Note: Ramble and snark quotients: +99
When I was a student, I was taught to scratch paper. I scratched lines and loops and did it well or poorly, properly or improperly. I hide all of my scratched paper in my notebooks until it was time to give it to my teachers, who measured its correctness by marking what was incorrect. If there was no incorrectness, then a got a 100 or an “A" ––––– 100 what? "A" what?
The hope was that if it was ever necessary for me to write, in order to communicate across time or space, I would remember enough correct scratching to be coherent and compelling.
When I graduated from high school, writing was still a “just in case” skill. A sizable portion of my class went to work in one of the local textile mills, planning never to ever have to scratch anything again that was any more important than a shopping list.
This is an profoundly inefficient and disrespectful way to educate free people.
To say, "One day you'll need to know this," is to admit appalling lack of commitment and creativity. This is especially true when insult to injury is what's not said, "You'll need to know this for the government test in May."
What conjured this internal conversation in me was a brief exchange in the backchannel transcript from a National Science Teachers Association conference in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago. Diane Johnson tweeted:
..to which I commented in the transcript wiki,
That last sentence came from something that David Jakes said at ISTE last year in San Antonio. He said,
“We need to shift from a focus on’Engagement’ to focusing on ‘Empowerment.’“ (Jakes, 2013)
I, in my schooling, was neither engaged nor empowered, as I learned to scratch paper. Of course, there were those who were engaged, or acted engaged. They scratched eagerly and more correctly than I did, because they received more 100s and As. I don’t know how their scratching was better than mine, because I never saw it. I couldn't learn from their example, because their scratches were hidden in notebooks as well. It had no more value or power than mine did.
I don’t scratch any more. I write. I put words to paper or to screen, and clarify their meaning with punctuation and capitalization, because I am writing to someone for some purpose.
I’m still learning to write better. I question what I write and I Google things like, "proper placement of commas in sentences” or "italics quotation marks and titles." I also use an array of digital tools to help me spell and choose the best words – tool that my teachers, 50 years ago, could not have imagined. Their notions of our future needs and opportunities did not reach much further than cotton mills and the college that the “engaged" would attend – as well as a few of us who were not “engaged."
Today, engagement has become one of our most earnest pursuits, because we’re teaching children who are accustomed to being engaged. ..and we continually ask, "How do I measure engagement?"
You can’t, at least in any way that even suggests the quality of learned.
But empowerment can be measured. You do it the same way that our value is measured after we leave classrooms, teachers and textbooks behind. Learners demonstrate what they’ve learned, by what they’re empowered to do with it – what they produce, the problems they solve, the goals they accomplish. Look at a produced video, crafted animation, clear and compelling article, or a creatively designed and marketed bird house, and you can see what was learned.
It's not clean. It's not clinical. But what does precision grading mean when the names of state capitals, the chemical symbol for magnesium and the proper placement of the comma can all be Googled. Why are we so pressured to test our children's ability to live without Google.
Lets face it. The only ones who want this for our children are those who would politicize and monetize education.
Yesterday, Tim Holt wrote “Why I am At a Science Conference,” describing his work at this week’s Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), and why it is so important that we edubloggers and techspeakers should be sharing our messages into other communities of interest, science teachers for instance. I agree. I’ve tried, for years, to get into social studies conferences. When I succeed, it’s to do a concurrent session, and only 12 teachers showed up. It’s part of the nature of the profession, that we owe our professional identity to our particular area of specialty.
I have keynoted foreign language conferences, library conferences, administrator, and even book publisher, real-estate developer and farmer conferences. Perhaps the most receptive to my particular message are school boards conferences. But Tim is right. Little of this actually makes it into classrooms, especially the “Common Core” classrooms.
Holt referred to the fact that I too will also be speaking to Science teachers this week, in Charlotte, at one of the regional conferences of the National Science Teachers Association – and my efforts to tailor my presentation to that audience. I admit some concern about speaking to science teachers, because I taught social studies, and my examples tend to be more social studies oriented – though I would maintain that any good social studies teacher is also teaching science, math, health, literature, and everything else. It’s all societal.
Tim mentioned me because of a string of posts I made to Facebook and Twitter yesterday, reporting my progress in playing with Kerbal Space Program, a sandbox-style game that has the player designing, building, and flying space craft, on missions from the planet Kerbal. It’s been fun, regardless of my immigrant clumsiness with video games – though I am experiencing some pride in finally getting a manned (well a Kerban-piloted) space craft into orbit. It cost the lives of 12 fellow kerbans and several billion $kerbols worth of hardware.
And although (David’s) message is VERY general, it is at least a start. He is trying to tailor the message to the audience by demoing the Kerbal Space Program online game (https://kerbalspaceprogram.com) so good for him. But those opportunities are few and far between.
These opportunities rare and priceless. ..and forgive me if I seem overly sensitive and even defensive, but there is nothing general about this. The message is singular and it is revolutionary. It has nothing to do with, “Look, here’s something that you can do in your classroom with technology.” It is,
“Look, here’s what many of your students are doing outside your classroom. It’s fun, but it’s work. It’s hard work. And it is entirely about learning. The energy of our students’ youth culture is not based on how high you can jump or fast you can run. It is neither wit nor the appealing symmetry of your face. The energy of their culture is the ability to skillfully and resourcefully learn and to inventively employ that learning.”
My message is that children are entering our classrooms with learning skills that, although based on long understood pedagogies, they are skills that we are too often ignoring and sometimes even handicapping. When I say that we “chop their tentacles off,” it’s not about cutting them off from technology. We’re amputating their access to the learning skills that they are so effectively developing outside our classrooms – their avenues to personally meaningful accomplishment.
Perhaps those of us who have chosen to pursue education technology or have been seduced by its potentials are in a unique position to notice our children’s ’native’ learning skills – more so than science or social studies teachers. But we all must be careful to shed the glow of tech, and get right down to the point of being educated in this time of rapid change.
It’s not about being taught.
It’s about becoming a learner.
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will be holding a conference this week in Charlotte, The Queen City of North Carolina. It is both ironic and opportune for science teachers, from around the country, to converge on my state to celebrate science education and to learn more about their chosen passion and techniques conveying it to their students.
I had planned to explain this event’s importance as part of my address to the audience. But, alas, I’ll have only 45 minutes, so will be getting right to business. Instead, I’ll explain it all here, sitting in a Raleigh coffee shop, and proud to be a citizen of this state that owes so much of its recent success to science and education – and a state that desperately needs to be snapped out of its stupor.
Dazed by $80,000,000 worth of campaigning in 2012 (“Follow the money,” 2012), we have witnessed an arrogant government, in effect, vilify science and education. Helping to spur this backward thinking is John Droz, a retired real-estate investor and fellow with the American Tradition Institute (which is tied to fossil fuel interests). In a recent presentation [a Droz slidedeck] to the General Assembly, he called smart meters “fascism in a box” and environmentalism a “new world religion backed by the United Nations.” Among his cited sources were,
Whistleblower, the monthly magazine companion of WorldNetDaily a website that promotes conspiracy theories about topics such as President Obama’s citizenship; Quadrant, a conservative Australian magazine that was involved in a scandal over publishing fraudulent science and the Institute for Creation Research a Texas outfit that rejects evolution and promotes Biblical creationism and the notion that “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week.” (Surgis, 2013)
Also carrying some influence is John Skvarla, the newly appointed Secretary for the state’s Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. He apparently believes that oil is a renewable resource, saying “The Russians for instance have always drilled oil as if it’s a renewable resource, and so far they haven’t been proven wrong.“
And then there are the legislators of 20 coastal counties, where developers have been stifled by the notion of sea level rise. So to make things better for developers, They introduced a bill that outlaws the rise of the sea, or at least how it’s measured. From House Bill 819, Section 2.
This whole business prompted comedian, Stephen Colbert to say on the air, “If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved.“
The dramatic decline in Tobacco farming in North Carolina, illustrated in this graphic (North Carolina Department of Agriculture), has meant an enormous hardship for rural NC. As part of Raleigh’s efforts to find a new cash crop, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina was established five years ago, researching, developing and testing a variety of crops biomass crops.
|The now defunct Biofuels Center of North Carolina web site|
The center closed its doors last week. The General Assembly cut the center’s entire $4.3 million budget. In the words of Steven Burke, the centers CEO,
“The center, a growing biofuels community statewide, and companies considering new facilities here share dismay that North Carolina has visibly pulled back from the nation’s lead state biofuels agency and from long-term commitment to comprehensive biofuels development.” “No longer pursuing advanced biofuels with a focused, comprehensive strategy will lessen opportunity to create rural jobs, strengthen agriculture, and create an enormous biofuels and biomaterials sector.”
There’s not much that a few thousand science teachers can do, except to be mindful that science is neither fact nor theology. It’s a way of looking at the world, observing, hypothesizing, predicting, testing, evaluating and adapting. It is both personal and social, and following someone else’s standards for what’s to know (to be taught) is as repudiating to what science is as outlawing the results.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the NSTA conference this week in Charlotte. I’ll be inBallrooms C&D at 2:00 on Friday afternoon.
Follow the money. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?s=NC&y=2012
Surgis, S. (2013, February 7). Climate conspiracy theorist returns to NC legislature, warns of threat from science ‘elite’. [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.southernstudies.org/2013/02/climate-conspiracy-theorist-returns-to-nc-legislature-warns-of-threat-from-science-elite.htm
(2011). Coastal management policies (House Bill 819). Retrieved from North Carolina General Assembly website: http://www.nccoast.org/uploads/documents/CRO/2012-5/SLR-bill.pdf
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, North Carolina Agricultural Statistics. (n.d.). Crops: Highs & lows, stocks & storage, biotech, varieties, floriculture, county estimates, fruits & vegetables. Retrieved from website: http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/2012AgStat/Page061_098.pdf
We know why we became teachers. If it wasn’t the reason, then it’s why we remained teachers. It’s..
Seeing the light bulb go off. I think that’s why any teacher gets into teaching, because that’s the best feeling, seeing them so interested and engaged and finally getting it … and knowing that you made a difference. (Stancill, 2013)
“Seeing the light bulb go off.”
That’s how Haley Brown describes it. She’s a seven-year elementary school teacher in Raleigh, who has just accepted an administrative position – with a homebuilder. According to the October 24 Raleigh News & Observer article, Haley says that testing has not only robbed her of her emotional and professional energy, but also robbed her students of meaningful learning. Teacher assistants have been laid-off (state legislation), the workload keeps growing, and she has received only one raise and a 1% cost of living increase in her seven years.
It’s not an uncommon story, but one that has gained traction because of the note her husband, Matt, handed her, when she’d made her decision. Haley was so thankful for her husband’s support that she posted the note on her blog, earning 1,200 likes on Facebook. As the letter continued to resonate with some many people, Matt sent it to the N&O, and they published it as an opinion piece. As of this week, it is the most popular story page on the paper’s web site for 2013. It’s been read more than a half million times.
Does this really matter. Is anyone noticing? North Carolina is a right-to-work state, so there’s no teachers union and teachers don’t strike. They just slip away. Who cares?
|Pictures to come|
There is a new story out there. It’s made up of lots of characters, plots and sub-plots, but it’s not been assembled yet.
This weekend, I’ll be attending the ReinventEd Unconference at Black Mountain SOLE, in Black Mountain, North Carolina. It’s going to be one of those learning events that’s driven by questions, not authorities, and no small part of its appeal comes from the fact that its organizer is Steve Hargadon.
My greatest wish is for a new narrative about education – a new and complete story that will resonate not only with passionate educators, but also with anyone else,
..who’s willing to listen.
Panelists included Will Richardson, Kathy Cassidy, Darren Cambridge, Jessie Woolley-Wilson & David Warlick. Other kickoff panels include: 21st Century Classroom Management, Making It Count-Integrating Formal and Informal PD, From Connection to Collaboration & Connected Leadership.
I had the honor of being part of one of Connected Educators Month‘s kickoff panels last week, one called “Personalized Learning Kickoff.” I strike through the ized part of the title, because parts of our conversation suggested a difference between personal learning and personalized learn. I went into a deeper discussion of this distinction in “Individualized Instruction Vs. Personal Learning”.
I don’t particularly look forward to these things because my hearing is so poor. It takes me a majority of brain’s computing cycles to translate the mess that I hear and the tiny facial and body cues from Collaborate’s video screen into a semblance of what the speaker actually said.
Because this leaves me less than confident, I try to have lots of notes that I can readily call on without too much difficulty. ..and since I put so much time and thought into notes, I thought I’d post it all here.
What is the difference between personal and personalized learning?
- The problem with professional idioms is that the phrase becomes an entity until itself.
- People can hang on them what ever notions they have of its meaning.
- They can say “personalized learning” and “personal learning,” and
- ? think they’re talking about the same thing,
- ? because the phrase has come to mean more than the words that make it.
- My opinion: A distinction needs to be made between ? learning that happens because of what’s done to the learner (personalized/individualized), and ? learning that happens because of what the learner deliberately and resourcefully does (personal)
- “Personalized” describes to me something that is done to, designed or produced for, or imposed on the student.
- Reference Blog Posts: ? Individualized Instruction Vs. Personalized Learning ? Are They Students or Learners
Individualized instruction? Differentiated Instruction? Passion-based?
- Individualized and differentiated instruction are a personalization of instruction by the teacher.
- It’s top-down
- Its targets are external standards that often mean little to learners.
- Not to say that instruction doesn’t not have its place. A good lecture, educational game or even drill and practice activity are wonderful things, when appropriate – when needed!
- Personal, passion-based learning starts with the learner, not a set of external standards.
- It comes from the learner’s frame of reference, personal goals and passions; and it is future-oriented. Too many “standards” are past-oriented.
- However, we, educators, need to learn to inspire learner passions that are relevant to-, or create a healthy context for- our children’s culture, environment and their time.
How can we create the conditions for personal learning to flourish in classrooms and schools?
- It’s something that has to start small because it’s about generating school & classroom culture
- It’s mostly a shift in the prevailing conversation from teaching & instruction to curiosity & learning.
- “I learned this yesterday!“
- “How did you learn that?“
- “This is how I learn something new every day!“
- Turn the workload over to the learner. Learning becomes more active and teaching more passive
- Stop asking for the right answer, and instead, ask for an answer that works – and then ask the learner, “Why does that work?”
- Invite the use of
- Blogs & Twitter
- As long as the learner can defend his answers
- Chris Lehmann talks about a powerful question we educators don’t ask enough:
- “So, what do you think?“
What roles do networks play in personal learning?
- Personal learning is not new. It comes from observing, thinking and playing – with intent.
- Networks have expanded what we can observe, changed our point of view, and created an astoundingly more interactive board on which to play.
- Growing up, I had…
- Some books, Life magazine and Boys Life magazine.
- A set of Compton’s encyclopedias (black & white) (1961)
- A small public library.
- Limited TV & Radio programming.
- Today I have
- The World Wide Web
- My aggregators
- ..and it’s in my pocket!
- It’s a time of no unanswered questions…
- The work is finding the answers that work!
- My context has exploded
- Because of networks
- How I learn has changed, and
- Why I learn has changed (bigger context)
How can we help teachers and students move from just being connected to experiencing meaningful and productive connections?
- We make them responsible (not for the learning so much as what they can do with their learning)
- We cut-off the paper and ask teachers to produce more and more of their own digital teaching materials, and we facilitate sharing.
- We provide real audiences for our children’s learning.
- We ask children and even their teachers to publish and demo
- We use our school and classroom websites to invite the community into our classrooms, to see
- What and
- How their children are learning and
- What they are learning to do with they’re learning.
- We give them permission to “Get it wrong” by asking them “Why they think that’s right?”
- By asking them to defend their learning
- We ask children (and teachers) to surprise us, to show us something we’ve never seen before.
What are appropriate roles for social media?
- We start off by saying that there should not be a list of appropriate uses for social media.
- It depends entirely on
- what’s being learned,
- how it’s being learned,
- who’s learning it and
- and who’s facilitating it.
- Social media’s like any other kind of media. It has to be
- Resourcefully identified,
- Judged, and ? Utilized,
- ..to answer a question, solve a problem or accomplish a goal. If it leads to success, then it’s appropriate.
- The Question should be,
- “Is the answer appropriate to the question?”
- “Is the solution appropriate to the problem?”
- Not, “Is that the appropriate source?”
How do you encourage students to invest in their own “personal learning?”
- You help them to understand that learning is empowering.
- This is partly a result of passion-building.
- But more, it’s about helping them to own their learning
- To write and publish a book that gets placed in the school & local public library
- To produce a video essay that’s posted on the school web site, uploaded to YouTube, and picked up by the local Cable TV Channel
- To interview the children of recent history (The Great Depression, WWII, the race to the moon, a world without Nintendo) and teach (enlighten) the rest of the class.
- To create playlists of students compositions, slideshows of their art work, and ask them to talk about the science, mathematics, social studies and healthful living involved in them.
- You dare them to surprise us.
How important is it to have educators and leaders modeling personal learning?
- It’s not a learning culture, unless everyone’s learning.
- Students should know us by “What we’re learning!”
We speak of education in the language of individual learning and personal growth, but schooling as it is largely practiced is about conformity and external assessment. Are there larger pedagogical shifts that ultimately will need to precede true personalized learning?
- End this obsession with measuring learning and comparing schools. It will lead to the death of public education.
- Embrace the fact that today
- It isn’t what we know that’s the same as everyone else that brings value to the endeavor.
- Innovative accomplishment comes from what we know and can do that’s different.
- We, as educators, need to think about the learning that we do and have done since we stopped being students.
- What have we learned?
- How have we learned it?
- and Why?
- and invent ways to make classroom learning mirror real-world learning. It takes skills that all our children will need.
- In a time of rapid change, being a learner has become more important than being leaned!
- In a school that practices learning culture
- Teachers model learning,
- Students learn to teach themselves, and
- The School educates the community
My reflections & reactions are in red and italics
I thought I would take some time to go through the notes I took at ISTE last week and include here some of the ideas that struck me – for what ever reason. This will probably consist of short observations of new ideas and new twists on old ones. As I’ve probably written before, I attend these conferences for the language, new ways of thinking and talking about modernizing education. With 30 years in ed tech, new technologies are usually a surprise.
While at the conference, a number of people, glancing over my shoulder, asked how I was taking notes. I was using GoodNotes, which I like using because I’m actually writing the notes with a stylus, and I find that I’m process ideas differently in long-hand than when I type them. Also, I can import or take photos with the iPad, such as shots of presenter slides or of the presenter — on top of which I can write down notes or comments. Below is an example notes page. I took a photo of this Hack Education conversation to anchor the notes to a specific place and time.
ISTE, for me, started with Hack Education, formerly known as the “EduBloggerCon.” The first impression that hit me, not long after the first conversation began, was how difficult it is to truly visualize, in general terms, the changes we were talking about – and how do you promote School 2.0, when it can’t easily be seen. If you can’t point to it, how do you describe it to non-educators? As I wrote in a previous blog, I suspect that an answer might be to focus more on “Student 2.0,” someone we can point to – and then design education around that.
Another barrier to retooling classrooms, that became even more apparent to me last week was the lack of consistency in leadership. Some of the most interesting schools that I have seen, have recently had their innovative programs squelched by new leadership – leaving the innovators little choice but to move on.
I think that one of the great brain-wrinklers of the day came from David Jakes, who said,
“We need to shift from a focus on’Engagement’ to focusing on ‘Empowerment.’“
I’ll jump ahead here to another hacker quote quote. I do not remember who said it, but,
“The person who does the work is the person who does the learning.”
If working is what leads to learning, then learners need tools that empower them to accomplish that work.
Someone else said,
“We’re actually looking for a rebirth of old ideas! “
So true and something that we too often forget.
There was some discussion about our use of the word “FAIL” in conversations about education, as we promote the value of failure in learning. Common notions about failure, after all, are entirely contrary to this positive spin. But I feel that if we can get people, adults, to think about the learning that they’ve done since leaving classrooms, and how that learning was accomplished, they will come to see that failure is an essential part of learning. I thought that this was an interesting acronymic arrangement for failure.
I jotted down a number of apps mentioned during the Tech Smackdown – and many thanks to Steve Hargadon for his attempts to keep the self-promoting venders out of the fray. I’ve not had a chance to look at all of these, but here are a few that I made note of.
- Buffer – BufferApp.com
- Chirp – chirp.io
- Video is Video – goo.gl/910az
- Tagboard – tagboard.com
- Hopscotch – gethopscotch.com
- Appcraft – appcraft.wikispaces.com
- TourWrist – tools.tourwrist.com — very cool –
- MightText – mightytext.net
Somebody asked whether “gamification” was just a marketing scheme? This got me to thinking and I concluded that if we do not understand how games help us to learn, the mechanisms that provoke learning, then marketing is probably a pretty accurate description of our attempts to “gamily” (See my reflections of Jane McGonigal’s Keynote). The comment probably came from a conversation about using badges for motivation. Someone said that if all you’re using is badges, then that’s not gamification. It’s badgification.
There was much conversation about why and how you would plant the awarding of badges in the classroom. I suggested that some badges needed to be hidden, a surprise that students happen upon — the reward for doing something productive that was not an expressed outcome – the learning along the way. Also, badges should not just be something that you wear. Badges should also be a passport to doing things or going places that you couldn’t before — new powers, so to speak.
McGonigal said that “reality is broken.” She said that a billion gamers around the world are using a connected device to play a game during any given hour. The game-nation is a network.
People spend 400,000 years playing Angry Birds a day.
92% of 2 year olds play video games (what are they going to think when we give them a textbook?)
Gamers spend 80% of their time failing.
McGonigal said that,
“The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression!“
That called to mind a quote by George Bernard Shaw,
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.“
One of the most interesting learning scenarios that I heard of at the conference was relayed by Cheryl Lemke. In a literature class, the students were reading Hamlet. The teacher created Twitter accounts for each of the main characters, and then assigned students to the accounts. They were encouraged to comment on the play, as they were reading it, in the voices of the characters. Very cool!
Lemke also said, “Give students non-googlable assignments!” I’m not sure that is entirely accurate. I’d say,
“Don’t test with questions that Google can answer.”
Will Richardson said, “The path to becoming a better teacher is becoming a better learner!” I agree with that entirely – and I believe that part of the key here is becoming a more self-aware learner, not just learning but reflecting on how you are learning. Here’s another quote shared by Richardson:
“We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion.”– Margaret Wheatley
Richardson then had us talk with each other about what confused us, and during that conversation it occurred to me that if you’re not confused, then you’re not paying attention – and
I regret that too many educators are not paying attention.
There is too much momentum behind making schools better. They don’t need to be better nearly as much as they need to be different. It’s a different world and school is not a “right of passage.” It’s a right of vantage. Its the right to be positioned in true relevance to yourself, your environment, your time, your culture, your economy and your world and the skills to participate.
He suggested that we are shifting from an institutionally controlled world to a world that is becoming self-organized. There are three starting points, according to Will Richardson:
- “Knowmatic” learning – Self-organized learning based on passions and I would add “on impending needs”
- Design thinking
- The maker movement
I think that there is a lot to think about in this list. Self-organized learning is not only a movement, but it is a necessity. It’s the self-organized learner that will succeed in a rapidly changing and flattening world – and it is entirely counter to the desires of the global education reform movement (GERM).
Design thinking is also a necessity, in that we’re all going to be solving problems and improving conditions, not just the engineers. Designing solutions with elegance, well, that is its own reward.
The maker movement is both solution and symptom. Its one more clue to a rapidly flattening world. Old institutional structures no longer support us and our individual needs. I am also starting to question our economic structures, but that’s for a different conversation.
Gary Stager was a perfect follow-up with his emphasis on the maker movement. He suggests
Three Game Changers
- Physical Computing (intelligent objects)
The real game change, he continued, is that shop and academics merge.
I do not clearly remember the context, but one of Stager’s slides stated that, “A good prompt is worth 1,000 words.” Good prompts have…
- Immunity to assessment
Here is my interpretation of Stager’s list. A prompt must be clear and concise. It must be cloudless, as cloudless as a person’s own personal unarticulated observation of a problem. It should also NOT, in any way, suggest the solution. The learner has free reign to design and execute a personally-designed plan. Finally, if the end product can be assessed by any prior-established assessment routine, then the task was not about innovation. It was about compliance. I would suggest that there may be assessment methods that might work, but they wouldn’t be multiple choice, they would not question the designers – and institutional assessment isn’t part of the (learning) process anyway.
The School 2.0 unconference session, facilitated by Steve Hargadon, served to further refine my notions that it isn’t School 2.0 that we need to focus on, but student 2.0. That’s not my term, and I don’t particularly like it. We need a more descriptive term that does not dishonor the old teaching styles, which had their place in their time.
Sylvia Martinez put the icing on the cake of Gary Stagers presentation. Tinkering as pedagogy makes the best sense to me. Its how I learn. No-one could ever have taught me to program. Playing with code is the only way I could learn, and I would suggest, the best way to learn. She suggested that
“Many of the best programmers were, at some point in their lives, told that they were not good a math.”
I think that doing math to numbers and using math to work numbers are two entirely different things.
Qualities of the Tinkering Mindset
- Bricolage, playfulness, soft mastery
- Lower risk/stakes, imperfect data
- Trust the process, serendipity
- Expertise available (and not just the teacher)
- Does not mean unguided “discovery”
In many ways of thinking, Jason Ohler was the high point of my conference experience. It was a spotlight session in a large hall, so the atmosphere was that of a keynote, and his presentation exceed in quality and content any of the other “keynotes” of the conference. It’s been a long time since I saw Ohler present, but I don’t remember it being anything like this.
He used the phrase, “trends that bent,” and suggested that the three trends that are influencing education are
- Critical Thinking – he added in creativity, and made the term creatical thinking.
- New LIteracy
- Digital Citizenship
The trends that he included in the conference program were
- Augmented Reality – Think virtual field trip. I wear my Google Glass to a museum and project my experience back to my students. Of course there are all kinds of ethical issues. There’s a bar that have already outlawed Google Glass because of privacy issues. Where do kids talk about this stuff. Also, this is not the only kind of augmented reality.
- Semantic Web – You search the web and it returned what it thinks you are looking for. A bit problematic, though, because it depends on who “it” is. Ohler also suggested Web 4.0, which is the web of things. “Everything holds an app!”
- Transmedia Storytelling – Where the audience becomes part of the cast, so to speak. It’s about fan involvement. I wonder, to what degree, is education fan involved. How do we make that happen?
- Multisensory Projection – Left out in the presentation!
- Smart Clothes – Left out in the presentation!
Ohler added in
- XTreme BYOD, suggesting that using your own devices is what might turn us into personal learners. Hmmmm!
- and Big Data suggesting that the tension point might be
Choice and Breadth
Ohler went on to suggest we watch http://www.kurzweilai.net for evidence of new trends. It’s in my Flipboard now.
About Adam Bellow’s keynote. I have to say that if the conference had opened with that presentation, I would have been a bit disappointed. But as a closing keynote, Bellow nailed it. He honored ISTE, the learning, the tech and our continuing struggles to make formal education as close to real life as possible.
Over the past couple of years, Adam’s presentation style, his confidence on stage, and his content have improved many fold. He’s one of those unique individuals who has been a teacher, but also understands today’s emerging information and communications technologies – as a builder. He’s a programmer and a communicator, and that combination is a rare jewel.
You can see my entire set of notes [here].
I saw McGonigal's keynote last night, through the din of subdued Bogger Cafe murmurings. It was a fun presentation with lots of useful information, especially the statistics. But I was certain that the last time I saw her, McGonigal had a British accent. I'm old. Forgive me.
One set of numbers that I thought were especially telling described student aspirations — that 43% of students want to start their own business and 42% plan to invent something that changes the world. Is it the job of formal education to support our children in these aspirations, or indoctrinate them with the harsh reality that they will work for someone else, follow instructions and fit in. I suspect that a lot of the products in the exhibit are designed for the latter.
Another compelling part of the presentation was a listing of the 10 positive emotions that result from playing games. Although I am certain that there were many educators in the audience who needed to see that video games are not, necessarily, the root of all evi — I watched the keynote, wondering if Jane McGonigal was speaking to group of game designers, is this the presentation she would be giving? How playing games affects children is useful. But what would truly help me is understanding the mechanisms that evoke those emotions. How do games do it — and how might formal learning experiences pull those same triggers.
Of course, what was most fun was the MMTW, that is Massively Multiplayer Thumb Wrestling. I won't tell you how I did, but it might be my next book.
That said, a number of weeks ago someone with the K-12 Online Conference re-posted a presentation that I did for them back in 2006. I watched it, and with only a few exceptions, there is little that I could talk able today that isn’t part of that virtual address from seven years ago.
So, I downloaded the video, deleted out some of the dated material (2006 was pre-Twitter and pre-Facebook) and reposted it to my own channel. If you get a few minutes, give it a view.
In the past I have done word counts from ISTE’s conference programs to illustrate topic trends, especially during the early days of the social web. Its fairly unscientific,
This year, I decided to do the same, but also use the activity as an opportunity for playing around with Tumult HYPE 1.6, a Macintosh app for creating HTML5 animations. From their web site:
Tumult Hype’s keyframe-based animation system brings your content to life. Click “Record” and Tumult Hype watches your every move, automatically creating keyframes as needed. Or, if you’d prefer to be more hands-on, manually add, remove, and re-arrange keyframes to fine-tune your content.
As is often the case, I probably payed more attention to pushing the tech, than perfecting the communication. This was a learning experience, after all. Take a look and see what’s trending down and what few topics are trending upward. Click [here] to see the animated infographic.
This year, I’ll be taking the following gear as of now. Main tool will be a Nikon D5100 (more camera than I deserve) with 24-120 and 55-300MM Nikon lenses. You also see a remote for taking those sensitive low-light shots where camera movement is death to the end product. It also comes in handy for HDRs, which abuse, admittedly.
For my iPhone 4 (older iPhone 3GS standing in), I’ll have a miniature tripod, mostly because I can. There is also an alternative and easier to attach tripod mount and an ōlloclip, which is a very cool lens set for iPhonography. Most of the umpgh in my iPhone is in the apps, my favorite of which are Snapseed, TiltShift, Pro HDR, AutoStitch and ToonCamera.
Go here to register for the ADE ISTE Photo Safari 2013.keep looking »