Fits & Fugues

Education can be so much more.

TxDLA 2008 Conference -Day 1 and A Crazy Man

Today I’m attending the Texas Distance Learning Association Conference in beautiful Galveston, Texas. Alan November delivered the opening keynote and had a follow-up breakout session. At both presentations he rather strongly suggested insisted that we redefine student roles in the classroom. I have included an excerpt from his page below.

Student as Contributor: Digital Learning Farm
Before tractors and combines, more that 60% of the population in North America was involved in farming. Today less than 2% lives of the population works on farms. Farm children made a vital contribution to the family with real chores. While technology eventually eroded the meaningful work of children, we have enough technology today to restore the dignity of real work in school. All of our students can use collaborative online tools and research and global communications skills to add value to the learning community.
These contributions include:
* Curriculum Review Team
* Tutorial Creation/Organizing/Design Team
* Global Communication Team
* Official Scribes
* Resource Finders
* Technical Editors

If you are unfamiliar with Alan November, I would encourage you to check out the November Learning website and all the resources there. I’ve already registered for his Building Learning Communities Conference in July. Alan is crazy. I heard him say so today. And you know crazy people have dangerous, sometimes blasphemous ideas. The excerpt above makes myhis point. That’s dangerous stuff when you think about it. Are we ready to have kids do those things? (For an expansion on those ideas, check out TxDLA’s “blogstress” Harriet Watkins’ post about the keynote.)

As for his blasphemy, he suggested we actually let kids use Wikipedia with all its errors and unreliability! Only he took the insanity one step further when he suggested that we use that type of technology to give our students a global platform for publishing, commenting, and idea refinement. That kind of crazy talk will surely have some reaching for their benzodiazepines. (If you are going to click on that link to see what that word means, you are risking your educational sanity by using an unreliable source even if you get everything you need to know in the first sentence. You’ve been warned!)

Maybe we only want to give lip service to this whole 21st Century Learning stuff. Alan doesn’t. He made his doctoral students actually contribute to a Wikipedia article for their peers to review. Wow! I want to be crazy like Alan November!

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March 25, 2008 - Posted by | Education, Technology | , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Alan is crazy – bur he’s right. I am a doctoral student at Seton Hall. Alan has been our teacher for the past three months for a course on expanding the boundaries of learning. I admire him and his fresh and honest approach to reluctant leaders. I’ve used his tactic in teaching members of my school’s staff about Web 2.0 and the need for progress. The shifting of paradigms sometimes requires an in-your-face approach.

    Comment by Mike Parent | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  2. Mike. He actually mentioned you yesterday. Something about online notetaking in Google Docs and you posting a picture of him saying “Polish my noggin.” I though that was great! He’s very funny and obviously knows what he’s talking about.

    Comment by Rick Tanski | March 26, 2008 | Reply

  3. Love your take on November’s keynote addresss! Thanks for participating in the blog! Love it, love it, love it.

    Comment by Harriet "Blogstress" Watkins | March 26, 2008 | Reply


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