These are my notes from the Opening Keynote for the Oklahoma Technology Association’s 2007 conference, 2/6/2007) by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson of Eduscape Inc.
– Larry gave permission for me to record this session and release subsequently as a non-commercial podcast. I’ll be publishing

http://eduscapes.com/sessions/balance
Click on the “activate” session (Journal of Technology-Rich Learning)

our background is in K-12 education as tech directors and library/media services
we now teach classes all online with Indiana University
Everything does NOT need to be online today, F2F education will always have a place in our society
– lots of what we do CAN be done online
– we have been living in a motor home since 1998 and teach all classes online

First trend
– mix and match
– finding a way to make these tools work in your situation
– reading + content
– writing + content
– math + content

One goal Annette starts with is getting kids excited about reading and about specific books

Our philosophy: technology is not something extra, it should be part of what we use and do all the time
Friend of Annette’s who is in the Kansas City area
– “all the tools for all the kids – to do real work as real kids”
– project: cemetery scene investigators (CSI), learn more about the past of their community by studying the cemetaries in their neighborhoods

Trend: Open Source Software
– balancing quality with cost
– open source is not really free
– some school districts have asked why they need a technology
– open source is not about no cost: it is about the freedom to share and expand, to improve on the work of others

(citations: Defective by design.org, Free Software Foundation)

Let’s study superlatives
– quietests
– silliest
– smelliest
– etc

Can use TuxPaint
– one of a growing number of open source software programs
– anyone can add more stamps, music, etc if they create it originally
– very similar to KidPix
– it is expanding now that more people are using it

Key is not saying we don’t need to buy things, but how to blend open source tools with commercial tools

CMAP: not as good as Inspiration, but if I need a quick software program to make a concept map CMAP is a good option

Freeware Enhancements
– no cost, but proprietary (closed-source)
– Windows (Windows Genuine Advantage)
— PhotoStory and MovieMaker
– Apple
— iPhoto and iMovie
– image of Windows taskbar message: “You may be a victim of software counterfeiting. This copy of Windows is not genuine…”

Can run Windows on a Macintosh now, this may change loyalties when it comes to operating systems
– expand your thinking, it is NOT about the technology, it is about making a real easy slideshow using photos or something else

Next trend: STARTERS
– pathfinders
– webquests
– templates
– PowerPoint Sidekicks
– Photo Starters

asking how creativity is impacted by giving kids a template or “starter”
– a framework like this can jumpstart your lesson and help connect kids quickly to content and the focus on the lesson

Example: give students one slide on a PowerPoint, challenge them to present two views on a picture
– students had to think about their assignment from the perspective of a character they could see on the PowerPoint slide
– give students pictures, audio, etc to get started

Another example: PowerPoint template that students could use to create and share electronic postcards
– students used this repeatedly for different tasks: using a historical photo, using their own personal photo, etc
– another example: a Civil War project using a PowerPoint template

Trend: The Social Web – Web 2.0
– balancing academic rigor with social aspects of the web
– students love the social aspects of the web: IM, MySpace, etc.
– book recommendation: “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships” (Daniel Goleman)

Need to blend the need students have to interact with standards-based education

Social technology: using the web to bring people together

myfamily.com – you need to get this for your family
– this invites family commenting on photos

[MY THOUGHT AND COMMENT: THESE ARE GREAT EXAMPLES OF DISCUSSION AND DIALOG AROUND MYFAMILY.COM, BUT HOPEFULLY THEY WILL EXTEND THIS TO CLASSROOM EXAMPLES. GOOD EXAMPLE OF WALLED GARDEN DIGITAL SOCIAL NETWORKING.)

Like any tools, there are good, goofy, and poor uses for technology
– with all these 20 trends, we need to ask what do I as a 1st grade teacher (or whatever) to I say about this and see about the potential of this tool for education and learning?

Trend: Applications across disciplines
– US National Museum of Natural History Project
– Encyclopedia of Life
– Earth’s Diversity
– Scientists and Citizens of Earth
– goal is to catalog every category of life with DNA structure,
– book reccommendation on “The Creation : a Meeting of science and Religion” (E. O. Wilson), talks about “Biodiversity Day”
– those involved in this project recognize there is SO MUCH that we do NOT know

Smithsonian Encyclopedia of Life is just emerging now

question: “what good can come from all of your students coming together and working together?”

Trend: Visual Literacy
– digital photography
– some learners don’t do well with text
– we want to balance the visual literacy aspects of this
– give a student a camera, and if they have an image to write about some kids can really get going where they were “stuck” before

balance testing with individual needs

Website: Butterflies and Moths of North America website

Trend: Email communications
– content area standards
– students need to know how to effectively use email
– ISTE NETS
– Ethics Across the Curriculum
– one of our concerns: many school districts do not permit or support student email

Assertion: students are acquiring really poor skills with email on their own
– kids have figured out many ways to get other students to do their homework

[MY THOUGHT: I WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOME RESEARCH AND CITATIONS FOR THIS ASSERTION. THIS IS A PERCEPTION THAT MANY OLDER LEARNERS HAVE, BUT IS THIS TRUE ACROSS THE BOARD?)

The problem has to do with the ethics side of this student I’m talking about, she is asking me to do her homework
– Annette emailed her back and sent her some websites to use, didn’t answer her questions
– she told her the most exciting part of being a lifelong learner is asking the questions and discovering the answers

Our kids are technology natives, we are technology immigrants
– our kids still don’t know everything about this, don’t understand the ethics

Trend: High Tech Gadgets
– do I really need this?
– how does it compliment what I already have?
– there is a solar panel you can buy for your iPod
– example: virtual reality headset

[MY COMMENT: A PRODUCT LIKE THIS IS IN THE SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CATALOG NOW. I’LL TRY AND GET THIS CITATION LATER TODAY WHEN I FLY TO AUSTIN!]

Another gadget: Celestron SkyScout device that lets you point the device at the sky and get lots of information about the starts
– we are going to see so many of these gadgets, and they are going to get cheaper and cheaper
– we need to balance the halo effect with what is real and what does my budget afford?

Trend: Blogs for Everything
– what are really effective applications of blogs
– balance the need for a blog with information overload
– we don’t have a blog

Blogs are a web blog, just like a journal you would keep in school

[MY THOUGHT: THIS IS NOT AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION. BECAUSE BLOGS LET US HYPERLINK TO IDEAS AND GET FEEDBACK, IT IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A JOURNAL]

can make a blog private so no one can see it
– can create BLOOKS: using a blog to post a book for comments

Trace events: Example is the Loggerhead Marinelife Center of Juno Beach blog

We are writing a Web 2.0 Booklet (a Blook)

Trend: Share Text, Graphics, Animation

Blogs are dynamic and much easier to create
– easier to create than a website

We find we have less and less time, don’t you agree?
– an RSS feed (shows bloglines) can help with this

[MY COMMENT: WE ACTUALLY HAVE AS MUCH TIME AS WE EVER HAD OR WILL EVER HAVE. THE PROBLEM IS INFORMATION OVERLOAD AND TASK OVERLOAD]

Can setup bloglines so after 3 days things just go away, unlike email

There are blogs for all ages: English language learner blogs

Trend: Wikis
– balance authority
– everyone can contribute
– we want to balance authority or the lack of authority with collaborative ownership
– that is a great, powerful tool
– we also need to know what knowledge and background does someone have to say that
– every high school student uses wikipedia, I can guarantee you
– recent study showed high school students are more likely to use wikipedia than any other resources
– kids seek information differently

[MY COMMENT: THIS RELATES TO DON’S COMMENT LAST WEEK AT OUR TRAINING, WHERE HE OBSERVED THAT STUDENTS SEEK INFORMATION NOW BASED ON CONVENIENCE RATHER THAN OTHER FACTORS]

We need to remind students that everything on WikiPedia is not true

August 26th last year, it was great to watch the Pluto page on WikiPedia because people were updating the page all day long
– someone wrote at one point: “Pluto is now a rock”

Anyone know who Nile Kinnick was?
– Univ of Iowa’s football stadium is named after him, he is Annette’s cousin
– there is a great biography on WikiPedia about him
– there probably wouldn’t be a book about Nile Kinnick in your school library

[MY COMMENT: THE POINT THEY ARE MAKING RELATES TO THE VALUE OF THE BREADTH OF WIKIPEDIA]

Annette frequently uses the links at the bottom of WikiPedia

Think of a wiki as a word processing document where many people can contribute ideas and create together

Trend 12: Participatory Projects
– oral histories
– family history
– Pearl Harbor project is an example

balancing primary resources with secondary sources

Trend: Collaborative Writing
– Google Documents is very popular
– students can create their own gmail account
– share their account with others

Favorite is Thinkature: make concept maps with others simultaneously

Trend: Crowd Sourcing
– in-house and outsourcing
– now it is about crowd sourcing
– example at this year’s superbowl: two of the ads were created as part of a contest, not made professionally

Trend: Simulations and Games
– Knowledge Matters: increasing number of software that gets students involved in Ancient Rome and Egypt
– can create characters, have to take on roles, get to build things
– kids get into history by immersing themselves in it

Trend: Customizing and Folksonomy
– balance standards with evolution
– new website: librarything
– can share your book lists, authors, etc
– just have to type in the ISBN number, it is connected to the Library of Congress, Amazon, etc

Old way of doing things was TAXONOMY
– now with a folksonomy we can connect to the “tags” and ideas / keywords which others have shared
– this website started about 2 years ago, now is growing over 1 million books a year
– great way to help kids find new

Trend: Desktop / Network / Web applications
– balancing the setting with security
– examples: Google Earth, RSS Readers, etc.

Trend: Multimedia
– balance access with bandwidth
– accessing, creating, sharing

just 2 more ideas

Trend: Interactive Whiteboard Applications
– how are these tools being used interactively
– example: 1st grade teacher who makes a chart together with a different child each day, it goes on the whiteboard, kids vote
– free website called grapher
– can do it on the computer
– all these links are on my website
– a student is in charge of printing it and putting it in a classroom book

Last trend: Virtual Social Worlds
– balancing real with virtual life
– Second Life
– don’t dismss this
– you may just be aware of it, but that is ok, you need at least some knowledge of it
– can do a virtual visit of the int’l space station, visit a medieval town (virtual renaissance fair), a pyramid, etc.
– Annette goes dancing with his friends in 2L

Remember kids are now using technology anywhere, anytime
– we need to spend more time thinking about homework activities outside

End idea: Migration, Immigration and Change
– “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
– also read “whose names are unknown” by Sanora Babb, gives richness to similar issues that Steinbeck didn’t have, written at same time Steinbeck published
– also read “Esperanze Rising” by Pam Muñoz Ryan (what Latinos and Hispanics were experiencing at the same time
– also read “Crossing the Wire” by Will Hobbs

We need to look at varied perspectives: balanced the classics with the new and unique

Don’t throw away your old technology just because new options are available

[MY THOUGHT: INTERESTING THEY CLOSE WITH AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO READ ANALOG BOOKS. THE IDEA OF BRINGING IN A MULTITUDE OF PERSPECTIVES INTO LEARNING IS A GREAT IDEA, HOWEVER.]

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One Response to The Balancing Act: Juggling the Demands of Emerging Technology

  1. As a fellow Okie and a friend of the guys who make Thinkature, I’m glad that you found their product potentially useful for students

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