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Learning & Schools in a Connected World


I was fortunate to be able to join my Principal, +Gary Steiger and attend +Will Richardson's presentation "Educational Technology - Black Hole or Bright Light" at the Midwest Principal's Center. While the title of this workshop didn't blow me away - the topic, the presenter, and the follow-up discussions did. Will Richardson has penned several books on the topic of connected learning, including one of my favorite e-books, "Why School?"
You can follow the Twitter chat of today's session by searching #mpclearn. The accompanying Slideshare presentation can found at the bottom of this post.


Here are a few key points and resources that I made note of during the presentation...
  1. We, as educators, are in the midst of a "Crisis of Learning Contexts" - Traditional Learning Context (familiar to politicians, parents, teachers, and communities) vs. Modern Learning Context (connected learning via the web) Connected technology is here to stay!  The challenge is to adequately prepare students for modern, contemporary, connected learning.
  2. The New Reality - Moving from Scarcity to Abundance (with respects to information).  "All of the world's collective information can be accessed on a device that fits in my pocket." References to change agents; Larry Cuban, Clay Shirky, and Yvette Cameron
  3. "Internet of Things" - stuff (appliances, accessories, clothing) will become web connected.  Examples: +Project Glass and Twine.
  4. The Digital Divide in 2013 means connected learners vs. disconnected learners
  5. Living knowledge, Constant Learning - today's students need to learn to live in the "information flow". Workers need to be "nimble" and prepare for the fluidity of work and learning experiences. If people need to learn - they should "go learn". It is the individual's responsibility to stay current and to keep learning.
  6. A good goal for our students - become "Googled-Well" under their full names by high school graduation. Create a positive digital footprint. An online resume of your professional / educational accomplishments or "learnings". Publish authentic solutions to authentic problems for authentic audiences. MORE - engagement, opportunity, intensity, pressure.  More paths to solutions - the traditional path no longer exists.
  7. "Don't make kids college ready - make them learning ready" - Degreed (scores lifelong education)  
  8. Personalized learning is different that Personal learning (the learner chooses) - Ten Tips for Personalized Learning - +Edudemic  Gaming and gamification of learning will become huge - while traditional grading and standardized tests are likely to disappear.
  9. Connected Learning - Networks (PLN) are the classrooms of the modern learning age (Mimi Ito)
  10. In the future, bi-lingual will mean language (English) + programming language.
Key Questions
  • What do students need to learn in school during a time when they can learn so much without educators?
  • In a world of abundance, what do students really need to know?
  • What is the value of school during a time when we don't need school to do school?
That which cannot be "Khanified" is what needs to be learned in school. Real work for real audiences. Create dispositions for students - self-regulated, persistent learners wanting to learn more.

Learners first - teachers second +Jay Cross. Adults need to learn and use technology well - become models for students.

NY Times - "Snowfall" - example of digital storytelling, engaging / interactive text - Students need to learn to read and to create multi-media texts.

Examples of Bold, Innovative Schools
  1. High Tech High
  2. Science Leadership Academy
  3. New Tech Network
Favorite Tools for Connected Learning (links to videos)
  1. Twitter (cast a wide net, know what @ and # can do)
  2. Google Reader in Plain English
  3. IFTTT - IFTTT-101
  4. Evernote

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