A Day at Home

Blogging at lunchWell, that was yesterday. I spent most of the day trying to get caught up on e-mail, fixing a couple of programming problems, and giving it up and going out to a movie in the afternoon. That’s the charm of being self-employed, Will and John. It’s been four months since I did a matinee, but it’s there.

Today, I fly to Colorado to work with a school district there. But first, I’ll have the pleasure of sitting in the audience for Richard Florida, a public policy professor and author of The Rise of the Creative Class and the more recent, Flight of the Creative Class. The lecture, and following panel discussion (Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS and June Atkinson, NC State Superintendent of Public Schools), will be held at the Friday Institute, where they may have guest WiFi. If so, stay tuned after 10:00 AM EST. I may be able to moblog it.

My play day at PETE & C ended out not giving me a chance to see sessions. So many friends and acquaintances to run into. It was truly an exceptional conference. Being seen having coffee (hot chocolate) with David Thornburg, hanging out with the Discovery Educator Network folks, and chatting with Kathy Schrock in Tony Brewer’s booth certainly didn’t hurt my creds 🙂

John Gould made some interesting observations on Hall Davidson’s keynote in a comment on my last PETE & C blog entry. He said,

Using websites such as my.space.com and xanga.com, they are creating their own space and identity to be noticed in this information intense world. He (Hall Davidson) pointed out that educators must understand the tools that students are using, particularly iPods, cell phones, and PDA’s. We need to ask the question, what is the effect of each on learning and how can we utilize them to enhance instruction. He made an observation that over the past quarter century, IQ is increasing as literacy scores are decreasing. If this is true, is it showing that our daily educational routines are becoming increasing disconnected with the changing nature of information?

John, you really need a blog, man!

The study on the rise of IQ comes from James Flynn, a political scientist in New Zealand. Called the Flynn Effect, he has documented how IQ has been increasing since 1947, and that it started accelerating in the late 1970s. They suggest that advancing technology is having an influence on our thinking skills. Think about the digital watch, that will do 25 different things, with only three buttons. It’s why I do not where a watch any more, and why my VCR is a 12 o’clock flasher.

Our students, on the other hand, are adept at reasoning their way into these tools and operating them more intuitively than their neanderthal elders. But the literacy issue is vexing. What kind of society will result from a generation who can adapt easily to the machines, but do not know how to think about them, talk about them, or make decisions about their worth and ethicacy?

Technology is the way that our children work. But we must teach them how to work the information. The technology is merely the conduit. It’s new plumbing. It’s information that flows through it, and although the plumbing is changing the nature of that information, its real-world knowledge, knowledge skills, and communication that people must learn to do. They will not learn it, until we start to understand their plumbing, and using it to guide their learning.

2¢ Worth…

The picture above is John Gould, working through lunch at the Web 2.0 workshop for Tech Directors.

7 thoughts on “A Day at Home”

  1. Hope your time in Colorado is enjoyable — there’s a fresh carpet of snow on much of the Front Range — should seriously start to disappear today. Technology is “new plumbing.” I like that. Question: Why don’t we have enough plumbers?

  2. We don’t have enough new plumbers because we’re still inside the old pipes. The problem is that from inside the pipes, we can’t see the wave that is feeding the flow of information that approaches. We can hear the rumbles, but those are only rumbles.

    We don’t have enough new plumbers because we are trying to teach from inside the classroom, and I mean that on several levels. We’re teaching from a classroom heritage, from a classroom picture, from inside of classroom walls, and to a classroom’s objectives. We’re teaching from a classroom frame of mind when we need to be developing a worldframe.

    We shouldn’t be integrating technology to help us do our job as teachers, but instead we should be redefining our job as teachers to reflect the technology-rich, information-driven world that our children already recognize.

    blah blah blah! You’ve heard it before. So how do we tell this story?

    2 more pennies…

  3. I did create a blog at edublogs. The picture is of me building it. You’re a good teacher/faciltator. The blog is called Shape of the Future and at http:// johngould.edublogs.org. Is this the best place to create one or are there better places.

    Thanks for the Flynn reference.

  4. David,

    I know, we need to fiddle with what we do in serious and big ways — but I’m not sure how to tell that story, either. I think I was asking out of desperation. One way that I try to provoke students into lifelong learning is to simply get them curious, and then show them how to solve the itch of curiosity. Yeah — a “duh” answer if ever there was one — but it’s working at my school right now.

  5. Bud,

    I guess the question that nags at me is how do we create that itch in our communities, one that compels them to admit and shout out, these schools aren’t right for our children and their future (and our future). What does that school look like? Where do I go to see? Where do I talk about this? Are the stories already being told, and if so, where?

    Anyone got a feather?

  6. As Bud wrote, I’m not sure how to tell that story, either. First, tho, it seems there is more than one story to tell and to more than one audience. For instance, I assumed Dave’s question “how do we tell this story?” meant tell it to teachers, principals, administrators, and eventually to the people who make financial and planning decisions. But Bud took it to refer to students. Also, I think it involves more than one story or question. Perhaps it boils down to asking “how to get people to think outside the box?”, a tall order indeed! I don’t have the answer, but I was impressed by something Ewan Macintosh wrote in a recent chat: What I have found is that talking in very educational terms (collaborative work for example) is the only way to slip in the tech… it’s got to be made an explicit point before you can introduce the ideas of why blogging is important… There is only a technological divide, I believe, because those who ‘don’t get it’ just don’t get the pedagogy behind the tech.

    Speaking of thinking outside the blog, sorry, box, I was sent a link to this site on creative problem-solving and have been enjoying clicking around in it. Haven’t figured out yet if it’s a hoax or not, tho…

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