I AM CURRENTLY ON THE FLIGHT FROM SHANGHAI TO TOKYO. THESE ARE MY NOTES FROM THE PODCAST OF GARY STAGER’S FINAL SESSION AT THE LEARNING 2.0 CONFERENCE IN SHANGHAI LAST WEEKEND. (TYPHOON WIPHA SLOWED DOWN AS IT APPROACHED THE COAST OF CHINA, AND WE WERE ABLE TO TAKE OFF IN SLIGHTLY ELEVATED WINDS BUT OTHERWISE RATHER “NORMAL” CONDITIONS.) MY OWN THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE INCLUDED IN ALL CAPS. I HAD TO CONTINUE THIS PROCESS OF LISTENING AND NOTETAKING ON THE FLIGHT FROM TOKYO TO DETROIT.]

I NEED TO READ “Never Mind the Laptops: Kids, Computers, and the Transformation of Learning” by Bob Johnstone

Laptops are disruptive because of what they show what kids can do as confident thinkers and learners, but other changes happened also
– some schools changed their

my standard for what we do with computers is very high
– there has been a historical conservator

3 types of laptop schools
1- pioneers: change the nature
2- marketeeers: get their names in the newspaper
3- neighbors: these can be a real nuisance

Everytime you see an article about “laptop project fails” that is because a neighbor school district

it is peculiar to hear the term “pilot project” to laptop initiative because that communicates an expectation of failure

www.stager.org/learning2/ is the website of resources for this session

advice I often leave at schools: “Less us, more them”
– computers are purchased to benefit kids
– if you are interested in learner outcomes, “Anytime, Anywhere Learning” foundation is a good source – aalf.org

I’m not interesting in banking information in the heads of kids
– the access we have to information

Using logowriter requires

it is AMAZING to me if the computers should go home with kids
– in Pennsylvania they just bought laptops for kids, and they are chaining them to desks

There were principals in Maine who said the kids were so hurtful to the laptops it reinforced/supported their decision not to send them home with kids
– that was a self-fulfilling prophesy
– there are hundreds of cases around the world where laptops have gone home with kids and they have had great success

better question than what will the world be like when your students are adults is, what is learning and the world like for students who haven’t entered your school yet

if kids are digital natives, then we should build on those gifts
if kids come to school as readers, then we

kids have tech skills, but we need to find ways to INSPIRE them to do good thinkings

Danny Hillis (?) quotation: important thing about computers….
– not just an advanced calculator
– an imagination machine
– a very expansive view of technology
– laboratory for ideas and a medium for expressing your creativity
[THIS IS A GREAT QUOTATION AND I’LL TRY TO ACCESS THE FULL VERSION FROM GARY’S NOTES ONLINE]

best way to use computers is to MAKE things

we will go from the obvious to less obvious

Idea #1- Write a novel

we know that word processing

there are opportunities for kids to do REAL writing with REAL media
– fanfiction.net as an example, level of peer review you’d never get in the classroom

There is a copy of Inspiration on lots of computers, but the type of writing reflected there is just BRAINSTORMING
– kids are capable of doing REAL writing and we should encourage them to do it with their laptop computers

we need to really clarify use of the world “research” in school
– there is an awfully lot of regurgitation going on
– difference between “research” that cures cancer and “research” that asks students to rephrase the encyclopedia “in their own words”

[I WONDER IF GARY IS GOING TO TALK ABOUT INVITING STUDENTS TO BECOME CIITZEN JOURNALISTS IN THEIR LOCAL AREA, WRITING ABOUT ISSUES AND SUBJECTS WHICH THEY CARE ABOUT, WHICH OTHERS CARE ABOUT, ARE WORTH REPORTING TO A GLOBAL AUDIENCE AND ARE UNDERREPORTED OR NOT REPORTED IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA? IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IS A COMPELLING WAY TO HAVE STUDENTS USE LAPTOP COMPUTERS AS WELL.]

if the dominant metaphor for using computers at your school is “to look things up” then it should be no surprise that they will consistently use computers to look up things that are not appropriate

Idea #2- Share our knowledge

do you need to memorize things when you can readily look them up?

Wikipedia: many examples of peer review not normally found
– wikipedia is a real tool for thinking about writing
– if there is passion about a topic in wikipedia, the quality of the writing increases
– the web has a built-in “crap detector”

favorite headline: “Pentagon blocks access to 11 video sharing websites”
– the futility of this is just amazing
– you can’t put this genie

Idea #3- We can answer tough questions

Example of Iraqi election poster in Australia
– if I take a picture of the poster, can I figure out who they want me to vote for
– in 7 minutes in the last session, people found out the answer
– the knowledge on the net is a big reason why this was possible

story of the 5th graders who were going to learn Arabic to discipher a poster, problem was they just had 37 minutes
– there are really authentic problems to explore on the web, rather than just asking someone to fill in a few blanks on a worksheet
– with YouTube you can get the entire video of MLK’s speech
– you should really read the entire text of MLK’s

Idea #4: we can make sense of data
– we can use the tools to ask questions of the data
– tinkerplus and fathom, ways of visualiing complex data

Idea #5: we can design a video game
– software like Microworlds DX, students can make their own videogames
– example of a students’ own version of Zoombinis

when I talk about kids programming, people ask “are you saying that all kids should learn to program?”
– I reply, at what meeting did we decide that “all kids need to haiku?”

in 1976 I was in JHS programming class and I felt intellectually powerful for the first time ever
– everything WAS possible
– now if you walk into that classroom or tomorrow, the curriculum they teach is KEYBOARDING

30 years later the curriculum has gone backward to the point where we are teaching keyboarding
– it is almost a conscious effort to deprive kids of any sense of agency over the process and the technology

Idea #6: Build a killer robot
– robotics provides a rich tactile environment for students to explore rich concepts and ideas
– you can be specific with what you ask students to explore, or just ask students to build whatever they want

first example from a 5 year old
– worked with multiage heterogeneous groups of kids for 3 hours a time
– things need not be as they seem
– had kids from 5 to 12 in Australia
– to the response “what do you want to be when you grow up” and a 5 year old replied “be a ballerina”
– she said crossly “School does not teach ballerina”
– showed video of her creating a ballerina with the lego materials

logo turtle was based around the idea that the world related to your own personal geometry
– “syntonic body geometry”
– gearing, friction, programming, debugging, etc…

examples of kids figuring out how to multiply by a constant to slow down some music they made with a program and wanted to play on with lego bricks

I say this is the antidote to those who are complaining about kids being passive consumers on computers and losing their creativity

Example of a student who was 15 years old, in prison, and was like Edison
– by our reputation students knew they could work on cool stuff
– student came in and said I want to really hard that no one has ever done before
– using a list of project idea prompts (build a birdhouse that takes a picture of a bird when it lands, etc) he decided to build a phonograph

a good problem is worth a thousand years: with a good question or problem, adequate materials ,sufficient time and a supportive culture kids can solve problems much more sophisticated than we typically think they can
– they can exceed our expectations

if we believe anything about child development, what these students are doing with engineering is CONCRETE
– typical schooling makes you suffer through 15 years of abstraction before you get to build anything concrete

[I THINK THAT IS WHY THE VAST MAJORITY OF MY ENGINEERING COURSES IN COLLEGE WERE IRRELEVANT AND NOT IMPACTFUL IN MY OWN LEARNING JOURNEY. I REMEMBER BUILDING THE MODEL AIRCRAFT WE HAD TO FLY IN AERONAUTICAL ENGINEERING CLASS (THANKS TO EDGE WERNER AND HIS QUICK SEALING SPRAY FOR SUPERGLUE WE WERE ABLE TO REBUILD OURS MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE FOOTBALL PRACTICE ARENA WHERE WE HAD CRASHED IT MULTIPLE TIMES) AND THE ENGINEERING 410 PROJECT WE WORKED ON FOR THE MINING MUSEUM IN COLORADO SPRINGS ARE ENDURING MEMORIES FOR ME. THE REST OF IT IS BASICALLY A BLUR. I LOVE THIS IDEA THAT WE CAN AND NEED TO EMPOWER TOMORROW’S ENGINEERS TODAY NOT WITH ABSTRACTIONS ABOUT THEORIES, BUT BY EQUIPPING AND SUPPORTING THEM TO “CREATE STUFF” (COMPELLING STUFF THEY CHOOSE TO CREATE) WITH MATERIALS AND THE REQUISITE CULTURE TODAY.]

we can do playful things
– we can make digital gingerbread houses
– what could be better in your classroom than computers and icing?

kids build burglar alarms, lots of things in the context of building something whimsical

we can use technologies in a self-supporting way when we invent things

Idea #7 – we can lose weight with our laptops

example of program that keeps track of workout stats

Microsoft School of the Future
– excitement over kids having “smartcards” instead of locker locks
– using their smartcards when they eat to track what they eat
– hold on! Why are we giving AGENCY to the building? [INSTEAD OF GIVING AGENCY TO THE STUDENTS. I REALLY AGREE WITH AND RESONATE WITH GARY’S POINT HERE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GIVING AGENCY TO LEARNERS RATHER THAN MACHINES.]

Why aren’t kids keeping track of their nutritional stats, setting goals,
– we are in these cases taking learning opportunities away from kids and giving them to the kids

Idea #8 – Direct a blockbuster

the idea of digital storytelling gives me the willies

[MAYBE I SHOULD BETTER ARTICULATE THE REASONS I FIND DIGITAL STORYTELLING IN SCHOOLS COMPELLING WHERE STUDENTS ARE CREATING MEDIA FOR AN AUTHENTIC AUDIENCE (MORE THAN THE TEACHER AND THE IMMEDIATE CLASS) AND RECEIVING FEEDBACK FROM THAT AUDIENCE IN A SAFE, MODERATED WAY ONCE I BETTER UNDERSTAND GARY’S OBJECTIONS TO DIGITAL STORYTELLING.]

digital storytelling is sort of this invention for schools
– no one in the world does digital storytelling
– people in the real world write or they make films
– we know a lot about writing and making films: They are both hard and they take time
– so we have to invent these hacks where kids can take a bunch of photos and upload them to a site with a soundtrack underneath and whoa la, create something without doing any thinking

but kids CAN make real substantive work

1- your video should be shorter
2- it should be edited at least 1 more time

I go to a lot of school where I see about 30 seconds of real good flimmaking from students, and then 9 minutes of really poor stuff because the kids thought it had to be longer
– the kids aren’t so precious that they can’t edit it
– when we don’t ask

this mirrors the writing process
– we should explore as many genres as possible

every year before computers kids wrote an autobiography
– now with iMovie and Windows Moviemaker I see lots of autobiographical videos made by kids
– guess what? at age 7 your own life is just not that interesting
– don’t limit storytelling to autobiographies
– explore many genres, don’t limit it

kids are making movies in lots of ways, taking WOW and having their kids meet them online, adding a score to it
– this is like we had oral storytelling, puppetry, drama, filmmaking, radio, and television… now machini-mage— recording manipulations to tell a new story

Idea #9 – compose a symphony
– example of 3rd grader’s composition: melody, harmony, counterpoint
– using Finale Notepad kids actually composing music
– kids being creators and not just consumers of music
– again it should probably be edited 1 more time

kids are using laptops to write scripts, musicals, midi music, and then perform that for a local audience
– kids do that because they not only have the tools but they have the TIME

TIME is key
– kids can work on something beyond the artificial bell schedule

the creative potential demonstrated by the projects which have been demonstrated here are possible with all the laptops being published now

Idea #10 – we can change the world with technology
– students can be involved with democracy
– example of student who was living in a homeless shelter in Minnesota and made a video about why it was important to vote

Idea #11 we can be multiple things
– the computer provides opportunities for kids to do real work in a lot of domains, authentic work

example of Tony’s work in the Maine prison
– he reported that he was viewing at the world differently because of the access he had been provided to technology, coupled with the TIME to create things in a supportive environment, where he was able to work on projects and things he found personally meaningful, where we put his ideas an expertise about a list of predetermined, arbitrary list of stuff to learn

imagine if our educational objective was if
– this is all a way of saying THE TECHNOLOGY MATTERS

lots of people say “the technology doesn’t matter” at technology conference

whether you are the girl making the ballerina, or the severely at-risk kids who become scientists and engineers, or someone else….
– the technology MATTERS, it allows the kids to have authentic experiences

When our kids meet us years after they have finished school and give us a hug, and say “do you remember….” that sentence is never followed by “crammed for the test”
– it always focuses on some type of project

if we want to think about what we can do BEST together as teachers in the twenty-first century with students, we need to keep those moments in the forefront of our minds
– to make memories, that should be our mission as educators
– Edward R Murrow quotation about television…

so my challenge to you is to think of 10,000 ways computers can be used in powerful ways to amplify the human potential of your students across the curriculum in domains that we haven’t even imagined before
– and to be able to articulate the value of these tools in the hands of the kids

SOME OF MY CONCLUDING THOUGHTS:
– THIS WAS A GREAT PRESENTATION WITH SOME FANTASTIC IDEAS
– I THINK I WILL USE THIS AS REQUIRED MATERIAL TO REFLECT ON WITH THE DEL CITY TEACHERS I’M WORKING WITH
– I AGREE WITH MANY THINGS GARY ARTICULATES HERE, THE POINT THAT “THE TECHNOLOGY MATTERS” REALLY IS A HUGE ONE THAT IS MISSED BY MANY, I FEAR
– I WONDER HOW THESE IDEAS CAN SHAPE WHOLE SCHOOL CURRICULAR REFORM, HOWEVER. I SEE THE MOST DIRECT APPLICABILITY OF THESE IDEAS TO THE AFTER SCHOOL “INVENT THE FUTURE” COMPUTER CLUB I’VE PROPOSED STARTING TO OUR LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S PTA/PTO


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