These are my notes from notes from Jim Carleton And Mali Bickley’s keynote at NECC 2008 in San Antonio on 1 July 2008. Jim and Mali were introduced by Lester Hope, and Lester facilitated a television-style interview “show” with them as a NECC keynote. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

According to the current WikiPedia article for Lester:

Lester Holt (born March 8, 1959 in Marin County, California) is an African American anchor for NBC News who started out as a local Chicago news anchor and presently is the co-anchor of Weekend Today seen on weekends on most NBC stations and affiliates and is also the weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News, the flagship news program of NBC News.

Lester showed a video clip segment prior to introducing Jim and Mali
– quote : “we know that the NBC news clips are authentic and accurate”

THIS IS AN INTERESTING PLAY FOR AUTHORITY

iCue.com
– immersive, safe environment where users can collaborate and learn together”
– “iCue connects you to a community of friends and fellow learners for support, sharing, and discussion through the iCue Friends Network and Discussion Forums.

a shift in how young people access and use information

BUT DOES IT ALLOW ANYONE TO UPLOAD THEIR OWN CONTENT? (CITIZEN JOURNALISM)

Channel 1 News

Learn Digital Journalism from NBC (NY Film Academy)

Hot Chalk is the website used extensively by Jim and Mali and now sponsored by NBC

HotChalk is a learning environment for K-12 teachers, students and parents that includes a learning management system (LMS), a rich library of teacher-contributed lesson plans, premium digital content like NBC News video, and professional development for teachers in a Web-based environment. Available through any Internet browser, the HotChalk Learning Environment is an easy to use system and brings teachers, students and parents together to improve education.

HotChalk

http://www.iearn.org/

iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is the world’s largest non-profit global network that enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

question for Jim and Mali: How do you definite collaboration?

communication, creatively, collaboration, change, co-learning, collective intelligence
– connecting and transforming our world
– all these web 2.0 tools: children’s ability to publish

My Hero Project- http://myhero.com
– students can create artwork, produce films, publish for a worldwide audience
– level of achievement come up through these projects
– kids can go home and share their projects with parents at home, which is published online

The MY HERO Project celebrates educators

telling stories that tug at your heartstrings

we now have the ability to teach our students so they become lifelong

our kids are “lords of the eflies”
– it’s our job to help these kids learn to use these projects helpfully

one example is using webconferencing, we have been using Elluminate
– connecting students from all over the world to share their project: Mali, Israel, US, others…
– it is is so important to make live, interactive connections between classes

question: “Do you find kids today are more interested in current affairs and reading newspapers?”
answer: “Absolutely.”

MY THOUGHT: WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE OR SUPPORT FOR THE ASSERTION THAT KIDS TODAY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN READING NEWSPAPERS? I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT THINK THIS IS SUPPORTED BY ANY EVIDENCE OR RESEARCH.

“are the kids driving the curriculum?”
answer: yes!

MY THOUGHT: THE ANSWER TO THIS IS NO! THE POLITICIANS IN THE US WITH NCLB ARE DRIVING THE CURRICULUM. WE SHOULD BE PERMITTING KIDS TO HELP SHAPE THE CURRICULUM, BUT IT IS DISINGENUOUS AND MISLEADING TO SAY THAT KIDS DRIVE THE CURRICULUM TODAY IN THE UNITED STATES. NO ONE IS TALKING AT ALL ABOUT THE REALITY IN OUR CLASSROOMS TODAY, AND THE HUGE CULTURAL MINDSET WHICH EXISTS AGAINST DOING COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS LIKE THESE. THESE ARE GREAT PROJECTS AND GREAT IDEAS. BUT I THINK POLITICAL AND PRACTICAL REALITY IN OUR CLASSROOMS IS BEING IGNORED BY THE PRESENTERS. THE PRESENTERS WERE TEACHERS FROM CANADA WHO HAD LOST THEIR PASSION AND LOVE FOR TEACHING IN THE CLASSROOM.

TakingItGlobal

it’s not about the technology, it’s about the learning, the connections

our school is now all involved in this

I’D LIKE TO SEE KIDS FROM THEIR SCHOOL TALK ABOUT THIS. I’D LIKE TO SEE KIDS ACTUALLY HERE IN PERSON TO ADDRESS AND DISCUSS THIS. I’D LIKE TO SEE THE PRINCIPAL HERE TALK ABOUT HOW THIS PROJECT FITS INTO THE LEARNING THAT TAKES PLACE

question: “Some of the events we are talking about in some of these countries, like Sierra Leonne, are pretty heavy. Have you run into too much reality, too soon?”
answer: Some email communication from kids have included US kids asking about girls in classrooms in countries where girls are not permitted to go to school.

Some students have been interacting with students in Iraq
– Commit to Character traits are from our school board
– from these communications with Iraqi students, students were cultivating optimism, empahty, and other characteristics

these projects change kids and others in the world
– we are invigorated as teachers using these tools and doing these projects

now showing a video about child soldiers in Sierra Leonne
– One Dream Project

“we are getting computers for kids in Sierra Leone. It makes us proud to know we are changing other people’s lives.”

MY QUESTION: HOW ARE PEOPLE’S LIVES BEING CHANGED IN SIERRA LEONNE BY THIS? CERTAINLY THE PERCEPTIONS AND UNDERSTANDINGS OF CANADIAN STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THIS PROJECT ARE BEING CHANGED, BUT I’M NOT SURE ANY EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED IN THIS SESSION ABOUT THE LIVES AND LIVING CONDITIONS, AND OPPORTUNITIES OF PEOPLE IN SIERRA LEONNE BEING CHANGED.

we are now listening to a song about “one dream, one hope” set to images…

WHAT IS THE WEBSITE URL OF THIS PROJECT? IT IS NOT BEING SHARED OR DISCUSSED IN THE KEYNOTE. I CANNOT FIND IT ON GOOGLE. ALSO, WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE CANDADAN SCHOOL WHERE JIM AND MALI TEACH NOW? THE PROJECT WEBSITES HAVE BEEN SHARED BUT NOT

Come to the NBC booth here at NECC (SHAMELESS PLUG THERE!)

now asking for advice for peers, a call to action

answer: be willing to take a risk
– following your passion

THOSE ARE GOOD PIECES OF ADVICE, BUT DANGEROUS

answers continued: collaborate
– please ask for help
– go to takeitglobal and iEarn

ready, fire, aim: don’t wait until you think you understand all the technology before you do it!
dream big

I AGREE WE SHOULD DREAM BIG BUT I DISAGREE WE SHOULD ENCOURAGE TEACHERS TO “READY, FIRE, AIM.” PARTICULARLY IN OUR LITIGIOIUS US SOCIETY, THAT IS A POTENTIAL RECIPIE FOR DISASTER FOR A TEACHER

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7 Responses to Notes from Jim Carleton And Mali Bickley’s keynote at NECC 2008

  1. Scott says:

    I wondered myself how the children in SIERRA LEONNE were better as well. The Canadian students may know more about what is going on there. Overall, I thought great ideas for global collaboration (I had forgotten about iearn), but an interesting “sell” on it.

    Quite disappointed on the price of the NBC resources as well.

  2. Bill says:

    Sorry that you have seemed to have missed the point.
    I clearly heard them say that the kids were driving the curriculum in THEIR classes….that you choose to rant about wider problems in indicitive of your mindset.
    They shared their URL at the end.
    I guess you missed how the students lives were being changed in Sierra Leone….Did you listen when they described how they were building a school, formed scholarships, etc….did you listen to the student from Sierra Leone talk in the video???
    And again you have completely misunderstood the concept of ready fire aim. I won’t even bother to explain it to you as you clearly didn’t get it.
    Sounds to me like you are a disgrntled educator who loves to sit on the sidelines and complain.
    Do something……don’t just complain!

  3. Dean Mattson says:

    Bill, If you ever come back to this blog, I encourage you to read some of the other entries. Wes is one of the people who does do something. A lot of us wonder how one person can do so much.

    But I too was a little surprised by the tone of the reactions. I found the keynote to be a very powerful demonstration on the power of technology. Aren’t these the kind of interactions we were hoping for a a result of OLPC? Is there a more powerful learning outcome than a child saying, “It makes us proud to know we are changing other people’s lives.”

  4. Bill says:

    Hi Dean,

    I agree….my comment was out of line. I think I was just perplexed by his misunderstandings (at least misunderstandings from my perspective). The Ready Fire Aim idea was all about not waiting until you alone know everything, not waiting until politicians and administrators “get it” and create an environment more conducive towards 21st century learning, etc…..if we just wait for all of that, we will never do anything. This is not only NOT a dangerous idea, but a necessary idea if we are to move forward.

    Again, I apologize to Wes. I am sure he does lots (else why would he be doing this). I was a little hot headed in my reply, as I couldn’t believe how he “missed” and or misinterpreted so much of what was actually said.

    I know that the people I was with and the people who I have talked to were inspired by their keynote address and moved to do something in their classes.

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for taking up for me, Dean. 😉

    Bill: I’m sorry that my comments revealed the limitations I have because of my U.S. context and educational culture. I know we all look at the world through our own set of lenses– and it is important to hear other voices with other perspectives, and to be challenged to think differently. So I appreciate your comments and feedback.

    I very likely could have missed many points from this presentation– I was just sharing my responses for what I took from the session. Certainly it IS great to hear about educators helping students get a global perspective, become activists, take their learning to another level– not just learn knowledge and facts, but become advocates for important causes and issues. I definitely applaud that and salute that.

    I know there were many teachers in the audience who WERE moved by this presentation (because they talked to me about it afterwards) and that is great. It is and would be unrealistic for Canadian teachers to address issues like accountability and NCLB because their context is different. I actually am in fairly regular dialog with teachers around the world, including Canadians (Dean is one) and try to maintain a larger worldview. I guess my responses to and during this session were colored by my own frustrations with all the tools for global collaboration (wikis, blogs, H.323 and desktop videoconferencing, etc) not being used in my own children’s school district, and being blocked / prohibited.

    I’m sorry I gave the impression that I missed or misinterpreted much of what was shared in this session. The ideas, goals, and activities are certainly laudible. I am 100% behind the goal of helping teachers connect with each other and learn together via online and blended learning communities. My work in and for the K-12 Online Conference is one example.

    Thanks for your feedback, your comments have me thinking. Remember it is ALWAYS worth it to engage in a conversation with someone who wants to learn and grow, and I certainly think I fit that description as an educator, parent, and learner. I certainly try to be much more than a “disgrntled [sic] educator who loves to sit on the sidelines and complain.”

  6. Bill says:

    Hi Wes,

    You are absolutely right and, again, I apologize for my rant. That was one of those hit the send button and immediately regret it things.
    Like you say, our vision is all colored and mine is colored by all the excuses people make for not doing the kinds of projects that Jim and Mali talked about. I should have taken a moment to realize that you are not one of those people. Again, my apologies. I should have thought before I posted. Comments like my first one do nothing to increase dialogue and I appreciate your thoughtful reply.

    OK….let’s talk. Do you think that what they are doing in Canada is not possible here in the U.S.? Just my thought, but I think we have to engage our students this way in order to affect change. From what I gather you do too but are frustrated by limitations put on us by NCLB and school districts blocking of web 2.0 tools. I am just thinking that we have to find ways to do these kinds of projects no matter what limitations are imposed on us. Their success is what, I believe, will lead to change. Use whatever tools we can, even if they are not what they should be. Make them visible. Demonstrate what can be done even with our hands tied behind our backs. I agree that we need to get the politicians to change, but do we have to wait for the change or do we initiate the change, in part, by engaging our students in projects like these and show our district administrators and politicians what is possible?

  7. Dean Mattson says:

    While doing some reading on this, I found this My Hero report written by one of their students that describes what they did to help the students in Sierra Leone: http://tinyurl.com/5je2ce

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