10:02 AM

I’m sitting on the tarmac of the Philadelphia airport. They’ve finally brought us to the gate, but there is apparently some kind of security breech in the airport, and they will not let us leave the plane until it is solved. So, I’m going to take the opportunity to do a little writing.

Cluetrain ManifestoMonday night’s keynote speaker will be Dave Weinberger. I do not know a lot about him, except that he was one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Cluetrain was an extraordinary book that, although it was a business work, presented insights that apply to what, how, and why we teach.

One of the uniquenesses of this book was that it was first available over the Internet, before it went into print. I puchased the book as an audio file from Audible, and listened to it while driving to a workshop in eastern North Carolina. The other thing that was extraordinary about Cluetrain, was that it took a relatively new technology, the world wide web, and completely turned around how we think about it.

Their over-arching theme was that the web is not about publishing or online brochures as much as it is about conversations, that the true value of the Net is in people talking with other people.

Today, this has never been so true. The emerging blogsphere is where people are talking and listening. But today, our messages are being cast out into an information environment with new laws of nature, were messages are automatically linked logically, and form themselves into new and larger messages or information constructs.

For instance, go to http://technorati.com/tag/necc. Here you will find a range of blog messages that all have in common the word necc as a tag. In addition, there are pictures taken by people associated with NECC, as well as web links from del.icio.us and Furl. A construct of information that has value as much from how it assembles as it does from the individual authors, and photographers.

What does this have to do with teaching and learning. Well, that has yet to be determined, and perhaps we’ll explore and discover some implications at the conference. But the implications are there and I think they will be exciting. I certainly look forward to hearing Dave Weinberger speak.

Also, consider Small Things Loosely Joined, Weinberger’s latest book. I haven’t read it yet, but I hear it quoted very often.

Early Morning & On the Way to NECC

4:48 AM

It’s early morning, though not nearly so early as I have been getting up lately. I’m more relaxed though. A contract programming project met its deadline yesterday, and my clients seemed pleased. A number of other things that have been pressing me this week have also come to fruition, or at least to an end. All that is left is NECC.

I’m packed, except for my computer (obviously), and at 5:30, I will begin my final preparations and Brenda will drive me to the airport for an 8:00 flight directly to Philadelphia. I’ve been excited about this NECC, probably more so than any other. So much is going on with education technology — so much that has emerged just in recent months. I feel like we are reaching one of those points in education where opportunities are making themselves loudly available, and it will be up to us, those who are going and listening, to spread the word.

As a counter balance, much of the Internet seems to be down. None of my sites are coming up, nor is NECC or the Whitehouse (none of them). But Google and Yahoo, both come through with successful searches.

NECC-tag your Blogs, Pictures, & Podcasts

NECC is just days away. I fly to Philadelphia tomorrow morning to set up the computer lab for my PHP workshop on Sunday.

I'm Blogging ThisOn a more technical note, I want to suggest that those of you who will be blogging or podcasting at NECC, tag your entries with “NECC”. This will enable us to aggregate the blogs, through Technorati (http://technorati.com) in some interesting ways.

For instance, the following web page will display a dynamic list of blogs that are tagged with “NECC”:


You can subscribe to the follow RSS feed address with your aggregator and have NECC-tagged entries sent to you:


It is true that you can search Technorati for blogs that contain NECC, but you also get entries about the New England Convention Center, among many other things. Apparently necc means something rather rude in another language.

If you are unsure how to tag your entries, here are some instructions from Technorati:

If your blog software supports categories and RSS/Atom (like Movable Type, WordPress, TypePad, Blogware, Radio), just use the included category system and make sure you are publishing autodiscovered RSS/Atom and we will automatically include tags with your posts! Your categories will be read as tags.

If your blog software doesn’t support categories or you’re not sure, you can still participate. To associate a post with a Technorati Tag all you have to do is “tag” your post by including a link (in your article) with a defined tag relationship. For example:

<a href=”http://technorati.com/tag/[tagname]” rel=”tag”>[tagname]</a>

The [tagname] can be anything, but it should be descriptive. Please only use tags that are relevant to the post. You do not need to include the brackets, just the descriptive keyword for your post.

If you have not already, it is also a good idea to register your blog with Technorati. It speeds up their references to your writing.


Finally, if you will be taking pictures and posting them onto flickr, tag them with “NECC” as well. If you’re using a camera phone, and are already set up to send pictures to flickr, go to http://flickr.com/profile_mailconf.gne and enter “NECC” (without quotes) into the text box

Hope to see you in Philly.

The Decade that Music Died…

Those of you who have heard me speak, know how I feel about music and art education. You also know that I have a passion for making music, even though I have no formal training in composition, and that my son is one of the best high school musicians in the state and plans to study music performance in college.

All of that said, we have just learned that the middle school that my children attended will eliminate its full time music teacher this year and drop the 6th grade band. Apparently, budget constraints are preventing the school from continuing its very fine music program, because of increased expectations from government regulations and continued inadequate funding.

Primary among the responsible is our County Commission, who is funding $14,000,000 less than the School Board asked for. As I’ve reported before, one of Wake County’s continuing challenges is enrollment. 2005-2006 expects to see between 5,000 and 6,000 additional students.

All concerned want what’s best for our children. But in the continuing struggle to balance budgets without impacting on tax payers, a very simple but definite fact is being ignored. Our world has changed and it will continue to change, and the classrooms of the twentieth century will not prepare our children for that world.

Step Aside, CNN!

Podcasting in San FranciscoOn the last day of NECC, I will be having fun. I’m not taking the day off, but delivering my last presentation, Podcasting. The fact of the matter is that at the deadline for submitting proposals to present at NECC, I hadn’t even heard of podcasting. My first experience was when John Blake, an educator in Whiteville, North Carolina, walked up to me at the NC Educational Technology Conference (December 2004) and thrust his iPod, equipped with a Griffin iTalk in my face and proceeded to interview me. I was dumbfounded, and, to be honest, gave it very little thought until the Winter holidays when I took some time to explore.

By February, I became convinced that podcasting would be a player in the education arena, and sent an e-mail to some NECC contacts offering to do a session, if they currently had no proposals dealing with podcasting. They asked me to submit a proposal, and said they’d work it in if they had cancelations. I don’t know what canceled, but I’ll be talking about and demonstrating podcasting (Step Asside CNN: I’m Listening to my Podcast) at 12:00 PM in room 113A in the Convention Center on Thursday.

A search of the NECC program reveals that this is the only presentation that mentions podcasting, there will likely be a number of seasoned producers in the audience as well as learners. For this reason, I’ve decided to use a wiki for my online handouts and have invited a number of practiced education podcasters to contribute to the handout site. If you are podcasting and would like to examine and perhaps contribute to the handouts before the presentation, please send me an e-mail (david[dot]warlick[at]gmail[dot]com).

Finally, I am planning to regularly record my impressions of the conference and interviewing participants to learn about what they are learning, and how it will impact their work. My plan is to post a daily podcast program on Connect Learning, but this will remain dependent on circumstances.

See you in Philadelphia!

Other Podcast Events at NECC:
iPod, RSS Feeds, & Podcasting in Education (Birds-of-a-Feather) • 4:45PM 6/29
Premiere Podcast Event • 8:45PM 6/28

Apple’s In…

Apple Podcasting NECCJust in through from the NECC RSS feed rss chicklet, Apple Distinguished Educator PodcastRSS Chicklet. Apple, apparently with DMIT (Digital Media Instruction Technologies) at Arizona State University, will be producing a series of Podcasts with Apple Distinguished educators: Barnaby Wasson, of Arizona State University; Ross Kallen, of Poway Unified School District; and Ted Lai, of Los Angeles County Office of Education, during the NECC conference in Philadelphia next week. This is great news, and could provide some acceleration to the developing ideas around using podcasting as a teaching and learning strategy.

It does, however, make me just a little sad. One of the things that most excites me, personally, about podcasting and the other global conversation technologies that it springs from (blogging, rss, information and media aggregation, etc.) is that they have come largely from people, who had an idea, made it work, and put it out there for the rest of us to use. Mostly it has happened without and even in spite of the corporate estate.

I’m glad that Apple will be podcasting NECC. It, through its distinguished educators, will share a perspective that will be truly valuable to all of us. Also pay attention to:

Also, be reminded of Blogging NECC, educators from across the nation who will be blogging at, about, and with the National Educational Computing Conference.

Tech Professional Development & Day 4 at NECC

I’m sitting in the Bradley airport, in Hartford, Connecticut, waiting for my flight home to Raleigh. This will be the end of my traveling until Saturday, when I take off for NECC.

The big discussion last night at the CAIS (Connecticut Association of Independent Schools) Conference was getting teachers to take advantage of professional development opportunities. Most of the attendees at the conference, at least the ones who attended my keynote, were directors of technology.

Admittedly, private schools are something of a new environment for me. I work mostly with public school districts and agencies who serve public schools. I heard more than once, while at the conference, “We don’t worry about No Child Left Behind.” Being private schools, I imagine that there are many things that they do not have to worry about, constraints that face public school teachers every day. At the same time, I suspect that private school curriculum has to be much richer and deeper than is expected in most public schools, leaving little room to retool classroom teaching and learning.

Many of the educators I talked with expressed a sense of heritage at their schools (some of the schools nearly 200 years old) that results in an almost impenetrable barrier to restructuring. We try to sell the value of technology as an educational tool and to convince educators of the need for students to develop technology skills. But it remains a hard sell.

I am convinced that our best avenue is to make a case for the changing information environment, that increasingly the information that we use on a daily basis is digital and networked, and that it has become less a product for consumption, and much more an ongoing and global conversation. If we can convince people of the changing nature of information, and articulate a new model for literacy that addresses the new information environment, then we may be able to retool classrooms by integrating the new literacy into teaching and learning.

This brings me to my fourth day at NECC, delivering a Spotlight Address called Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century. This is my most frequent delivered keynote address, and it has two goals.

  • To make a case for the changing nature of information, and the urgency that exists for retooling classrooms.
  • To build a model for literacy that expands out of the three Rs to define those basic skills that are necessary to being a successful citizen of the twenty-first century.

So, if you’re coming to NECC, I urge you to attend this session and learn what it means to be a reader, processor of information, and communicator in the knowledge age.

The address is scheduled for June 29 at 12:30 PM in Marriott Salon E/F.

Day 3 at NECC

9:52 AM

Early morning flight to Hartford for a keynote address tonight for the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools. I really dislike flying in on the same day as my work. So much can happen with airlines. So I flew out of Raleigh at 6:40, landed a little after 8:00, and then a shuttle ride to the hotel, where they don’t have a room for me yet. So I’m sitting in the hotel lobby, logged in to their wireless network. Hey, I’m bogged down at the moment, but not blogged down. Sorry!

Day three of my 2005 NECC experience will be the first day of the general conference, and perhaps my most relaxed day, with only one session. It will be more relaxed, because I will be part of a panel of some really smart people. So I won’t have much to add, with the likes of Andy Carvin (Digital Divide Network), Yvonne-Marie Andres (Global SchoolNet Foundation), Bonnie Bracey (everywhere), Ed Gragert (iEarn), Dennis Harper (Gen www.Y), and Patsy Wang-Iverson (Research for Better Schools). Here is a paragraph out of the session summary:

A decade has now passed since the first pioneering educators began exploring the potential of the World Wide Web in the classroom. Since then, millions of students have participated in Web-based educational activities, from Webquests to competitions like Thinkquest. At the same time, many K-12 educators are still intimidated by the Internet, and the successful integration of Web-based instruction into the curriculum is often the exception and not the rule.

Hope to see you there.

NECC has Begun & Telling the New Stories

7:37 AM

NECCBrowsing through my aggregator and especially on a quick scan of the NECC Blog Dog, it appears that the National Educational Technology Conference has already begun. Tom Hoffman and Will Richardson are already conversing on their panel discussion, by disagreeing on the future of blogging. I just got invited to a new flickr group, NECC, where six pictures have already been posted.

You can go ahead and start reading and/or listening to the Blogging NECC bloggers. Among these esteemed citizen journalists are Steve Dembo of Teach42, Kelly Dumont of The Educational Mac, and Tony Vincent of Handheld Computing.

As for me, I’m up to day two, Monday, June 27. Yesterday (sunday jun26), a number of educators entered my workshop room at Penn Alex School, with some knowledge of HTML. Six hours later, they left as full-fledged coders, ready to make their contributions to the open source community — or at least they know now why they studied algebra 😉

On Monday, I speak at the Technology Coordinator Forum (SIGTC). The topic will be, “Telling the New Story”. Education, in this country, is mired in old stories about the 3Rs, the archaic roles of teachers and students, the positions of desks, and potential employees who can’t read an application form.

Things have changed since the age of manufacturing. The mill town that I grew up in has shrunk from 16 full capacity plants in the 1950s, to none left in 2005. What are the new stories that we need to tell in order to retool our classrooms for a time when intellectual capital generates wealth and success, not muscle? We will explore the old stories, dissecting them into basic components, and discover and invent some new stories, to take back home and begin to weave around our local campfires.