Web 2.0 and 21st Century Learning

Walt Disney's School Desk

Walt Disney's School Desk

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Thing #3–21st Learning 2.0

Welcome!  Your first blog comment will be posted on my blog here, so that we can collectively discuss the concerns and challenges that the video clips bring to the forefront of our ed tech minds.

Background Information:

In Shift Happens“, Karl Fisch enlightens us with startling facts and statistics about our everchanging global community.  In A Vision of Students Today“, Michael Wesch and his students at Kansas State University highlight how students spend their time and question the relevance of today’s education into the future. Finally, David Warlick comments on Literacy and 21st Century Learning.  He deftly points out that three converging conditions demand a new definition of literacy.  These (3) conditions include: 1.  We are preparing students for a future that is unpredictable; 2.  We are preparing info-savvy students–students who have a richer, deeper, and more personal way of tapping into information; and 3.  We are living in a time with a new information landscape–the WWW is now a participatory interface where we dialogue and contribute to the content in a social manner.

Topics for Discussion:

You are invited to dialouge about the (3) video clips and share your ideas on this blog space.  Use these three guiding questions as you compose your comments:

  1. Why do you think Web 2.0 is important for 21st Century Learning?
  2. When comparing the information in the videos and your own school experiences as an educator, what rings true?  What does not?  What surprises you?  Worries you?
  3. If we are living in a world of Web 2.0, global learning communities, and online social interaction, what do you think “School 2.0” should look like? 

18 thoughts on “Web 2.0 and 21st Century Learning

  1. I watched the three videos with an open mind and felt overwhelmed by how much info is out there and how fast it is growing. Can we ever keep up? Are we all going to be obsolete? Is what we teach going to have relevance and meaning to our students and for the future?
    When I watched the second video, I was astounded by how much time people truly waste every day on the internet, email, texting, cell phone calls, social networking, etc. Are people doing this much in other countries? Is anyone learning anything from their teachers in these classes?
    My final gut reaction/concern to it all was that the more socially technological people become the less interpersonally skilled people may become in the face to face exchanges of non-techno life. My fear is that at some point all this technology may come unplugged and people will have lost the ability to interact in a meaningful and appropriate way, i.e. talking with each other face to face and interacting in a way that is not abbreviated or enhanced by technology.

  2. Thanks Sarah for devising this experience for us!

    I found the 2 short videos very thought provoking, especially the first time I saw them. Now, on the second time around, I did wonder about the sources for the statistics, and also noticed the way the presentation shaped my reaction. I became wary of the data. I wonder if our students will grow up wary, whereas I needed to be explicitly taught to question the written word; perhaps the way information is now being generated via Web 2.0 will lead to a view of information as messy and inherently imperfect.

    The third video was also compelling, especially the three converging factors. His redefinition of literacy seemed vague in this short clip, so I would like to hear more specifics…perhaps via the stretch activity.

  3. Some interesting data, eh?
    First, I have to say that I was laughing at the directions, which ask us to “jot down a few reactions on paper.” I specifically tell students that handwriting is becoming obsolete due to technology – everything they will submit in the future will have to be typed, so I encourage (and sometimes demand) that they begin their typing habits now. What I find is that my younger students – 9th and 10th grade – incorporate “text talk” into formal responses. In this way, I agree with Sheila, above, that these future society members are missing some basic human interactions, including even the simple task of writing words out.
    I was truly overwhelmed and surprised with the amount of information that is out there, as well as how much time people spend on interactions that may not mean anything, like facebook and myspace. Communicating digitally is still certainly communicating, but this technological multi-tasking must be detracting from important areas somewhere. I almost wonder if our digital natives’ minds will be wired differently. I know that I too have changed the way my patience works – waiting a short amount of time for an internet connection, or having a website or page fail on me, is deplorable! (This from a teacher who demands that students write at least two drafts of each paper, and insists that students spend much time editing.)
    Finally, what should school 2.0 look like? I like the idea David Warlick presents about redefining literacy, but I agree with Ann that it is somewhat vague. With so much more accessible information, it is important to teach students about valid sources as well evaluating information on their own. His extension suggestions regarding the 3 Rs allow for this while demanding that students are active participants as opposed to passive receivers (who work in class on laptops doing non-school-related work…). By presenting interesting, relevant questions and information, we need to engage our students and entice them to want to find answers to all of these new questions. It’s quite the challenge.

  4. • What astounds or even surprises you?
    • What rings true for what you know about your students and your school? What doesn’t?
    • What should “School 2.0” look like in order to adapt to the world of Web 2.0 and our global landscape?
    Video #1

    What astounds or even surprises you?
    We are all infinitesimal. Well, not surprising, but the juxtaposition of the numbers–# of kids in US # of smart kids in India for example—drives home a point. Drives home these points as well:
    • The US is doomed to become much less important—the demographics are against us (I knew that before watching this)
    •Our education nationwide is poor and getting worse;
    • Our political class fights over trivia and misses the important stuff (which may be a good thing)
    • Our culture has the potential to remain dominant given its values including individualism which in and of itself fosters innovation and creativity.
    • In our nation of sheep it will be ever more difficult to get intelligent forward looking decisions out of government; private sector will continue to respond to short term incentives.
    • Our students haven’t a clue about any of this—their smallness, their elite status, the precarious nature of that status (that it must be earned anew by each successive generation).
    • And this: Malthus was right. About a century and a half premature, but right in the views with which he is commonly associated.

    •What rings true for what you know about your students and your school? What doesn’t?
    • Our students accept that information is available at their fingertips the we accept that the sun will rise tomorrow; they haven’t a clue that it was ever different, or the generations it took to get us here.
    • All those quintillion bites of information may not add up to any more knowledge or better decisions than the amount of information we have today. Kids today, like most kids in previous generations, are more consumed with the ephemeral trivia of popular culture than the meaty information that forms the foundation of our culture and the material infrastructure and systems of our cushy lives.

    • What should “School 2.0” look like in order to adapt to the world of Web 2.0 and our global landscape?
    Beats me.

    Video #2
    • What astounds or even surprises you?

    Honestly, nothing.

    • What rings true for what you know about your students and your school? What doesn’t?
    • The lack of connection between standard lecture style teaching and students’ lives outside of class,
    • the disconnect between that style of teaching and most kids’ learning styles
    • the way class to most students is distilled down to minimum necessary output to succeed (as defined by grades)

    • What should “School 2.0” look like in order to adapt to the world of Web 2.0 and our global landscape?
    • Depends what one is trying to teach to whom. To explain certain types of information most efficiently—and even in a stimulating way—old fashioned lecture can be appropriate. However, inserting multi-media in the form of visual stills and video, electronic interaction with the students in the class (typical in some of my son’s classes at University) can perk their interest. Moreover, interaction in the working world is often collaborative and involves presentation and communication styles and forms that transcend the blackboard. Yet, much electronic communication is like this right here: wider faster dissemination of simple written communication (or verbal communication written down), sometimes with references in the form of links or photos or documents that support or relate to the “conversation” . In a sense, blogs and email are simply updated and expanded conversations that used to take place on the street or in the pub or in the 20th century by telephone.

    Video 3
    • What astounds or even surprises you?

    BS like this: “This is the first time in history that we don’t know the future we are preparing them for.” That sentence can be applied to the entire period between 1850 and now. And the problems associated with preparing each successive generation to deal with the preceding generation can also be associated with the entire period beginning with the first industrial revolution prior to the US Civil War and especially the second industrial revolution that followed that war, a period of ever accelerating change all the way to the present. There is some adage about preparing to fight tomorrow’s wars with lessons learned from yesterday’s wars. This can be considered a metaphor for education as well. (and infrastructure, and all sorts of policies). There is nothing new in newness per se.

    Point 2 is also exaggerated at best “Information is a raw material product to be consumed, but a raw material that is valuable for what you can do with it.” This is not new either. That is what some information has always been (learn Geometry so that you can use it to build a staircase). Other information is more aesthetic or consumable: In the first instance learn about Art to enhance the enjoyment or other emotions stimulated by art; in the second learn about Brittany Spears’ alleged sex life for the entertainment value today and today only.
    I will grant that kids have access to more and richer sources of information than I had as a kid, but I see them watching videos of things like kids falling off of skate boards and getting hurt. We had PBS my entire adult life, but more people watched “The Price is Right” than “Nova”. The internet isn’t any different, there is just more of it, more opportunities for people who want fluff as well as people who want substance—and there is more fluff than substance. What percent of the internet is “dirty”? (this submission was just rejected for using the P word)
    I do not see a substantive difference in learning through Web 2.0 as he describes it and learning pre-internet. It is still research—of written information and consultation with experts—combined with discussion to open up new ideas or clarify old ones. What is that hierarchy? Learn facts, learn ideas, synthesize new ideas…something like that. Or, to put it in philosophical terms it was Hegel that I think I am about to butcher here: Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. (maybe hypothesis is in there somewhere also). We are discussing marvelous new tools to do what people have always done. Not a paradigm shift, a methodological shift.

    On his definitions of the three Rs: no different than they have ever been in any high quality education: thinking, not rote, applied to problem solving, good communication, blah blah blah. Sounds like the GFS, Westown, CHA, Crefeld, and liberal arts colleges ad nauseum approach to education. Again, same stuff, new tools only. Not wrong–in fact spot on–just not remotely profound in this context.
    Information as power? Wow. Ever read Orwell? Sure information is power in the right hands. A million people blogging and emailing is no different than a million conversations in bars and taxicabs. Yeah ethics. What a new idea!! Ethical use of information, no one ever considered that before.
    My God what a load of borscht! It is not that Warlick is wrong, it is that he isn’t saying anything remotely new or different about education in the age of the internet compared to the past.
    6 minutes of old ideas then 4 minutes of simple graphics moving around the screen like a Power Point parody.
    To me this is a waste of technology. I could have gotten the same information in written form in about 4 minutes—but maybe that is just how I learn.
    I don’t think all learning need be entertaining, and I don’t think that the video format is necessarily more entertaining than just reading. Call me stuffy.
    • What rings true for what you know about your students and your school? What doesn’t?

    See above. I don’t see them as much different than I was, or my generation. Just different media and more more more information—not necessarily better content, but admittedly better more compelling graphics and much better ease of learning more and more and more and following whatever tangents one desires. This is good, but he didn’t address it.
    • What should “School 2.0” look like in order to adapt to the world of Web 2.0 and our global landscape?

    Still have no idea. This video did not help. I found it annoying (can you tell?)

  5. The better we learn to communicate, the better we will understand each other all over the world. Teaching ancient history gets tougher every year. Trying to explain to students how far we have come in terms of communcation is made much easier by watching the 1st and 2nd videos. How fast we are communicating with each other and how much we communicate with each other is growing every year at such a fast pace that it is scary. If teachers don’t understand some of the current ways we can communicate, the students w teach will be hurt (especially when you look at the statistics about the size of the other countries in the world.

    All the students in my school have a laptop. The teacher is at the front of the room. That means when those lids go up, we can’t see what the students are looking at. Recently, we started to put the teacher desks behind the students. My point is that old habbits die hard. We take student cell phones whenever we see them, but it is a tool that the student can use to help organize him/herself. We really need to work with the technology and not against it. I guess that is why I am taking this course.
    If we are living in a world of Web 2.0, global learning communities, and online social interaction, what do you think “School 2.0″ should look like?

  6. I found the third video the most compelling, having seen the first two before (or similar). I get pretty annoyed with the techno music that people seem to feel is necessary …

    Coming from a progressive school the idea of redefining literacy resonates already. The interaction of student with curriculum is a given in progressive schools. The question for me is, “What is the role of the teacher?” Clearly not a pipeline and gatekeeper of information (as of old), since the students have access to all information, and as we have seen are rediscovering and remixing it in ways that are unpredictable and exciting and outside the teacher’s “control”.

    It’s hard to imagine what 2.0 schools will look like, because the relative contributions of teachers and students will be so different from what we now know. Students will continue to have skills ahead of their teachers – especially in the use of evolving tech tools. Teachers will have to be much more adaptable and open-minded and willing to let go of old ways. (I realize that I feel a bit resentful of learning this way because a good face-to-face discussion is much richer for me than reading from a screen, listening to a podcast, and typing – painfully slowly – my thoughts.)

    If “wisdom” is seen as the third step after “information” and “knowledge”, (see I did the stretch task) – then I guess “wisdom” is what teachers have that students are still acquiring. So how does the teacher’s wisdom enter into the learning process?

  7. Dave, as usual, you are a hard act to follow.
    I do believe we are preparing students for a future that we have a hard time describing. We don’t know what jobs will be out there and what life styles will be like in ten or twenty years. Things are changing exponentially.

    I believe Crefeld is on the right track, though. When things are uncertain, emphasize the basics: critical, creative and flexible thinking; interpersonal skills; commitment to the common good; and the ability to work collaboratively.

    I am hopeful that this connectivity will lead to shift in global consciousness and collaboration.

    As a stretch activity I read David Warlick’s piece on what a truly Web 2.0 school looks like. I was impressed with all of the information sharing among students, staff and administration. Everyone seemed to have a blog and wiki. There was a richness and collaborative creativity throughout the school culture. At the same time, as I pictured myself in this Web 2.0 school, I got exhausted. I saw myself on the computer most of my days and evenings trying to keep up with all of the blogs and wikis. How are people finding the time and energy to do all this connectivity? Maybe they have younger brains and they need less sleep?

  8. What I viewed did not astound me. Much of what was said has been published in papers for the general public. This maybe one of the reasons that parents and older students do not feel that school is relevant. SCHOOL has not caught up to the students’ lives.
    I was not surprised by what I saw and heard. It felt good to see and hear educators explore what is happening in the world today. This is why I am taking the course. The world for our students has changed from what we knew. We need to prepare them to use the web as a means of gaining information, evaluating it, and communicating it in a ethical manner.
    We still seem to be working and teaching in the “old way.”
    Students are learning to be social and interactive. They are maintaining friendships and forming new ones. We are afraid that they are learning how to deal with life as we knew it. They need that – especially when young. They need to know how to negotiate with people, face to face, and how to negotiate on the web. Schools need to honor the students lives. We need to make school more relevant to our students’ world. The Web. We still need to teach the three R’s, but as stated – they must be able to write compellingly. They must be able to communicate compellingly and that might be interfacing on-line speaking, not only writing, communicating in many ways.
    Our students are not being prepared at this point. They are using the internet, word processing, but not how to be ethical and be part of a learning community. Students are learning on their own at home with minimal help. Schools need to help our students. Students with learning differences should be included in everything we are doing or will do.

    Our school, grades k-5, looks as though it is ready for this new world, but we the teachers need to be trained on how to use the tools and also maintain our students personal contacts. There is the web and there are people interfacing. We must teach our students how to navigate these intersecting worlds. Having laptops and smart boards is not enough, we need to teach and learn from our students.

  9. I guess what stood out to me the most in relationship to these three videos is this notion that this time is more dynamic than any other. When I think about it, this generational shift is not as dramatic as the last, at least when I consider my own personal narrative. My mother came from a village in Panama, and, for her, in many ways, my early life was certainly one dramatically different from hers. (I still romanticize my mother bathing in the barn in a portable tub that was warmed with kettle water.) And, certainly, her teachers, mostly nuns, were preparing her for a future life that was beyond the scope of anything they probably imagined.

    Ultimately, I think there are times when things change at a more dramatic rate, and, yes, this feels like one those times. One day, our centuries will blur together like others do now in students’ textbooks.

    Something else that stood out to me was the statistic that today’s students will have something like ten – fourteen jobs by the time they’re 38. Like blogger Ann, I wondered about how this information was acquired. However, again, I was struck at how, when I thought about, it isn’t as much in contrast with past generations as one might imagine at first. I’m 39, and I’ve had at least ten jobs. So as the third video points out, it’s important to “uncover truth” and consider other variables.

    I think that the 2.0 classroom is a classroom that helps students work toward uncovering truths–personal, universal, etc.– using the tools the students are familiar and comfortable with. As these blog videos point out, many students know more about the technologies than their teachers do, so the objective is to appeal to them. But I think that has always been the teacher’s trick. We have to keep it engaging and fun: (See video on motivating people to take the stairs instead of escalator: http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=safari&rls=en&q=you+tube+turning+stairs+into+piano&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=YOjbSvWJBYnk8Qa3uMm3BQ&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQqwQwAA#. ) Work must, at its root, be intersting and somehow relevant.

    In a 2.0 classroom, teachers need access to tools. We need to have fast computers and good resources available to us. If you have a forty minute class and fifteen minutes are spent trying to trouble-shoot things, then it makes it hard to do more computer-based lessons. You worry about the time it’ll take away from the content.

    For example, I just had a really great lesson the other day. The students told family stories to one another. The listener then had to tell the class their partner’s story. (It’s part of our unit on the origin of stories and relates to one of this year’s greater understandings that personal experiences inform how we look at the world.) The kids want to record their stories, just like they did in StoryCorps (www.storycorps.com), which we listened to together. I wonder how I’m going to fit this in. If I wait too long, do I miss an opportunity? At any rate, I’m going to try, with our technology director’s help. However, I think the kids loved the lesson because they were connecting to one another, and to themselves. The technology will only enhance this. Ultimately, this is what I think a 2.0 classroom should do: enhance human connection.

  10. All three videos were thought provoking and looking back at my student days we thought then that we were on top of everything. Flashforward 30 years. My first master’s is no longer a viable one. What I learned then, is no longer the case now. My second masters is fairly recent, five years ago, but even now I am pressed to keep on top of what is going on in my field.
    One thing was interesting, that there was a quote by Marshal McLuhan, and what he said in 1967 is very much the case now. Technology will be with us now and into the future. It’s up to us to incorporate technology into our teaching so that our students will be learning in a relevant learning environment.

  11. I found the first two videos compelling, even as I agree with Ann about the vility
    of the statistics. The future while unclear except for the fact of change is inevitable, is both exciting and frighting.

    I am surprised by the speed at which technology will change and I wonder how
    much we loose of ourselves in the process, we are creating a world which can be very meaningful in bringing together all educational colaborations, which will
    allow the student to benefit from instantly make connections in all disciplines.

    Each day I either learn something new or how to better use what I learned the day before, I see others create things or organize themselves through the use of technology, I want to be there>

  12. I agree that the statement that we are the first generation of teachers who are preparing students for an unforseeable future is pure codswallop. Who was prepared for the changing socio-economic landscape in Europe that followed the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt? Who among the native people was prepared for the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas? Who was prepared for the changes in transportation and communication in the 19th century or the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th century? The list is endless.

    There is no question in my mind that the rate of change is accelerating, and that is definitely a challenge to us, as we are likely to see more change in our lifetimes. But change — cataclysmic change — has always happened within its own time scale. Ask the Cro-Magnons about the arrival of their Neanderthal neighbors, or the indigenous Chinese about the day Genghis Khan moved in.

    That said, any of us who expect to go on teaching beyond the next year or two have to embrace the opportunities and ferret out the pitfalls of this web-thing. We’ve had classroom computers at Miquon since 1981. Kids have always been faster to learn things than the adults, no matter how hard we tried. But that was more about managing the technology than about understanding the content that it conveyed. And that’s still true. Teachers are still gate-keepers (or, perhaps more accurately, gate-openers and gate-identifiers). My 5th and 6th kids can find information on the internet, but they aren’t ready to evaluate it and select or reject it without a lot of teacher guidance. And they have forgotten that the best place to get an overview is probably not there but in print or digitized encyclopedias. They haven’t suddenly matured 10 years in their ability to reason or communicate. But they have wonderful new tools, and some of them help to level the playing field. Word processors make it so easy to edit and revise. Geometer’s Sketchpad lets even the most fumble-fingered kid explore geometry successfully. Spreadsheets bring formulae to life because we can apply them in an efficient, useful way. And then there’s all that opportunity to link to the larger world.

    I think the biggest impact all of this has, in the short term, is on schools that have computer labs. At Miquon, we decided from the beginning that computers were tools to be used whenever they were needed, so all of our computers are in classrooms. We thought, if we wouldn’t set up a pencil lab, why create a computer lab? In the long run, it has been expensive. But in the long run, it means that our kids can reach out and find a computer without leaving the classroom or waiting for it to come up on the schedule. I think our immediate future requires us to make sure kids have individual access to internet-connected computers all day, every day, everywhere.

    I wasn’t all that excited about the videos for all of the reasons others have mentioned here — too much sound-bite modality, too many unsubstantiated dramatic claims, too much that has been said or printed before. But I am excited about what’s out there now and coming soon that will make my work and my students’ experience more exciting, relevant, and interconnected.

    Shift or get off the pot.

  13. I found the first two videos interesting to watch, even though I had seen both before. The stats in both were not surprising, but they certainly made me think. And both made me quite aware of how much technology is out there that I still need to explore. And also, how much time is spent, as Sheila mentioned, on social networking. Whew!! So many of my students seem constantly concerned with being “connected.”

    The third video annoyed me, as it did others. Is it really that unusual for educators to be preparing their students for jobs that don’t exist yet? Has anyone ever truly known what the future was going to look like? I agree that our students are “coming to understand information differently” than in the past. And I agree with what Lynn said – they have wonderful tools to help them learn. As a teacher, it is imperative that we keep up with new technology in an effort to help them learn. Geometers Sketchpad has been one amazing way for me to do this.

  14. My main reaction to the videos was, “Oh boy, more scare tactics for us old obsolete people.” And I agree with Dave that the points about preparing our kids for an unpredictable future, things are changing faster than before, info is power, etc are not new. And that’s fine, because we need to hear that.

    I think the most important thing we need to emphasize is critical thinking. Our kids live in a very rich sea of information that everyone creates, so they have to do a lot more sifting than we had to growing up. So our Community Service Learning questions “Says who?” and “So what?” are key.

    I think School 2.0 will be outside of school. I think apprenticeships and other kinds of personalized learning will work better in the future. At the same time, for some subjects, including mine (world language), it’s better in a group. But, the classroom could be much more interactive.

    I’m reminded of some dystopian books I’ve read that involve having an internal watch that you can look at just by glancing to the top right corner. I imagine that this will be more like having the internet in our brains, that we can browse just by moving our eyes. Imagine how hard it will be to keep our students on task then!!!

    I feel sometimes like as a teacher my job is to be the most entertaining/compelling person in the room, and that is harder and harder when there is so much more to compete with via the internet.

  15. Karen said here, “I feel sometimes like as a teacher my job is to be the most entertaining/compelling person in the room, and that is harder and harder when there is so much more to compete with via the internet.”

    I understand the sentiment. However, I think an important attitude shift that we must make is seeing the internet and technology in general not as a competitor but as a tool — or, from the “entertainer” perspective, an incredible stage with an amazing support cast whose repertoire is almost limitless. Sometimes the principal player needs to step aside and let the rest of the cast get the attention of the audience.

    I know that the teacher-as- facilitator model is often criticized (as a fuzzy, disorganized approach), but I think it works well in almost any learning environment. I see it as my job to create opportunities for my students to engage deeply with their learning. It may be as mundane as an essay assignment or as challenging as putting together a multi-media research presentation. I’m the one who needs to make the judgments about what students are ready to do next, but I also need to be willing to be surprised by how far they can go if the end-result criteria allow for individualization and independent choice. Technology such as the internet makes this so much easier than trying to get a student excited about a math text or a print encyclopedia. Geometer’s Sketchpad has totally transformed the way and how much my kids learn about geometry, to cite a simple example.

    And if my students forget that I’m in the room as they work, or enthusiastically take total control of an assignment that goes far beyond my original vision of its development of skills and/or knowledge — well, I hope it happens that way all the time. And I hope that it’s my students who, through that involvement, become for their peers the most compelling and entertaining people in the room. I’ll step just back and observe.

    I believe Isaac Asimov said, “Any teacher that can be replaced by a computer, should be.” And I think that’s still true with all the technology we have on hand today.

    A final quote to contemplate . . .
    “The teachers who get “burned out” are not the ones who are constantly learning, which can be exhilarating, but those who feel they must stay in control and ahead of the students at all times.” — Frank Smith

  16. Hi everyone,

    Lynn and others, I shared your amusement at the line about this being the first time in history in which we are preparing children for an unforseeable future. Lynn offered plenty of some of history’s more memorable “game changing” moments, but they happen all the time, though perhaps on a smaller scale. I have also always found what I perceive to be humans’ elevation of the significance/immediacy/uniqueness of their own time/culture/position (“This time that I am living in is sooo different than any other time in history for these reasons..”) to be ironically consistent, no matter what appears to change. As some have said, though, certainly right now the rate of change is quicker than at other moments in history.

    The first video was a powerful reminder of America’s increasingly lagging position of brainpower within the global landscape, as others have said. However, I guess I am not as worried about being able to “specifically” prepare my students for the skills of their future jobs (most likely jobs that have not yet been created, as the video pointed out) as I am about helping them to become independent and discriminating thinkers. Yet this is what *good independent-minded teachers have been doing in this country since before its inception, and so I guess I am not very shocked by anything in these videos, since I merely see the form of education changing, and not necessarily the content.

    I’m comfortable finding new ways that technology might become this vehicle, but I strongly disagree that technology in and of itself is always helpful or useful. I went to a tech ed workshop this summer and the presenter kept saying, “Don’t use it because it is tech. Use it because it does what you are doing *better.”

  17. We are teaching to prepare our students for life and as stated in one clip, we don’t know what we are preparing them for. We need to know what they are doing out of the classroom so we can see how they learn. Many of the activities are doing such as on the computer we can take into our classrooms into lessons we teach.. It also makes us aware of what we need to look out for.
    It is also interesting that we listen mostly to TV many things on the computer need to be read. Youtube is becoming popular, but even evident in many of the clips we have been watching so far, most of the information we are learning is through text. There may be music and visual aids added, but it is mostly reading information.

    One thing that rings true is that being a first grade teachers the students can read or spell words that are things they need to know to get online and to certain websites. It worries me that if you are online so much how much time are you spent face to face with other people. Many times when you are on the computer you can and are communicating with others, but this is different interaction then eating dinner with family or just playing outside.

    “School 2.0” should understand what the children are doing and are exposed to outside the classroom. Although it does not mean that everything needs to be taught or done on a computer. There is a still a big importance to use actual maniupaltive that you can hold in your hand. It is still important to learn how to write and not just how to type. There may need to be additional education in comparing different grammar from what you can type or text to formal papers.

  18. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    We live in a time of change. Is there a time in human history when that wasn’t true? Change has been a constant on our dynamic planet and in our dynamic human societies. It is our strength. We are the most adaptable species (for good or bad) that life on earth has yet produced.

    I didn’t find much very surprising in the videos I watched. I was a little dismayed at the pontification of the presenters, and the self-indulgence of the students. The latter is to be expected. Think back on your own teens and twenties. If some of it isn’t embarrassing, you weren’t really trying. But the guiding voices should spend a little time listening to themselves.

    Not that everything they said is bad. We are presented with a whole new set of possibilities. And the rate of change accelerates. There is too much information easily available for us to be able to learn it all. No professional can read all the journals in their chosen field. You can’t even read everything in your subset.

    So it is clear that succeeding generations need help in learning to deal with information. How can you find what you need, verify its validity, and use it? And using it is what it’s all about. Even though your students can text faster than a speeding bullet, attaining the wisdom to know what’s useful and how to use it will only come with experience. It’s a daunting challenge.

    We can’t solve the problems for them. The best we can hope for is to help them learn to solve their own problems. They’re already better at using the medium than we are. But they don’t have the deep understanding that comes with experience. And, if they’re unwilling to learn from the timeless writing of previous generations, it will be a great loss. The great poets, writers, and philosophers of previous ages have ideas to present that are relevant to people here and now. Eight books a year, Twitter and YouTube aren’t going to cut it.

    And, I fear, it’s going to be harder and harder for fresh new voices to be heard amidst the strident doomsayers who truly do think that “the medium is the message” But, I suppose it’s been that way for a long time.. The more things change…..

    I think it is most important to teach hope and optimism. When I hear “You’ve done it all wrong. Things are terrible. You gave us a rotten world. What we’re being taught is irrelevant,” I recall the story of the rabbi saying to his students, “You don’t like what you’ve been given? You think you can make a better world? Then do it.”