web resources ad nauseum.  Sometimes the links worked, sometimes they didn't.  There are still lots of pages like this out there.

But now interactivity rules.  Newspaper articles have comment areas.  Experts on just about everything blog.  Podcasts from conferences are available days after the event.  Wikis on any topic are there for the reading and for the editing.  It's the world now.  

Social networks are important in my opinion because community is changing and shifting and because communication, real give-and-take discourse, can happen that didn't happen with the flat Web and its lists of resources.  It's the discourse that's important.  How does that discourse happen, what is shared and what shouldn't be shared, how does living publicly in networks make or break reputations, enable or thwart learning, add to or warp knowledge, how can money be made and influence be obtained, what is kindness in the age of Web 2.0.

There are a lot of questions and the people posing these questions and ideas? Teachers.  Because we have to.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Change ... Changing ... Half-Change ....

Looking through some U.S. district education sites - interesting that some have a lengthy list of technology skills for students but then few or none for teachers. Not that I'm a fan of skill lists.  Just noting the disparity here. 

Also thinking about change - the word change meaning that something has happened and has reached the state that it's become a noun, implying some kind of permanence.  But shouldn't the word be changing ... implying growth and continual movement.  Also, is there a "half change?"

It's the half change where I am most interested and involved.  Starting from where people are right now as educators as administrators.  Kind of like Vygotsky's "Zone of Proximal Development" - and what happens just before change - the "almost" state - maybe that's pre-change.

Anyway I hope we aren't blaming the teachers for technology not being fully integrated because that's not useful or helpful.  Just a thought after a lot of blog jumping -- and noticing a dichotomy of those who are completely onboard with Web 2.0 and newer technologies and those who are just learning about them.  

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Managing the 1-to-1 Classroom

This seems to be a universal question from teachers - how to effectively manage the 1-to-1 classroom.  

So I will be designing a brand-new workshop for schools on this specifically - tips, techniques, ideas, lessons, projects, examples of how to teach when most of what you learned about classroom management from your bachelor's or master's degree program has been turned on its head.  It's completely different when resources are decentralized and every student has a laptop - because a laptop or tablet changes all our old assumptions of teaching and learning.  Which is good in most ways - you can get to the thinking faster when every student is empowered with a computer - but challenging in many ways.  

Email me if your school might be interested.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

And So It Begins - Production on OLPC

With 3 million ordered now, the production of XO laptops from One Laptop Per Child begins in Shanghai.  Although the AMD chip is the processor, with Intel onboard there are talks of a version with their chips, according to this article and also this one.  This is the real deal now, what some didn't think would happen at all.  

It bodes well for schools in the U.S.  - but will that mean a complete rethinking of our networks and applications? Or will the U.S. version not use peer network sharing and just take advantage of the screen that's visible in the daylight and other design and functionality developments.  It's a different laptop that we're all using, that's for sure, with a different O/S and approach - much more exploration and user-centered.  Change is coming.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer at a Laptop/Tablet School - The Busy Season!

Many people don't know that a school technology department's "busy season" starts right after graduation and goes full bore right up until fall's first class.  Summer is when laptops, tablets or desktops arrive which have to be unpacked and imaged with the latest software, drivers, print queues, antivirus, operating system updates, etc.  Computers have to be staged, installed, and tested.  Supplies have to be replenished.  Carts, laptop/tablet cases, printers, switches, and other equipment and peripherals have to be tested and sometimes replaced.  Many of the deferred projects ("let's not do that until the summer") are tackled, which often bring up their own cascading logistical problems.  Add to that a school's databases which need updating; creating and inputting the school's schedule; updating email and other systems; and it's apparent why summer is the busy season.  At The Peck School our bulleted summer list was pages long and was often added to over the summer when one seemingly-simple update caused something else to go awry.  

Curt Lienick, director of technology at the University of Chicago Lab Schools has created videos of what happens over the summer to show teachers when they return - and it's a real eye-opener to see the level of activity.  Like many tech directors, he makes it look easy, but it's good sometimes to let everyone know what it really takes for school to start up in September, technology-wise.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

PA Gets Their Funding!

Congratulations to Holly Jobe and everyone working so hard on Classrooms for the Future in Pennsylvania  - the full $70 million budget has been approved in Pennsylvania and now the program will receive the full funding requested.  Big important things will be happening in PA high schools when 1-to-1 is everywhere. 

(Quick aside: "1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work" was distributed to all the Classrooms for the Future leaders.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Little Announcement/Big Significance

I get a Google feed on "laptop schools" to my email every day and this article Intel relents on laptops for kids just appeared - maybe it's in other papers already but this is big news and will have really large significance.  It says that Intel is joining the OLPC board.  

Those of us waiting for the serious impact on all laptops everywhere (and schools eventually being able to afford 1-to-1 everywhere) because of One Laptop Per Child  - are going to get what we want soon.  Maybe even in 2 or 3 years.  

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lausanne keynotes Ian Jukes, Will Richardson (will at left)

Yesterday, Ian Jukes cajoled, inspired and scared us a bunch.  Gesticulating, sometimes wildly, Ian gave a presentation that sure didn't look like Powerpoint (lots of pictures, things to make us think, pithy comments, etc.)  The future is coming and it ain't stopping for the faint of heart! And, schools still look like and act like the past.  Favorite quote from Ian's presentation: "Changing the course of history is easier than changing a history course."  (full attribution to follow - soon)

The exponential growth of hardware and bandwidth along with the lowering of prices at least for hardware (Moore's law), the Internet along with InfoWhelm are what we need to fully consider, as educators.  What does this mean for the classroom - that looks the same and acts the same as it has for maybe the past 40 years or so.  Information fluency, not information literacy.

The group at our table wanted Ian to talk more about discerning information and how important our task as educators is to be sure kids don't accept everything coming at them as okay and meaningful.  (Maybe this is what he meant by information fluency.) But he made every one of us think and continue to think.

Now listening to Will Richardson and here is his Wikispaces with handouts and backups for what he's saying.  Wow - I didn't know about the Obama campaign which is allowing people to put their own blogs up - this is brilliant.

Camera phones/Treo's, etc., how something can be put up online immediate, with a photo and with words.  Music is changing, digital rights, how do we exist when it is so easy (albeit not always legal) to share.  Journalism now has comment section; newspaper readership dropping, how to change the model.  (Personal note: even content - NYT magazine with article on Williams syndrome had a link to a video of a 19-year girl with Williams.)  "Cluetrain Manifesto" recommended.  People can look at their opinions somewhere on the product or the book, etc., people can read the comments before purchasing.

Problem: as Ian said - education is not changing.  We are not responding like other structures.  Something like 65% of kids have MySpace, 75% have Facebooks.  How many educators?  Maybe 15%.  Information is going to continue to grow. There is still a digital disconnect, and when there are kids, they can't compete.  Kids have really taken off and we're not in sync, we need to move with them.  

Recommendations: creating networks for teachers and students to sustain learning.  Blogs as a starting point - blogs as a conversation - blogs as a learning environment/community.

Many teachers using these technologies to publish and not to maximize as a network.  Cluster map show where people are coming to read Will's blog.  He is humbled by this, but has learned from this.

Kids are also beginning to build networks - fan fiction (note: my daughter does this extensively on the Harry Potter site and HP is the biggest site.) The learning is available anytime, you can connect to the people.

MySpace - who is teaching it?  One teacher raised her hand.  How to leverage the space.  Meg Cabot who wrote "Princess Diaries" has a great MySpace and it connects her to the people who love her book.  Why should Will's daughter memorize the capitals of the U.S. - where in the curriculum is it taught to get on her cellphone and find out information - what happens when content shifts.  (Note: this is our discussion at our table last night - picking out what information is most relevant and important and how to find the important information - yes!) 

MITOPENCOUSEWARE - wow, what is available here, for free, as podcasts, as video, etc.  You don't get the credit but you don't get the bill either.

Wikipedia - we need to teach it.  Will told about a kid who didn't want to do a project so just posted a sparse page on it on Wikipedia and then just waited for everyone to correct. Corrected so quickly.  In last minute 500 changes to Wikipedia.

IM, collaboration, on the fly.  We need to teach this.

Plagiarism is getting blurry, we need to talk about it.  Biggest problem - being editors in this environment, being skeptical consumers of information.  

How many people teaching kids to read and write in hypertext environments.  Yet this is how they will be working in the future.  There is a literacy here.  If links connecting people are not part of what they are doing, they are not learning what they need to know.  

If we have an Internet connection, we are no longer the smartest person on the room.  Our job becomes to connect us to the smartest people in the world.

The shift - the conversation - reaching others to engage in the conversation - finding the strong and the weak ties and how we can expand our knowledge and our conversations - flat classroom project.

Friday folder from classes - things sign - what is the engagement in this paper - yet we can have do meaningful projects in real worlds.  Example,  Radio WillowWeb - 1st graders, regular podcasts, thousands of listeners.  Marco Torres and a video done by his kids - (note: I have yet to see Marco but have heard amazing things about him and his work.)  

Will says every day he is learning something new, the networks of learners are what is important, making everyone information literate is vital, kids will be at risk from information if they are not discerning, we need to be different teachers in this environment, we must connect.

Here are my questions: what happens when people go back to their schools with these new ideas and the "zero sum game" becomes operational - can we have "and" and not just "either" and "or" - not traditional learning or 21st century learning.  How to bridge the gap.  We must, obviously, we must.  

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Summer Conferences - Professional Development - Even When You Can't Attend

There are so many excellent summer educational technology and 1-to-1 conferences around the U.S.  Attending sessions enables teachers to get the pulse on what's happening, to network, to learn some new techniques and tools, and to take a long reflective pause because the rush of September.  

But what if there is no budget or time to attend?  Because of the Internet, teachers can go online and read about sessions, download handouts and presentations, view videos and podcasts and get a feel for what's happening.  Here's a few great conferences with links to materials:

Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation held summits on 1-to-1 for leaders in March and May this year, very well received by attendees.

edACCESS draws 50 or 60 tech directors from small schools and universities and never fails to impress attendees with its scope and vision.

Lausanne Collegiates's Laptop Institute is incredibly well done and valuable - it's happening this coming week but check back after July 18 for session handouts.

One of the largest, and best, over 18,000 attending this year is NECC (National Educational Computer Conference).

South Dakota's Laptop Institute started this year in June and brought together several hundred educators for sessions all on 1-to-1.

Next blog will be during the Lausanne Laptop Institute.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Kids and Computers - What are we afraid of?

At NECC last month, while I was at a booth, my teenage daughter who attended with me wandered nearby.  A teenager with a rock n roll t-shirt and a laptop in a case slung over her shoulder, she stood near a computer at a booth.  Suddenly an adult ran over to the computer and hurriedly shut it down.  She hadn't touched it - but somehow the "threat" existed for that adult - teen hacker!  How often are our policies guided by such fears?  Hopefully not too often, and hopefully we are working to engage and challenge students with computers and not to only police their activities, but maybe we need to examine our approaches. (Note I posted this story as a comment on Mike Muir's excellent blog as well.)

We used the idea of L.A.R.K. at The Peck School where I worked for the past 5 years - which is also described in my book - we worked to ensure that all use of computers was L - Legal, A - Appropriate, R - Responsible and K - Kind.  Having this acronym as a shortcut yardstick for technology helped keep everyone on track.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

1-to-1 and girls

Here's a thoughtful article from edWEEK written by Dr. Kitty Boitnott describing how she'd just defended her dissertation three days before the NY Times article describing how laptops programs had been dropped.  Dr. Boitnott's dissertation was on how laptops can level the playing field between boys and girls when it comes to technology, providing a high tech career path to girls.  It's interesting to note that at The Peck School where I worked for the past five years we'd seen a leveling as well around gender - while initially (we're talking 1998) boys were more comfortable with using laptops, now there seems to be no discernible difference.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

1-to-1 and Authentic Learning

I'm doing some writing on authentic learning for a client and it would seem that 1-to-1 is ideal for all the underlying goals of authentic learning.  This article succinctly describes authentic learning and its student-centered goals for exploration, inquiry, authentic tasks, scaffolding, discourse, and creation of a product to be shared with a larger audience.  1-to-1 can make this happen because the resources for inquiry, exploration, and presentation are available at the fingertips of every student.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NECC keynote session - Zolli et all

School statistics around the world - Dr. Francesc Pedro, US has much home Internet access, does not lead in educational tech in schools.  Unusual stats on computers at school and computers at home -- better at home.  But are they looking at laptops here, where home to school happens?

Varied presenters, extemporaneous speaking, most impressed by Elizabeth Streb.  How to loosen up education so creativity becomes the norm.  High bar set by Philadelphia - how does it actually work?  

Dr. Pedro, Language learning and the brain - start as early as possible - yet schools generally wait, sometimes all the way to middle school.

No physical evidence of differences in male and female brains (ha, here's a myth buster!)

"If we only had time for this in school ... we had time to think" - Mary Cullinane


Michael McCauley "Whole New Mind" by Pink recommended and "Dream Society" - look next week for a report on "Understanding the Brain" on emotions, foreign languages

Elizabeth Streb -

Mary Cullinane - Ask kids What motivates kids, trends, obstacles, what value, what environment

Zolli - - in which a man dresses up like a video and answers questions.  Mostly students view this.  Show what

**Funny alert - when Streb asked Cullinane if the offices at Microsoft were "Open Source" - Cullinane said they were "definitely NOT Open Source"!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some Research on 1-to-1

I sent these links to Pennsylvania's Classrooms of the Future administrators. Thanks to Mike Muir for some of these:

From the One-to-One Institute, a collection of research.

The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation is also collecting research on their site.

The Rockman, et al Anytime Anywhere Learning studies from the original AAL schools.

A thorough and promising report on laptop use and student achievement.

Missouri shows student achievement improvements.

I'll keep an eye out for other research as well.

edACCESS 2007 - keynote session

Here at edACCESS  at St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Delaware. Yesterday's keynote was virtual, by Marc Prensky and was on "Losing your digital accent." Things that resonated or made me think:

• The idea of how the light is now on for students. It used to be that students would come to school to learn about the world, and educators would show students the world little by little. He used the analogy of a clearing a window bit-by-bit to see the view beyond. Now, Prensky said, students already are in the world because of TV, the Internet, they already have knowledge and understanding of the world.

• That school is slowing students down. They have all this energy and knowledge and then have to slow down to enter the school environment.

* How students are bored so often in school and not engaged.

• How important it is to involve students, ask their opinions, include them. How many tech plans have been created without any student involvement?

• That teaching the traditional, lecture-based way does not work well with technology, and that technology actually impinges on this approach. This makes a lot of sense and when people say "I don't have time for technology" their shift from teacher as disseminator of knowledge to including more facilitation and coaching is still in process.  

This is a terrific conference, by the way, that involves ad hoc focus groups and gives an opportunity to find out about new approaches and issues and to take the pulse of technology at independent schools.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Love/Hate Relationship - Testing and 1-to-1

Some of us have this love/hate relationship with test scores. Yes, they're not going away, and we know many things are based on scores, not the least of which is funding.

But the kind of skills that students gain from 1-to-1, such as how to maximize their own learning styles, how to evaluate information, how to become autonomous self-directed learners, how to create content and publish to the world ... does not necessarily show up on standardized test scores.

The latest eSchool News, however, hints at some positive results coming soon. While not specifically about 1-to-1, the report coming out soon is wide and deep - 9 states, and talks about "student achievement" as opposed to test scores, exactly. Here's the link.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The big sky in South Dakota

I keep thinking about the big sky in South Dakota. It's so different than in the northeast. It seems like an ever-present element there and since back in New Jersey I keep looking up at the sky between the trees and it's just not the same. An analogy for possibilities - so many possibilities with a huge sky - you can see the weather coming, you can see the land more clearly, you can see the horizon.

It seems like Web 2.0 and the landscape for schools has all these possibilities, too. We just have to keep looking up and not have our heads down so much.

Here's the link to South Dakota's conference which also includes presentations. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

South Dakota 1-to-1 Laptop Institute

Interestingly, this was the first conference I've ever attended that was paperless, e.g., you got a thumbdrive with the overview, sessions, and all information. At first I was a bit stymied - I'm so visual - then hit upon opening the day's schedule, saving it as a .jpg, and loading it as wallpaper. Worked great, especially not being on a tablet.

So ... why doesn't Apple make a tablet again?

Yes, there's this third party product out there and here's MacWorld's review -  but why not a native Apple tablet. Schools would love it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

South Dakota Laptop Institute - Warlick session

Sitting here and listening to David Warlick and his session on Web 2.0. Really fascinating stuff, great presentation. Loved the story especially about the teacher in Canada who did away with his textbook (they were all stacked in the corner gathering dust) and instead had all the work as a Wiki. Here's the hook for teachers especially - when students aren't getting something he can actually go back and beef up that chapter. How cool is that. Wow. Differentiated learning on the fly. Then he described how Vicky Davis in Georgia does this but actually as the students write the chapters, themselves. David asked if the students made mistakes, yes, she said, but she didn't correct them unless really necessary, because she waited for the students to find their own mistakes.

Content - we are all creating it - we are all sharing it - we are all participating.

Friday, March 23, 2007


It's about time - time for a blog, that is.

Fresh from presenting at the Davidson Institute in Rehovot, Israel, where the KATOM project is going strong in six schools with students and teachers equipped with laptops. Fascinating to be in Israel, to hear about the challenges and successes of the program, and to visit schools. 1-to-1 learning offers so much but it's not straightforward, it's messy -- as it should be. Each school in the program approaches laptop learning a bit differently. One of the most interesting is the ceremony they have for all students when they receive laptops, which includes publicly signing a committment contract. Another is "KATOM Day" with all the students visiting the Weizmann Institute of Science to participate in learning activities.