Ed Tech Coast to Coast Podcast

Please tell me I’m not the only one that loves to see another Ed Tech Coast to Coast podcast show up in my iPodder?

I was listening to the podcast as I was publishing my 84 student blog articles this morning (about the average coming from the 128 5th graders). What a great way to start your morning off thinking about technology: listening to Tim Wilson, Will Richardson, Tim Lauer, and Steve Burt discussing filtering issues.

At my school here in China we don’t have a filter at all, which I find quiet interesting. Students can access myspace.com and xanga.com without a problem. But they can’t access blogspot.com or blogger.com because those are blocked by the Chinese government. Interesting what different countries view as ‘inappropriate’.

Here are some of the notes I jotted down while listening:

Will: We have to teach teachers first before we teach the students.

It starts with the teachers. If we can teach teachers how to use the power of information and web 2.0 skills then we can start using spaces like myspace.com in positive educational ways. The problem at this point is that students know the power these tools hold and educators don’t even know they exist. There is a digital divide growing here and one we must close before these tools can be successfully integrated into education. I think this also leads into: What are we teaching in this new Information Age? Education and educators need to reassess the skills that we are teaching our students. The skills our students need have changed and until we realize this in education, we will not be able to successfully prepare students for the future.

Tim Wilson: Living in the moment

Can’t remember why I wrote this down. I’m sure it was profound whatever it was Tim was talking about. Guess I’ll have to go back and listen again.

I don’t remember if this was in the podcast or if it just hit me while I was listening. In the 1980 and 1990 technology was mostly about publishing information. We taught students how to use technology to publish anything and everything they were doing. Why did you learn Word? To publish a story. Why did we teach you Publisher? To publish a brochure. Why did we teach PowerPoint? To publish a presentation. We used technology at a basic level. Students spent their time publishing work.

Fast forward to today and students use technology to create information not just publish it. The 5th graders for example will write their whole story on their laptop, not just use Word to publish their story, but use it to create, edit, revise, and publish to their blog, all in one step. We did a good job in the 90s helping students and teachers learn how to publish with technology, now we need to teach them how to find and create information with technology.

I jotted this down in my notes:

Students know how to publish (20th century) but can they find information (21st Century)

I think this is where we could start with teachers. Most teachers have the 20th century skills of publishing with technology and know how to operate 20th century tools. But as Tim Lauer stated in the podcast:

“We need to become literate with the tools”

We need to teach teachers how to be literate with the tools of the 21st century. Our students are literate with the tools for the most part; they have the LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills). What we need to teach are the HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) and the 21st century tools and web 2.0 allow that to happen seamlessly in the classroom.

Tim Wilson talks about having schools set up their own blog server. I think this is a great idea; the problem is not every school has the resources and money to do this. Luckily there are a couple of free options out there for educators looking to start blogs at their school.

Blogmeister, ran by David Warlick is a great site that allows teachers to have full control over the content that students create.

Learnerblog.org is another program for students, ran off the open-source program WordPress. For high schools and even middle schools this program might be an option. It doesn’t allow for complete control of the content like blogmeister does, but would allow more freedom to the more mature students of High School.

Thanks guys for another great ed tech coast to coast podcast. I look forward to the next one!

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