EARCOS 2008: Session 5 Dennis Harter 21st Century Skills

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?

  • communicate
  • learn independently
  • create
  • understand information
  • values?
  • speak another language
  • collaborate

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?

New Literacy Wikispace

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:

    1. development of framework and essential questions
    2. curriculum office involvement and refinement
    3. leadership team buy-in
    4. teacher buy-in and PD

    Layers:

    1. ISB has created a vision of what 21st century learner looks like.
    2. Enduring understandings
    3. 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.

    Assessment?

    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.

      EARCOS 2008: Session 3 Kim Cofino Developing the Global Student

      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”

      [slideshare id=161540&doc=developing-the-global-student-v2-1194743695449510-4&w=425]

      Slideshow: Kim Cofino, ISB Bangkok

      Three Reasons I am Sticking with Firefox over Safari 3.1

      I love my Mac.  I really do.  I loved my MacBook and now I love my Macbook Pro.  I prefer OSX to XP or the various Linux flavours I have tried and I like the iLife suite.  I kept my blog using iWeb for awhile and most of the feedback I got when I switched to WordPress was that folks liked the iWeb one better in terms of looks.  So I guess I am a fanboy.  So, when Safari 3.1 came out and people said it was fast, I downloaded it right away and moved all my bookmarks over from Firefox 3.  Safari would be the perfect browser.  Sleek, clean, fast, with all the features I could need.

      After only a few days I returned to Firefox. Here’s why:

      1. Multi-tabbed Home:

      In Firefox I have my three favorite starting places set as my Home pages.  Call me greedy, but I open these three sites every time I get on the web, so I might as well have my browser open them right away, no?  Safari wouldn’t let me.  At least I couldn’t figure out how.

      2. RSS subscription handling:

      When I find a new site I want to subscribe to, I want to add it to my iGoogle page.  It’s my main home page and I like to see all my RSS feeds on that page.  A great new feature of Safari 3.1 is the way it handles RSS feeds right in Safari, but I want to have a choice as to where I read my feeds.  Safari doesn’t ask me.  This reminds me of why I switched from using iWeb to WordPress.  Control.  Steve Jobs makes things nice and easy for folks, but he is a bit of a control freak.  This is not news to anyone I am sure, but I do get frustrated when I grow beyond the nice and easy ilife stuff and go looking for where I can save my iWeb as HTML and its just not there.  Or when I want to set Safari to let me add my RSS subscriptions to my iGoogle page and it just does what it wants.  Firefox asks me nicely if I want to add a new feed to iGoogle or Google Reader.  Thanks Firefox.

      thanks firefox

      3. Downloads Button:

      Finally, (and this is a little thing but I use it a lot) there’s the “Downloads” button on my Firefox toolbar.

      downloads button

      I like this button. I missed it in Safari.  I download things a lot.  Maybe I am funny that way.  But I like to check on their progress and I like having this little button right up there where I can get to it without having to go to the Window menu and choose Downloads.  Too many clicks, that.  So I tried adding a button like that to my Safari toolbar.  No can do.

        I have not mentioned plug-ins (Firefox has them and Safari doesn’t) or GreaseMonkey scripts (ditto) because I don’t use them.  But It is nice to know that I can, if I want, seek out a new feature and install it in Firefox.

        For me, these things, while not terribly important, are enough to make me use Firefox 3 over Safari 3.1.  They are small things, but they are important to me.  If anyone can tell me in the comments how to set Safari to open several tabs when it launches or add a new tolbar button for the Downloads window I guess I might give Safari another try.  Otherwise, I might as well use the one that does what I want. Right?  Sorry Steve.

        Twitter expands the walls

        David Parry, academicdave on twitter, writes about using Twitter in his classroom.  The most interesting bit is how he found it expanded the walls of the classroom.  Students, having a shared classroom experience and context, twittered while away from class about things that reminded them of classroom topics and events and tied their outside experiences together with each other and with the class.  He also promises a future post on the nuts and bolts of using twitter in the classroom.

        UN Data now available to students

        The United Nations has created a web site that gives access to the vast amounts of data the UN has been gathering for the past 50 years.  Perfect not only for gathering data but also for easily and quickly grabbing large data sets to work with and analyse.  Check it out: UNData

        Teens and Intellectual Property Rights

        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.

        Original Microsoft Research paper

        Teaching Data Literacy

        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.

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1vXngfODSg&rel=1]

        Credit: TED Talks