These are my notes from the LESCN panel discussion, “What does a 21st century learner look like?” on April 1, 2010 in Meredith, New Hampshire. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Panelists today are:
– Jeff Cicone (works for BAE Systems, the #2 largest defense contractor in the world, #2 employer in New Hampshire)
– Chad Miller (director of technology for a corporation)
– Danielle Bolduc (district tech integration facilitator, now director of instruction for her district)
– Mike Morgan (supt at SAU 16 in Exeter, 3rd largest district in NH, has taught grad school at Plymouth State)

Moderator is Scott Spradling

Question 1: How do you launch the dialog between teachers about preparing students for the 21st century

Mike:

eLearning Charter School is focused on smaller group of students

Virtual Learning Academy at Exeter

We can never lose sight of the citizenship component
– who knows who, and is connected to someone else
– I’m a fan of Howard Gardner’s book “Five Minds for the Future”
— disciplined mind, synthesizing mind is important
— having a respectful, ethical mind is critical

Chad’s thoughts:
– several years ago we reconfigured out wireless networks at school so students, parents, and others can bring their own wifi devices to school
– we do provide a basic level of content filtering
– kids come to school each day, but each night they are on YouTube, Facebook, etc at night
– we could look at extending the school day digitally to reach out to those students
– maybe an instructor could have their day start at noon and go 8 pm?
– lots hurdles to this, but as education shifts and becomes more asynchronous we need to explore theses issues
– budgets and finances are a big driver to all this

Question for Danielle: How do you get started? Where to begin?
– we’ve been re-writing our technology plan this year, and are focusing on ‘who are these 21st century learners,” who are they and how do they learn?
– “Understanding the Digital Generation” is a great book I recommend to everyone
Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John G. Palfrey
– focusing on problem solving is one way we can adapt to today’s students
– multi-tasking is not good for the kids, that is research-based
– we have to know that kids work today as multi-taskers

We have to know ‘what is out there’ to be able to connect with our kids

solution fluency
information fluency
– know there is bias there
collaboration
– collaboration fluency
– how to work with a team: not just people in your own classroom, can be people in other classrooms, in other places
creativity
– ref. Dan Pink, “A Whole New Mind
– lots of toilet paper rolls out there, how are they differentiated in the marketplace (creative folks can do this)
media fluency
– looking at a topic like Global Warming
– what is the important message, and what is the best way to communicate that message
digital citizenship
– kids are meeting people online first now in many cases
– kids need to be the same person they are online as they are face-to-face
– letting students know people are selling to you, or wanting to do worse things to you online when you meet them
– we know kids are going to have 10-14 jobs in their lives

Question from the moderator: How many of you let your students use WikiPedia
– at the news station (channel 9) where I was working we started to use WikiPedia, then discovered how inaccurate it is
– then we were banned from ever using WikiPedia

I WISH I HAD ADDRESSED WIKIPEDIA IN MY KEYNOTE! THERE IS A COMMON MISPERCEPTION AMONG ADULTS (INCLUDING MANY EDUCATORS) TODAY THAT BECAUSE ANYONE CAN EDIT WIKIPEDIA, IT IS WORTHLESS
– IT WOULD BE WORTH PUTTING SEVERAL SLIDES INTO A PRESO TO ADDRESS THOSE IDEAS

Danielle pointed out kids need to defend why their sources are credible, multiple sources for a given statement or idea

What are the skills business folks want/need for students? (at the end of the pipeline)

Comment from a participant: flexibility, collaboration, and supported risk-taking will support those life skills
– open ended questions are key

Now asking Jeff from BAE about skills they want for their employees: Skills advice for what businesses want…

Jeff: technology is an enabler
– some people today have been talking about a skill set which enable you to use technology
– there are skill sets that allow you to be successful no matter what (whether or not we’re using technology or not)
– you might be “scary smart” but if you’re not a good communicator, if you can’t collaborate, those are big missing pieces

We have some cultural initiatives at our company to give us a competitive advantage-
– borderless
– 1 team

We have lots of people in our company who if you’re not sitting next to them, they are not going to be collaborating with them
– people who are downstairs, or are
– many young people come in and have a sense of social connectedness
– this is the borderless, social connectivist piece

Another issue is knowledge management
– we have so much information in our company, but people who have been in our company for 40 years, we’re in trouble
– young people are so good at accessing information, bringing it together

Another big initiative: lean, efficiency
– leveraging technology
– tech-saavy people are not afraid of it
– new generation can figure out new apps for their iPhone, as an example
– people who can find new ways to use technologies to increase efficiencies

This generation embraces these skills that we’re needing and wanting in our company

BAE does give some older computers to schools (Deerfield as an example)

We are a strategic sponsor of FIRST

INTERESTING THAT IN THIS SESSION, THE ONLY TECHNOLOGY BEING USED IS THE MICROPHONE. FREQUENTLY THAT IS THE CASE ON PANELS LIKE THIS…

Mike’s comments
– initiative is very important
– students need to know they can’t start at the top
– we often now do Google searches on people
– you have to be really careful
– some people who have a “digital footprint” out there are not very careful
– we need to help our kids be ethical, balancing (like Gartner discusses), etc.
– The future is going to unfold with lots of jobs not yet invented yet
– we need to be more globally aware
– we have 4 sons, one called me from Lisbon, Portugal enroute to Dakar
– our kids are doing things we’d never imagined were possible years ago

relationship with a car dealer led to a situation where doing a test drive resulted in money donated to the school

More from Mike:
– you have to make connections
– you can’t hesitate to use email, and other tools
– if you have an opportunity to GO THERE and make a contact, do it
– make connections: you find out there are taxpayers in our communities who are very willing to help schools
– writing letters, reaching out
– Greg Mortensen (3 Cups of Tea) was at Exeter HS recently and told the story of how he got started raising money for schools in Asia
— Tom Brokaw gave him is first $100
— one person / contact at a time

Participant comment: Our state has issues with equity of resources
– resources here in the central part of the state and the north country, we often have not heard of those
– I’d love to see us as educators to provide some equity / parity for access to these educational resources

THAT POINT MAKES THE CASE FOR PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING

GREAT COMMENT FROM MARIA KNEE: DISCUSSING ABOUT HOW WE CAN AND ARE CONNECTING WITH THESE TOOLS
– K12 ONLINE

Another participant: I’m from the northern part of the state, we don’t have high speed broadband
– it’s not equal, we don’t have the access

Chad:
– in our district not everyone has connectivity
– there are communities where they just have dial-up

I THINK WE ARE HEARING ‘YEAH-BUT’ COMMENTS FROM PARTICIPANTS HERE. NOT A SURPRISE.
– A POINT THAT WAS NOT MADE HERE AND SHOULD BE WAS: HOW ABOUT E-RATE? AT HOME THERE MAY NOT BE HIGH SPEED CONNECTIVITY, BUT AT OUR SCHOOLS THERE IS. I’M SURE AFTER 10 YEARS OF ERATE FUNDING, NEW HAMPSHIRE SCHOOLS (LIKE OKLAHOMA, TEXAS, AND KANSAS SCHOOLS) HAVE HIGH SPEED CONNECTIVITY

Participant: we are not going to catch the kids, they have more time than we have and they are not afraid

Comment from Jeff: interesting that many people who are the decisionmakers in communities are the baby-boomers
– they are not the ones most comfortable by using technology

Chad: story from 2005 of community that didn’t have broadband, partnered with ISP and brought high-speed to the school, and they were able to then put an antenna up and re-sell connectivity to the community
– OF COURSE THEY COULDN’T DO THAT WITH E-RATE FUNDING UNDER CURRENT GUIDELINES, IRONICALLY

Scott: John F Kennedy, “A rising tide raises all boats”
– what are the 3 things we need in each classroom
– maybe we need a grassroots, viral PR effort
– get organized and get loud about this, those are my recommendations

I HOPE WE CAN HAVE A VIRAL ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN AROUND “UNMASKING THE DIGITAL TRUTH.”
– I think we need a better slogan / title though

Daneille’s comments: Learning starts with motivation and engagement
– I ask my 6 year old, “Who taught you how to do this?” and he responds quizzically, “I just know how to do it.”

Mike: I am amazed to see the lack of involvement and engagement with the civic processes of our government
– voting!
– 1-2% of people might come to a deliberative session
– in traditional towns, we might just have 10% of voters participate
– these are the people who make the decisions in our communities
– sometimes educators don’t
– in Claremont, NH a building project was defeated by ONE vote!
– Sanborne, teacher contract vote was a tie and recount showed they lost by 6 votes

Scott:
– everyone wants smart kids, want good education, opposes animal abuse
– it’s the story of 1 animal which is abused which puts a face on that issue
– you need to put faces to the debate

THIS IS A CALL TO ARMS FOR STORYCHASERS! ;-)

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On this day..

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  • http://www.transleadership.wordpress.com Tony Baldasaro

    Wes,

    I didn’t get a chance to meet you yesterday in Meredith, but I certainly enjoyed your talk. I just want to clarify some points above. I have a unique perspective of them because while I am currently the Asst. Superintendent in SAU 16 (Exeter) I am an administrator at the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS), and I was the founding Teaching Principal of the Great Bay eLearning Charter School, both of which Mike Morgan referenced.

    They are two very different different schools. Great Bay (www.gbecs.org) falls under the umbrella of SAU 16 and Superintendent Morgan. VLACS (www.vlacs.org) is a separate charter school, that happens to rent space from one of Exeter’s school districts. Further, GBECS is designed to be a small, project-based high school that provides an alternative to other public schools. VLACS on the other hand is very large (more than 2,500 students and growing), is completely online in an anytime, anyplace, any pace environment and while some students do attend VLACS full time the majority of its students are fully enrolled at a local high school and are taking VLACS courses to personalize their learning.

    Both schools provide a valuable alternative the students of New Hampshire, but they are two separate schools. Your notes above reference Great Bay and then provided the link to VLACS. I wanted to make sure that your readers knew of the difference.

    Thanks again for coming to New Hampshire.

  • http://www.g4classes.com/learningforward Kent Chesnut

    Wes,

    “you need to put faces to the debate”

    The last 3 lines of your post are worthy of much thought!
    It seems we can’t do anything for the masses of hurting people in this world – whether it’s children being underserved by their schools or individuals without health insurance – at least not until we can identify with one of them!

    Keep up the great posts!
    Kent

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