My notes from Marco’s MACE ’07 keynote. (My thoughts are IN CAPS.)


Medium Vs. Message | Technology Vs. Communication

Teachers at these conferences are the “YES ands”
– other teachers are the “Yes buts”
– and then there is the “No ways” and the “So whats”

After these conferences we go back and try to share with our collegues
– so this video (Teacher movie) is really associated with the “Yes buts” to show the first day of school
– you have to appeal to the emotions of your colleagues

I’ve been in Australia, Japan, other people
– I wrote this video script in 20 minutes on an airplane, gave these to teachers and

Tom Friedman: World is Flat
– 1 sentence: “If you can be replaced, you will be.”
– From Woody Allen

Distance = Bandwidth
– that is a different conception
– kids have this more than many adults today
– last night we drove around last night to get online because the hotel didn’t have high speed internet
– I felt very disconnected from my family

Power of 1 video

Pictures of my family:
– when I became a parent things really changed
– boy does it change perspective

When it comes to students: they are somebody else’s kids
– in my school, most of my faculty wouldn’t want to put their kids in that school
– I asked one of my assistant principals about this, and she almost laughed
– When
– I teach in a Mexican community

“I entrust you with my child.”
– that means so much
– I trust you will do whatever you can to make my child’s life better
– that is a promise I wish all teachers made
– no other profession do I hear: “I think we should try it, but we should phase it in the next 4 years.”
– what about the kids that are in the school NOW?

One of first projects when I first started teaching government
– use cool software to track data, give data a narrative and story
– wanted kids to see themselves in the context of Los Angeles
– I teach in San Fernando, mostly people from Mexico

When I was growing up in the 80’s I thought everyone was like me
– then I started watching movies like Star Wars and Battlestar Galatica: There are no Latinos in the future?
– and I am on the GLEF Board!

I live 15 miles from LA, downtown
– whenever my dad said we are going to LA this weekend I started packing on Wed!
– we didn’t leave or neighborhood very often

So we started looking at data on where Latino Population is, and where do poor and undereducated people leave
– we also did one on test scores (our mayor tells me to hold off on this)

I’m not coming to you

80% of the state scores better than we do
– we’ve been threatened to be taken over many times, as if there is a warehouse
– 40% transiency rate with faculty
– new administrator every 4 – 7 months

So here are the options I see:
1- Quit
2- Complain
3- Innovate

The principal asked Marco what is the problem with our school?
– he responded: Do you know the names of 5 of our kids

The cure to the disease that killed his grandfather is locked up in the kid in the back of your classroom who

Charles Darwin quotation: the most adaptable to change survives

Superintendents acknowledge importance of technology and give it lip service, but many still print out their email
– I ask “how do you use it?” and the response is “it’s great for my staff”
– working with principals in Sydney, Australia, and I wanted them to introduce themselves on their website outside of their job: who are you

Is showing who am I??? movie

What a GREAT movie and a GREAT project idea!!!!!
– this puts a human face on my boss

Another video of a principal who was a planner and an organizer: and had a child with Downs syndrome, and how that changed her

Everything that I do more than ever:
– can we make sure our work is:
– relevant?
– meaningful?
– applicable?

Urban legend: that Steve Jobs doesn’t have a high level security badge and someone has to let you in
– so you have to have your Steve Jobs elevator speech
– you must be able to share your elevator speech

So what if a parent comes up to you… what is your elevator speech to answer these questions

Kids are very different today
– it is not so much HOW you receive your info
– several Howard Gardner schools are still about receiving information
– it is about how you produce information
– you may be an auditory learner but a visual producer

2 years ago: Newsweek article on the most influential people in the economy
– answer was: 16 year olds
– asked his kids: they said the principal and assistant principal
– had kids contact random schools and

What is available today for students to receive, produce, share and produce information
– compare to 1973 when 48 year old principals were students

When the slates were on the desk, all we could assess what was on the slate
– then when the blackboard was available, we could assess more

Are we at least considering that there are other channels we are missing in schools?
– in our school we get so focused on testing and how the kids are doing we totally ignore how they are feeling

How long did it take technologies to reach millions

David Thornburg: Schools Now Presentation 2005
– radio
– TV
– web
– napster
– sms
– youtube

Changing information
– Use: lean back
– Do: lean forward

Tech plans really reflect big differences in how kids and adults see technology
– adults see technology as a tool for RETRIEVING information
– kids see technology very differently than adults do

one uses technology, one does technology

Kids see technology as a studio, stage, and a community

Schools see it as a productivity tool

Kids are using it in ways to personalize and individualize learning

All web 2.0 means it includes YOU in the production of information
– TIME person of the year: YOU (the creators of content)

When they hire you in the business world, they hire your rolodex and your buddy list

“Find the Yodas in here”
– not email, their screennames
– so you have access to them whenever you need them

If a classroom is still doing rows, we are missing the opportunity to individualize learning

Options for consumption and using different channels

Option #1: Read it?
– takes about 10 seconds to ID the source
Option #2: Hear it:
– voice of Dr MLK

If you read his speeches without listening
– it is like he takes over your head when you are reading
– the sound of his voice is very important
– I am so grateful we have audio and video footage of MLK

Had a chance for Howard Bean(?) and Spike
– people do not give film and photography enough credit for the civil rights movement
– that really validated me as a teacher, for the powerful tool I have at my disposal

Anneberg Center asked me to sit on a panel about media and academia
– what is the impact of sound and image on academia
– so I passed out 3 x 5 cards to attendees and I asked them: What are three events in history that have had a major impact on your life
– I have done this at 9 universities: these are always in the top 10
— atomic bomb
– JFK assassination
– moon landing
– challenger accident
– berlin wall
– 9-11

All the times I’ve ever done this, no one ever writes down something they have read: It is always something they’ve seen or heard
– I think this answers the question

Image and sound is still considered not as important in academic
– let’s look at image and sound more seriously
– in my social studies dept, we debated for weeks: How long should a research paper be?
– we reached consensus: 15 pages

I teach kids no one wants
– many have been pulled out of a formal education process, sometimes for 5 years
– in the span of a month, do you think I could get them to be systemically successful to write a 15 page paper?
– when I couldn’t write and deliver the informaiton, I was put in special ed classes
– I understood content, I understood it in context, I had a problem with delivery modes

We decided to judge 1 essay on the importance of voting to the state, and what can we do to increase voting in the US

The Power of ! video
– kids who made this video got a job with MTV for rock the vote

How many pages would it take to get that message across

“Be distinct or be extinct!” – Edna Mole from the movie “The Incredibles”

Can that project live outside the classroom? Yes. For the first time we all have that power

Let’s find ways to be different and head another direction
– that requires a lot of creativity

What have schools been doing to deal with channels

Integration: A Scientific Study
– 1st teacher: cave man dress a long time ago
– 1400: Monk with upraised arms
– 1950: 20th century, blackboard, took 114 years to go from a slate to a wall, with a stick in hand
– 1975: Hippie in the classroom, after 13 years of being in bowling alleys, schools finally figured out how to integrate it into the classroom via the overhead projector
– now we can archive the transparency and use it next year
– I’ve collected 40 dissertations who studied the impact of overhead projector technology on student learning

1988: Now we have electronic whiteboards
– that was before constructivist training

1995: still whiteboards, but due to budget cuts we’re back to 1 color
2006: PPT that says read pages 1-10, do questions 1-10

“I’m not too familiar with this program”


Why are we asking the same questions?!
– our kids have the same tools big publishing companies do: to receive, publish, share, produce and broadcast
– ESPN is #1 podcast, and #2 is Mike and Ike’s skateboard crashes, then Grammar Girl: this is a

Coolest thing this year at this conference

Drawing from 100 years ago of the modern classroom: all kids listening to information
– kid has hand crank for the server
– teacher is still responsible for all the information

You need to continue to understand the WHY, kids will get the hows and whats
– what place would head coach
– good coaches understand the WHY

Businessville, USA 1985 picture
– I don’t like the argument “we have to prepare kids for the future”
– if you show kids that image, t
– the business world is VERY different

I use technology because it helps kids today, not because it prepares them for the future
– it gives them channels to publish

What is our goal with our kdis
– to make them productivity experts, or to make them creative?

Dan Pink: A Whole New Mind
– what can’t be outsourced: creativity
– someone who knows how to problem solve
– someone who is connected, has a big network
– your buddy list

Chart comparing agricultural, industrial, information, conceptual age
– dan pink talks about the conceptual age: Now that you’ve collected it, grew it, googled it, digitalized it: what do you DO WITH IT
– that is the key to success

Einstein quote: Never ask questions you can look up.
– boy does that make sense now

We need to be resourceful
– red paperclip
– are many schools that have or lack which are resourceful
– Kyle McDonald story of the red paperclip, took over a year
– someone needed what he was trading
– his network and community assisted his creativity
– the “Yodas” for teachers today are often NOT the teachers next door


I have 2 ladies presenting in Canada today
– in a previous preso, she couldn’t play a video file so she used IM to get video that couldn’t play on her local network

We’re working on a movie that shows connections between Pacific Oceania people (Australia and NZ, and California)

Examples of kids that are in 1:1 environment but couldn’t make a movie
– we had to ship iBooks and cameras to these kids in NZ, and teach them how to shoot the movies

I remind tech directors: Our job is to connect PEOPLE not MACHINES
– our job is to make that a reaity for all our kids
– connecting all the pieces
– connecting the family

Pictures of my grandmothers funeral
– if someone asked me to photograph love, this could be it
– she was a poor Mexican woman who came to the US with nothing, but clearly she had an impact and a story to tell

I asked me kids to share that story your grandparent has told over and over again, but capture it with media
– movie “ham and eggs”
– creating videos like

I asked my faculty at school who could name a state in Mexico
– I didn’t even ask if they knew WHY some kids come from certain places

– root is Arabic
– many Moors fleed to the new world after 1492 and influenced Mexican culture strongly

Blessing of the Cars
– I am big on celebrating all community events
– this is where 100s of cars show up to have a Catholic priest bless it
– what’s real cool: our local cable access channel shows these and they get more requests

Every year we have a film festival
– because we now included many more people in our films last year, we

WE have to build a studio and a stage for our kids!

Distance = Bandwidth

Music has been my secret weapon with my kids the last few years

Drew and LeFic:

we are reaching a point where the line is very blurred between student, amateur and professional
– we got an award from VH1 for having an outstanding music program
– I don’t have a music program

“Black Eyed Peas” preformed at our school and loved some music our kids made, they brought those kids up on stage

Video of David Peña
– he plays 6 instruments
– so he made a mariachi version of Star Wars music
– it helps to know George Lucas!
– John Williams told David it was the best version of
– David was not allowed in our school band because he did not play any of the instruments in our school band
– now David comes to school every day
– he is an expert at something, and did not become just another digit


When you do projects that involve the family, they show up to help and support you
– include the community and they show up
– we now have over 1000 people show up at our film festivals

Where in school do we give kids a chance to be applauded like that, besides sports?

Create It! Share It! Broadcast It!

I’d like to give you a red paperclip today
– to knight or queen you to be resourceful
– it is not about resources, it is about being resourceful
– build your network, find your Yodas

Digital Students @ Analog Schools video next time

If I put my kids in your class, I hope you will be as resourceful as possible
– to make sure they have the most relevant, meaningful, and applicable learning experience
– I will make that promise to you, I hope you’ll make that promise to me


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3 Responses to Marco Antonio Torres: Now What Do We Do with IT

  1. vicki says:

    Great job Wes – wish I was able to hear him LIVE.

    I’d like to chat with you about the red paper clip story some more and see how I weave that into my work.

    I also loved the “Who Am I? video (or bubbleshare etc) project for TEACHERS. That might be a great one to do for our DLA – maybe to promote the collaborative aspect we do a “who are WE?” and have two teachers ata distance put something together – sharing similarities and differences…..whatever.

    I appreciate your drive. I wish I had your energy! Regards!

  2. Sharon Eilts says:

    Marco is a wonder, a treasure, a fellow ADE who I turn to for inspiration, courage, and heartfelt and sincere love of teaching. He never fails to see the magic in students where others just see dust.


  3. Clark Harris says:

    Wes-Thanks for capturing and sharing Marco’s presentation. I was there and it was inspiring, but I sure did not have time to hear and record all of the great bits of information that he had to offer.

    You have a good blog here. Thanks for allowing us to hear your thoughts and hear some of the innovative ideas that you get the chance to hear.

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