Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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school2.0

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SOON, EVERYTHING WILL START TO CLICK. There’s a reason the new school clicks with so many people. It’s supposed to. Throughout the school, you’ll notice an uncanny familiarity to your life beyond the walls.

Consider, if you will, the new classroom that comes standard. It’s engineered with more than students in mind. The push-button world has been taken into account. The multi-tasking tendencies of modern society have been duly noted. The result is a classroom that doubles as a remote control for the rest of the education system. And that means instant access to everything from 3D maps to over 700 voice-activated information sources.

Every resource is selected in anticipation of your every need within the school. And every one of them is arranged precisely in relation to your needs within the class. Which means greater accessibility. More flexibility. And independent control without leaving a classroom.

It may become your next essential modern learning device. That’s the goal, really. To deliver the kind of school that becomes indispensable. Quintessential. Absolute. Human. The all-new school. More spacious, more luxurious, more complete and unique, from those who know it best. Teachers.

Adapted from: Honda Inc., (2007, November). The All-New Accord From Honda. Men’s Health, 10-11.

Two different ads I created with credit to photo author and Honda ad.Click to see them full size on Flickr.

The All-New School

[tags]school2.0[/tags]

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I was reading Will’s post today It’s Not Just the “Read/Write” Web and then thanks to twitter John Pederson’s post on Networks (I think that’s what it’s on anyway).

As I read I started thinking about a post I did back in January on defining School 2.0.

Not sure if it’s OK to quote yourself but back then I wrote:

School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed.

And I still believe this is true. What is School 2.0? It’s the new network world we live in. In the past couple of year I have started looking at everything differently. Is it just me or do you go around noticing all the ways our society relays on networks?

Today I went to the dentist where they took my picture because they are going  “Chartless.” Why? Because if all the information is in the computer they can easily access it from any room in the office. I go to room one and by the time I sit in the chair my chart is on the computer screen. The hygienist has a complete history of my visits, with pictures of my teeth and all the information she needs to do her job. The dentists in our area are also all forming a network to easily transfer and share files of patients. So now if I needed braces they would send the complete file electronically.

Or what about last week when my wife was looking for a new pair of shoes. The store didn’t have them in her size but the lady helping us scanned the shoe and then looked at the inventory of 5 other stores within our area to see if they had the right size. With a couple clicks the nice lady tells my wife that the shoes will be in the store in two days.

Will writes:

But here’s the thing that’s been sticking with me of late. For all of the talk about Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 and Addyourwordhere 2.0, there still isn’t much talk about what fuels the 2.0…the network.

And I believe this is where we need to get. The tools allow us to form networks, to form our own personal learning networks continually connecting, disconnecting, and reconnection to the information we need. The tools allow us to become a learning nod for others, but I believe it’s been said before that RSS is the glue that holds it all together. It allows us to connect to these different nods. Pull them in, compare, contrast, mashup, and create new content based on the information you have and the information you want.

While at the EdBloggerCon at NECC I brought up in a session that we need to change teaching at its roots. At the very foundation….the pedagogy. Some disagreed with me saying that good teaching is still good teaching. I’m just not sure if I can swallow that.

Does good teaching in 1920 look the same as good teaching in 1950….1980…..1990…..200?. With the advancements in brain research alone can you say that good teaching never changes?
At this moment I think George Siemens Knowing Knowledge and connectivism theory of learning best represents how learning and knowledge has been changed in this new 2.0 world.

Connectivism

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.

Connectivism is a new theory based on networks and connections. A new theory brings with it a new Pedagogy that we need to understand. If we continue to use old theories to teach new skills we can never truly create the change we talk about in the blogosphere. I was taught the constructivist theory believe it is a good learning theory and is what is expected in an interview. But does it take into account the new networked world we live in? The new chaos and expansiveness of information today.

If we truly want to see the change we are all hoping for than I believe we need to look at the very root of education. We need to understand that the tools are only the things we use. It’s the network, the connections, the creating of new information in this open and free space that truly impacts learning, our society, and our world.

[tags]School2.0, connectivism, George Siemens[/tags]

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Tonight I’m sitting here shaking my head at all the amazing things that teachers are doing this year and how we are changing the way we use technology. Teachers continue to find great ways to incorperate these new tools. Here is a look at some of the great things happening as my school.

First let’s start with my 7th Graders who today finished their Digital Stories. The assignment: Create a 1 minute message that informs or teaches people how to be safe on the Internet. We have a school youtube account (that’s right most schools are blocking Youtube and we have a school wide account to share our videos at!) So after you watch the video below head on over to http://www.youtube.com/user/saschool and check out the other 20 videos that have been uploaded so far.

Then after you’ve done that you might want to head over to our 5th grade blogs. Check out Mrs. Power’s blog and read some of the 5th grade blogs she has listed under her Blogroll. Tomorrow another class of 5th graders will upload their first podcasts to their blogs: Some poems they’ve remixed..so be looking for those as well.

And then what every Principal should be required to do. Today I had meetings all day and couldn’t create our weekly podcast with the 5th graders. So I asked my Principal Andy Torris if he would help out, handed him my iPod with the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo attached and told him to go on a walk about. How cool is this podcast and why aren’t more principals doing this as a way to communicate with their community?

To think that a year and a half ago when I came here non of this was going on. That technology was not getting out side the labs and that the 45 minutes elementary kids had once a week was basically technology. From that to a school that is bursting with excitement and teachers who are looking, asking, and hungry for ways to incorporate these tools into their teaching and learning, engaging students in fun ways within the learning process.

As I said three times today…it’s not about technology…we’re talking learning!

Enjoy!

[tags]School2.0, SAS[/tags]

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If you really want to see students squirm in their seats…give them choices.

Yesterday I was approached by two teachers who wanted help coming up with ways to incorporate technology into some upcoming lessons. Both of them wanted to “do something different”. Which is a good sign, and shows that our Tech Fest has sparked some interest.

After listening to both teachers explain their projects and what they were looking for I simply said:

“Let the students choose!”

To often I think we try to put things neatly into containers. A lesson (as we were taught in educator school) must have a clearly defined beginning, middle and end, when really all a lesson needs is a clear focus. As Brian Crosby would say Learning is Messy and you gotta allow students to get messy with it if you want to see something new and different.

Both teachers are planning big projects where they want students to produce something at the end of the unit. Both wanted to know what I would suggest students produce. A PowerPoint? A movie? A digital story? Both wanted to know what was out there that they were missing.

Why not allow the students to choose, allow them to find for themselves the best avenue to represent their learning. Allow students to get messy with the project. Some might decide to create a moive, others might decide a PowerPoint is the best approach, and yet others might create a podcast that is a radio show. Allowing students to choose gives them power over the content and the method of conveying their learning. As the teacher becomes the guide, you create the rubric that demonstrates what you want students to learn based off of district standards, but allow the students to decide what that learning looks like to them.
I will tell you most students do not like this, they do not like having the choice to decide what to do. We have conditioned them to do what we tell them. I used this exact approach last semester and got more whining out of my students then on any project. “Just tell us what to do Mr. U!” was what they kept saying. We have truly educated the creative side right out of our students. They don’t want to have to think about it, they just want to fulfill the requirement that is being asked of them and move on.

We must reengage students in the learning process invite them back into the learning process and make them the center of learning, not the receivers of information. If we are going to teach students to ‘Learn how to Learn’ then we must at times push them to do so and get out of their way so they can.
One of my students in our teentek.com class came up to me yesterday and said:

“What do you do here MR. U? I mean you never teach us anything.”

Exactly! 😉

[tags]21st Century Learning, School2.0[/tags]

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David Jakes took the recent talk around School 2.0 and did a nice mash-up on the techlearning blog.

So here is my attempt at characterizing School 2.0, driven by ideas from David, Will, Clarence and Jeff:

Unlearning. Relearning. The desire and climate to do both, by all members of the school community in a constant and never-ending self-adjustment dance. Fluid. Moving in a purposeful and positive direction, and with a velocity-never standing still, always in perpetual beta, adapting, with information, conversation, ideas, creativity and contagious energy being delivered via digital tools and networks, all driving the learning experience forward to prepare kids for their world.

Now to me and probably most in the blogosphere this sounds pretty cool. But there is a lot in here that I think the average teacher would look at and go “Uh?”

How do we learn to be adaptable? How do we adapt education to ‘fit’ (for lack of a better word) into a new model?

Mark Ahlness had a great reflective post on Friday on how he is adapting his classroom to meet the needs of his students, his student’s reading habits, and at the same time expanding their knowledge.

I’d been thinking lately how my own reading habits had changed in the last couple of years, with the huge increase in blogs, online news, and so on. When was the last time I actually sat down and read a book? The last time I flew back east to see my family. Yikes! I used to feel guilty about this until I took a closer look at the net of my reading. I read so MUCH more now than I ever used to. But it’s a different kind of reading.

Teachers tease me a lot and ask, “When was the last time you read a book?” I, like Mark, usually have to ponder, and like Mark find it’s usually a time when I’m disconnected. They usually look at me and laugh and tell me I need to read more books. Why? Before blogging and RSS I hardly read anything outside of a couple of educational magazines. A book? I never read them before the web why would I read them now? Long time readers to this blog know I struggle with reading (and writing) but the Read/Write web engages me in the process…and this post is a perfect example. I read, left comments, and now I’m responding. If this was a book, I couldn’t do that…and maybe that’s why I never was a big reader in the first place. I could never stay focused on a book. I’ve tried a ton to read books, make it a chapter never to return. I find my thoughts wondering or I’ll read a page and then have to reread it because I didn’t comprehend a thing on it. The Read/Write web has changed my reading habits. To the point that I actually read…and crave it.

Admittedly I’ve been in a bad mode the past couple of days with the upcoming Tech Fest next week and trying to get everything ready for it. I’ve been stressed and it wasn’t until today at lunch when I walked down to a little cafe that had wireless Internet and told myself that I wasn’t going to ‘work’ but instead take time for myself. So, I opened up my Netvibes page and started reading the some 400 posts I’m back dated on now. I was instantly relaxed.

As I read I was relaxed…that’s not me. I hate reading, can’t stand it…and now it relaxes me. What happened to me? I like to read? I like to write? My teacher’s won’t believe it!

Mark goes on to tell about how he has adapted his Silent Reading time to incorporate this new media:

Silent reading time was one of the only times of the day when I could sit down at my desk, check my email, read through my Bloglines. Feeling guilty, and somehow feeling it was the right thing to do, I’ve turned them loose on blogs – to read. Now this is very different from our blogging time in class. Many wanted to know if they could comment on blogs, even work on their own posts. Nope, I said, this is reading time. OK, fine.

That’s what this is about. Giving people choices…students in this case. Does it really matter if it’s a book or a blog, or a magazine?

So the next time some says to me “When was the last time you read a book?”

I’ll respond with, “When was the last time you read a blog?”

[tags]reading, adapting, school2.0[/tags]

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Our new media center is almost complete. 6 Months ago this area was part of the play ground. Next month the building will officially be open for business. When designing the new media center we used the word seamless to define what we wanted information to be for students. Whether paper, digital, audio, or video…information needed to be accessible in this space…I think we did a pretty good job.

Here it is the whole first floor is the media/information center the second floor is art and music classrooms. The three out coves are two teaching areas and a storytelling area for teachers and the librarians to use.

Another view with students playing at recess

This is from the hallway looking through the computer lab clear into the library. Yes, the computer lab is completely glassed in, so even though it is a true computer lab set up, it fits seamlessly into the whole library. When not in use by a class, students could drop in and easily be supervised by adults in the library area. This computer lab will sport a state of the art video conferencing system and a SmartBoard. It is completely wireless and you can see there are drops every 4 meters in the floor throughout the lab and the entire library, so if your laptop is low on power you are always within 2 meters of a plug in and wired access.

Another angle from in the tech lab looking into the library area.

The library standing at one end and looking the length of it. A huge space that will be fun to fill with books and computers. The computer lab is on the right and the story telling area on my left.

Story telling area, there will be cushions on the seats when it’s complete.

More of the library, you can see the outlet/Ethernet ports every 4 meters on the floor.

My favorite area. This is a total seamless tech area. It will look kind of like a computer lab with furniture in it, but this picture is taken from me standing in the middle of the library. I like to think of it as a Digital Information Intensive area. It will be home to the Elementary podcast station, a SmartBoard on the wall, and different levels of desks for different aged students. As you can see there is a folding wall, so if a teacher wanted to they could section it off as a closed in lab of sorts.

On the second floor looking down the hallway, there are two bridges connecting the new building to the existing building.

A view of the entire campus…one lucky music teacher gets this view.

Oops, one little mistake. This closet is to the hub room for the existing building, when they built the bridge to the new building they, well, you can see for yourself. Not a real big deal as it’s not used too often, but still funny some of the things that you don’t see in 2D. 🙂

After Gwen (our librarian shown above) is all moved into her space and has it all set up. I’ll have Gwen take you on a tour of the “Information Center” as she calls it…and yes she is a CIO “Chief Information Officer” I gotta quit calling her a librarian. 🙂

[tags]SAS, School2.0[/tags]

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Earlier this week I read the first paragraph of Chris Lehmann’s post: Some Thoughts About School 2.0 –Part 1.

I knew after the first paragraph that this was one of those posts that I wanted to make sure I was in the right place and right time to read…I’m glad I did.

It’s about the pedagogy.

Four simple words that is the difference between School 2.0 and School 1.5.

School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed.

I listened to David Warlick’s Connect Learning podcast #77 on the way to work today in which he sits down with his son and learns about World of Warcraft. David finds it fascinating that his son doesn’t ask people he meets where they are from, or located at around the world. Students today are becoming more global, we are still fascinated that we can chat or Skype around the world. I know every time I send a file via Skype to someone it amazes me, but this generation is global, it’s always been that way or at least they don’t find it surprising that it is that way….society has changed. No longer are you stuck in a small town in Northern Canada like Clarence Fisher’s class…instead you can be in Northern Canada and be a member of a global society. Placement on the earth is becoming irrelevant. Being able to connect to others is what is relevant.

Chris writes:

Too much educational software just attempts to turn these really powerful devices into the next version of the workbook. That’s criminal.

I love this statement and this to me is school 1.5. Where technology just replaces the things that we do. This isn’t a new school, this is an updated school. A new school starts with a new pedagogy a new theory and even a new taxonomy of learning. School 2.0 is not an upgrade to School 1.0…it’s a whole new school. An upgrade to School 1.0 is word processing instead of hand writing or PowerPoints instead of posters. These are upgrades to an old system. School 2.0 needs to be new from the ground up…starting with the foundation in which we build our teaching practices on (Universities are you listening?).

In order to get to school 2.0 however, a technology infrastructure needs to be in place. We can not change our pedagogy and adapt these new taxonomies and new theories if we do not have the tools to do so. I believe that is the phase we are now moving out of. For the past 10 years we have been creating school 1.5. As we built the infrastructure needed to move to a new way of teaching and learning.

Chris’s SLA school, Tim’s Elementary and Dr. Tyson’s Middle School are three great examples of schools that are headed towards School 2.0. Moving towards School 2.0 starts with leadership as all three of these examples prove.

What is School 2.0?

I think we are starting to define it. If we can change pedagogy by looking at new taxonomies, learning, talking and discussing new theories and looking at ways to make it possible we will get there.

I’m just finishing George Siemens’ PDF book Knowing Knowledge a great look at his connectivism theory in the context of knowledge and how knowledge is changing.

School 2.0 needs to be about creating knowledge, analyzing information, and evaluating both. It’s about understanding a world in which connections and communicating with others is at the foundation of how we learn, that through creating our own knowledge not from what a teacher tells us, but rather from what we read, listen to, and watch ourselves is far more powerful. A teacher is a guide, much like the  guide we had in Vietnam. Arrange the boat for the trip, but allow us to experience the trip, answer questions when we have them, and stay out of the way when we want to experience something ourselves. We could have easily called our guide a history teacher showing us the “Hilton Hotel” where POWs were held, allowing us to experience a silk factory, and filling in the gaps that we couldn’t or didn’t know. We did the learning, he did the guiding.

For years now we’ve talked about being the “Guide on the Side” in the classroom, and that’s what we need to be. Of course it’s hard to do that when you have to fill an 80 minute block. In School 2.0 a ‘tour’ might take 80 minutes it might take 10 minutes. It might be 10 minutes of background knowledge and then 80 minutes of exploration and creation of knowledge. Teachers need time to plan out the route, book the trip, and make sure the experience is available. We need to rethink schools and think about just how messy learning is.

What is School 2.0? It’s a school that defines learning and knowledge not by seat time, or hours spent on a project, but by what is experienced, created, and communicated.

[tags]school2.0[/tags]

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