These are my notes from the Oklahoma Technology Association (OTA) 2009 Conference opening session on 10 Feb 2009. Will Richardson is our keynote speaker this morning. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Opening comments from Oklahoma State Superintendent Sandy Garrett

Mid-1980s: I was the first director of rural education and technology
– not a lot happening then with technology and education
– joined OSU and pitched the learning by satellite program (German, Calculus, other courses offered by satellite)
– in rural areas where they didn’t have the resources, this became the “a-ha” moment to beam in instruction
– then worked with panhandle telecom company, they connected with my encouragement fiber optics throughout the panhandle, to make the largest landmass in North America with two-way video and audio
– the world has changed in many ways
– the world is flat, digital natives today are all about being plugged in
– 1985 my son in college got his first computer, a Macintosh, he left it at home for the summer
– I connected for the first time that summer
– Hypercard was kind of like the Internet is today
– then connected online

A book I read at that time which changed my life “Odyssey”
– by John Sculley
– John went to run the Apple Corporation to run it with the Wharton School of Business model
– he caught the vision of what technology could do in the classroom
– in writing that book, he described the classroom and the student
– he said “the student is a knowledge navigator”
— you might have not believed that 20 years ago, we could today

book “School is Out” also changed how I thought about education
– today is already the future
– we can think back / look back / it is different

Now showing Pearson / COSN video “Learning to Change-Changing to Learn”
– I don’t think education is over, it has just begun, but it will be different

I RESONATE WITH DAN PINK’S IDEA ON HOW FOOLISH IT IS TO FOCUS ON STANDARDS AND A VENDING-MACHINE APPROACH TO LEARNING. WE NEED TO FIND WAYS TO OPERATIONALIZE THE IDEAS OF THIS VIDEO IN OKLAHOMA EDUCATION. WE NEED POLICY CHANGES WHICH SUPPORT THIS VISION OF EDUCATION, RATHER THAN A MODEL WHICH FOCUSES ON HIGH STAKES TESTING AND COVERING THE STANDARDS.

You are going to be the leaders in our school district leading others into the future
– technology all of a sudden is exploding
– schools are sending report cards home to
– we are also testing online
– I love what this guy said, “We test way too much.”
– I keep telling the legislature this, and all of these tests are mandated by the federal government or the state
– some of you are spending 6-8 weeks testing
– yes we are for accountability, but maybe we need to hold off on everything a little bit

we have done surveys
– we know you don’t have enough hardware to do this testing without interrupting instruction
– that means many computers are unplugged
– we are giving that message to the legislature
– we will hope NCLB will be reauthorized with a focus on technology, and we hope the stimulus package
– we in Oklahoma have been one of the biggest benefactors of eRATE, we need to keep that connectivity even though it does not buy computers

As tech directors, how many of you have been working with the WAVE (student information system for Oklahoma education)
– WAVE is SIF compliant
– we will be the first state in the nation to have a SIF compliant (I don’t count Wyoming, they just have 40 districts)
– Wyoming is the only state in the nation with an education surplus, they have a lot of coal / natural resources
– it is very difficult to work with SIF as an organization
– thanks for all you’ve done working with your vendors on SIF compliance

My message today, third item:
– you are also the people who know the most about what can happen to benefit students with technology
– try to preserve the use of technolog
– we don’t want to unplug these kids, they are plugged in 24 hours a day
– they are learning more out of school than in school in many cases
– we have got to teach with that modality
– eBooks are coming to you soon
– I have a Kindle, Amazon has a great business model there, because you have to get the content from them

in April the new version of the Kindle will be coming out
– we will be electronically transmitting your textbooks in the future

I DON’T THINK ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS SHOULD BE THE CENTERPIECE OF OUR FUTURE VISION, WE NEED A FOCUS ON CREATING, COLLABORATING AND COMMUNICATING RATHER THAN PASSIVELY RECEIVING CONTENT, WHETHER THAT CONTENT IS DIGITAL OR ANALOG

Will Richardson’s keynote
– I want to share a lot with you today about what the learning landscape looks like “out there”
– this is a very challenging and exciting moment to be in education

My job is to make you a little bit uncomfortable today
– If I don’t

this is about the web that has been around about 15 years
– now for last 3 years it is a read/write platform

willrichardson.wikispaces.com

250,000 youtube videos posted each day, over 1 million Flickr photos, lots of blog posts, etc
– coming at a faster rate
– it is changing the way we have to look at kids, schools, and learning

Story about 11 year old Laura
– Dec 2007 she decided to honor the passing of her grandfather through community service in her home of Buffalo. NY

her blog: 25 days to make a difference
– now she has been going for over 400 days, over a year
– is going to the special olympics in Idaho now and serve on a youth panel
– this blog has made a difference in her lif

it has begun to connect her to others who are interested in community service
– showing Clustrmap of her blog
– it took a l

Forming groups is #1 thing we should be doing now
– #1 book I Recommend: Clay Shirkey “Here Comes Everybody”
– tectonic shift: we can publish and then what happens afterwards: we can form groups
– that is the big shift: that is the big change now
– now any of us who are passionate about something can form groups with people around the planet

quote “when will change happen, what will the change be”
– “newly capable groups are assembling and…working without the magagerial restrictions…these groups will transform the world”
– schools are in there
– we (in schools) are not going to be immune from these shifts
– these changes are crucially important for us to understand

We all have a responsibility as educators to figure this out and understand this
– my lens for this conversation: my kids who go to public schools in New Jersey
– their school is preparing them very well for the past, not hte future
– the schools do not let them be knowledge navigators

until we talk about giving access to a lot of this information and letting kids access this information, we are not

Example of orgnizing for America in Obama campaign
– look at the process, the way the Obama campaign allowed people to form groups
– from this point forward, we are going to be working to figure out how to effectively form groups

Obama campaign realized the last thing you want to do when people form groups is to go tell them all
– $300 million raised on this website, most through small increments (< $20) Kansas: Internet Cartoon Pays off for Kansas Candidate (NPR)
– advisors told him he need about $26,000
– he raised $25,000 in less than 24 hours with this cartoon
– he raised $90K leading up to the campaign

political cartoon

It is a fact that if you are musician right now, people are going to give it away, you hope to generate a fan-based big enough to do concerts

9 Inch Nails
– very popular band, gave away our new collection of mp3s
– millions of people downloaded their music
– guess what the best selling CD on Amazon was? Theirs

You give it away because people will pay for good things that they lik

surfthechannel
– 154 episodes of Little House on the Prairie
– Wall Street Journal article on this site, accused them to being criminals
– the owners defended the site as a TV guide to the Internet
– and they are in Sweden

What is the world like when copyright is global

Businesses need to understand the value of social media
– fastest growing companies in the US
– business are not about the products they create, they are about the conversations around the products, because we can form groups around the things in which we have interest
Read/Write Web article: “Study: Fastest Growing US Companies Rapidly Adopting Social Media”

Example from Sara Rasco tweeting and All State is listening to the conversations

businesses are changing and are not the same as they were 5 years ago
– our problem in this room is we are not changing, we are still basically the same model we’ve had for years

quotation from Alvin Toffler from the EduTopia article last year, about metaphors for cards

This shift IS huge
– I interviewed Clay Shirkey and
– I think people will be amazed about how little we understood about what was happening to us

the kids however are not amazed by this, they are simply joining in

MacArthur Foundation 3 year study on uses of digital media
– this is homework reading
ways kids connect
1- friendship based connections
2- we learn with people we’ve never met, in asynchronous space

we are transparent about the things we are thinking and learning, and there is powerful learning taking place tehre

our kids are driving an important shift and change that is big, not frivolous
– it is not just about texting
– they are writing, connecting, forming groups, and we don’t understand it because we don’t do it / live it

Only 3 of the people in that COSN video we just saw don’t have a visible digital footprint
– they have good ideas, but they don’t have a footprint which reflects that

TechCrunch: The iPhone Could Be The Ultimate Study Machine

over 500 million downloads last week alone of applications from iTunes

My daughter is trying to break me down to get a cell phone in 6th grade
– when she gets one, she will ha

our kids go home to unfiltered homes
– they have no context for this, because no one is teaching tehm

Australian government spent $84 million on a porn filter that was hacked in less than 24 hours by a 16 year old
– reality

Kids will never be knowledge navigators if we never allow them to navigate knowledge

I THINK THIS IS A KEY POINT

Key point is is learning is changing
– I just passed a million words written on my blog
– I am coming up to my 8 year anniversary
– example of 24 comments on a single post recently
– engaging in a conversation
– that is where a lot of my learning takes place
– it takes place with people around the world, not just face to face

This is my classroom (picture of ClustrMap from Will’s blog)
– it is filled with people who want to be there, who choose to participate
– what a concept
– if you don’t think that is different from being in a physical place

Teaching journalism for 18 years, I was lucky to have 2 or 3 kids in each cla

every one of those dots [ON MY CLUSTRMAP] is potentially my teacher
– how many dots are in my

my delicious network explorer
– click on Clay Burell
– click on these nodes
– the collective experience and knowledge of this group is HUGE and daunting
– this NOT easy to navigate
– it takes new literacies, new skills ot figure out
– it IS about networks, connecting, and modeling for our kids so they can do it in safe, effective, and ethical ways
– it is not as easy as simply clicking on links

Example: Fanfiction.net
– book “convergence culture” found most of those interacting in the Harry Potter section
– I am not suggesting you just bring this into your classroom
– this is important to understand
– key is to respond: the comments to

Imagine what it is like to be a kid who loves harry potter, to be writing stories for others who love harry potter
– kids are doing this because they can

Typical Nightmare MySpace page of MoLLYa 18 Phoenix AZ 18

your kids and mine ware going to be googled over and over throughout their lives
– when you put “Tess Richardson” into Google

how many of you teach “MySpace” in your schools besides

Meg Cabot is an example of a professional who relies on MySpace for her livlihood
– I love this site, one reason is my daughter loves Meg Cabot’s books
– I want my daughter to understand that you can do MySpace well, and she MUST do MySpace well
– who is teaching her that?

Learning is different here
– this does not mean we ignore these connections, we need to help them leverage those connections

Information and knowledge is everywhere, it is not scarce anymore
– we have a “just in case” model for learning
– many assessments are built on that model
– problem today: knowledge is everywhere

I am not saying we throw all content out of the curriculum, but we better think carefully about what we DO have in the curriculum when information is so plentiful
MIT OpenCourseWare: 1800 free courses available
– all FREE

this is no longer unique
– knowledge and information is everywhere
– we have to stop teaching kids like it is scarce

we have to help students direct their own learning, that is what our kids are going to have to do when they leave our classrooms
– kids are going to have to teach themselves, be self-directed learners
– we have to prepare kids for this

This content is not static any longer
– WikiPedia is the poster child for this, this raises many hackles
– unfortunately for a few moments Senator Kennedy passed away during the inauguration, he was edited back to life quickly however

WikiPedia is really NOT that bad for information, because of its CURRENCY it is better than many other sources
– our kids are using WikiPedia (you know that, right?)
– top 5 Google search: wikiPedia included

story of kid who started a wikipedia article and watched it get edited

who is teaching our kids how to use WikiPedia
– are we going to keep going on pretending our kids are not using WikiPedia

Example of Errors in a MIT textbook
– silence for effect

every textbook has errors: the problems with a printed textbook is we can’t fix this
– if there are errors we should be able to fix them

Very sad story of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octupus
– Donald Lieu gave this to 25 middle school students, 25 of them came back with a thumbs up that this would be a good source on endangered animals

Not so funny when we consider martinlutherking dot org run by Stormfront
– dispel the myth that .org sites are always
– this is now top 6 hit Google hit
– there were likely thousands of kids using this site for their research last week
– if you can’t figure out who owns this site and others, that is a literacy problem

you know how Google sites are ranked, right?
– if other sites are linked to it, it goes up
– Google rates the reputation of sites based on links

You can use google to find links to a website
– over the course of time, I worked with others to reduce the number of links to that website and reduce its google pagerank

do you and your kids understand how information is manipulated today, and how easy it can be do that?

NCTE 21st Centuries Framework
– this is what NCTE says we need to be doing NOW with reading and literacy
– what is literate today may not be literate tomorrow

THIS DOCUMENT DOES LOOK LIKE A VERY GOOD ONE TO READ, SHARE, AND UNDERSTAND

Instead of just writing to communicate, we need to write to connect

Who wants to argue with me about whether kids will be reading and writing in hypertext environments

Article to examine as an example “Is Technology Producing A Decline in Critical Thinking and Analysis”
– look at Diigo annotations, from Stephanie Sandifer, Clay Burrel, and others

If you think technology is the cause of decline in critical thinking, this is laughable
– it is not technology that makes kids poor critical thinkers, it is their lack and our lack of understanding how to use this

that digital native/immigrant metaphor does not work, kids do not understand how to use these tools well

classrooms have to be different

So story of Andrew in Perth, Australia using Skype and Yugma to get an intro to Scratch

The question is not just about who is in your physical learning space
– I want my kids to be able to learn whatever they need to learn, whenever they need to learn
– this happens when we make our classrooms thin walled, and draw maps on our kids’ websites

Example: Karl Fisch bringing in Dan Pink via Skype for 2 hours, answering questions
– that is getting outside of the walls, it is an important concept when we think about learning

we need to rethink the work we give to kids in our schools

my kids’ school is a worksheet school
– they used to come home with the Friday folder
– when my kids were in 2nd and 4th grade, we decided to save all the papoer
– 2.5 feed of paper at the end of the year
– guess how many times my kid ever looked back at that stack of paper
– they (my kids) had not interest in this

Example: Radio WillowWeb Willowcast #24

GOOD JOB TO WILL, SHOWING EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL STUDENT WORK LIKE THIS. I THINK THIS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE CAN DO IN SESSIONS LIKE THESE

At the end of their ant unit, the teacher asked the kids what they wanted to tell the world about what they learned about ants
– don’t miss the point: my kids would have studied ants, it would have been reported out

Our kids deserve THAT
– doing real work, for real purposes, for real audiences
– our classrooms is not the only audience for our kids’ work
– their audience can be global, and it should be

If you don’t think this is important, then I’ll try to convince you with this: 2009 Horizon Report

Quote from Participatory Media Literacy: Why it matters jan 3, 2009 from Michael Wesch

Those of us striving to integrate participatory media literacy practices into our classes often face resistance. Other faculty might argue that we are turning away from the foundations of print literacy, or worse, pandering to our tech-obsessed students. Meanwhile, students might resist too, wondering why they have to learn to use a wiki in an anthropology class. The surprising-to-most-people-fact is that students would prefer less technology in the classroom (especially *participatory* technologies that force them to do something other than sit back and memorize material for a regurgitation exercise). We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them – that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create.

I understand the “yeah buts”
– I don’t have time
– I have these standardized assessments
– my principal doesn’t understand

I know those are all valid responses, I am not discounting that
– then the challenge has to become, if you can’t get over those “yeah buts” then I challenge you as an educator, what is your “yeah but” for not thinking and learning differently with these tools and in this context

When I started using blogs 8 years ago, there were very few of teachers and studetns

problem: most of this is just republishing what they used to do
– it is not about publishing, it is about connecting
– that is how the pedagogy changes
– if you get that for yourself first, then you can teach with this

I am passionate about this because this is a huge, important piece of my kids lives
– no one is teaching them about this
– we need you to teach the kids in our classroom what the world is going to look like when they leave our classrooms

MY FAVORITE TAKEAWAY FROM WILL TODAY WAS THIS: “IT IS NOT ABOUT COMMUNICATING, IT IS ABOUT CONNECTING.” I DEFINITELY AGREE WITH HIS IDEA THAT WE NEED TO NOT SIMPLY REPLICATE ANALOG PEDAGOGIES WITH DIGITAL TOOLS, BUT I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER ACOT RESEARCH AND THE STAGES WHICH TEACHERS GO THROUGH WHEN THEY ARE WELL SUPPORTED IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHICH VALUES INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING.

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5 Responses to Opening Session: Oklahoma Technology Association Conference 2009

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  2. […] of the recipe for improving schools in the 21st century. As Oklahoma state school superintendent Sandy Garrett said last week in her opening comments at the Oklahoma Technology Association’s …, we need to REDUCE the amount of mandated, standardized testing taking place now in our […]

  3. […] that her suggested strategy was more complex than that.  A-list edublogger Wesley Fryer recorded a speech from Ms. Garrett that seemed to suggest that she was suggesting much more than that and in fact was […]

  4. […] of the recipe for improving schools in the 21st century. As Oklahoma state school superintendent Sandy Garrett said last week in her opening comments at the Oklahoma Technology Association’s annu…, we need to REDUCE the amount of mandated, standardized testing taking place now in our […]

  5. […] the February 2009 Oklahoma Technology Association’s conference, keynote speaker Will Richardson told a story about the worksheets his own students bring home from […]

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