After much thought and discussions about ways I may be able to engage in meaningful dialog with my local school board members here in Edmond, Oklahoma about digital literacy and 21st century skills, I recorded a 17.5 minute video today which I posted to Google Video and am burning to DVD to mail tomorrow to all our board members. It is my hope that I’ll be able to meet individually and collectively with our board members to discuss these issues and locally advance the cause of 1:1 computing as well as digital literacy. Our students need to be regularly creating, communicating and collaborating using digital technologies in our classrooms, and this is my attempt to communicate this case to my local school board.

In the context of discussing digital citizenship I referenced two reports, the National School Board Association’s 2007 “Creating and Connecting – Research and Guidelines on Online Social – and Educational – Networking” report as well as Scholastic’s “2008 Kids & Family Reading Report- Reading in the 21st Century: Turning the Page with Technology.”

I also recorded a second video about 21st century skills our students need which I am compressing and uploading now, and will include on the DVD I send to my board members.

Feel free to utilize this video or any of these ideas for your own advocacy efforts for 21st century skills and the digital learning revolution.

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9 Responses to A Message for my School Board

  1. Naomi Harm says:

    Wesley- I support your true passion of promoting 21st technology literacy with in our K-12 environments. Keep “pushing” and “leveraging” your tech literacy message focusing on the responsibility lies in the hands of administrative leaders. This administrative team needs to identify vital goals of forward thinking stratigies to support teaching and learning initiatives to meet the needs of our digital native students.

    Wesley- change will occur but it may take time. Your innovative video deleivery will make a difference!

    Naomi Harm
    Director of Educational Technology
    Wisconsin

  2. […] Message For All Educators, Not Just School Boards Jump to Comments Wes Fryer has created a video for his local school board, attempting to persuade the board to take action to have his school […]

  3. Wes,

    I want to thank you for sharing this video. I couldn’t leave your blog without sharing my thoughts in case the board you address reads this post. I hope I help you show the board members these ideas about technology are everywhere in the world.

    I live, learn and work in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have mostly taught in-company English as a foreign language lessons. I couldn’t agree more on the need to master digital literacy and digital citizenship to be able to deal with the demands of the present working world.
    When you mention that students need to contact classrooms throughout the US, I feel I must add on that. Students need to easily get in touch with people anywhere in the world (outside the US) fast. The expert or member of the team you need to work with at work may be in far off countries and speak English at best, as a second language, more often than not as a lingua franca. I am amazed at the anecdotes of my own students trying to figure out cultural codes to overcome countless misunderstanding when trying to work with people in Asia.

    This is the world we live in.

    I think it would be interesting if the board understood that the needs you mention in the video: digital literacy and connectedness are quite basic. Even when those barriers are sorted out, there is still a global interconnectedness, multicultural collaboration, which will require yet finer skills to deal with.

    You mention a fear of technology on the part of leaders. My question is, do they fear technology or technology enabled people? Isn’t it a power/control issue? But as you point out, students are already uploading content and learning these tools on their own at home. I haven’t heard of any school manager being shocked by that. It is when we want to do it within the walls of the school that uneasiness arises.

    It takes time and patience to make changes at a school. Changes can happen faster when leaders understand the need, but in this case, it is a teacher understanding it first. I guess it takes courage to let change start bottom-up.

    I understand your frustration at a missing learning opportunity. Schools should not be the place to let that happen.

    Wish you success in getting your message understood.

    Claudia
    fceblog

  4. Just watched the video. Well done Wes. I will be very interested to learn about the response from the board members. More parents, including myself, need to start this discussion with the administration of the schools our children attend each day. Third world countries are giving each student a laptop – why not the United States?

    Eric Langhorst

  5. Joel Adkins says:

    Wes,

    This video is very good. I love the passion you give this that an email or a letter just could not cover! This is the video I think all of us in this field want to give to our school boards, our teachers, and to our community. Preach on, brotha!

  6. Wesley Fryer says:

    Kent Manning left a thoughtful comment about these issues on my del.icio.us links post from yesterday, so if you are following the dialog here please don’t miss Kent’s feedback.

    This is a PDF version (stripped of personal info) of the letter which I composed and am mailing along with this DVD to my school board members tomorrow.

    Also, here is the link to the 2nd video I recorded today and posted to Google Video which addresses the 21st century skills our students need. I also included this video on the DVD I am sending my school board members.

  7. Susan Hurst says:

    Amen, amen, AMEN!!!

    As the parent of a middle school child here in Edmond I couldn’t agree more. I’m happy that our family is affluent enough (although we are on the mid to lower income spectrum for this community), well-educated enough, and value technology enough to provide our child with a personal computer and high-speed internet access at home. She has been very active in reading and writing original fan fiction (fanfic) about her favorite music artists for the last year, but still loves to read “book” fiction. She is involved in musical theater and uses the web to find monologues for her auditions, information about her favorite musicals, and videos of her favorite stars and shows. In fact, we have to restrict her computer time during the school year because it sometimes interferes with her school work (because it’s definitely way more fun than doing 25-30 math homework problems almost every night). That is what learning about appropriate digital use is all about and I am happy as a parent to help her develop her digital skills and discipline.

    Wouldn’t it be great if she could use some of those math skills solving real world problems? What if she could talk to and see, or watch videos created by students in the countries that she studied in Social Studies this year? What if some of her research projects were presented in digital media rather than paper, markers, and poster board? What if she were creating an e-portfolio of links, pictures, audio, and video about the things she was learning and doing and creating?

    Oh, wait! We have to schedule time in the computer lab which only has access for about half the class at one time. We have to leave the lab in 40 minutes so another class can use it. Doing projects and collaboration take away from the all important test prep in the spring. What if someone sees, or says, or does something inappropriate?

    Now, consider the students that I teach in THE large, urban district. Many of these kids have no access to the internet or computers unless they are at school. What they do have is affected by all of the problems in the paragraph above, plus restrictive blocking of free Web 2.0 resources, and emphasis on expensive commercial software which is often used for “drill and kill”. How much more would their education be enriched and enhanced if they at the very least had 1 on 1 access at school and the opportunity to use the freely available resources?

    Edmond Public Schools can and should be leading the way. Thank you, Wes, for leading the charge. Change is scary but not changing is deadly!

  8. […] of VoiceThread at our school with our teachers, working with school and district administrators. I did record a video message for our school board this summer and send it to them on DVD, but as I realistically anticipated nothing has come from that effort. […]

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