TEDx NYED – My notes….

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the TEDxNYED event at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. I enjoyed attending the event and was pleased to hear so much about the importance of students creating and collaborating. We don’t do enough of this, via technology tools, in schools.

Unedited LiveStream is at this link.

Here are my notes. More to come as I reflect on these ideas.

Jenny Buccos

  • ProjectExplorer.org – the place for cross-cultural conversations
  • Global citizenship in the classroom
  • We are too focused on the economic outcome of education.
  • “No topic is off limits as long as it’s from a point of learning.”
  • Our idea of global citizenship is too often limited to “international cuisine and world holidays.”
  • Inquiry – adapt a fact to your own viewpoint
  • celebrating commonalities while respecting different life paths

Jose Luis Vilson

  • Teaching2030 – A vision for what our students need and and the teaching profession they deserve. Video link.
  • Teacher voice – How can we use the teacher voice the elevate the conversation?
  • Teachers must speak up and speak out.
  • Teachers deserve a seat at the table.

Juliette LaMontagne

  • Breaker – one alternative learn pathway. A “breaker” loves creative collaboration
  • Linking learning to entrepreneurialism
  • Don’t stop learning about the problem, design the solution.

Jim Groom

  • Educational aPOPcolypse – the crisis logic surrounding education; an emergency in education that may not exist.
  • It’s not a crisis…it’s a scam!
  • Ask what it means to create, produce, be a citizen of the web.
  • DS106 Radio

Sree Sreenivasan

  • Connecting the physical and the digital
  • Twitter – @sree
  • Website – sree.net
  • Presentation and social media guide online – bit.ly/sreesoc
  • Social media will amplify your message and get you attention better than any other media.
  • Listen, don’t just broadcast.
  • You can’t say social media doesn’t work unless you are “on” social media.
  • Marry the digital and physical to have anything happen (i.e. Egypt) – it’s not an either/or but rather both.
  • How do we use hashtags in classrooms?
  • Sree’s social media success formula: Make sure your social media posts have at least one or more of these…

    • helpful
    • useful
    • informative
    • relevant
    • practical
    • actionable
    • timely
    • generous
    • credible
    • brief
    • entertaining
    • fun
    • occasionally funny

Jamie Cloud

  • What is sustainability and how do you educate for it?
  • Ehrenfold – the possibility that human life will flourish on the planet forever
  • Why is it so easy to get stuck in our thinking? Brain science
  • Mindfulness vs. mindlessness (changing perspective, reflection)
  • We operate from intentions, not feedback. Frames drive behavior, not data.
  • It’s not a lack of education, it’s education itself. It’s the system.
  • schooling vs. learning

Christopher Emdin

  • Creating vs. consuming
  • Connecting content to context – relevancy

Adam Bellow

  • Stop with “fixing education”
  • Technology evolves and so should education
  • Break the rules
  • Following vs. Figuring
  • Learn with and from kids
  • Students should be able to question, think, act.
  • Question the rules of the system
  • Act louder
  • Control yourselves
  • Be infectious

Sophie Altchek

  • Concussion awareness
  • Senior at Horace Mann School
  • Shared her blog and Facebook to demonstrate how she connects over a topic that is personal to her

Tony Wagner

  • It’s not what you know, but what you can do.
  • Do you have the skill and the will?
  • 7 survival skills
  • America has been innovative – in spite of or because of its education system?
  • Culture of schooling is radically different from what is needed for innovation.
  • There is no innovation without trial and error
  • It’s not failure, it’s iteration.
  • Innovators learn early from failure that you can recover from a mistake.
  • Not passive consumption, but creating real products for a real audience
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Play, Passion, Purpose (give back, make a difference)
  • We have to innovators, collaborators and risk takers
  • Where are we encouraging the play, passion and purpose in our classrooms?

Bre Pettis

Patrick Honner

  • Mathematics is a highly creative endeavor
  • Making your own rules is a part of creativity
  • Photography, creative writing, origami, knitting – connect math to student interests
  • See the creative side of mathematics

Frank Noschese

  • Learn science by doing science – all the time.
  • There is a disconnect between scientists and students.
  • Teaching does not equal explaining.
  • Teaching is creating experiences for constructing meaning
  • Students create their own experiments, they don’t just follow a prescribed list of steps and fill in the data table.
  • Students share their information with the class as a scientific community.
  • Play with a purpose

Jaymes Dec

  • Making @ School
  • What did you MAKE today?
  • Maker fair – student demonstrations; innovation + creation
  • Kids really do like to make things
  • Flow
  • Why don’t we design school to be more like making spaces – tinkering and hacking?
  • Real world design challenges as opposed to classes – ultimate multidisciplinary exercise.
  • Making things teaches perseverence – you come out better prepared to face challenges.
  • tinker cad

Internet Filtering: Aligning Goals and Actions

Internet filtering is a big issue in schools. School leaders struggle with how stringent to apply the internet filter. Filter sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and tools like Skype because they are a “distraction”? Or see value for learning in this list and model and coach students (and teachers) in effective and proper use?

One way to look at justifying an answer is to reference your goals and then align your actions to those goals. In Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Heidi Grant Halvorson proposes a framework through which we can examine goals – promotion goals and prevention goals. While the focus of the book is on personal development, the framework can also be applied to organizational goals such as those associated with any learning initiative.

Think of your goals in light of the promotion or prevention framework:

Maybe your latest learning initiative has a goal such as this:

Increase learning opportunities for the development of critical 21st century skills: critical thinking and problem solving, effective oral and written communication, collaboration, creativity and curiosity, adaptability, organization, initiative and entrepreneurialism.

The goal is stated in terms of a promotion goal, speaking to the qualities in the chart above. If our goals are written in terms of “promotion” language, why do our actions speak of “prevention.” Limiting access to social networks (Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a PREVENTION action (we somehow need to save students from “harm”) linked to a PROMOTION goal (increasing opportunitiesfor students). Filtering social networking sites is a misalignment, in this case, of action and goal.

Why do school leaders choose the “loss” action when it comes to internet filtering? Does stringent filtering really benefit students? If so, how? Or does it primarily benefit the organization – those in the organization use the PREVENTION argument to avoid addressing the challenges in achieving the  PROMOTION goal? And yes, there are many complex challenges that need to be addressed and shared by everyone – leaders, teachers, students and parents – when not filtering social networking sites.

As the adults, who are we here for, the benefit of the organization or the benefit of the students? Is it either/or? What is really best for our students?

Leaders: What conversations are you having?

This morning I was led to a thought-provoking post at the Online Learning Insights blogHow Generation “C” will change education…forever. In the post, the writer shares a report titled The Rise of Generation C: Implications for the World of 2020. I haven’t read the report beyond the executive summary, but there are ideas here that school leaders need to start thinking about to drive their visions for the future of teaching and learning.

Here’s just one paragraph from the beginning of the report:

As they grow up, this highly connected generation will live “online” most of their waking hours, comfortably participate in social networks with several hundred or more contacts, generate and consume vast amounts of formerly private information, and carry with them a sophisticated “personal cloud” that identifies them in the converged online and offline worlds.

I think it would be hard to argue this is an inaccurate description of the students we have in K-12 schooling right now.

Leaders and policymakers: If education is about preparing learners to function successfully in college and career, how does your vision address the current reality? How are you preparing students to manage this reality – right now? What do you need to change (start doing and stop doing)? How will you engage students in the conversation to envision their own education?

Sadly, too many leaders and policymakers are blinded to the realities of the day and the future as described above. We are so mired in playing the same old game of education that we lose sight of what’s coming (and arguably already here). Unless we as a system start to engage in more important conversations that move beyond Common Core, teacher quality and accountability, we will become increasingly more irrelevant to the learners in the system.  Don’t get me wrong – we need to have the conversations that make up the “game of school” (for different reasons), but we also need to lead new conversations about what those ideas look like in the real world context our learners live in and bring to school. It’s not an either/or. Leaders and policymakers need to start having both conversations, and demonstrating some real leadership.

Is BYOD good for learners and teachers?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) certainly seems to be a topic among many school leaders – locally and nationally. In fact, at the state technology conference in Pennsylvania (PETE&C) this past February, there was an entire strand of sessions on BYOD. I do not work in a BYOD district so I do not have any direct experience with a BYOD implementation or evaluation/assessment. (I do work in a 1:1 district that provides laptops for students in grades 6-12.) From reading the pros and cons, I do have some thoughts about whether BYOD is best for learners and teachers.

Whether BYOD or school-provided 1:1 programs, it is often unclear to me what the goals are of such programs. The goal of access is often implied. If access is the only goal, then BYOD is a good idea that provides increased opportunities for learners to access information while saving the school or district money. However, if the only goal is access – “Let’s get a device in the hands of every kid so they can consume information from the internet.” – then I see that thinking as quite short-sighted.

One of the major challenges with education today is that it has always been and continues to be driven on a consumption model. Learners consumed information through textbooks and teacher-created packets when I was in school. Now in the age of technology, school leaders and teachers still embrace a consumption model but through the substitution of technology. Instead of reading from a textbook, we can now access course e-texts. Instead of researching in the library, we can now research through the library portal or anyway we want now that we have access to virtually any information on a digital device. (We are not asking the right question – How does the classroom change now that learners have access to just about any information they need?) The consumption model is limiting, especially as a goal of any one-to-one program. How is information on the internet created? It’s created by those who are willing to share their content and creations. How are we teaching students to be contributors of content and knowledge as well as consumers of information? And if we are going to teach kids to be creators and not just consumers, I wonder how feasible that is on devices such as smartphones, Kindles and to some extent tablets. I do not see BYOD supporting the goal of content/knowledge creation because devices are not created equal when it comes to creation.

If a school’s goals for one-to-one computing are more expansive than access and include creation and connection, then curriculum and pedagogy need to change at much deeper levels than substitution of an e-text for a paper textbook. (See Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model.) Doesn’t BYOD make the design of technology-rich lessons more difficult? How does BYOD create a teaching/learning environment that actually is conducive to the changing roles of learner and teacher in a technology-rich environment? Until I can see evidence from an actual BYOD school or district, I don’t believe it does.

My last thought is this. From what I hear and read, it seems the major driving factor behind BYOD is financial. While this is a reality, especially in tough economic times, it is sad we are at this point with technology in education. The situation we are in is, in my opinion, an indictment on the leadership of our educational institutions. Leaders need to be proactive and forward thinking. Leaders need to work with their various constituencies to create a vision for the future – a proactive vision for the future that includes technology. BYOD is a reactive vision – We can no longer afford to put off providing access, yet we have no funding. We also have crummy infrastructure that we’ve let sit for years, so we’ll have to dump money into that, too. Leaders, at all level, have not been proactive and are now scrambling for a solution. BYOD is the best they can do. And who loses out in the long run? Learners and teachers do.

Push my thinking on BYOD. What am I missing? What are the best BYOD schools or districts that have demonstrated evidence of success? I’d love to learn more.