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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.  

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