So What Would My Daughter Do?

I’m sitting in a leadership institute in Burlington, Vermont.  There are principals, directors of technology, integrationists, superintendents, and school board members here.  Bernie Dodge is here, just in from South Africa — and I do not envy how he must be feeling right now.  Also, Jim Moulton is here from Maine.  I haven’t had a chance to talk with him yet.

But I’ve finally taken a minute to read through the article (No More School as Council Opens ‘Learning Centers’) that Will Richardson referenced yesterday, where the Knowsley School Council in the UK plans to close its high schools.  My immediate reaction concerns my daughter, who will be starting her senior year at Western Carolina University’s School of Education.  Wanting to be a history teacher, she has taken a bunch of history courses.  She’s had a little education and no education technology that I know of.  But my question is, “What would she do in a learning center?”

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Vision Challenged – Cont. from Dangerously Irrelevant

My friend, Scott Mcleod (Dangerously Irrelevant), posed a challenge for educational technology advocates a few days ago.  Since he invokes my name in the post, I feel that I should in some small part, engage.  He asks, in Vision Challenge – Part 1

Can we articulate in a few short sentences or paragraphs what the end result looks like?

Scott continues..

Children learning collaboratively, students as self-directed learners, a computer in every kid’s hand, ubiquitous Internet access, creative problem-solving rather than rote memorization, global interconnections, etc. Whatever we think the desired end point should be: can we articulate it in a clear, concise manner that’s easily conveyable to others? Can we describe what students and teachers and administrators are doing and why (i.e., the educational purposes and benefits of doing so)?

What Mcleod is looking at is important, what the teaching and learning experience should look like.  But I wonder if this is a bit premature, that perhaps we should go back to his question and take it out another notch, What should the end result, the person who graduates from our schools, look like?  It seems that with the answer to this question, we might better envision what their schooling experience should be.

First of all, I see graduates who can teach themselves.  I’m starting to call this learning literacy, and I think that it is THE literacy we should be teaching — the skills to resourcefully use your information environment to help yourself learn what you need to know, to do what you need to do.

I would also want to see graduates who know who, what, where, and when they are.  They need to have developed a comfortable and confident sense of their culture, their physical environment, their geographic environment, and their historic circumstance — a context for their experience, one that they hold in common with people they will interact with, collaborate with, and enjoy the company of.  They would also be skilled in adapting to new circumstances — able to learn, unlearn, and relearn (Alvin Toffler).

Then we think of what the classrooms, teachers, textbooks, technology, blah blah blah, need to look like to accomplish this.

Image Citation
Sciamano, Luca. “The World Through My Eyes /2.” Sciamano’s Photostream. 3 June 2006. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

Son of “Classroom Blogging…”

I only have a couple of hours before leaving for the airport, and there is so much that I want to say.  But I guess, at this moment, I should say something about the new image in the far right sidebar.  Yes, this is the “big” project I’ve been working on, a 2nd edition of Classroom Blogging.  The first edition was written during the first weeks and months that I was getting to know the whole emerging Web 2.0 landscape.  I was very happy with the result, and was also pleased that it was probably the first book published about blogs, wikis, and podcasts for the education community.  But realizing, over the next few months, that this landscape was continuing to shift and change under the continued seismic influence of unimpeded creativity, I soon began to watch my book become increasingly out of date.

Classroom Blogging: 2nd Edition This new edition reflects two years of continued development of new web applications, my own increasing exploration and understanding about these tools and what they mean to teaching and learning, and especially to what I have learned by engaging in the great conversation with people who see what I see, but who think differently.  Together, we have grown our ideas about what all this means to schooling, and it has been thrilling.

I knew that I would be happy about putting this book on the market when Brenda, my wife, who is not an educator, but who considers criticism a virtue, said, “This is a very good book.  It respects teachers.

Classroom Blogging: 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-1-4303-2676-2) is currently available through Lulu.  It typically takes a few weeks for a Lulu book to become available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I will provide links when CB shows up there.

Is Something Brand New Really Happening? Already?

From Roger Shanks The Pulse blog.

Roger Schank : An Invitation to Participate in a Groundbreaking New Online Learning Experience:

MacMillan Library Interior 3In our attempt to build an alternative to the 1892 curriculum and the idea that education means learning to pass tests about what you have temporarily memorized, we have completed construction of our first full year of what is to eventually become the Virtual International Science and Technology Academy. We are looking to start a small group of students in our first year of this curriculum, Health Sciences.[1] The curriculum takes an entire year and takes up all day every day of that year. Candidates would be those who are too smart for the school system and need something to keep them interested, those who are so tired of school that they were going to drop out anyway, or anyone who has a passion for learning about health sciences.

The curriculum was designed to fit in place of 10th grade, but it would work as a replacement for 12th grade as well as serve as an alternative to 8th grade. The curriculum is delivered entirely on line. It consists of nine projects with regular deliverables.[2] Students work in groups with an on line mentor to solve complex real world problems that come up in the health sciences. No previous knowledge of anything is assumed. Students will be grouped together with students of similar abilities. If some groups go slower than others that is fine.

I find this very interesting, and I urge you to read Roger Shank’s entire post.  Are we seeing the rise of a new and dramatically expanded system of education, where educators develop their own curriculum, hang their shingles, advertise their service, enroll students, provide learning opportunities (virtually and in real life), and make a living at it.

  • Is this a good thing?
  • Shall we let go and allow vouchers?
  • If government did pay for this, what would accountability look like?
  • How will public education compete?

What do you think?

Image Citation:
“MacMillan Library Interior 3.” UBC Library Graphics’ Photostream. 7 Mar 2007. 7 Jul 2007 <>.

Did You Know 2.0? Wow!

Did you know video imageI just got this from Lisa Harrison at Passionately Curious.  I tried in the little time I have right now, to dig down to what’s going on.  Lisa’s Did You Know 2.0 post offers an embedded link to a pretty spiffy update of Karl Fisch’s landmark Did you Know video.  This incarnation was apparently put together by Portland, Oregon media company, XPlane.

Lisa also references a Did You Know or Shift Happens wiki that may have been around for some time now — but I didn’t know about it.  I am especially pleased to see bibliographies now for the various versions of the video.

With all that behind me, this is a pretty impressive video.  My remaining question, “Is the music copyrighted?”


The more I use and observe Twitter, the more I get it.  It’s not just knowing that the fireworks are amazing in  Philadelphia, that Pederson is on Lake Superior, or that Marcie Hull is back to painting.  It’s knowing where my friends brains are at — and these are brains I want to follow.

Take for instance, Dave Jakes, who, 11 hours ago said, “ Trying to wrap my head around Chris Sessums’ post.”

So I go to Sessums’ blog and read his take on a Boston Globe piece, Education for the Long Term, where Nolan Bowie calls for a national broadband infrastructure.

Sessums expands on the ideas in terms of digital divide, the topic that I wrote about yesterday, and a post that earned more comments than most of my writings.  I’d like to make the point of that post, here, again, and perhaps more pointedly…

      That the digital divide is not just that some kids/people know technology better than others.

      It’s that they know each other better.

      ..and there’s power in “knowing-networks.

Has the Digital Divide Changed?

BlogPulse Trend of Digital Divide
This is a six-month trend produced by BlogPulse, illustrating the number of blog posts that mention digital divide.

New edublogger, Julie Franken, wrote in a July 1 post about a 1999 article entitled “Debate Rages Over ‘Digital Divide’.  She writes…

Julie: Debate Rages Over ‘Digital Divide’:

Knowing that this article was published in 1999 made me wonder how different the “digital divide” is today. I was not surprised to read that in 1998 there was a fourteen percent difference between the “average” nation’s classroom and low income communities and minority neighborhoods in regards to having Internet access. I think that it has improved since then, but know there is still a gap.

I did a quick Google search and surmise that Julie is talking about a March 1, 1999 article in Education World, written by Glori Chaika and Gary Hopkins.  The opening tag line reads…

Are your students “haves” or “have-nots”? Are they technology savvy? Or are they being left behind because your school hasn’t kept pace with technology? Explore the “digital divide” in this special Education World story!

What caught my attention was Julie’s opening question, “ different (is) the “digital divide””  I think that this is an important question and there are important distinctions.  In 1999, it was a matter of the technology “haves” and “have nots” — who could lay their hands on computers and plug into the Internet and develop skills in using digital content, and who could not.  Today, the bars are certainly higher, with most schools possessing computers and access to the Internet, increasing opportunities for students to use technology.  However, the upper bar, has also risen with many schools providing for full-time access to laptops for their learners.

But, this is not the gap that worries me the most, because many schools, although they offer 1:1 access to their students, are still preventing learners from developing the skills which will almost certainly be an essential part of how work is done and leisure is pursued in the future — the social aspects.

It is an application of computers and the Internet that has been pioneered by our children, those with unfettered (unfiltered) access at home.  Social networks, networked collaborative video games, and even IM have enabled some of our children to develop networking skills that will likely carry along into their adult and work lives.  They are part of a community, and there is power in that community.  Children without personal and unfiltered access to contemporary technology are alone — and there is no power in that.

Now I am not saying that we should completely unblock all of our networks.  I use to think that, but when my son turned 13, I changed my mind.  There is danger out there that we need to protect them from.  However, it is critical that we come to understand this net-based social networking practice, and to integrate it into the teaching and learning process, to make sure that these skills support our childrens future.  If we do not support them now… well you know the rest.  It’s our future too.

Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?

[Independence day blog post!]

MSNBC has published an interactive test for citizenship, posing questions from the actual test.  You can take the test, and score your own eligibility 😉

Could you pass the U.S. citizenship test? – July 4 Special –

When immigrants want to become Americans, they must take a civics test as part of their naturalization interview before a Citizenship and Immigration Services (INS) officer. The questions are usually selected from a list of 100 sample questions that prospective citizens can look at ahead of the interview (though the examiner is not limited to those questions). Some are easy, some are not. We have picked some of the more difficult ones.

So give it a try.  I took it yesterday, and just barely passed with an 85%.  I suspect that I did so well because I was a social studies teacher many years ago (probably forgotten as much social studies as I ever taught).  It is important to not that when immigrants take the test, it is oral and not multiple choice.

Image Citation:
Das, Tanmoy. “Ellis Island.” Tanmoy & Priya. 2 May 2007. 4 Jul 2007 <>.

EduBloggerCon Video

I finished a large and long term project yesterday, and, so, decided to do something fun today.  So I went to flickr, and downloaded all of the photos that were tagged with EduBloggerCon, on the Creative Commons License, and weren’t extraordinarily unflattering to anyone.

The rest is too geeky to share here, but I utilized Garageband (my first video podcast with GB), QuickTime Pro, and iMovie.  Must experimenting and many false starts.

Anyway, here is the result.  Have fun!

PS, This is the fun project I’ve been Twittering about!