I think I need to re-write my “Macintosh evangelist” page linked at the bottom of all my blog entries and most of my other personal webpages, and change it to “21st Century Educational Banner Evangelism” on the following issues. This is not because I am dumping the Mac OS in lieu of Linux or because my enthusiasm for the Mac OS has wavered (although it has certainly been informed by my recent experiences Linux,) but rather because those educational technology issues about which I am most passionate today extend far beyond operating systems. My current thinking is that these “educational banner” issues should include:

  1. Digital curriculum and robust bandwidth for schools.
  2. Web standards adherence so web 2.0 technologies are as cross-platform as possible on multiple OS’s and browsers.
  3. Technologies that empower users to constructively and creatively use disruptive technologies in the classroom to provide the 4 C’s (Context, Communication, Collaboration, Construction).
  4. Free culture intellectual property rights like those EFF and CC are fighting for and promoting.
  5. MORE autonomy rather than less (educational deregulation) for classroom teachers, campus principals, and school districts to determine the curriculum and learning methods employed to prepare students for vocational and lifelong success in the 21st Century. (More trust as well as empowerment for educators at all levels.)

I think those are banners worth waving, torches worth carrying into the darkness, and issues worth fighting for in 2006 and beyond.

Lampost in the twilight

This Creative Commons licensed image of a bright lamppost in the approaching twilight embodies the sort of metaphor I am thinking of here. You’ll note there is not just one lamp here, there are several. That’s because we’ve got to stick together on these issues. There’s a whole lot of darkness out there, so we have to “combine our light” to make sure our positions on these issues shine brightly to get the attention they deserve and the action they demand! 🙂

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On this day..

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7 Responses to Educational Banner Evangelism

  1. Speaking of combining lights, when do you want to chat about April keynote? I’m open on Monday!

  2. […] And for all of you who think a bunch of educators talking about technology is not something you might want to read—you may want to reconsider. The educational community needs software and technology that suits there needs—and their needs are changing.   […]

  3. New Year and (Somewhat) New Blog

    I’ve been trying really hard to keep up my open content listings but have failed miserably. Every day I collect them (doesn’t take very long, quite fun, lots of interesting stuff) and every day I completely don’t succeed in posting t…

  4. Wesley,

    I commend you on your banners of education evangelism. I was especially taken with your second banner, using disruptive technologies. What is teaching and learning, but an endeavor of disruption — taking what we know or believe and replacing it with something else of greater value. This happens no place better than within a conversation, and the rest of your banners plug directly into facilitating full, free, and relevant conversations.

    I would take slight exception with one point in banner five. You suggest greater autonomy for educators, and I agree with this 100%. However, I trust individual schools and districts with setting curriculum no more than I trust the federal government. Instead, I would suggest a WikiCurriculum, a space where professional educators collaborate to create and cultivate standards of learning for students that continue to adapt to our changing needs, the changing information environment, and the changing learning skills that our students come into our classrooms with.

    I say, “Hack the Curriculum!” 😉

    2¢ Worth

  5. ELE 304.002 says:

    I believe the same thing.

  6. Joe Makley says:

    Hi Wesley,
    When you talk about empowering teachers and principals and everyone, that leaves me very nervous. I’ve been in ED a long time, and been in technology a long time, and I don’t trust anyone not to underuse or overuse or misuse technology for instruction. It’s been the rule, rather than the exception, and I am sure David would agree on that. There needs to be a way to ensure that learning is happening. There need to be some uses of technology that aren’t optional. I have a teacher that refuses to read email, including important bulletins. Would you empower him with more independance? There needs to be some management and accountability and clarity. I need to put this carefully: I am all for the transformation of the classroom, and leveraging technology to that end, and perhaps for doing away with the system eventually, at least at secondary level, where relevance is getting to be at a crisis. (I like the Pink Floyd song; I do.) But consider the powerful and life-critical effect that schools continue to have world-wide. There is no greater importance than for certain messages to be transmitted from adults to the young. (yes, I said that on purpose.) For some reason our military industrial complex feels this is Algebra II. I feel it has more to do with U.S. and World History, and of course MacBeth. The point being, we still have standards, and they are more important than ever. It isn’t supposed to be easy for kids or us, and I don’t think technology will really play that powerful role unless we have some accountabilty for its use. If we just become constructivist idealogues and “guides on the side” and no one is minding the store; that isn’t going to work. It’s OK for us to tell teachers what to do now and then. And hold them accountable, and show them why and how to do it, etc. I read “ChildHood’s End” and “The Pied Piper,” and I understand the “millenial” argument. I approve of good constructivist activities and goals. I just get very nervous when people talk about empowering teachers, as if they’re all God’s gift to integration and they just need to be unleashed. In most cases, that’s not been my experience.

  7. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for your comments Joe– I had several thoughts in reply, so I started a new post 9“Reservations about empowerment without accountability”) with those ideas.

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