Tech Learning’s TechForum — Texas

I’m sitting now in the opening Keynote address. The speaker is Hall Davidson, who is an outstanding speaker. Fortunately, I’ve taken my A.D.D. medicine so I should be able to keep up. The topic is “Thinking as Big as the World is Small”

Hall DavidsonHall just showed a very powerful video clip of a cave drawing. But, thanks to animation, one of the horses, peals off the wall, and starts to run away. The end is sad, but the message is, how we express our selves has advanced madly.

Hall is talking about using mobile phones as an instructional avenue. I don’t agree with this. As Nicholas Negroponte says, “You can’t teach children about the world though a keyhole.” However, he suggests that as we subscribe to online information services, like united streaming, that we find a way to channel the content to our students’ pockets. This is an interesting concept, and something that I see in the future of Aggregators, that they not only collect, but they also push. Podcatchers already do this, but it’s a concept that needs to expand.

I’ll also add here, that Hall’s stolen my best stuff. He’s shown the “I am not Afraid” blog, the Wikipedia entries about the London Bombings, and has introduced the Wiki concept. I’m actually flattered, that Hall Davidson is pointing educators to the same things that I do.

I’m sitting with Gwen Solomon, who just commented that the technologies we are seeing Hall demonstrate, are brand new. However, their application has not changed that much. The reasons are the same. Today, we video conference. In the 1980s, we e-mailed. The communication is richer, but it’s all about technology. He is now describing the Erothostenes project, where student measure the shadow cast by the sun at a specific time, and then share their measures with their latitudinal position. Then they use geometry to calculate the circumference of the earth. We were doing this almost 20 years ago, using FrEdMail’s e-mail.

Davidson just demonstrated a fantastic Google Activity. You search for a controversial issue (Ronald Reagan greatest president agree) and then enter the number of hits into a spreadsheet. Then search, limiting to French web pages, and German. And then use the spreadsheet to compare with a graph. More than anything else, the activity spurs questions, and this is a good thing.

Being Hall Davidson, there are a lot of examples of student produced video. He is emphasizing student remixed content, students taking video and still content from the Net and then importing it into video editing software, and assembling a meaningful information products.

Media Tip from Hall Davidson: If you are using video in the classroom, turn the captions on. It improves reading.

4 thoughts on “Tech Learning’s TechForum — Texas”

  1. I am more intrigued with the PowerMedia system from Clearvue for the idea of media-in-the-pocket for students. Rather than being restricted to streaming content, the PowerMedia system allows teachers to download the content, and for teachers and students to re-edit the videos into new productions, which can then be uploaded to the locally-stored system for viewing by others at the school. They have already made their system iPod-friendly as well.

  2. I thought Hall focused a bit too much on the “tools” rather than the collaborative communication and the context. I don’t think the focus should be on “cool tools,” I think we need to focus on communication, collaboration, and context. The 3 C’s of education. Still, this was a valuable and worthwhile keynote. I liked the google activity Hall suggested too.

    I have posted a complete copy of Hall’s keynote (with his permission) to my blog as a podcast.

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  3. Boy, you guys are tough. First, the unitedstreaming stuff IS usable for reediting. I showed some of the student-edited products in the keynote. Plus, unitedstreaming spent the R&D dough to demonstrate downloaded media improves student achievement, for which we should all be eternally grateful. Lastly, there are 40,000 video clips in the unitedstreaming library–’nuff said. And I way bought into this before joining Discovery. Good works will get me every time.

    Second, Wesley is right. This keynote did cover a lot of ground, and as a result seemed to be mostly about tools. What I like to do is “shotgun” new material in a keynote, find out what gets the most traction with teachers, and then focus future keynotes on that–emphasizing applications like the 3 C’s. In other words, my keynotes evolve until they are as good as David Warlick’s.

  4. P’shaw! Good as David Warlick’s? I’ll tell you what blew me away, was the Google activity. You use Google to ask a basic question of culture, politics, religion (well leave that one behind), etc. In Hall’s example, you want to know to what degree people believe that Ronald Reagan was our greatest president. So you Google [“Ronald Reagan” “greatest president” agree]. Then you ask for sites in French only, then sites in German only, etc. and graph the results comparing English, French… Brilliant! You’re making content tell its story.

    I immediately thought that we need a control, as there are more English speakers on the Net than French or German. So I’d also search for something totally benign and factor that in. But that’s the point of a keynote, to springboard ideas. The point of a keynote is to start conversations, just like these.

    If we are seeing, five years from now, the kind of teaching and learning that will be relevant to our children’s future, then it will be because these conversations were happening today.

    2¢ worth!

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