My Thoughts: Monday at NECC

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There has been so much learning going on the last couple of days. I’m trying to work through it all, but my main processor (my brain) is running slow trying to understand what all this new knowledge, new thinking means.

http://www.gapingvoid.com/fail444456.jpg Why are we afraid of failure? We teach our kids that we learn through failure but when it comes to use taking risks, trying something new we don’t because we’re afraid others will laugh if we fail. Or maybe for administrators: if you take the risk to try something new and test scores don’t improve you risk your job?

We know that we learn through taking risks, but we’re not willing to fail although we all know that some of your best learning comes through failure. We need to take risks, we ALL need to understand that it’s OK to fail, we learn, we move on.

0724_6insiid_a.gif Sheryl points to an interesting image of how U.S. online users use the web. If we look at the school age students this is what we get:

34% Create web content

24% Contribute via comments, polls/rating and reviews.

11% Collect resources via RSS, tags, bookmarks

51% Use Social-networking sites

49% Read, watch, view, listen to content

34% are inactive on the web

There is just one small problem I see with these numbers. If you are a “Joiner” (which BusinessWeek calls those who join and use social networking sites) are you not also a creator, contributor, collector, and spectator/reader? You can not join a social-network without creating content by writing blogs/articles, creating videos or taking pictures. You have to be a contributor in order to be known in the social-network by commenting or being involved in polls/ratings. You are a collector as you collect friends, videos, images, and resources. You are a spectator as you read, watch, look and listen to what others have created in your social-network. So 51% of US school age students are in some way using the web in a learning capacity. If you move to what BusinessWeek calls Youth (age 18-21) this jumps to 70% which makes sense, as these are some of the first Millennials, first digital natives, that have grown up with Web 2.0 tools. It will be interesting to watch this wave over the next couple of years.

Vowing Wedding Favors I have to say (as do many other bloggers here) that the Blogger Cafe is the place to hang out when you are not in sessions. The ongoing conversation there is amazing. Stop by and sit down next to some one and it’s not long before some deep conversations start happening. I learned more today in the couple hours I spent there, than I did at all the sessions I went to combined. If you are a blogger or are just thinking of starting a blog…stop by, introduce yourself, and let the fun begin..it won’t be long until you see the power of conversations.

http://www.gapingvoid.com/history76156.jpg And then there is Twitter. Twitter has come alive at this conference. You can check out my twitter account to see the conversation that is coming out of sessions and the thinking happening on this new social tool. You can also read this post on a great story from Sunday on how Twitter became the network tool that brought some of us together for a baseball game.

Don’t tell me you don’t get twitter until you’ve tried it! Set up an account follow some friends and create your own personal twitter network. (Take a risk!)

Research shows that students are using these tools, we’re not teaching them because we’re afraid of failure (on some level). Meanwhile the blogosphere continues to expand continues to ask questions that I don’t know if there is an answer too…yet. New tools continue to evolve, continue to push us to try something new and different that we might not get. If we do not try these new tools, overcome our fears, and continue to ask the hard questions we will have no chance of ever evolving to School 2.0.


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  2. “Why are we afraid of failure?” Good question!

    In my MA class, we keep coming back to this issue. As a society, we have become so results focused that it’s not about the process anymore. There is no room for effort that does not lead to success. But how do you know beforehand whether effort will lead to success or failure? Perhaps the independent thinkers (those less swayed by societal pressure) continue pretty much as they did before, but I fear the less brave souls are just giving up. We no longer have room for the creative approach. Ken Robinson addressed this at TED in June 2006. (http://www.ted.com/index.php/speakers/view/id/69)

    It’s a worrying approach that is eroding perseverance and strength of character.

  3. Jeff,
    Is this the post you mentioned (tweeted) that it took you two hours to write? What a read! Thank you for your time.

    Following the note-blogging of our Twitter contacts I read over and over: “If we do not risk losing our job, then we are not doing our job”. I think this post takes the idea further. From results to process. Konrad just blogged about it too (assessment point of view)

    Your reading of the stats exemplifies the literacy we should aim at. We have learnt how to produce content and we cannot read “results” the way we used to anymore. Learning is elsewhere.

    Karyn hits the mark. How do we know what will be successful before trying? This is the shift that meets all the resistance. Making all our teaching more like shared learning.

    How should we talk about all this to school authorities?
    Hmmm.Your post takes me back to this post of mine:
    Maybe I should review it.

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