These are my notes from Richard Culatta‘s luncheon keynote address at the April 19, 2012, Oklahoma Digital Learning Summit in Oklahoma City. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. SEE ALL MY POSTS TAGGED “DLsummit2012″ AS WELL AS MY TWEETS TAGGED “DLsummit2012.”

Richard Culatta at the 2012 Oklahoma Digital Learning Summit

Mr. Richard Culatta, Office of Ed Tech United State Department of Education

My work focuses on learning analytics

- served as education policy advisor

- chief technology officer at CIA University

- extended training opportunities to CIA officers worldwide

- was a learning technologies advisor at BYU, also worked with Rose Education Foundation

- certified Spanish teacher

Richard’s website: www.innovativelearning.com

Twitter accounts for Richard:

- @rec54

- @OfficeOfEdTedch

I want to share some challenges and things that keep me up at night as we make this transition from print to digital

President Obama: “Education is both a moral obligation and an economic imperative. We are in the fight for the future – a fight that depends on education.”

In recent debates education has rarely been mentioned

I am not a gloom and doom guy looking at where education is going

I want to ‘level set’ where we are today

Now showing graph of Olympic rankings and gold medals earned

- let’s compare this to PISA rankings

- US falls much lower

Michael Moe quotation: If the US performed as low in the Olympics as they do in education, heads would roll

Now showing College entrance rankings: just getting to college

- I know you understand the need for changes

- understand this is why we have smart legislation passing in this state

- this is a national security issue

- I spent some time working in the intelligence community and I understand why we need to move ahead

(Photo of classroom with desks in rows – THE PHOTO BELOW ISN’T THE SAME ONE RICHARD SHARED, BUT IT’S SIMILAR)

'Old School School Room' photo (c) 2011, JJ Losier - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Something is wrong here

Tony Driscoll (?) was visiting Colonial Williamsburg

- story about child saying, “that’s a classroom” (he recognized it hadn’t changed to today)

I have a friend who researched ‘the history of the classroom’

- started in 18th century Prussia

- one of several state institutions along with prisons and mental hospitals developed to capture and construct bodies in order to render them as docile subjects

- their purpose was as much disciplinary as educational, developed to bring people under social control

we don’t have classrooms because we wanted them or because they are particularly conducive to learning

- we are shooting for much better

Drawbacks of traditional classroom:

- treats all learners the same

- disadvantages learners geographically (by zip code)

Digital learning affords opportunities to connect with experts

- provides tools for creation

Contrived problems drive me bonkers

- there are so many REAL problems in our country that need to be solved, we don’t need to make up learning

- helps learning go beyond walls of the classroom

- adapts and adjusts to needs of learners

Learning is fun

- what is happening in the classroom may not be fun

My boss, Arne Duncan, and FCC head are saying we need to transition to digital learning in the next 5 years

A ‘nester’ says read all this text and go to the next screen

- I am very worried if we do this: digitizing bad pedagogical models

Worst thing in edtech is the invention of the ‘next’ button

- this isn’t the type of digital learning we’re talking about

- I am focused on going where we need to go

Games are powerful because assessment and learning are indistinguishable

Recommended reading: National Education Technology Plan: Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology

- read at least the executive summary

- 2010

Trends I see:

- increased mobility: 24/7 access

- improved access to digital content

- social interactions for learning

- Big Data: the ability to collect LOTS of data (not just a few test scores, hundreds of thousands of data points)

recent discussion with programmer: we collect tens of thousands of data points

- we can tell how long a person ‘hovered

this is not about grading schools, this is about how we can use data to inform learning

We just released another report on learning analytics I’ll share with you

Transition considerations

- this is NOT replacing the classroom

Recent superintendent citing problems with the classroom: Our needs to LEVEL them

- if you can find the money for that to build new schools, go for it– most people can’t

Digital learning environments can be very effective in current educational structures

- question is: how can we ‘swap out’ digital learning environments in existing structures

1st: is online learning supported?

- allow/require, have full time options

- thanks to your new legislation and smart thinking, ‘you’re there’ now in Oklahoma

Digital Report Card from DigitalLearningNow

- for all the states

- how states are doing in preparation for online learning support

- much more than just identifying vendors to provide services

- Oklahoma does very well on that report card, btw

- more than just that number

- how can you make these changes work for your learners

This applies in and outside of the classroom

2nd: Can digital materials be purchased with textbook funds

- this is again a good news item for Oklahoma

MY COMMENT: I HOPE SO BUT I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION WE ARE STILL LIMITED TO SOME PRINT MATERIALS FOR SOME TEXTBOOK CONTENT AREAS?

Policymakers in approximately a third of the states have changed the definition of “textbooks” to include digital content

3- Is there a strategy to put a device in the hand of every learner

- examples: State of Maine, 1 to 1

- Utah: example of a strategy, they are now 1 to 1 yet, they are adopting open source textbooks for a number of grades, taking those funds to buy devices for kids

– that’s a smart way to think about obtaining devices

– bad idea: remove textbook funds and let this disappears

- Mooresville, North Carolina

– done a great job to get every learner a device they can take home

– did that by looking at print materials they no longer needed to purchase

- they spend $1.85 per student per day, to provide laptops for all students each day

4- Broadband access available in and out of school

- we are working on several programs at the national level

- ARRA provided funding for broadband connectivity around the country

We have 98% broadband connectivity in our schools now

- that’s great

- we have to make sure once we get in the school and USE it

- educationsuperhighway.org is an example of helping districts be efficient setting up their networks

Connect 2 Compete: making sure parents in homes have access to broadband connectivity

- led by FCC

- cable Internet providers stepping up providing $10 per month to families qualifying for free lunch

5- Is digital content being shared with other states

- is digital content from other states being taken advantage of here?

example: The Learning Registry

- a tool that helps connect digital content from different states

- Brokers of Expertise: California state portal with content for teachers

- lots of content being put in there

Florida is doing the same thing

- in some cases aligning the SAME content

- this isn’t a good use of time or money

Learning Registry connects those portals to each other

- if 20 states make 50 alignments, then each state has 50 alignments, they can each have access to 1000 resources

- we have a mix of tech and curriculum leaders here

- there is not a website or front end

- we don’t think we need another portal

- we believe teachers should be able to use any portal they want

- we want to make sure metadata is connected

- here’s how we know this is a success: No one need to know that content is coming from other states / different places

How are you taking advantage of sharing content, not just going through process of aligning it yourself

6- Do procurement processes in your district enable the adoption of new technologies?

- I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs

- I ask why we don’t see your apps in education, response is often the approval process

How do we make it easier to get the technology in the door?

- to involve the vendors and developers?

- how can they be partnered with teachers

DigitalPromise.org

- leads the League of Innovative Schools

- works on improving procurement processes

- there are NOT any Oklahoma districts yet participating (take this as a challenge!)

How do we make it easier to get the new tools in the building?

7- Is progress based on competency instead of seat-time requirements?

Story of students looking up on board to see their lesson they were focusing on

- quiz at the end of the day, 3 questions

- those results went into a system that generated the student’s schedule for the next day

MY COMMENT: I’M THINKING THIS IS ‘THE SCHOOL OF ONE‘ IN WASHINGTON DC

so a competency map can be used to do this

- not based on how long you sat in a seat

Mozilla Open Badges project

- lots of people learning lots of stuff

- it’s hard for people to show what they’ve learned

No one ever asks what courses I took in college

- so I figure out ways to tell people what I know

- wouldn’t it be great to point people to a place that shows my competencies

- anyone who wants to can issue badges for competencies

8- Does each student have a customized learning plan

Example: Khan Academy

One of the biggest challenges of curriculum is it’s often out of context

- games can provide helpful context

Example of honeycomb map created in North Carolina, showing path where learners need to go

- excellent to give students agency to determine their learning path

I AM WONDERING WHAT THIS IS?

9- Can parents and students access their performance data

- I’ve worked a long time to try and make data available

- lots of debates about privacy

- I realized I have the right to see my child’s data, so I asked my school for it

- they eventually gave me a printed page of information

- real challenge is: How do we make data available to parents and students in useful ways

- easy way: Saying we’ll let you download it

Last example: MyData Download

- I lead this initiative at the US DOE

- whoever holds student data, will you make that data available to parents and students?

- we’re not changing access, we’re letting you do it in a format this portable and useful

- another site or service may let you upload that data, and tell you things like “your son sucks at math and should watch more Khan Academy videos”

- democratizing data is an extremely important element to transitioning to a digital learning environment

Thinking about how data about student performance is available in a useable format is important

- PDF doesn’t count

- needs to be machine readable

Now this is not a consideration, this is a MUST

- lots of support for teachers

- Empowering Digital Transition

http://assess4ed.net

League of Innovative Teachers

- group we are designing gnow

http://connectededucators.org is a website we support with forums for teachers to discuss digital transition

Help teachers ‘plug in” to each other is vital and important

Questions from the audience:

How are you working with higher education to do this

- helping others look at learning analytics

Education Innovation Classes

- we’re starting these now

- to partner entrepreneurs, educational researchers and educators

MY QUESTION: WHAT EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES DO YOU RECOMMEND TO ADDRESS CONTENT FILTERING ISSUES IN OUR OKLAHOMA SCHOOLS?

- important to help IT people understand

- best IT situation: no users

- keep all the users off, the network is perfect

- it takes leadership: good strategy is to ask the IT side in those decisions about curriculum

- PLC / professional learning communities

- how often are IT folks brought into those meetings

- make sure they are brought into some of them, make sure they are coming up with some of those solutions

Pose a problem: I need to help our students safely share their work online with others

- can be helpful to ask IT to help solve specific problems instead of asking to unblock specific websites

Challenge is: Don’t have good way to measure what people are doing with devices

- I’m really concerned about online learning with no instructor involved

- run away from those vendors

- when self-paced = alone with a computer that scares me [for online learning]

What states are leading the way using the Internet to inform parents?

- I’m not saying take down current portals, I’m saying connecting portals to each other is vital

We want teachers to have options in accessing content from different places / portals

Question: Need to bridge the gap between higher ed and common ed – what goal or plan do we have we can ‘force feed’ or “provide purpose and direction” to bridge this?

- aligning to Common Core Standards is a good thing, college and career-ready standards

- this helps to make innovations easier to implement

- in pre-CCSS days, vendors had to build separate apps for each state

- now entrepreneurs are finally seeing ‘it’s worth it’ for us to develop educational apps [BECAUSE SO MANY MORE STATES ARE FOCUSED ON THE SAME STANDARDS]

Think about how we can make the line between where high school ends and college begins ‘fuzzier?’

Digital learning can reduce remediation needs in higher education

We need to reduce college costs by making universities more efficient

2 Closing Thoughts:

1- Heard of #pencilchat on Twitter

– great technique of swapping out the device or technology for something like a ‘pencil’ it can help us see our way out of the weeds

2- This is not easy to do but it is SO important

MY COMMENTS: 2 QUESTIONS I STILL WOULD LIKE TO POST TO RICHARD

1- WILL THE US DOE EMBRACE CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSING FOR CURRICULUM MATERIALS SO OPEN CONTENT SHARING CAN BECOME MORE CONSTRUCTIVELY DISRUPTIVE?

2- HOW DO YOU THINK HIGH STAKES TESTING AND THE SIGNIFICANT FOCUS WE CURRENTLY HAVE ON HIGH STAKES TESTING WE CURRENTLY HAVE IN K-12 SCHOOLS SHOULD CHANGE IN THIS NEW ERA OF DIGITAL LEARNING?

Closing story from Damon Gardenshire: My daughter brought her B in math up to an A after using Khan Academy, was it the reason? Not sure but it probably helped. Everyone should know about Khan videos and provide the option for students to use them

More resources for today’s comments by Richard Culatta are on:

- www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/

MY CLOSING COMMENTS: GOOD IDEAS FROM RICHARD, SOME REALLY GREAT RESOURCES REFERENCED. I’M PARTICULARLY ENTHUSED ABOUT LEARNING REGISTRY AND THE EFFORTS TO CROSS-LINK LESSON CONTENT VIA META INFO. I ASKED RICHARD ABOUT REQUIRING CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSING FOR PUBLICLY FUNDED / GRANT-CREATED CONTENT, AND HE SAID THE LATEST U.S. DOE COMMUNITY COLLEGE GRANT DOES REQUIRE CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSING. I HOPE WE’LL SEE OUR STATE DOE EMBRACE THIS SAME MODEL! SEE MY POST FROM OCTOBER 2005, “CREATING SUSTAINABLE E-LEARNING INFRASTRUCTURES” AT THE 2005 ELEARNING CONFERENCE IN VANCOUVER, CANADA. IN THAT PRESENTATION, DAVID PORTER DESCRIBED HOW PUBLIC EDUCATION GRANT FUNDS IN CANADA WERE/ARE BEING USED TO REQUIRE CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSING OF FUNDED CURRICULUM.

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