Community Trumps Content

Community Trumps Content

I was honored to sit down with Bob Greenberg while in New York recently to talk about my views on technology’s role in education. If you are not familiar with Bob’s work. He has been traveling around the world filming thought leaders on their views of education. His Brainwaves Channel on YouTube is worth a bookmark and some time browsing watching and thinking about where we are and we’re we need to head in education. I am so very honored to be video #114 on the Brainwaves...

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Social-Networks: Grabbing The Skunk By The Tail

Social-Networks: Grabbing The Skunk By The Tail

A few days ago my friend and fellow blogger Doug Johnson wrote a blog post about social media and feeling overwhelmed  taking aim at my recent blog post about playing with Google+. OK, Utecht, cut it out. I know I should be playing with Google+, but give me a break. I can’t keep up with the social networks I have now.   Of course you can’t! Trying to keep up with social networks is a loosing battle. They move too quickly, change too fast, and most of the stuff shared on them isn’t worth our time….except that it is worth our time (please watch below).  Does every teacher need to be using Google+ today? No. Does every Technology Integrator, or Technology Teacher, or Technology ???? need to be using it today? Yes.  Especially if their school has gone to Google Apps for the students. Soon enough Google+ for K-12 Education will be released and when it does there will be power there to form communities, classes, groups, etc within the ecosystem that is Google Apps.  But what I really want to talk about is Doug’s final question to me in his blog post: Here’s my question: Is the ability to select and discriminate among social networking tools a needed, teachable skill? Or should every tool be used by every teacher? My thought is that when any pundit recommends a new tool, they be required to suggest a tool that is no longer useful.  So, buddy, what is getting less attention from you now that Google+ is getting more attention? I certainly hope it is not Ms Utecht or the Mariners. Great question! Do I think that discriminating among social networking tools is a needed teachable skill? Absolutely! Should every tool be used by every teacher? Nope…but they should be using the ones that fit their discipline.  Why Teaching Social Networking Tools is a Must Let’s start with the fact that today’s students enter our classrooms with some social presence. Whether they have created a Facebook account themselves, or their proud Moms and Dads have created one for them with all the images they have shared on their own Facebook account of their children. Or let’s take the more likely account of some game they play on their iPad in which they had to create a user id and password to play with others.  I’m not going to guess the percentage...

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What Hasn’t Gone Social?

Is there anything that hasn’t gone social? I spent four days in the Willamette Valley of Oregon visiting some wineries and checking in to all of them on FourSquare...because that’s what you do when you’re a geek. What I wasn’t expecting was for the wineries to have specials on FourSquare. 10% of a purchase at one and at another they donated $1 to a reading program for every FourSquare check in. Another winery I checked into started following me on FourSquare, found me on Twitter and then tweeted @jutecht Thanks for checking in with 4sq — Winter’s Hill Vyd (@WintersHill) July 17, 2012 Churches have Facebook pages My hot dog guy that I go to before every Mariners game asked me to friend him on Facebook. The more I look around and see everything going social the more I am trying to figure out if there is any industry left that hasn’t gone social? Oh….right….education. Why? Why would a place that is all about community and relationships (words found in almost every mission statement) fight the very idea of creating them, fostering them and using them? Why are so many schools scared to go social? How many schools out there have verified their school on FourSquare and started using it with students? How many schools out there have a Facebook page and actually use it to foster the relationships connected to it? Twitter? Google Plus? Pinerest? What-ever-the-next-one-will-be-called? We are quickly getting to a point where if you are not going to connect with people via social networks then you are not getting out information in a very efficient way. Education needs to stop fighting the social connection revolution and start to find ways to use it to connect their community both within the school and with the larger...

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Why I Still Like ISTE

Why I Still Like ISTE

Chris Lehmann wrote a blog post a couple days ago about why ISTE still matters to him and I just wanted to follow up with a thank you to ISTE and the conference organizers for their continued effort in trying to make this the best conference experience they can.  I for one have a new found respect for conference organizers as I’m sure Chris does as well after organizing our own conferences. Ever since I helped to start the Learning 2.0 in Asia I complain less about conferences. I know what it took to put together a conference for 400 and can’t image what it takes to put a conference together for 15,000ish people all of who expect to have all 2 or 3 of their devices online and working. Just thinking of the bandwidth, IP addresses, access points, and everything else needed to run the online portion of the conference blows my mind. So thank you ISTE for trying…I for one appreciate the effort.  I had a few ISTE newbies come up to me and ask my to recommend sessions and presenters to see or attend. They all had ‘bad experiences’ with going to sessions that looked good on paper but ended up being sale pitches for a product or just weren’t what they needed or wanted in the session. It is a good thing to remember to “vote with your feet” at a conference. If something isn’t meeting your needs walk out. I know that’s hard to do at ISTE when your #2 or #3 choice is probably full already but don’t waste your time sitting in a session that you’re not getting anything from. Go network, go reflect, go do some browsing. (I wonder if we told students to vote with their feed how many would get up and walk out of classes that weren’t meeting their needs?) ISTE is a hard conference for first timers. It’s big and overwhelming and you have to have a plan going in or you’ll get swallowed up in no time at all.  I for one enjoy ISTE, a couple sessions I went to made me think and the conversations at the Blogger’s Cafe were good…but this year I found my most productive conversations were away from the conference over dinner and drinks reminding me how important and powerful the social setting is to a conference and to learning in general....

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Teaching Social Networks

Teaching Social Networks

Some rights reserved by Brice Reul  In two weeks time I have to give a presentation to our high school student body. I always struggle the most with what to talk to them about…..them being kids in general. I’ve got about 15 minutes to inspire them to use technology in ways that really matter.  Thanks to the Kony 2012 campaign I have a starting point to talk about this new world that they are going to create. I believe this generation could be the greatest generation since the great WWI generation years ago. They have the ability to connect and communicate in a virtual way that can bring real impact to the world. We are already seeing it happen: The 2008 Presidential U.S. elections, Arab Spring, London Riots, Occupy Wall Street, Stop SOPA, and now Kony 2012 just to name a few of the larger movements where social networking has had a direct impact on world changing events.  ….and the great news is….this generation is just getting started.  They have older generations running scared. From Iran to Syria, China, Thailand and most of the western world, governments and generations are fearing what is to come when this generation decides they have had enough, can connect, communicate, and bring about change in the blink of an eye.  I read a new term the other day: Slacktivism: The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist. The underlying assumption being promoted by the term is that these low cost efforts substitute for more substantive actions rather than supplementing them, although this assumption has not been borne out by research. I am still feeling my way around this new term and not sure I totally agree with its ideals. The cases I stated above are all cases where the rally cries within social networks saw real change in the world. Retweeting or reposting the Kony 2012 video is good for spreading the message, but what are you and I going to do in the real world that really matters? That’s what this will come down to. 100 million views on YouTube mean nothing if nothing changes for the better out here. And then there is our generations, any of...

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