More Electronic Paper

This is an interesting link sent to me by photographer and ed tech leader, Jay Bryant. Read the following excerpt from a July 13 Fujitsu press release:

Electronic PaperTokyo, July 13, 2005 — Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Fujitsu Frontech Limited, and Fujitsu Limited today announced their joint development of the world’s first film substrate-based bendable color electronic paper with an image memory function. The new electronic paper features vivid color images that are unaffected even when the screen is bent, and features an image memory function that enables continuous display of the same image without the need for electricity. The thin and flexible electronic paper uses very low power to change screen images, thereby making it ideal for displaying information or advertisements in public areas as a type of new electronic media that can be handled as easily as paper.

The jointly developed electronic paper will be showcased at Fujitsu Forum 2005, to be held July 14 and 15 at Tokyo International Forum.

OK, let’s take this a few years into the future. Imagine how clunky projectors and pull down screens are going too look as we install film-slick electronic membranes on our white boards for displaying digital content. Or let’s just through all pre-conceptions out the window and imagine electronic wall paper, electronic desk surfaces, electronic floors. Make that stuff touch sensitive, and we’ve really step into another world. Interacting with information by interacting with the objects around us. Information and environment become one in the same.

Hey, I don’t know about this. I need a walk in the woods just thinking about it! 😉

“Fujitsu Develops World’s First Film Substrate-based Bendable Color Electronic Paper featuring Image Memory Function..” Fujitsu: The Possibilities are Infinite. 13 Jul. 2005. Fujitsu. 14 Jul. 2005 <>.


What’s the Target (or the Three Bullet Man)

Yesterday’s post from Andy Carvin’s weblog, Turning Wikipedia into an Asset for Schools, ignited a lot of discussion on the blogsphere, especially considering that it’s the middle of July, and most educators are catching up on novels, family time, or dealing with vacation. Waking up at my usual, insanely early hour, I had his plan and a podcast I’m working on in my head. As it happens, I have an enormous amount of audio, mostly interviews, saved up on my hard drive, probably enough for two months worth of weekly podcasts. Last night I started editing together Wikipediatwo interviews with NECC attendees, who also happened to be ISTE affiliate officials as well. They both mentioned blogs and podcasting as the technologies the were interested in learning more about, and they talked about these technologies within a context that I want to hone down to a finer point. Actually, it is my nature to hone things down to three points — four if there’s no way around it.

Being the information intensive endeavor that education is, it is important that we apply our curriculum and its technologies to the changing nature of information. This is how you integrate literacy into what and how you teach, by integrating the new information environment. There are essentially three characteristics of information today, that were largely not present in the information environment that I grew up in.

Information is:

  • Networked — This is what gives rise to the read/write web, expanding the infospace beyond universal readership to universal authorship. This is why we have to stop teaching students to assume authority of information and, instead, prove authority.
  • Digital — All information is expressed as ones and zeros. This renders not only numbers as processable, but also text, images, sound, animation, and video. Many people today make a living by processing information, adding value to it in some way. The current trendy term for it is re-mixing. …and our children are very good at this.
  • Overwhelming — When I was growing up, you had to go someplace to find the information, and that information was largely stored in limiting containers (books, bookshelves, libraries). Now we carry access to a global reservoir of information from straps on our shoulders and even in our pockets. How does what we have to say, compete for attention?

I’ll talk more about how this applies to blogging and podcasting in my next podcast program. But Andy’s scenario plugs in brilliantly.

First, students are addressing the fact that the definition in the WikipediA came out of a network that is universally (our goal) readable and writable. They are also going out into that network and skillfully finding information that proves the authority of WikipediA’s content (or disproves) and they are supporting the content with references to sources, making it easier for future readers to prove authority.

Second, students are probably doing a good bit of re-mixing. They are finding content, and folding that content into what is already there, hopefully adding value. They may also be finding other media (images, sound, video) and manipulating that media, so that it more effectively applies to the topic at hand.

Finally, students are reassembling the information in order to have the article most successfully communicate itself, and even draw the reader’s interest in, competing for his or her attention.

When I feel generous, I’ll throw in a forth bullet, and that is that the students are performing all of these tasks with a mind on the ethical use of information, that what they are doing takes no credit or monetary value from legal information owners, does not damage the value and reliability of the information, and in no way causes harm to anyone or group of people.

2¢ Worth.


Don’t Assume….Prove!

I have often talked about how we were taught to assume the authority of information that we encounter, and how, in a world where information is become less a packaged product, and much more a conversation, we need to teach our students to prove it’s authority.

Andy Carvin has posted a great essay on his blog (Andy Carvin’s Waste of Bandwidth) describing a scenario assignment where elementary students learning this lessen and actually contribute to global knowledge as a result.

Read this with joy at:

Technology Sucks!

OK, we’ve all been there. My e-mail isn’t working. The C drive what? What’s all this blue on the screen.

Over the past few days I’ve revisited the NECC Webcast page trying to play some of the sessions I didn’t attend, only to learn that I should download Microsoft Media Player Message 1Windows MediaPlayer (see right). I’d put it off at that point, with no time to explore. Today, I decided to explore. Go deeper. Solve this problem.

I thought I had a latest version, but I went ahead and clicked the WMP icon and re-installed, waiting about five minutes while the installer “searched my hard drive”. I’m not going there.

finally, it installed all five hundred and something files, and I was back up and running. I tried again, with the web site, and got exactly the same windows (above). I really want to see the Prensky presentation, so I decided to click in to submit an issue to the webcast support, and proceeded to type in details about what was happening, the software I’d downloaded and the platform I’m using along with the browsers I had tried it with. Finally, entering my e-mail address and phone number, I clicked submit. No pause, no hesitation, no chunks or grrrrs, it immediately came back with:
Media Player Message 2
OK, I’m not complaining. It happens. I’ve been in technology long enough to know that some cludges, you just can’t get through. I’m just write to say, “I know!” “Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes you just give up, and………………………………….blog about it!”

Barnaby Wasson’s Interview with Kurt Steinhaus

The latest from the Apple Distinguished Educators Podcast, an interview between Barnaby Wasson’s and ISTE President, Kurt Steinhaus. First of all, I want to say that this is a wonderful service. The information infrastructure has expanded in many ways, mostly over the last few months, and we are beginning to see some amazing ways to expand the benefits of the conference beyond its place and time. These post-conference podcast interviews are a wonderful example. I hope to find time to start posting some of my much more floor level interviews soon. but for now, go to the ADE Podcast page ( and listen or subscribe with your favorite Podcatching aggregator.

Note: Italics indicates my thoughts and my terms.

Steinhaus’ first statements were that we have to communicate with parents and grand parents. Those who talk about integrating technology, are only a very small portion of the population who influences how and what we teach. How true this is. Teachers are an easy sell (mostly). How do we convince the community at large that the classrooms that they attended are not adequate to their children’s education needs.

Barnaby says that the three Rs are crucial, along with technology. How do we reconcile with dwindling funds. Kurt says that he can see $1000 of need for every dollar appropriated. He also mentioned a Making the case tool Kit. I need to learn more about this. Can anyone share with me some information about the Making a case tool Kit Kurt went on to as the core question. What are the implications of doing nothing regarding modernizing classrooms?

He ends this section by urging us and policy makers that it isn’t just about student achievement. Retooling classrooms regards a triangle of stakeholders. It’s about improving the quality of the (1) teacher, the involvement and contribution of the (2) parent, and the learning that happens with (3) students.

Barnaby then turns on the devil. How does this reconcile with NCLB.

NCLB isn’t the devil. The fundamental ideas behind NCLB, according to Steinhaus, are things that we agree on. Technology is there, and ISTE fits in with every element as an integral part. Technology needs to be there to help the teacher do the business of teaching and to promote learning. It’s there for collecting the data. But you have to be able and be compelled to turn that data around so that you can use it to determine best practices.

Also with the emphasis on assessment, not just the Yearly Adequate Progress but also short cycle “constructive response” assessments, technology can plug directly into this, again, to turn it around and promote better teaching and learning.

What I missed here was reference to the “what we teach.” Kurt very effectively answered the question from the perspective of the International Society for Technology in Education. But my pitch is, “what has technology done to the nature of information, and how are we addressing this changing nature of information (New Shape of Knowledge) in what and how we teach?” New literacy, 21st century skills, information skills — I would have been happier hearing mention of any of these. But again, I suppose that wasn’t what Barnaby was asking.

Finally, Wasson asks about NECC. What does Steinhaus hope for attendee’s from the national conference and take back to their local chapters and their local conferences.

I’m not sure that Kurt answer the question that I heard, though he may have answered the one that was asked. We A.D.D. folks don’t always here the same things as others.

Kurt did list three fundamental elements of attending any conference, whether it be national or local, and NECC certainly models all three.

  1. The success of a conference depends partly on who you met, who you connected with, who you’re going to follow up with.
  2. Is a transformation happening? Did you get your batteries recharged?
  3. Are teachers learning something that they can use on Monday morning? I would expand that to, have all attendees taken home a solution to a problems or at least a different way to ask the question?

Steinberg ends with a plea for all of us to join ETAN (Ed Tech Action Network). I would second and third that.

The New Shape of Knowledge (and of conferences)

Steve Dembo posted his latest podcast yesterday. With most educators on break now and taking some time off from edutech stuff, I am on the edge of my seat looking and waiting for new education programs. Steve’s latest is well worth the wait. In his easy style, yet thought-provoking way of speaking (from way outside the box), Dembo has posed some suggestions and asked some important questions.

People AggregatorsEssentially, his supposition is that when we attend conferences, we find ourself in rooms with a speaker who has arranged content to be delivered using presentation, and in the case of our conferences (tech & education), multimedia of one ilk or another. Admittedly, its the same kind of thing we’re trying to get away from in the classroom.

At the same time, we are sharing the room with other educators, who in many cases know as much, if not more, about the presented topics, and certainly could add value from their varied experiences.

You can listen to the podcast at:

Necc all wrapped up.

OK, here’s my 2¢ worth, and this comes from my perspective as someone who spends a great deal of time presenting at conferences, and, a fact much relevance here, makes much of his living presenting at conferences.

I believe that of all the factors related to this problem, including technology, infrastructure, content, presentation skills, etc., time is the one that is most critical to success. This is certainly no different in our classrooms. I typically have an hour for my presentations, though it can range from 45 to 90 minutes.

Sometimes I do scripted presentations that are carefully planned and assembled, almost choreographed. You might even call them performances, with cognitive and behavioral objectives. Other times, the presentation is more open, with a lot of discussion and sharing of ideas. I present a surprising statistic or an off-edge opinion, and ask people to share their reactions within the context of their job practices and goals. We build ideas in collaboration and it is extremely useful and a lot of fun, and I’m told that I’m pretty good at this sort of facilitation.

However, at the end of the session, if you ask me which hour is more satisfying in terms of what I have accomplished with the audience, its the performance, hands down. Give me a day, I’m going to get more done by facilitating learning by sharing, what I believe Steve is talking about.

However, given an hour or two, I’m going to be able to accomplish much more by presenting ideas and techniques to the audience in a well prepared, rehearsed, multimedia performance. Now it is possible and advisable to integrate into the performance, elements of interactivity, but only where they will result in conclusions that integrate into the performance.

I agree with Steve, 100%, that there is talent, skill, and perspective in the presentation room that is being wasted in the standard dog and pony show. However, technologies are emerging that can help us to tap into those opportunities. The question that I ask is what is the best use of that hour, and what is the best use of the digital information infrastructure that extends past that hour and that presentation room. In which arena should the audience be listening and watching, and in which should they be collaborating.

I suspect that there is no hard rule here. I think that Steve is correct when it comes to the podcasting. I’d planned to record my podcasting presentation at NECC, but with the tech difficulties we had, I didn’t get around to wiring myself up for it. I have to say that I would not want a keynote podcasted. My client is paying for the performance, and I want to continue to be paid for it. I’d decided, that if anyone asked if they could record my spotlight session at NECC, I’d agree if they released any 5 minutes of it as part of a podcast. But no more than 5 minutes. Alas, no one asked.

I agree with Steve that there is a vast un-tapped resource in the presentation room. It think that we need to start refining just how we can drill it out and spread it.

I am trying to take advantage of these emerging technologies with my presentations. For NECC, all of my online handouts were wiki pages, and I invited the audience to adapt and add to the handouts. For the podcasting session, I got additions from Steve, and from veteran podcasters Jeff Moore, Bud Hunt, and Eric Jefcoat. I also included a page with a built-in RSS aggregator that captures and lists any Technorati-aware blog that mentions certain keywords associated with the presentation. Harnessing the post presentation conversation. There are currently 14 posts listed, including some from before the session.

I don’t know which way is best. It’s probably a combination of the two. One thing that I do know is that the presentation point, its time and place, must be a springboard to bigger things. And understanding that, I suspect that WiFi in the presentation room, has become as essential as the LCD projector. It’s about sharing, and extending the sharing.

2¢ worth.

PS: Mike Lawerence, Executive Director of California’s CUE, says that conferences are people aggregators. I would tend to agree, especially when considering Steve’s ideas about sharing the wealth of talent.

World’s Biggest Readers

Im in a meeting at DPI (NC Department of Public Instruction), but had to blog this one.

It’s out. The biggest readers in the world are…. “Indians”. According to a study NOP World Culture Score Index, surveying 30,000 people in 30 countries, people in India read 10.7 hours a week. Also ranking were:

  • Thailand — 9.4 hours a week
  • China — 8
  • Russia — 7.1
  • Australia — 6.3
  • United States — 5.7
  • United Kingdom — 5.3
  • Japan — 4.1
  • South Korea — 3.1

The global average was 6.5.

“Indians ‘World’s Biggest Readers’.” BBCNews 27 Jun 2005. 08 Jul 2005 <>.

Sheryl Abshire Interview

Sheryl Abshire InterviewApple Distinguished Educator, Barnaby Wasson, interviewed CoSN Chair, Sheryl Abshire, while at NECC last week. Some time during the night, the podcast recording was posted as part of the NECC ADE Podcast. I highly recommend you listen to this important educator. The podcast web site is at:

..and the RSS address, for those who want to subscribe is: RSS

In closing the interview, Wasson asked Dr. Abshire to list what she thought were the three priorities for educators, in terms of how the federal government impacts on teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Three Priorities:

  1. Funding (we’re not done)
  2. Helping School districts to partner curriculum & technology
  3. Public Acceptance that schools must be different

The Cluetrain is leaving the Station

John Pederson has organized a study group of some really smart educators (and me) to talk about The Cluetrain Manifesto, as it applies to teaching and learning in the twenty-first century. There is still plenty of time to jump on board. The URL for the session moodle is:

John did an interesting thing with the 95 thesis of the Manifesto. He remixed it, taking references to markets, and replacing them with learning, and occurrences of companies become schools and customers became parents & students. The first assignments were to comment on the original 95 and its relevance today, and then to comment on the education remix. I answered both with the same statement. What can I say. The cat ate my brain.

As I read through the 95 thesis, I see a proclamation that we have moved beyond a an industrial or mechanized treatment of information to something that is different, and probably not yet settled enough for a really good label.

It goes way beyond the industry of publishing, and includes how we treat readers. Demographics implies sorting through people and placing them together into bins for appropriate treatment. We aren’t beyond this in education as we are asked to increasingly depend on research-based, scientifically proven techniques, assuming that by studying groups of students and their behavior, we can concoct teaching techniques that will work with categories of children.

It turns teachers into technicians, who pull out of their toolboxes the prescribed and sometime scripted techniques to address the needs of groups of students. Although research is very useful, teaching isn’t like this. It is an ongoing, evolving, powerful, and playful conversation between humans, with the goal to help children to become better people.

There is no doubt that our customers are getting smarter. 17 IQ points since the 1940’s, which is almost impossible to reconcile except that these kids play video games. However, there are lots of holes in their smartness. They still need us. And the best way to help them is from their networks — from their information environment. Networks are going to happen. Do we try to control them, or do we use them?

Finally, I suspect that we have no choice but to rely more and more on conversations. In a time of rapid change, it’s the only way. We can’t rely on a publishing industry that takes years to produce materials. We can’t rely on state and federal governments to keep us in line with the world that we and our children are experiencing. Schools of Education are in the wrong place and the wrong time to believe that they can prepare career educators. It must become an ongoing, evolving, powerful, and playful conversation. As publishers, governments, and schools of education understand and participate in this conversation, they will remain relevant.

Teachers and administrators who do not will be ignored by their students.

Please consider joining in to this excellent opportunity. You don’t have to participate. Just read and think.

Podcast of answers from Orson Scott Card about teaching writing

Collage of Orson Scott Card at Books at Quail RidgeOn Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of attending a book reading and signing at one of Raleigh’s independent book stores, Books a Quail Ridge. The author was one of my favorite sci-fi writers, Orson Scott Card. For most, his most prominent work is Ender’s Game and the following series. He has also written a parallel series referred to as the Shadow books.

Instead of reading (parts of his latest work, Magic Street), Card offered to just answer questions, and spent most of the evening talking about Ender’s Game, progress on an up-coming Ender movie, and how he prepared to write a book (Magic Street) that takes place entirely in an African American neighborhood. Card is quite white.

Anyway, I asked the author, who is also a university instructor of creative writing, what we should be doing to help younger children and high school students to become better writers. He graciously gave me permission to include his answer in a podcast. So check out Connect Learning, episode 32, for the audio.