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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Predictions - Sticking My Neck Out Again

Not sure if this is nuts again but here I go. Here are some general 2011 predictions for the U.S. and educational technology in general.

1. Credit recovery and self-directed learning - which is not just now about learning what you want but about earning credits you want/need that maybe you didn't get the right way or missed or lost somehow - will be even more important. Just like many people take longer than 4 years to get a college degree, there will be more ways to get a high school diploma outside of the traditional/same school for 4 years/route. It won't be as easy for students as it seems, though, because independent learning takes a lot of self-motivation.

2. Chrome PC will take off even more - and others will enter the foray of cloud-based computing devices. Privacy concerns will become factors, though, as people who are now beta testing start to realize that everywhere they are going is being tracked in even greater detail than before. Still, it will make sense to not be tied to hardware operating systems so closely. Apple, Microsoft, Dell, IBM and the big players will take serious note.

3. Tablets, eReaders - tipped! Everywhere! Just look around on any airplane now. This will continue and the devices and offerings will get better.

4. Nearly everyone with a smart phone. Just as you can't hardly find a soul older than about 15 without a cell phone, you won't be able to hardly find anyone without a smart phone.

5. Schools start looking around and worrying about 1-to-1. Yes, people like me have been advocates and many have gotten on the bandwagon. But have they followed what ought to be in place in my book, or with what Project Red recommends? Well ... not exactly ... so time to regroup, rethink and restrategize.

6. The economy grows a bit but not enough.

7. More contract work takes off, more people realize they need to go back to college and learn more skills, and the shrinking of fulltime jobs continues as I blogged previously.

8. Fewer service workers, everywhere. Grocery stores, restaurants, bookstores, retail, etc. will see shrinking needs for humans as online offerings plus in-store automation appeal to everyone wanting quick results without waiting on line.

9. Employers will start getting more interested in where applicants went to high school, not just college, and will start asking questions about how technology was used throughout applicants' educational journey. Graduates of schools known for integrating technology will start promoting themselves as such.

10. The move towards utility-based technology without centralized technology departments will grow with co-lo, offsite support increasing. Schools preventing Web 2.0 activities will find educators have a better approach in their student-centered classrooms empowered by open-ended emerging technologies.

Of course I could be all wrong!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Computer I'd LIke - Too Bad It Doesn't Exist (with everything I want) yet

I am picking up my new PC laptop this morning, already have a Mac laptop, and need to be fully cross-platform. But here are the specs of the device I wish I were picking up:
  • A slate - to write on and use - that also has a keyboard if I need it - keyboard is full size
  • This part's new: a fully native "reading" mode that softens the glare and the light so that when I download eBooks and other things I can read without eyestrain
  • This is new as well - extremely lightweight - maybe 2 lbs or less - but with native USB ports - 3 of them - for my printer, external backup, camera, etc.
  • Built in standard VGA port - no adapter
  • Takes phone calls natively without 3rd party product in that when my phone rings it goes to my phone AND to this device and I can press a button and go into automatic speaker mode (if I want to) or ignore the call
  • Operating system fully integrates with built-in native antivirus antispyware antimaleware tight firewall and automatically updates - for no additional cost
  • 8 gigs RAM native that the operating system fully accesses all the time
  • 500 gig hard drive
  • Runs all the apps I have right now plus lots of things built just for the slate
  • Mac/PC immaterial - it all runs, even including Office - AND MS Office keeps up with updates and doesn't do the Mac on one version PC on another thing
Along with it I want all projectors to be fully wireless and connect to my slate with enough bandwidth to run streaming video as needed. Basically one-stop shopping, and I'll just be carrying my slate and my smartphone and so will everyone else.

Oh and it costs $500 fully loaded.

Maybe it's ... on the way?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inspired by 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in 20 years

I've been inspired by this posting 21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Schools in 2020 and here's my list:

1. Fixed spaces for learning - eventually there will be much more movement than we see now, think of Google or similar environments. There are "offices" but there are also spaces to meet, there are big spaces and a few smaller spaces and areas for collaboration and areas for gathering. Or think School of One with one big space segmented into functional areas.

2. I second the idea that IT departments as we know them will be different - instead I think (and said in my book as well) that we'll be outsourced for connectivity with 3rd party co-location areas which house applications that aren't in the cloud (and likely most will be) with the high end network manager no longer needed. Schools will pay per computing device which will include applications and Internet access.

3. Specialized teachers with just one role. We're already seeing this for budgetary reasons but I think eventually the teacher who only teaches 4 sections of Latin will find himself/herself needed to have more content/subject expertise. Teachers will lead the way in retooling and reeducating themselves according to what needs to be taught and how - and colleges/universities will help.

4. Libraries as we know them. These are already changing and I think will continue to change into spaces with varied functions - perhaps very large spaces where lots of things are happening and where books, Kindles, iPods or whatever digital assistants are called in 2020 are available - they may even be where online learning takes place. Think of the Online School for Girls where physical brick-and-mortar classes are supplemented by online classes. When the online learning happens during the school day - where does it happen? How about in the Library which has morphed into a School of One/large Google space with collaboration and other possibilities going on.

5. Being uninformed. Everyone will get the feeds they need to be informed as learners and as community members. However, somehow the filtering and the digesting and the organizing has got to be better than it is right now.

6. Teachers not being available to students. This is controversial I know. But somehow if education is moving away from a traditional school day there has to be a way for teachers to be more available. Whatever the equivalent of texting, Skype, etc. will allow teachers and students to communicate more frequently with teachers able to indicate when they are on the grid and when they are away.

7. Lack of choice by students. Students will have more choice about what they learn, how they learn, and how they will demonstrate what they've learned. I talked to a student in Iowa who said one of her favorite history classes allowed her to take a project and just learn about it the way she wanted and then demonstrate it using the tools and vehicles she wanted.

8. Big old heavy textbooks. Yes, they will be a thing of the past and my daughter (age 18) and her generation will say, "in my day we carried these huge backpacks that weighed nearly half what we did and our spines just about got permanently curved."

9. The Digital Divide. This cannot continue, education must be universal, so therefore must be access to everything including technology.

10. Traditional college applications. They'll be video based, face-to-face, portfolio-informed, with teachers giving their "recommendations" as videos - or - in video response to video questions posed by colleges.

11. Bandwidth Issues. Obviously, this must go away, and high speed access must be the norm in every community whether wealthy or poor, urban or rural.

I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The End of - Full Time Jobs?

I was in Sydney, Australia last week working with Digital Education Revolution NSW Australia and giving a keynote and workshops to Secondary School Principals, all around 1-to-1. I was talking with Ben Jones who explained that he worked on a contract basis as do many Australians with contracts expired and renewed after the job expires or changes and with an expectation that this is how work will occur.

Thinking now of what is happening in the U.S. with a 9.6% unemployment rate, with much underemployment and disenfranchised people who have stopped looking for work, talk that many of the lost jobs are never coming back and wondering if this is the beginning of the end of the full time job as we know it.

Technology for all its benefit also has a downside in that it can automate away jobs. Just look at how many workers were required 30 years for nearly any organization and how many are needed now. A trip to the grocery store to see the advance of self checkout is just one example.

So many things have converged right now - globalism, high speed Internet, accessible open-ended tools, economic crises, more Americans working from their homes.

What if where we are leading is to have contract-based work everywhere, with organizations finding pools of workers to accomplish projects for short periods and paying just on the work needed, a truly mobile and responsive workforce without the guarantee of a fulltime job of indefinite length - but instead working by contract to do specific projects for specific amounts of time at hourly or per diem rates. People will be working from their homes or possibly temporarily from the organizations, using technology (computers, smart phones, Internet, conferencing and Web based collaborative tools) to work with their fellow temporary team members to accomplish the project and then disband for the next contract.

If so, we have even more reason to ensure that the students we are teaching learn how to be flexible and adaptable, able to locate, leverage and synthesize information quickly to solve problems, report and publish on findings, and create new ideas.

It's exciting to live now but the sand is shifting continually.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thinking About Sydney - Keynote for Educational Leadership - Getting Teachers Onboard

First let me invite you to an EduTweetup if it can work for you - that's Sydney time by the way, NYC + 15 hours.

Next, enjoyably neck deep in creating a keynote and a workshop (to be given several times) in Sydney the week of November 15. Some ideas coming to the forefront:
  • We have to change the assignments if we don't want the same old thing -- static reports that only reward Master Manual Regurgitators to now static reports that reward Master Digital Regurgitators. Why regurgitate at all? Wasn't good then, not good now. In fact counterproductive and time-wasting even.
  • The hard stuff with 1-to-1 happens AFTER the hardware/network/infrastructure/logistics/initial buyin happens - that's the humanly complex process of adaptating, morphing, reflecting, rethinking and changing.
  • Adult learning is not always considered when PD is designed and should always be.
  • Interactivity is key in the classroom and in the keynote room.
  • I have learned a whole lot from my PLN - they inform me every time I create a Prezi or write an article. How lucky are we to live in a time when collaboration is so accessible.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

1-to-1 and Leadership

Thinking about 1-to-1 and leadership for possible workshop series in Australia and one thought came to mind: probably the very best thing leaders of laptop/tablet programs can do is empower their master teachers to rethink teaching and learning utilizing 1-to-1. And then to find ways to share what and how the master teachers teachers are using 1-to-1 with the entire faculty. Teachers respect and emulate the master teachers amongst their ranks.

Research continually points to effective teaching as the most important element for student achievement. If you can facilitate having a core group of your master teachers onboard your 1-to-1 program, many other necessary elements will follow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I (Heart) Lausanne Laptop Institute - 2010

I am really looking forward to the Lausanne Laptop Institute from 7/18 - 7/20 at the Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, TN. I'll be presenting two sessions - one on a review of current literature on studies/research on 1-to-1 programs in schools and one as part of the Adaptive Technologies new thinktank partnership of ISM and the Laptop Institute. Note for the Adaptive Technologies session you need to sign up when registering - but there's no additional fee.

Here are descriptions and links to both sessions. It promises to be a terrific conference so do consider attending if at all possible - but sign up right away in case it's filled up. (By the way it also happens to be one of the most FUN conferences anywhere with cameraderie, Beale Street, great food and a really warm and friendly vibe everywhere!)

Examining New Models … The Shift in Process – Pamela Livingston - Monday July 19 11-12:30

These are exciting but shifting times. The old model for education, which worked for most all of us, doesn’t really fit our shifting world. Education has been slower than other organizations to adapt and change but now global and economic factors are forcing the change. Educators immersing themselves in the shift can be part of what comes next – or as Shakespeare in Hamlet said, “The readiness is all.”

This session is about looking at some innovative models bubbling up in education – virtual schools, project-based-learning schools, blended approaches, and other examples of how schools have seen the need to change and responded with a new model.

• We’ll start with a brief overview of several new models

• We’ll then form groups, with each group honing suggested open-ended questions according to what members of the group want to know and understand about these new models – with an eye towards bringing strategies and approaches back to their own schools

• Each group will then take a deep critical dive into several innovative models, responding to the group’s questions, and recording their thoughts into a Wiki.

• We’ll end with a sharing by each group of what was discovered, what was of interest and what conversations or strategies might happen next at everyone’s schools.

Review of Current Research on 1-to-1

Session Summary: This review of current studies and research on 1-to-1 is based on some work I've been doing. Participants will understand the benefits, challenges, and results from a synthesizing of 1-to-1 research and studies.

Presenter(s): Livingston, Director of Information Technology, TEAM Charter Schools of Newark, NJ, Newark, NJ USA

Day / Time / Room: Tuesday, July 20 / 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM / UM 205

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2 Projectors

I was emailing Tami Brass (she's got a terrific blog to follow - I find myself retweeting her all the time and using her Diigo bookmarks as a first stop when researching) and was talking about the idea of 2 projectors.

The question is: why is there only 1 projector in a classroom, or even at a conference where there are speakers? Why is the projector fixed in the "front" of the classroom or meeting space and pointing to one wall or screen - meaning that the "owner" of the projector is the owner of the material - and he/she "releases" that position for the students or the audience? (Or sometimes does not ever release that position for others.)

Why not 2 projectors? (Yes, I understand about the cost) But why not have a projector just for the students to use so when they are working together and want to share with the smaller or whole group, it's easy to do? Why not a projector for the audience members when there is work to be done so that groups can also share together or for a larger group? Or even then both the students and the audience can use both projectors as needed.

I've started requesting 2 projectors sometimes when speaking. I am still working on the model so it's a bit messy right now but conceptually it feels like it could work. Knocking the sage off the stage often takes multiple tries and approaches.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Roadmap for Change - Feb. 1, Vancouver, WA

The idea of Roadmap for Change is an interesting analogy - and the title of the workshop that Tom Woodward (Bionic Teacher) and I will be conducting this Monday, February 1 in Vancouver, WA for superintendents and principals from Oregon and Washington State. We've planned a hands-on interactive session and hope that participants will have the first draft of their own maps for change when they leave.

Jumping into 1-to-1 with stimulus money is happening at many schools now and it can be a good time for jumping - partly because there are so many schools who have gone before and can provide cautionary tales and successes. That is, it's a good thing so long as stakeholders are fully involved and there are clear goals articulated by the school or district on specifically what 1-to-1 might accomplish for teaching and learning - and so long as everyone keeps an eye on these goals throughout the process.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Podcast from Oz

Here's a podcast with Leslie Wilson, Ben Paddle Jones, and myself conducted by Chris Betcher. Australia is about to become the largest by far provider of laptops to students and teachers - and they have learned from their predecessors. We talk about this program and what can work in general as well as some of the caveats to dodge if possible.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I've been blogging on after being kindly invited by Dr. Scott McLeod the renown expert, blogger, presenter, researcher on technology, leadership, and much more. So c'mon over! There are several of us there giving perspectives on 1-to-1, schools, and education.