Fits & Fugues

Education can be so much more.

NECC Day 1

My first day at NECC started with a SIGTelForum: Connectivism, Curriculum, and the Virtual Classroom in 21st-Century Telecollaboration with Manorama Talaiver, Judi Harris, Allison Powell and David Thornburg. Some notes below.

Session Description

How is the read-write Web appropriated for connectivist learning and teaching? What are the implications for teacher knowledge-building, professional development, and assessment? This forum will connect theory with practice to address these questions.

 

Special Features

·         iEARN –International Education and Resource Network

o    http://www.iearn.org/

o    From the About us Page http://www.iearn.org/about/index.html

o    iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is a non-profit organization made up of over 20,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 115 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 1,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide.

o    Since 1988, iEARN has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world.

o    iEARN is:

§  an inclusive and culturally diverse community

§  a safe and structured environment in which young people can communicate

§  an opportunity to apply knowledge in service-learning projects

§  a community of educators and learners making a difference as part of the educational process

o    Brief description for linking: iEARN(International Education and Resource Network) is the world’s largest non-profit global network that enables young people to use the Internet and other new technologies to engage in collaborative educational projects that both enhance learning and make a difference in the world. Established in 1988 as a pioneering online program among schools in the the Soviet Union and the United States, iEARN is now active in more than 25,000 schools and youth organizations in 125 countries.

·         GlobalSchoolNet

o    http://www.globalschoolnet.org/

o    About GSN http://www.globalschoolnet.org/index.cfm?section=AboutUs

·         KidLink

o    http://www.kidlink.org/english/general/intro.html

o    http://www.kidlink.org/english/general/overview.html

§  Kidlink is a non-commercial, user-owned organization that helps children understand their possibilities, set goals for life, and develop life-skills. 

§  Its free educational programs motivate learning by helping teachers relate local curriculum guidelines to students’ personal interests and goals. Kidlink is open for all children and youth in any country through the age of 15, and students at school through secondary school. Most users are between 10 – 15 years of age. Since the start in 1990, used by children from 176 countries.

§  The Kidlink knowledge network is run by 500 volunteers in over 50 countries. Hundreds of public and private virtual “rooms” are used for discussion and collaboration. Information is available in over 30 languages. Statistics.

Assessment and Supervision of Online Teachers

-Allison Powell, Vice President NACOL

 

NACOL Standards

·         http://www.nacol.org/nationalstandards/NACOL%20Standards%20Quality%20Online%20Teaching.pdf

 

Education in the Post-Digital Age

-David Thornburg

·         OR Going Back to Tomorrow: Leaping Past the Future http://www.tcpd.org/ http://www.tcse-k12.org/ http://www.tcpdpodcast.org/

·         In the beginning

o    Mainframes

o    Dumb Terminals

o    Smart Terminals

o    Truly Personal Computers

·         Where are we headed

o    From Personal Computers to Networked Personal Computers

o    Online Applications

§  Smart Terminals

o    Dumb Terminals

§  With built in web client connected to distributed servers

o    Will we leap past the future?

·         Entering the world of Cloud Computing

o    The network is the computer

o    What happens when bandwidth approaches processor speed?

·         Thinking Influenced by

o    Lev Vygotsky

o    Henry Jenkins

o    George Siemens

o    Pierre Levy

·         Technology as a pedagogy amplifier

o    Stand-alone computers support Piaget’s cognitive constructivism

o    Networked – Vygotsky

o    Seymour Papert

·         Reality of the Cloud

o    Beyond hardware

o    Knowledge lies outside ourselves

o    Thoughts exist in space and time

o    Learning is a network forming process

o    Our view comes from node

·         Pierre Levy

o    Everyone knows something; nobody knows anything; what anyone knows can be tapped by the group

·         Networked Learning  is about

o    Connections, not just content

o    Connections between nodes builds understanding

o    Moves beyond content and concepts to causes

·         Groups and Networks

o    Different

·         Rhizomes vs Trees

o    Deleuse and Guattari

o    Hierarchical vs Non-hierarchical

o    Hierarchical impose structures

o    Non-Hierarchical reveal structures

·         Henry Jenkins Participatory Culture

o    Affiliations

§  Second Life

§  Orkut

o    Circulations

§  Blogging –Introduces concept of beta reader

§  Podcasting

§  Skype

o    Collaborative Problem Solving

§  Cmap http://cmap.ihmc.us/

·         Can put inside own firewall

§  Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

§  Moodle http://moodle.org/

o    Expressions

§  Fan Fiction http://www.fanfiction.net/

§  Flickr http://flickr.com/

§  Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/

§  YouTube http://www.youtube.com/

·         Today’s Learning Space is all the above

·         Small World

o    Six degrees of separation

o    The power of the network increases as the square of the number of users

o    Powerful jumps when every student has networked computer

·         Are Schools Ready? [No]

o    Bandwidth limited

o    Many ban blogging

o    Many ban social spaces

o    Filters are mandated

 

Connectivism, Curriculum & Telecollaboration: Shifting Knowledge

Judi Harris, School of Education, College of William and Mary

·         Her site http://virtual-architecture.wm.edu/

Now

Then

connection

separation

similarities

differences

common goals

competing needs

global view

local view

collaboration

competition

unity

singularity

o    Happens via networks

·         Telecooperative VS Telecollaborative

·         http://txtipd.wm.edu/

 

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June 30, 2008 Posted by | Education, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advancing Online Learning Conference

The people at Virtual High School, Liz Pape and all, have done a great job with the Advancing Online Learning Conference including some engaging speakers and breakout sessions. Dr. Mark Milliron delivered our keynote Wednesday morning, giving his take on current learners, the future of education and its relationship to the world. At lunch Dr. Jesse Harriott, VP of Research for Monster Worldwide spoke about preparing students for competition in a global workforce. Allison Powell from NACOLand Steven Ruscito from Middletown High School in Rhode Island took part in a panel and broadly discussed among the topics above the October 2007 Blackboard report Learning in the 21st Century: A National Report on Online Learning. Sessions I attended over the two days included Online Instructional Programs & Models; New Approaches to Online Science; Non-traditional or At Risk Students in Online Learning; Current Research in Online Learning; and using Virtual Classroom Tools. 

Today’s (Thursday, 4/11) keynote featured Robert Currie from Michigan Virtual High School who discussed, among other things, Michigan’s online learning graduation requirement and the CareerForward initiative created in conjunction with Microsoft’s Partners in Learning “to help Michigan students understand how to plan their work lives and career opportunities amid the implications of the global economy.” Specifically, students ask and attempt to answer the following “challenge” questions: What am I going to do with my life? What is the world of work like? What will I need to succeed? What’s next for me? 

Those are compelling questions for sure and Mr. Currie gave his presentation in the context of 21st Century Learning Skills. However, are those questions really anything new? Do we see them afresh in the spotlight of the future? Ask Gary Stager about his take on 21st Century Learning and he’ll probably tell you something like those are nothing new. Ask Will Richardson, Dave Warlick, or Wes Fryerand they’ll paint a slightly different picture. Regardless of where you (or they) land, the spectrum seems to support a deliberate and reflective approach to purposeful, relevant, engaging, and meaningful education. Additionally, if you haven’t read Alan November, Scott McLeod, Mike Parent, Karl Fisch, George Siemens, Clay Burell, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Jon Becker, and others to get a flavor of the varying perspectives, you must and soon. Feel free to contribute “must reads” of your own in a comment.

April 11, 2008 Posted by | Education | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Educational Technology Moral Imperative

I recently attended the Virtual School Symposium sponsored by the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL). Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO) in Washington, DC spoke about “Why Online Learning is Important to States.” In his talk, he said that “online learning is the fire, the wheel, the internal combustion engine of learning.” He also mentioned that education must make online education a priority in school reform efforts. In an impassioned plea for action, he said that educators are the entrepreneurs of education and we must leverage the power of online education to improve the learning of our students as it will become the great equalizer. He track record indicates that his is not the position of rhetoric; he is a man of action who, although claiming he is not a techie, knows the potential of technology -especially in education.

It’s refreshing to see that kind of leadership regarding online and all forms of Educational Technology and we can either drive the bus or be run over by it.

Educational Technology is a manifestation of our moral imperative (to borrow from Michael Fullan) to engage, encourage, and equip our students as they prepare for an unknown future. We must reinvent our thinking to understand that the very nature of technology is to produce something new or improve something that already exists. If we approach it with that wonder and energy, we will soon find that we are limited only by our imaginations and aspirations. To accomplish our educational goals, schools must teach and refine basic skills in core areas. On a pragmatic level, schools exist to develop skills in reading, writing, speaking, and computation. These skills can be measured, recorded, archived and easily evaluated. These core skills comprise the necessary fundamentals that allow schools and society to accomplish the more abstract tasks of producing and developing a critically-thinking, relationally-effective, moral populace.

We must not solely focus on educational technology to the exclusion of the demands of these other critical educational areas, but see that it has its own importance in the organic scope of education. Educational Technology is not an end in itself no more than the pencil or pen; it is simply the means by which we accomplish our educational goals. Even more says George Siemens on elearnspace -I agree and…

One of our critical responsibilities is to make educational technology as familiar as some of the more traditional tools of education. Educational Technology holds no place higher or lower than those of literacy, numeracy, critical thinking, or problem solving, but it can and should be the means by which all these are accomplished. Educational Technology should be so transparent that the underlying messages and meanings put forth by the lesson are not diminished or divided but enhanced and balanced.

The role for all educational leaders from the classroom to the superintendent’s office is the same: to use the tools both in the ways they were intended and perhaps in ways they weren’t for the success of our students. Technology allows us to discover our true potential and that of our students. Technology can free us to pursue our passions and purposes. The problem with technology is not with its implementation, use, or mastery; it is with our avoidance, misuse, and ignorance. Additionally, the threats of technology are isolation, distraction, and fatalism; the promises are community, engagement, and optimism. The only true power of technology comes in its ability to extend our own shortsightedness. Leaders, at all levels, must concretely orchestrate urgency, direction, and vision. Leaders are obliged to demonstrate the need and opportunity for improvement and guard against the potential threats and problems of technology.

Until we realize that the people and messages behind the technology are of the truest importance, all we will see is the technology itself. We are not to set up for ourselves monuments to technology; instead, we are compelled to reach our greatest potential as a community of learners focused on building a well-fortified foundation for the futures of our kids. The focus should not be just on the acquisition of new technologies, but on the ideas that the new technologies can set loose. We hope that technology is an extension of the best we see in ourselves and, in its application, the best we offer to our children. Every technology is a type of educational technology in that it has the ability to teach us about ourselves and provide educational opportunities. We must ask and be ready to answer the question of what happens when the promise of technology meets the power of the human spirit. Then, we will have taken the first step to making technology an essential part of the entire educational picture.

November 13, 2007 Posted by | Education, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment