Chris Lehman at Ignite Philly. Take 5 minutes and watch this great summary of what needs to change in schools and why:
I am toying with an idea that came up at a recent department meeting I had with my tech teachers here at Dubai American Academy. I asked them each to talk about technology integration and what that meant to them and also how they percieved the success of that model at DAA. Each talked about different things and I was struck that I agreed with each of them. How then to reconcile all those ideas?
In relating the discussion to others afterwards I found myself repeatedly saying “There are 7 things that need to change in order to make a successful change in Tech use in schools.” I am not sure where I got the number, but “7 Things” seemed to make my point that, even if you change one or two things about the school or about teaching, you will not effect lasting change or successfully shift the school into a 21st Century Technology Learning model.
Most importantly, these all need to be done at the same time. They are not successful when only some of them are done and they are not successful when done sequentially.
So what are the 7 Things?
- Curriculum: The curriculum needs to change to reflect integrated technology opportunities within subject area units (even if they need to be changed every year or two)
- PD: Classroom and subject area teachers need good PD both in technology tools appropriate to their area and in planning units and lessons with technology tools from the outset (not planning their lessons and units and then asking the tech team for some help afterward).
- Schedule: The use of computer lessons as planning time for teachers (in the elementary school) and having mandatory (or elective) classes in “technology” needs to be thrown out to allow the tech “teachers” time to plan and teach collaboratively, to go to classrooms or work with other teachers in the labs. The labs (if there are to be labs at all) need to be open for teachers to use.
- Hardware and computer labs: Students need their own computer. Period. Along with this, the network must be created/improved to handle the load of 1:1. Accept this and start planning now because it takes years to get there.
- Perceptions of Technology: Technology can no longer be seen as a separate subject. It is not. Technology tools are tools that help students learn Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Drama, Art, etc. They are the things that enable students to make connections in their learning.
- Collaborative teaching: Until all teachers are proficient enough in their own requisite tech tools, teachers must work together with their colleagues and the school’s technology integration specialists. The team approach is essential.
- Choosing the right tools: We need to take a good close look at what technology tools are really necessary for each grade level and subject and work with teachers to get them and their students proficient in using those. We do not need to teach students 10 different software packages each year. Choose a couple of tools and use them over and over. For learning. Not for their own sake. If a certain tool, like PowerPoint, is not serving the classroom curriculum, we need to stop using it and teaching it. We don’t need to teach PowerPoint in Grade 3 because they will need it in Middle School.
7 Things. All at the same time.
Some caveats of course. What do you think? Let’s hear some challenges and Yeah-Buts in the comments.
Good post over at Clay Burrel’s blog, reflecting on his school’s 1:1 program and how students see it.
I think that this is a trap many 1:1 schools encounter, forcing the tech and “making good use” of the expensive new toys. If students are not seen to be making iMovies constantly, the board will question the program and revoke the funding.
What if we did this instead? What if we gave the kids the laptops, because there is no doubt in my mind that kids need anytime anywhere access to these tools, and we relied on them to decide when and how they wanted to use them?
What if, instead of teachers continually telling students how to learn or how to communicate their learning, we instead formed a partnership with the students and allowed choice in student products? What if we stopped worrying about the cost of the laptops and allowed some students to leave them in their backpack for days on end if they simply did not need them?
So, in this scenario, the kids have the technology. The teachers have the curriculum and the learning outcomes, benchmarks, standards, whatever, and the students can use or not use the technology tools based on their learning styles, interests and aptitudes. Students and teachers need to learn about the technology tools and what their options are, but teachers only need to assign a task like this: Show me that you have learned X. Use whatever medium you like, imovie, pencil and paper, blog, podcast, etc. Communicate to me and your peers (or dare I say even an authentic audience somwehere) what you have learned. You have a laptop and all the tools you need. Bonus points for using the tech tools in a way that we have not seen before. Let the students teach us about how they use technology.
What if we stopped trying to force the technology and instead allowed different students to use different tools based on them, not us?
Imagine all the students, learning things this way….
Change is slow in education and change in technology in education has been particularly slow, compared to the rate of technology change and penetration in the “real” world. I think that comes in many ways from schools and teachers trying to be experts at it and not giving students enough ownership over their learning. Teachers have to assign the projects and set the tasks and if they are not comfortable with the technology or they only know the one thing they learned in the PD they got in August (used to be PowerPoint and now its iMovie), they use that over and over, even when it is not appropriate to the task.
The power and potential of technology, as we can see by the evolution of the web to a democratizing platform of user-driven content and services, is that individuals can use the things that work for them. We must engage students in a partnership for learning. Give them the tech tools and let them run with them. Let them teach us and teach each other how they can best use the tools for learning. Let them innovate. Let them experiment. Let them fail. Let them learn.
In one of my first blog posts, following the release of the MacBook Air, I lamented the fact that no company had created what I thought was an appropriate portable learning device for students. The device I envisioned was small, cheap, portable and had the necessary tools built-in (word processing, digital imaging and video, editing, network connectivity, etc.).
Apparently I need to eat my hat, because a flood of inexpensive Ultra-Mobile PC’s have cropped up lately. Now this could be a case of the everyone-drives-the-same-car-as-me syndrome, in which, when you get a new car you begin noticing how many of those same cars are one the road. More than you ever noticed before. So once I started keeping a lookout for the perfect student computer, I started noticing them. It could be that.
But I do think there are other things at play which allowed Apple to create the MacBook Air. One is that hardware is coming of age in this area. Flash memory is dropping in price so it is now cost-effective to put a 20 GB solid-state drive in a laptop. Small screens are cheap, and clearly processors are too. I also think companies are jumping on a bit of a bandwagon. With the OLPC rpoject getting so much press and at least one manufacturer (ASUS) having success with its own UMPC (the EEE PC), this is the market to get into right now. Consumers, I think, are also realising that they don’t need a $2000 computer just to check their email and surf the web (sales of the Air are not stellar as far as I know).
I came across two good sites recently, one highlights the new HP ultra-portable (a bit of a high-end device) and the other covers the range of UMPC’s available.HP launches The Linux Powered Mini Note Micro Notebook Liliputing: A comprehensive List of Low-Cost Ultra Portables
This is a very exciting development. I will say, I don’t think any of the big players here have made the perfect one for very young children. I would add touch-screen, tablet-like behavior to make it truly friendly to younger children. Some of those listed at Liliputing have tablet abilities, but I would still like to see HP, Asus or Apple try their hand at this. Apple, interestingly, has a patent on a dual-screen laptop that might be very interesting. Instead of a keybaord on the lower half of the laptop, it has another screen, with the ability to do all teh things the iPhone does in terms of virtual keyboard, multi-touch interface and even, potentially, more screen real-estate. That would be cool!
As for me, I am pining after the new Asus EEE 900.
And thinking of moving my next school to linux-based portables for students. Any thoughts? Leave a comment.
Today’s web is a social medium.
Teacher’s are no longer the gate-keepers of information.
Youtube in the classroom:
- videos available on virtually every topic
- copyright? creative commons license
- students already using youtube, give them something to do while they are there
- if you can’t find it on YouTube, create it
- semantic web
- web OS
Club Penguin, Second Life virtual worlds
Alumni sites should be set on FaceBook, instead of independently.
How about this for a vision/mission/motto for IT:
I.T Curriculum 2.0
Technology offers new opportunities in education
What do we do about it? How can we change schools when schools are very good at not changing?
What do students need to do or to be able to do to be successful?
- learn independently
- understand information
- speak another language
What are the obstacles to a successful embedded IT curriculum?
- teachers resistance to change
- teachers too busy to plan
- teachers have a full plate
- tech changes too fast
- tech is not reliable or dependable
- it is overwhelming to try to do it all
- putting stuff out there on the web (wiki and blogs) is dangerous in terms of inappropriate content and spamming
Firstly, we must accept that the way IT integration is done right now is not working. Having an IT curriculum is not working. IT and student skills are advancing faster than we can write a skills-based curriculum.
Why can’t they learn IT the way they live IT?
You learn IT when you need it.
Students, digital natives, know how to entertain themselves, but they are not good educating themselves online.
What are the enduring understandings? They are not PowerPoint or Word. So what are the essential questions for 21st century literacy?
Rubrics for evaluating these enduring understandings are included on the wiki.
Do teachers have the skillset to teach the enduring understandings?
Co-teaching helps embed the IT into the classroom.
IT needs to be infused into school and not just done once in grade 3 and checked off as complete.
The big challenge is to help teachers build rich units and lessons that embed technology naturally and relevantly.
Making it happen:
- development of framework and essential questions
- curriculum office involvement and refinement
- leadership team buy-in
- teacher buy-in and PD
- ISB has created a vision of what 21st century learner looks like.
- Enduring understandings
- Essential questions
Much of this has been the focus of library curriculum for the past decade. But why has it not made it into the classroom? Librarians have not had the mandate to collaborate and co-teach to the same degree as IT integration specialists.
if IT is truly embedded then good rubrics and content area assessments will take care of it.
My thoughts: if IT is truly embedded in the curriculum, then students can not graduate without IT skills? Teachers can not teach, they can not successfully deliver their curriculum without the technology. IT must be built into the curriculum.
I tried using Twitter this morning to take notes in a conference session. Did not really like it as a note-taking tool. Now will try this.
Session 3: Kim Cofino: Developing the Global Student
- How are students today different?
- What are 21st century skills?
- Effective learners
- effective collaborators
- effective creators
- its just good teaching
- can good teaching be truly effective without technology tools?
In our previous session we talked about technology plans and getting buy-in from teachers. It needs to be a parallel conversation of series of conversations about technology integration, good teaching and the technology tools needed to support learning. Asking teachers what they need does not necessarily guide a tech plan as teachers do not necessarily know what they do not know; they rely on the tech staff to guide them and tell them what is out there right now and what would be a good use of technology. Asking tech staff what teachers should be doing and using also does not guide a tech plan either as techies know the technology and maybe even the pedagogical uses, but they do not really know the curriculum. It needs to be an ongoing conversation.
Embedded technology not “integrated”
Slideshow: Kim Cofino, ISB Bangkok
I read an article today on Ars Technica that talked about teens and how they do not understand copyright law. Not surprisingly, students do not understand that downloading and copying songs and images from the Internet is illegal. Interestingly though one of the findings of the study revealed that most teens credit their own parents with anything they do actually know about copyright. This made me wonder what exactly we are teaching in schools about intellectual property rights. Do we assume that students know already that copying other people’s work is wrong? Do we assume that students can extrapolate from the fact that stealing someone’s lunch would be wrong, therefore stealing their ideas or their electronic work would also be wrong? Is all our “reminding” them about citing sources and crediting authors based on an incorrect assumption, that they already know that they should not copy things from the web? I imagine myself nagging my students about copying from the web, and putting things in their own words and the blank looks I get back lead me to believe that I have become Charlie Brown’s parents.
While this is clearly a serious issue, I also wonder if we will be kicking ourselves i the future that we wasted our time on all this. Information and ideas want to be free. Intellectual property is an illusion. Once an idea is shared it becomes part of the collective intelligence. To repeat it, build on it and rework it should be everyone’s right. Citing the origin of the idea remains important, but paying for the idea is ludicrous. Can I then extrapolate that, if a song is in the public domain I should be able to copy it, share it, remix it and improve on it, as long as I let everyone know the original work belongs to David Grohl? I think so.
I think that, one day, likely soon, all information and intellectual property will be free. Free to use and share. Corporations and the RIAA are the ones that are resisting this evolution of information. They do not know how they will still make money. That is their problem. Information wants to be free and the democratic web will bring that about.
A posting I read today on Jeff Utecht’s blog, Utechtips, got me thinking about data and the enormous amounts of data being collected and created on the web today. His posting was about a new piece of software demoed at the TED talks called Photosynth. This web site and software uses tags and photo meta data to make connections between related pictures.
At the end of the day I was in a meeting and we were talking about 21st century skills and helping students become digital citizens. It made me think about all this data and how students will need data literacy skills to make sense of it all and also to make the connections that will be needed to make new information.
Credit: TED Talks