School 2.0 Resists Definition: As it Should

I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have asked me, over the past few days, to respond to the term School 2.0.  I’ve resisted up to now, because I’ve not been satisfied with the term, and because I simply can’t define it.  I can characterize it, and usually do by saying the School 2.0, like Web 2.0, is about conversation. 

This characterization rang true when, at the Association of American Publishers conference the other day, Timothy Burke, an academic blogger, said that, “monograph is over and good riddance!”  I think that monograph and monolog characterize School 1.0, where information is shared, but only in one direction.  Teachers and textbooks speak and illustrate.  Students simply nod their heads, by taking tests.’ve said before, that when our classrooms fill with students who, from the perspective of their information landscape, are more literate than their teachers, then our classrooms become flat.  We can no longer rely on the gravity of monolog to drive instruction.  Monolog is meaningless — on so many levels.  School 2.0 must tap into what Greg Suprock called the natural forces of the evolving information environment: The power of users, the strength of collaboration, the energy of groups, and the value of quality — and all of this happens in the dynamic and multidimensional conversations that are increasingly possible in today’s learning environments.

And in this understanding lies the problem.  Monologs are predictable.  Conversations are not.  Standards-based education requires predictability.  It’s why we try to rely so heavily on research, because we strive for predictability.  Conversation, even when directed well, is unpredictable, and what to many teachers will feel like chaos.  But doesn’t this describe the future we are preparing our children for.  We are no longer preparing them for a future of security, predictability, a job for 35 years.  Instead, we’re preparing them for a future of opportunity, constantly refreshed tools, knowledge, and skills to accomplish things that have never been possible before.  Perhaps a certain amount of chaos is exactly what our children need in their learning.  Boy is that scary!        😉

But it’s why I want to think about the term School 2.0 in a different way.  Rather than referring to 2.0 as a version number, we might refer to it as a value of velocity.  School 0 and school 1.0 are schools that are not changing, that are not adapting.  School -1 and School -2 are schools that are going backwards, which, in my opinion, describes U.S. education over the past six years.  School 2.0 is a school that is dynamic, rich with content, equipped with  information tools, and deep with knowledge-building conversations.  School 2.0 adapts!

Gosse, Tom. “Henry L. Pierce School.” Irish Hermit’s Photos. 18 Jan 2006. 7 Feb 2007 <>.


David Warlick at TCEA
Randy Rogers took this picture yesterday and included it in his blog post about the presentation.

I’m at the TCEA conference in Austin Texas, and have been scanning through the stack of blogs that have already been written, including a great account of my presentation yesterday in a Texas-sized room.  It was about as sparsely populated as much of Texas, but I was actually very pleased at the turnout, considering that the session didn’t make the program (arranged at the last minute), the time of day, and the fact that the conference really hasn’t gotten underway yet.

It was a very pleasant surprise to see Will Richardson among the throngs of educators who came up after the talk (all five or six of them).  Richardson will be presenting in the same hall today, at 2:15, Connective Writing.  He walked out with me and we talked about School 2.0 for a bit — the subject of my next blog.

If you’re not at the conference, follow the happenings at Hitchhikr — or if you are here, catch what you missed through your colleague’s blogs.

Oh Yeah!  Someone came up to me, yesterday, and thanked me for my Technorati Tag Generator.  I didn’t know anyone was using that.  Just go to Landmarks for Schools and click Blog Tag Generator at the right to generate tag code to insert in your blog.

Publishing 2.0: Flourishing in the Era of Digital Natives hate to admit this, but I’m glad that they weren’t paying me for yesterday’s panel event at the Association  of American Publishers conference yesterday.  I don’t think that I solved any problems for them — at least for the time being.  Most of the panelists had fairly concrete suggestions on how they should adapt their services to match the changing information environment.  I simply introduced them to the millennials — their customers five years from now.  Several people said that they enjoyed the presentation and that it made them think differently about their own children, and I suspect that there may be moments in the future that they will think back on the presentation.  But I simply do not like not helping.

Otherwise, it was a fantastic day of my learning from some really smart people — the other panelists.  The the larger session was called Publishing 2.0: Flourishing in the Era of Digital Natives.  Among the other panelists are Stephen Rhind-Tutt, President of Alexander Street Press, Timothy Burke, Associate Professor of History at Swarthmore College, Greg Suprock, New Technology Director of Nature Publishing Group, and CJ Rayhill, Chief Information Officer at O’Reilly Media.  The moderator was Patricia Seybold, an apparently very well known consultant. She’s written a book on innovation.

Patti provided some context and listed, as the main themes: intellectual properties, user produced content, and online communities. She is making several mentions of re-mixable content,  information that is more of a raw material that consumers can remix. 

Stephen Rhind-Tutt said first thing that, “One of the conditions brought about by Web 2.0 is that is no long real expertise.”  It’s all growing too fast.  Web 2.0 is not about the Web 2.0 companies. He says that if the job of publishers is to make sure that the consumer has access to the right information at the right time, then publishing must tap into the new web.

Stephen ask how many people know about blogging, RSS, API,, etc., and most hands go up.  This is going to be a tough crowd.  Rhind-Tutt’s company has a web site about the post-60s feminist movement.  When they found that most of the people who were visiting the site actually had personal experiences, photographs, and other resources related to the topic, they opened it up, and turned the site into an online community that invited participation among the visitors.

In talking about taxonomy vs. Folksonomy, he suggests that we actually need both.  There are advantages to user applied tags, but also vast advantages to librarian applied tags (Go Librarians, Go!).  He says that we need both, that they support each other.  They are not competitive.   Stephen reminds us that we are developing some very sophisticated search technologies and features, even though only 5% to 10% of users take advantage of them.  He says that this is ok, that our job is not just to make content available but to promote scholarship.  Google, on the other hand, doesn’t (Stephen Rhind-Tutt’s words).

Wow, he’s demonstrating a product of his company where college teachers can scroll through videos, and then select specific clips within the videos.  The service then provides a hyperlink directly to that clip.  This is not new, but exactly the kind of value adding re-mixable resource that teachers (and students) need.

After giving my presentation, I reflected that perhaps our children, who are so intensely engaged in their information experiences, are going to be a very hard customership for publishers to connect with.  That could be correct, or it may be that they are even more reachable for the same reasons. 

One person reminded me that I said, early in my presentation, that children were willing to pay for their information.  He asked me to explain, since my audience was out to sell information.  I corrected my statement by saying the they are willing to pay for an information experience.  They by music and movies, and books, but its the experience of the video game and of mixing content that value.  I suggested that publisher need to find a way to turn their content into and experiencable product.  I don’t think they like it when you make up a word.

Timothy Burke then talked about academic blogging, and he was very very good.  He said, first off, that “monograph is over and good riddance.”  There’s a message there for education as well as publishing.  He says that academics do not consider themselves part of the Web 2.0 generation.  Yet, the community is starting to rethink blogging as a venue for academic publishing. 

Timothy’s presentation was extraordinarily balanced.  I tend to evangelize, perhas too much.  He says that there are many ways that blogging can be used in the academic world, but that the very best that can be said is that it will make academics better writers — able to write to broader audiences.

Academics do three kinds of blogs

  1. academic blogs (intended to serve traditional functions of publishing)
  2. Academics who blog (basically diaries or live journals)
  3. Hybrids (includes elements of serious reports and diaries)

In a recent article in EdTech, I labeld three types of K12 teacher bloggers

  1. Teachers who blog
  2. Teacher bloggers
  3. Teachers who promote student blogging for instructional purposes

Burke said that although he is not sure that blogging is all that important, all that disruptive, he admits that his blog has been incredibly useful to him professionally.  He puts his course syllabi on his blog and has changed his material and even required reading based on the comments that he has received.  He’s suggesting that one value of blogging to publishers is to take advantage of the blogged reviews/conversations.  This reminds me of the Laptop Institute, which grew dramatically in 2006, largely as a result of the blogging that happened during the 2005 conference.

He’s also suggesting that blogging can be a source of possible authors.  Publishers should be paying attention to blogs, looking for writers who are good communicators and knowledgeable.  Finally, he suggests blogs and wikis can be a very effective way to extend and update books.  It has to be in a model different from the textbook, perhaps a controlled wiki. 

Blogs can be the incubator for a book.  The Long Tail is certainly an example of this.  They (blogs) can also be converted directly into a book.  But he suspects that only a few academic blogs are suitable for this, because of the writing styles.  He also suggests that blogs might be something that could replace conference proceedings.  This is an interesting idea to me, to put session descriptions on a conference blog, and then invite reading and commenting on the sessions.

At lunch, a number of people have talked with me, but mostly from the context of their own children.  The connection between our children’s information experiences and publishing, especially in terms of business models, is not obvious, either for them or for me.  Any ideas?

The next panelists are undergraduate and graduate students who are involved in digital content projects.  Two are involved in open access, one of whom is a bit of a radical, the other appreciates librarians and publishers.  The third, a post doctorate students, is working on a project to hyperlink middle english literature.  The first student, the radical, says that there is a perception that publishers are getting in the way.  He challenges the audience to change that perception.  Kinda applicable to librarians.  Change people’s perception of who you are.

Another student states that researchers are insulted unless the work is not available digitally, and as scholars, they are insulted when their work is not printed on paper.  How true this is.  Authority, to some extent, is social.

Interestingly, two of the young men stated at different times that the issue of the authority of content is not new and it is not a technical issue.  It is an issue of literacy.  One of them mentioned a report recently published by the Education Testing Service about technical fluency.  It cited that 49% of youngsters did not know how to determine the authenticity and timeliness of information.  He then said that this is not an issue of technical fluency.  It is information literacy.  Bingo!

Greg Suprock, emerging technology director of Nature Publishing Group, says that there are four natural forces at work in the evolving information environment.

  • The Power of Users (Digg)
  • The strength of collaboration (
  • The energy of groups (talks about Nature Network from his company that allows users to form groups that collaborate together)
  • The value of quality (talks about Nature Protocols — journal web site that also accepts entries from visitors with moderation in place)

Unfortunately, I had to leave right after the final panelist, CJ Rayhill, Chief Information Officer at O’Reilly Media, got started.  I did note that she claimed to have lost count after 26, the times that the term Web 2.0 had been used.  I think I only used it once.

Technorati Tags :

I Love it When…’m in the wrong hotel room this morning.  But things are so much better than the might be.  As many of you probably know, only too well, much of the U.S. is very cold right now.  Conditions as many airports across the country resulted in the cancelation of just about half of the USAirways flights leaving National Airport yesterday.  Mine was not one of them, but it was delayed two hours, which caused me to miss my American Airlines connection in Dallas.

So, I’m on this too small USAirways flight, flying over Arkansas and wondering several things, largest among them:

  1. Is USAirways going to be willing to reschedule my American Airlines flight?
  2. Is USAirways going to be willing to schedule a hotel room for me with a voucher, since they got me to their destination?
  3. Is my luggage going to successfully transfer to how ever I get on to Austin (driving was a real possibility)?

When we landed and I finally got out of the plane and down the jet way, I approached the attendent behind the counter at the gate, fully prepared to be ill-tempered and difficult — pretty out of character for me.  As I approached, he said, “Are you Mr. Warlick?”

I said, “Yes!” and he handed me a ticket envelop and started explaining, “We have you booked on a 7:15 American Airlines flight to Austin in the morning and a room at the local Super 8 (hey, by now, nothing could disappoint me).  Here is a voucher for your hotel stay, and two vouchers for meals any place in the airport.  You luggage will be waiting for you at the baggage claim, and we are so very sorry for the delays.”

Almost overwhelmed, I decided to push it.  “Is there any way that you can move me to one of the later flights?”

“Certainly,  How about 9:45?”

I absolutely love to be surprised by great service!  I wish I’d taken a picture of the man who helped.  I’d introduce you to him!

Way more than 2¢ Worth

High Cotton
I took this picture of the lobby of the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel while waiting in line to check in with a most androgynous looking man.

That’s what my Dad would say, “You’re in high cotton!”  It’s the Renaissance Mayflower in Washington.  It was after dark when I arrived at the Metro station from National Airport, and walked the three blocks to the hotel.  I took a short walk around the block looking for food that I could pronounce.  I’m considering placing outside my door a small tray with the Subway wrapper, can of Pepsi, and Lays chip bag, which represents my meal, along side my neighbor’s tray with silver covered plate, fluted glass, and flower vase, with an out-of-season lily.  Is that mean?

This is the Association of American Publishers annual conference, this year entitled, Global Publishing: Emerging Markets, New Models.  Stephen Sterns, of Columbia University Press (that cotton keeps getting taller), and chair of the Electronic Information Committee of Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the AAP, saw me present at the ALA conference last year, and asked me to come and talk about millennials and Web 2.0.  I have almost no idea what to expect, except that they needed my presentation slides several weeks ago so that their attorneys could go over them.  That’s a first for me.

If the decor of this hotel is any indication, I’m going to be led around in complete befuddlement.  I’ll let you know.  One thing that has occurred to me in preparation for my presentation is that publishers, like educators and librarians, are in the process of reinventing themselves — and that can be very exciting.  Turning publishing into conversation might truly electrify formal and scholarly communication.  Means letting go of a lot.

On The Road Again!

Photo Uploaded by David Warlick
Brenda and I just landed at about 9:30 this morning. It’s now 3:30 in the afternoon, and I’m back at the airport. I’ll fly back to Washington for a conferenc for publishers, Then to Astin for the TCEA conference, and then to Shanghai, to work with Jeff Utecht’s school.

My session tomorrow is called Publishing 2.0: Flurshing in the Era of Digital Natives. It will be part Web 2.0 and part Millennials.I Haven’t yet figured out the intersect, but I know there is one. I’m sure it wiwill come to me early in the morning.

One thing that I do know, is that publishers, like teachers and librarians, are in the process of reinventing. Many don’t know it yet, but this could be fun.

2¢ Worth

Back and a note some won’t like

We just got back from San Francisco, riding the red-eye through the night.  Brenda and I had a delightful drive yesterday throught wine country and along the coast on highway 1.  I think we saw some really big trees, but it was getting dark by then.

I’ve had to add a capcha feature back to the commenting for 2¢ Worth.  Just too much spam, and I’m on the road for the next two weeks.  If anyone knows of a really great spam blocker for WordPress, please share.

Julie Coiro Session

Educational Leadership Professional Development, & Digital Age. Thinking: A Vision for Change.

This wasn’t part of the presentation, but as a result of a question, Coiro listed five concepts that they have found to serve as an effective bridge between new literacy skills and other subject standards. They are, and I typed this fast:

1. Asking questions
2. Locating information
3. Evaluating
4. Synthesizing
5. Communicating

This is a great workshop about professional development. She showed a picture of a group of teachers in an auditorium and the speaker, standing behind a podium, on the stage. It was a picture of me. Well, not really me, but he looked just like me. I don’t stand behind the podium, but he still looked like me. Hmmmm! What am I going to make of this?

Online Handouts:

Here is an interesting list of dilemmas provided in one of Julie’s that face as school leaders.

Paralysis by assessment and the irony of NCLB
* Accountability vs. recognizing the power of classroom intellectual capital
* Meeting professional development needs vs. meeting hardware and equipment needs
* Lab model vs. individual classroom model
* Ensuring access vs. protecting children

She’s now going through some reports and instructional technology models from other countries. Hungary is actually talking about who should generate the learning content. Should it be teachers and students? Wow!

Ireland — manufactures more software than the US or any other nation
Finland — 5 weeks paid leave for PD for integrating new literacies
Japan — has broadband in nearly every home that’s 16 times faster than in the US at $22 per month (Foreign Affairs, 2005)
India — companies provide online tutoring for students in reading, math, and science (NY Times, Sept. 2005)
Mexico — investing more than $1 million to install an Internet computer in every primary classroom by 2005 (Education Week, 2004)
Australia, the UK, Finland, Ireland, & Japan have Internet portals for educators far superior to anything the US has produced.

Day Two at TRLD

I did my Millennial Learners presentation at 8:00 AM this morning, here at the TRLD conference.  It seemed to have been well received and I was pulled into several conversations by some really smart people in the hall afterward.  The best thing that I can say about this conference (about which there are many great things I can say) is the conversations I’m having outside of the sessions.  As I was mostly listening to people talking after my session, I tried to find in all of the statements being made, a unifying theme.  It’s my nature.  The one I came up with was audience.  Our children are literally accustomed to having an audience.  How might classroom blogging be used to leverage audience for learning.

I had nothing else to do until 5:30, so I attended sessions, and was surprised at how many Web 2.0 presentations are being done — considering that this is not entirely a technology conference.  John Fleischman, of the Sacramento County Office of Education, presented a session called Digital Native Tools: What Every Educator Should Know.  It’s a great title for a great presentation.  I was especially impressed with the clarity of his work.  He very masterfully presented the components of Web 2.0, without getting bogged down in the muck that is the philosophy of the new web.  It’s my problem in presenting this stuff, that I seem compelled to try to convey not only the tools but the spirit of the new web — and that’s really hard. Often, it’s just too much information.

Then I sat in the back of a hands-on workshop, a fly on the wall.  It was facilitated by Austin educator, Janice Friesen, and introduced wikis to about 20 educators, most of whom knew nothing about the topic when they came in.   Janice is an excellent hands-on teacher.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  I know!  One of the wonderful techniques that she employs is simply providing the gift of time to explore.  

They started with the Wikipedia, and about ten minutes to explore and ask questions.  One young man asked something that I have not heard before.  He said, “What if I’ve found an article in the Wikipedia that is just what I need.  Can I bookmark that version of that page and get back to it?”

I haven’t tried, but I suspect that you can display the page from the history listing, and then bookmark that.  But it was a good question that I’m surprised I haven’t heard before.

I also walked the conference exhibitor’s area, which was quite impressive for such a small conference.  Very few of the offerings really applied to me, but I asked about one service called, TeacherFileBox.  Essentially, for $9 a year, teachers have access to a large library of classroom activities.  The teacher can access lessons by searching the database by curriculum areas, grade levels, and keywords.  The lessons come as PDF files, which can be printed for students.  The service also offers a web-based organizer for teachers, where they can organize their lesson file by folders and also use a pretty slick online calendar to plot the activities through the school year and even journal about them.  The print-centric part of me kept thinking, how cool would it be if teachers could basically design their own activity book from the database, and then have the book printed for their students.  Alas, I couldn’t come up with any good reason why they might prefer a work book, over independent PDF files.  😉

I would like to say just a few  things in response to a session I sat through in the afternoon.

  • 1 in 5 teenagers have not been sexually solicited by online predators, nor is the Internet full of sexual predators.
  • Cell phones are not dangerous!
  • IM is not insidious!
  • MySpace is not a blog!
  • and just because a child prefers that her parents not read her chat messages over her shoulder does not necessarily mean that she’s doing anything wrong.

Cyber-safety is too important an issue to be misrepresented for the sake of scare impact.

Oh yeah!  Stop, please, with the swishy letter-by-letter animations.  They irritate the pigs.

Added later:
The 1 in 5 statistic above refers to a study that was published a few years ago, that stated that 1 in 5 online teens have been sexually solicited while online. The study was almost immediately debunked because of the questions that were asked. However, people continue to cite the finding, and wrap it within discussions about online predators, implying that one in five has been approached by predators. It’s a scare tactic! Sorry for any confusions.

This has been an absolutely wonderful conference.  Something very powerful happens when you get together educators interested in new information technologies and educators who care about students with diverse learning skills.  I’ve had such amazing conversations.  It’s easy to see why so many of the attendees here, from across the U.S. and Canada, are alumni of the conference — and I’m exhausted.

Of this very fine conference, I can express only two complaints.  One, there should be ubiquitous wifi throughout the conference center.  There are many people in the audiences with laptops, and there are many bloggers here.  We are coming to expect to be able to blog live and to access resources in real time. Second, of all of the technology presentations that I’ve seen, and the conversations I have been a part of or listened to, the one thing that is certain, a do or die, is that in the future every teacher and learner will walk into their classrooms with a computer.  It won’t be called 1 to 1.  It will simply be called teaching and learning.  And it won’t be a PDA stretched into the learning tool, and it won’t be a game system stretched into a learning tool.  It will be a computer.

My complaint is that Floyd Braid’s session, “Chickens, Tax Cuts, and Laptops for all Students…” was at the end of the day instead of at the beginning of the day.  It was an excellent and skillful presentation, even when he went entirely over our heads by talking about his family’s experience with their new Wii game system.  No one in the audience had any experience, including myself.  I was intrigued when he said that his children seemed to enjoy constructing their personal Wii avatars more than playing the games.

Afternoon Excursion…

With my day-long workshop cut short, I had the afternoon to explore San Francisco with Brenda.  We started off walking down Market and then Bush, looking for Chinatown.  Finally, the gateway appeared on the right, and we walked down Grant, peering in the antique, jewelry, and high-tech gadget stores.  It’s a beautiful place where I got a lot of pictures with my 35mm camera. 

We stopped in to a restaurant that had these lovely little closed off cubicals, kinda like confessionals, where couples could go romantically eat their squid tenticles.  We were seated in the open restaurant and were handed both Dim Sum and standard menus.  I love Dim Sum, but am not confident enough to order it.  Brenda had already eaten lunch.  She is trying to keep to the east coast eating schedule, so she ordered a spring roll and I selected some sort of combination appetizer platter.  The calamari was excellent, though I’m accustomed to the sliced circlets that you usually get here in the U.S.  These were whole squids, but I’m adventurous, and they were delicious.  The pork spring roll was very good as well.  The third item, however, looked too much like the shark fin that was advertised on the sign in front of the restaurant.  I didn’t finish that.

From Chinatown, we walk on down Grant to Telegraph Hill.  I surely wish that I could express to you how steep this hill is, and how many steps we had to walk up.  I’d love for you to be impressed.  I did pretty well, perhaps a little better than Brenda, who is very slim and fit.  But my feet hurt this morning.  It was well worth the climb.  You can see just about all of San Francisco from the top of Coit Tower.  But the best part is the mural inside of the tower that tells the story of this very interesting and beautiful city.

A high point of the afternoon, however, occurred as we were walking back to the hotel.  We were approaching a doorway, where two women were waiting to get in.  As we got to the point where we could see the door, it buzzed open and the women entered, revealing the sign that identified the company.  I was struck first by the logo of a hand, and then the name of the company, Second Life.  Being in San Francisco, I initially thought that this was some sort of new age something.  Then I saw in slightly smaller text, Linden Lab.  Wow!  I was standing at the door of Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life — and I was doing it in Real Life!  So So So Cool!  Sorry!  I’m easily excitable!

By the way, someone at the conference said that Second Life was now giving real estate to educators for free.  Is that true?