I Met Connie…

I had a singular experience at CUE (CUE2006) this weekend, that those of you who have seen my Literacy & Learning (Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century) keynote will identify with. It was shortly after 9:00 AM. I had just finished my spotlight address and was gathering my computer and stuff for my next appointment. A few people had come up with questions and to share what they were doing, and a young woman was hovering at the edge, with a notepad. After a moment, she walked up, and said that she was doing short interviews for the conference, and would I mind answering some questions.

I said that I needed to get my equipment out of the way so that the next presenter could set up, and “…what are your questions?”

She replied, “What was the main point of your presentation? and What do you think is the best thing that people, who are attending CUE, should walk away with?”

I started answering the first question, but she interrupted me pointing back to the back of the room, “We would like to video your answers!”

I looked back — at a young man with a hulking video camera resting on his shoulder, and that customary tremor of terror ricocheted through my body. I don’t like cameras.

I went back with them, and started answering the questions, with my computer bag on my shoulder, and my good friend, Sara Armstrong, ready to walk with me to the exhibitor’s area where we could talk and catch up. I answered the first question by briefly describing how content is changing, as a result of Web 2.0 applications, and that our notions of literacy must also change. Then I started answering the second question, that I’d like for participants to leave not only with new ideas about using modern technologies, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, that they leave with new stories, to take back to their schools and their communities and tell, inspiring people to think differently about teaching and learning.

It was then that she asked if I knew Marco Torres, and I said yes, and then it hit me. I looked down at her name tag, back up at her face, down at her name tag again, and blurted out, “Your Consuelo Molina!” “You made the Sweatshops video!”

She blushed and said, “Yes!”

“You’re Consuelo Molina!” I looked around at the people who had gathered, and said, “This is Consuelo Molina! I’ve met Consuelo Molina!” “I don’t believe it!” I couldn’t contain myself.

“Yes!” She said, obviously becoming embarrassed.

“This is what I’m talking about. It’s a story — a compelling story. I show your video to illustrate to educators how students can now learn, process, and then take what they learn, and turn it into a compelling story. It’s what we need to retool education. ..a compelling new story.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the wits about me to suggest that someone take a picture of me with Ms Molina, so I do not have the proof. But it just goes to show how a simple classroom assignment can affect people around the world and how just looking down at a name tag, can put you in the presence of a very important person.

I’ll not forget that meeting, even if I can’t prove it.

Way more than 2¢ Worth.

CUE Webcasts are Up

David In Webcast InterviewChris Walsh’s CUE webcasts are up — and I didn’t do so bad with the accountability question. You can view my interview at:

You might have to go through some rigamarole, depending on whether you have a pop-up blocker installed.

Other interviews include:

  • Mike Lawrence, Bonnie Marks, Gerald McMullin (“Engage, Explore, Express”: CUE Conference Preview)
  • Don Knezek, Kurt Larsen (Ed Tech Advocacy)
  • Steve Hargadon, Mark Wagner (Open Source for K-12 Schools)
  • Hall Davidson, Peter H. Reynolds, David Thornburg (Ed Tech Trends)
  • Steve Dembo, Kathy Shirley (Podcasting in Education)
  • Kathy Hayden, Don Knezek (NECC 2006 Preview)
  • Sonny Portacio, Wes Cruver (Geospatial Education)

You can access all of these at:

Three more Bullets about Web 2.0

When I am presenting at a conference, and advance to a slide with a bulleted list, I want to get down on my knees and apologize to the audience. People are not there to process a list or even to read. They’re there to watch, listen, and learn. So it is rare that I include bullets in my slides and never with more than three items (almost never). Here are today’s three items — worth their bullets. 😉

This is the introduction to a blog that I posted
for Technology & Learning Magazine this morning.
I’m not sure it’s been read, and I put a lot of work
in it. So link over there
and give it a read.

I Should have Answered the Question like This…

Do you remember those handheld games, that didn’t have to be recharged. You hold it in your hand, and beneath the clear plastic, there are these little bee-bee looking balls rolling around on the face of a clown, and there are holes in the clown’s eyes, ears, and his bow tie. You task is to tilt the the game in order to get the bee-bees to roll into the holes. Well this is how my brain works. If you want me to come up with a good answer, you have to give me some time to roll the balls around, so that they will find their holes.

Chris Walsh asked, during our Saturday CUE conference webcast interview, “How do we reconcile today’s technologies with the accountability and high-stakes testing environment?” As I reported yesterday from the airport, I gave the standard good teaching, staff development, and appropriate technologies routine. I also explained that we have three basic questions that we address in the process of educating.

  1. What do we teach?
  2. How do we teach it?
  3. How well have we taught?

In recent years, we have been focused on the third question, “How Well?” It’s an essential concern, and it’s universal. However, it is a premature question. At this moment in history, when technology has taken a major leap forward, the nature of information has changed, and nearly every other aspect of how we live seems in flux; it seems that the “What?” question is where our focus should be. What do children need to be learning to adapt and prosper in a time of rapid change.

When we have figured that out, then we determine the “How?” question. In what kind of classrooms will students learn, from what kind of teachers, and within what kind of learning experiences?

When we have answered those questions, then we can come back to, “How Well?”

I guess I should have said, “Would you mind rephrasing that question, Chris?”

Good Newspaper Article about Blogging

David Sharos, an Illinois English teacher, and regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, included an excellent piece on classroom blogging in the March 13 issue of that publication, Blogs Taking a Seat in, out of Classrooms. I must admit a certain amount of nervousness when I am interviewed by journalists, but this guy got it. The article also includes many words of wisdom from Will Richardson and Annette Lamb.

I’m Not on that Wagon

I’m Not on that Wagon

Originally uploaded by David Warlick.

First, please forgive my writting on his entry. I’m thumb typing this at LAX, waiting on my flight to Dallas, and then on home to Raleigh. My day at the conference (CUE2006), yesterday, ended with a webcast, hosted by Chris Walsh. It went well, considering my irrational fear of cameras. This is mostly thanks to the relaxed nature of Chris’ guidance. However, there was a moment, where I faultered. He asked the question, which I certainly should have anticipated, “How do we reconcile between the richer, project-based teaching and learning that technology seems to beg for, and the accountability/high-stakes-testing environment that seems to force education into a direct teaching mode of operation?” I tryed to answer the question … With the research that points to the value of PBL lead by talented educators with signicant and good professional development. But it didn’t feel right. I think that the problem is that the standards movement is simply a wagon that I’m not riding on. I’ve had a number of conversations lately, with educators who are around my age. We attended education school in a time when we read the writings of James Herndon and education reform was based on compassion and collaboration rather than performance and compeditiveness. We were taught to distrust standardized testing, and to value and celebrate each student’s unique talents and interests.

They’re starting to call for the boarding of my flight, so I’m going to submit this two cents worth. It will beat me home by about seven hours, where I will doubtless have lots of comments on my niavity, pinko upbringing, and most certainly the poor spelling that my liberal education inspired. My thumbs are aching tremendously! — David Warlick The Landmark Project http://davidwarlick.com/ http://landmark-project.com/

The Day After

Early Morning disapointments.  It's an hour earlyI am truly sorry that it has taken me till now to write my report on CUE 2006. First of all, the conference came through with flying colors — fireworks, actually. The tech staff found me a lapel mic, and those tiny speakers actually put out an impressive sound, and proved to be more than sufficient for my podcasting session. Got to get me some of those!

The CUE conference was once one of the two or three leading state edtech conferences, but it has fallen in recent years for a variety of reasons. After all, the Dot Com Bust happened mostly in California. But I’m here to tell you that CUE is back. They had over 3,000 educators in attendance, many of the people I met having come from Northern California. ..And I’m sure they were as shocked as me to see snow in Palm Springs. CUE happens twice a year. Once in the south (Palm Springs or Anaheim), and once in the North (Sacramento).

Note Takers
My featured address started with just a handful of attendees. Inside of five minutes, the room was almost packed. People were simply awestruck by the snow.

California as an interesting place to be involved in education. It is probably the single state that has been hit hardest by the budget crunches of the past six years. Yet, the energy that I always experience, when working in that state, can almost be felt and harnessed. It’s a great place to present, because I can feel the excitement.

It was a full day, starting with an 8:00 featured address, then a book signing (I signed about 9 books in an hour, while Peter Reynolds had a line waiting for his signature for the entire hour he was there. I’m not complaining. He’s Peter Reynolds). Then I did a rather shallow session on podcasting, where we actually made a podcast as a group — great fun. And then a webcast with Chris Walsh. That was fun too, thanks to Chris. Working in front of a camera usually creeps me out.

Finally, I spent about an hour and a half walking around the exhibitor’s area, seeing lots of very old and dear friends. After the conference, I took a short drive into the desert where I took some pictures with my DSLR camera, (look for some beautiful scenery in my Serial Teacher photo blog), and then a rather tedious drive back to LA. I spend today in the air and in airports, and then the next several days at home. Glorious.

Early morning at CUE

Early morning at CUE

It’s 6:59 AM, and I’m already in the presentation hall for my 8:00 address on the new shape of information. I’ve done a good deal of cooking on this presentation to make it a little more story based. I hope that it goes over well.

There are some early morning disappointments. For some reason this very large hall is the only one without house speakers, and I’m doing a session later this morning on podcasting. The little computer speakers that they have are AMAZINGLY loud, but the quality is not the best. Also, somebody stole the lapel mic for the room yesterday, so they’ve given me a hand-held. I truly and passionately hate using a hand-held mic. They are trying valiantly to find another lapel mic, but I’ll make do.

What I always say, is that it’s good to get the disappointments over with early, so that there are non left for the actual presentation.

Wish me luck!

One of those Days

Site of the BOCES ConferenceIt’s going to be one of those days when I truly begin to wonder why I’m doing this. It starts at 3:40 AM EST. I’m up blogging, because I woke up thinking about stuff. After that, I will finish my online handouts for today’s presentations and go over (and probably rearrange) today’s slides.

Then its off to the “Superintendent’s Leadership Conference”, put on by the Oneida, Herkimer, Madison BOCES in Utica, New York. I’ll be delivering my standard redefining literacy keynote. I’ve done it for several years now, and many of you have heard it. But it is an issue that seems to have attracted increased attention lately. I will be delivering this topic as a keynote for the TLN Executive Briefing day at the National School Boards Association conference next month. The other keynote speaker will be Ken Kay, of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

After the keynote and three presentations here in Utica, I’ll drive back to Syracuse, from where I’ll fly to Chicago and then on to Los Angeles, rent a car, and then drive on to Palm Springs for the last day of the California CUE conference. I’ll arrive around 2:00 AM. Considering that that will be 2:00 AM PST, it makes more than 24 hours. Am I getting too old for this. I’ll let you know tomorrow. So Please stay tuned.

One final note, and my reason for getting up so early. Right now, there are two major state conferences going on. CUE (cue2006) in Palm Springs, and MACUL, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both are leading edtech conferences, so there is going to be great learning and sharing going on during these last two days of the week. Look for a lot of buzz in the blogosphere on these three events. In fact, I’ve set up on my online handouts, an aggregator for bloggings related to CUE2006, MACUL (apparently macul means something in French), and myself (for good measure), because I’ll likely be writing about all of them.

And my last final note, “I am encouraged.” I had a short phone conversation with one of the planners for today’s BOCES “Superintendent’s Conference Day”, and they are thrilled to have a pre-registration of nearly 300, twice what they were hoping for. Many of the attendees are from outside the BOCES service region and some from over a hundred miles away. I’m encouraged, because technology, and what it means to what and how we teach, seems to be returning as an issue that is critical enough for us to invest our time in. We critically need nothing less.

Missing the First Few Days of CUE

Palm Springs Convention CenterI love educational technology conferences. What’s left in education that truly fills me with optimism and excitement for the profession and our endeavors is going on at ed tech conferences. Admittedly, mine is a narrow perspective, but this is where you see all of the possibilities.

One of the great ed tech conferences starts tomorrow, California’s CUE conference (CUE2006) returns to Palm Springs, and I feel incredibly left out, because I won’t get there until around 3:00 AM on Saturday morning. A few hours after that, I will be delivering a spotlight address on Harnessing the New Shape of Knowledge. It’s an old presentation for me, but the first time that I’ve delivered it as a more formal address. So I’ve been working hard to freshen it up.

Also presenting spotlight sessions are Cheryl Lemke and Alan November. Alan’s just announced a new upgrade of his learning communities blogging site, and I hope to hear about it at the conference. I’ll also be doing a session on podcasting and a webcast sometime during the day. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be staying in Palm Springs Saturday night or driving on back to LA for an early Sunday morning flight back east. I do hope that I will be seeing all of my friends in CA.

Scanning through the program for Saturday, I see:

Barbara Bray, Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, David & Norma Thornburg, Carol Anne McGuire, Sara Armstrong, Tammy Worcester, and Gary Stager. What a line up, and that’s just one day.

I will be flying up to Syracuse tomorrow to speak at a BOCES conference on Friday, and I am looking forward to that event. It will take place in a very old Inn in Whitesboro, NY. I suspect that the nearly 300 attendees who have registered are going to be tight. Just the same, we’ll get to know each other that much better. I’m sure that they will also know how to properly pronounce the word, “grits” when I leave 😉

If you will be at either even, please come say, “Hi!”

2¢ Worth!