These are my notes from a COSN 2009 session, “Preliminary Report of a National Survey of School Leaders on the Use of Web 2.0 in Schools” on March 11, 2009, in Austin, Texas. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Key question for CoSN: “So What?”

from Cheryl Lemke
– this is very interesting data
– next year will be even more interesting, because we’ll have trend data

Partners CoSN has invited for this
– MacArthur Foundation
– ASCD
– Common Sense Media

US has over 14,000 school districts
– we did a stratified random sample by locale: urban, suburban, town and rural
– overall return rate was 24%
– sample included 1,189 district admins (389 superintendents, 441 tech directors, 359 curriculum directors)

What reasons do you have for moving toward web 2.0
– top reason in all locales: Keeping students interested and engaged in school

INTERESTING BECAUSE THIS ANSWER IS CONSISTENT WITH THE IDEA OF MAINTAINING OUR EXISTING SCHOOL SYSTEM, FORMAT AND PARADIGM

2nd response: meetign the needs of different kinds of learners
3- develop critical thinking skills
4- develop capabilities in students that can’t be acquired through traditional means
5- provide alternative learning environments for students
6- extend learning beyond the school day
7- prepare students to be lifelong learners

in 1:1 projects we’ve found critical thinking is the #1 thing schools are looking for

“Global Awareness” did not make it into the top 7
– it was for superintendents and suburban respondents, but not for others

2nd main finding: The majority of district admins believe that student use of web 2.0 should be limited to participation on approved educational websites

51% of schools said they were more restrictive than CIPA requires

I THINK THAT NUMBER IS MUCH HIGHER IN OKLAHOMA

3rd major finding: The majority of school districts ban social networking (70%) and chat rooms (72%) while allowing prescribed educational use for most of the other web 2.0 tools

4th finding: While reporting low levels of general use, curriculum directors did describe significant opportunities for use of web 2.0 tools in curricula and teaching materials
– sharing visual media files
– creating polls and surveys
– participating in online projects
– blogging
– sharing music or sound files
– site-building (FreeWebs)
– playing interactive games
– participating in virtual worlds
– social networking

We found those web 2.0 tools that would require a change to be made in the ways teachers taught and students learned have been adopted LEAST

5th finding: Curriculum directors reported that web 2.0 will be used most effectively in the content areas of writing, social studies, and reading at all grade levels

6th finding: While there was broad agreement that web 2.0 applications hold educational value, the use of these tools in American classrooms remains the province of individual pioneering classrooms

THIS LAST FINDING IS SO TRUE. IT IS NOT HAPPENING SYSTEMATICALLY. VERY SPOTTY. INDIVIDUAL PIONEERS. NOT SYSTEMIC.

finding 7: Few district leaders have systematically begun to research, plan, or implement effective uses of web 2.0, nor have they yet restructured their schools to enable participatory reform

THIS IS NO SURPRISE, REALLY.

generally we found urban and suburban schools were much more open and much further along with understanding and utilizing web 2.0 technologies

we are continuing to write this report, will be formally releasing it in April to COSN and the MacArthur Foundation

Now comments from Jennifer Barrett from ASCD
– last year ASCD signed on as member of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills
– P-21 framework highlights problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and others as essential skills

Story from yesterday’s pre-con with Marco Torres, took a photo of a menu and had someone in his learning network help him order
– also shared example of Japan who had taught himself guitar and 3.5 million viewers and had shared their own video

I ACTUALLY THINK THERE WERE MORE VIEWERS THAN THAT! I ALSO THINK MARCO DOES THE BEST JOB I’VE SEEN OF FRAMING THAT STORY. SOMETIMES ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS HEAR THAT STORY AND THINK, “SO WHAT. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SCHOOL.” INTERESTING THAT JENNIFER IS QUOTING MARCO FROM YESTERDAY SEVERAL TIMES. CLEARLY HE MADE A BIG IMPRESSION. GOOD JOB MARCO! :-)

ASCD feels that by integrating 21st century tools, including web 2.0 tools, to change our educational systems and schools

we need to begin by empowering our communities and educational leaders

EXACTLY. I AGREE. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF CELEBRATE OKLAHOMA VOICES.

teachers need a network of support

ASCD is committed to do this

JENNIFER IS NOT USING ANY SLIDES AT ALL TO COMPLEMENT HER COMMENTS. INTERESTING. THIS COMMUNICATES “DO WHAT I SAY, NOT WHAT I DO” WHEN IT COMES TO MODELING AND MANY OF THE IDEAS SHE IS TALKING ABOUT.

ASCD is establishing podcasts and providing free/open access to presenters and ideas

Now comments from Linda Burch from Common Sense Media
– a year ago we did a study comparing parent views to teacher views on learning potentials of social media
– worked to use a similar research tool this time
– what I think is profoundly important about this research, is I think it’s the first time this group of school leaders have been asked these questions with this type of depth

I AM THINKING THESE QUESTIONS WOULD BE GREAT FOR OKLAHOMA SDE TO ASK ALL SUPERINTENDENTS

I believe our President in the US is now focused on 21st century skills
– is talking about new assessment tools around critical thinking and problem solving

Keeping students engaged should be our top priority

IS SHE TALKING ABOUT KEEPING KIDS ENTHRALLED OR KEEPING KIDS ENGAGED? SO OFTEN WE’RE HEARING PEOPLE USE THE WORD “ENGAGE” WHEN THEY REALLY MEAN “ENTHRALL.”

Our study found critical thinking skills is one of the top things parents saw about web 2.0 tools, from World of Warcraft to other games/websites

exciting innovations about alternative learning environments
– in Chicago and New York: connecting schools to libraries
– virtual worlds and games
– new school in NYC, will be focused on games: quests and challenges
– we can pick up on that finding too

LINDA IS NOT USING ANY SLIDES OR IMAGES AT ALL IN HER PRESENTATION EITHER. SO INTERESTING TO HEAR PRESENTERS HERE NOT USE MEDIA AT ALL, TO TALK ABOUT THE VALUE AND IMPORTANCE OF MEDIA. KNOWING THE POWER OF VISUAL LITERACY AND VISUAL MEDIA, WHEN A PRESENTER COULD BE USING IMAGES TO ACCENT AND SUPPORT THEIR IDEAS/POINTS AND THEY DON’T, I ALWAYS WONDER: DO THEY REALLY WANT ME TO REMEMBER WHAT THEY ARE SAYING? ARE THEY REALLY TRYING TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON MY BRAIN? IT’S ALWAYS EASIER TO JUST LECTURE AND NOT SUPPLEMENT WITH MEDIA. BUT IN MANY CASES THAT IS LESS EFFECTIVE.

We are looking for better research on what is the learning which is happening with web 2.0
– real effort to create a group to work on assessment
– until there are evidentiary standards for this type of learning, we won’t see broad adoption in our schools
– we need professional development, and need it to be defined “bottoms up”
– we need a parent awareness campaign about digital learning across the country
– lots more curriculum development to be done in local schools
— people trying things, really getting creative, like we heard from Marco Torres yesterday

Common Sense Media does 3 things
1- rate and review all kinds of media from a kids and families perspective (for consumers who are parents and educators, so adults in kids’ lives can understand what they are engaged with and why they love it)
2- create “recommended lists” of websites, movies, about different topics and for different purposes (websites for tinkerers and adventurers is an example)
3- we educate with simple, 3 minute videos for parents
4- we are an advocacy organization promoting “digital literacy” and “digital citizenship”
— reframing discussions about internet safety, directing kids to sites which involve civic engagement

I LOVE COMMON SENSE MEDIA FOR ALL THESE REASONS!!! THEY ARE GREAT!!! THIS IS WHY I HAVE THEM LINKED IN MY BLOG LEFT SIDEBAR!!!

james [dot] bosco […..

From James:
– the tragedy of these meetings is that we never have enough time for these Q&A times and conversations

MY RESPONSE: THIS IS JUST A FUNCTION OF SCHEDULING. THERE IS NO REASON A “CONVERSATION WITH THE PANEL” SESSION COULDN’T BE SCHEDULED TO FOLLOW THIS. THIS HAPPENS AT SOME CONFERENCES. WHY NOT COSN?
– ACTUALLY MANY OF THE SESSIONS I SAW AT COSN LAST YEAR IN WASHINGTON DC WERE SHORT PANEL

MY QUESTION: WHERE ARE BEST PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAMS ON DIGITAL LITERACY AND DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP IN THE COUNTRY?

Linda’s answer:

Common Sense Schools program was launched in November 2008

State of Virginia has been doing good work on parent education
Kansas City schools have also been doing good work

MacArthur Foundation is supporting “Good Play Project: Digital Ethics”

Also see the Spotlight blog from the MacArthur Foundation

MacArthur Foundation 21st Century Learning and Assessment project (can’t find a link)

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