Sunday, June 20, 2004

ISTE 2004 Special Interest Group - Alan November

On Sunday afternoon, June 20, 2004 Alan November addressed the ISTE Special Interest Group for Technology Coordinators at NECC in New Orleans. (This is a group that any technology coordinator, technology leader, or technology specialist should belong to.)

It was a serious presentation, but interlaced with a lot of humor. Even though I don’t agree with everything that Alan says, it sure makes me stop and think about what I am doing…

These are my notes from the presentation. They are as accurate as possible – his ideas came so fast it was hard to get them down and not miss the next idea he was on to. Corrections and additions are welcomed and encouraged.

Marketing is important. The grocery stores don’t advertise “Dead Cow” but they market hamburger and steak. We should not market ourselves as Technology Coordinators but as Learning Results Coordinators. The two things we should be promoting is Critical Thinking and Communication.

Grapes of Wrath. A new technology – tractors – changed the number of people working on farms from 80% to 2% now. The digital version of “Grapes of Wrath” is the worldwide network and transfer of information.

We are in the business of managing change. If not, we would be working to keep things the same as before and we shouldn’t be here.

The goals of using technology should be

We should have big goals.

Start with the interest of the teacher! An example is a teacher who was incubating duck eggs. The suggestion was to put a web cam in the incubator with the eggs and monitor it 24/7. Then talk to the teacher about the benefits of a web page.

Students must learn to be self directed so that they can learn to work without having a boss.

In 1990 32% of the young adults (18-29) lived at home at least part of the year. In 2003 65% of the students lived at home at least part of the year. These are the boomerangs. Talk to the school board about solving this problem!

- Reading by 3rd grade and Algebra I

Writing is the #1 predictor of test scores.

Do you spray and pray? Put all kinds of technology out there and hope something works?

Students should be able to access information, access people, solve a problem. We can’t cover the standards.

Every K-12 student should have a writing plan. They should have a portfolio with all the writing they have ever done. We should use Inspiration, Kidspiration, Polyester and the Princeton online writing assessment.

In one school the principal took pictures of the teachers best practices and put their “stuff” on the web. We should celebrate the life of the teachers. Then talk to them about the value of classroom web pages.

Students should play with mathematics all the time.

Every family has to have access to the internet.

Redesign our schools. In one example of a charter school, half of the kids had their own office. The students who had their own office started their school day 45 minutes earlier because they didn’t have to wait for a teacher to get things started. Funded by the Gates foundation

Instead of selling technology we should be selling results. If not, in the next ten years another $40 billion will get us back where we are.

The real skill of teachers is to empower students to manage their own learning.

What skills should you teach teachers and students that will outlast any changes in technology.
Do workshops on the Socratic method
Teachers – empower students to manage their own learning
Kids – critical thinking

American schools cut the parent out of the learning process.

We should give every teacher a video camera and have them send video tapes home to the parents.

We should be teaching teachers informations literacy before teaching them Powerpoint or any other technology.

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