Saturday, November 18, 2006

Monterey Tech 06 - David Warlick Keynote

We just finished listening to David Warlick's keynote at the Monterey CLMS / CUE Conference. The one word I can use to describe what David said was, "Validating." Many of the issues David brought up during his talk were issues we (Myself, Dominic and Geoff) spoke about in our session here yesterday. We put up a page of links we discussed on the Global Communications Wiki.

The picture here is from the "Google Teacher Academy" day where David was part of our conversation about the "New Literacy" via tele-conference.

David discussed the issues we face today in teaching the students we have in our classes and how the structure of the classroom we teach in is better suited for the industrial society of the past instead of the connected, ubiquitous, always ready to go students we have today. The one analogy that was particularly useful to me was the idea of students having 'tentacles.' Students have tentacles that connect them to the world around them. Myspace, cell phones, multi-player online gaming allow students to connect to their world, not just the world they can touch, but the world they can't touch miles or contentents away. In our classrooms, we cut our students tentatcles! We take the tools they are using away from them. In our presentation yesterday, we discussed the 'disconnect' between a student's personal use of technology and their academic use of technology. When I went to promote the "Global Communicatons" program to 8th graders at our middle school, I asked them how many of them had a "Web Presence?" None of the students raised their hands. When I asked them, how many of them either had or knew of someone that has a "Myspace" account. Every hand went in the air. Now, you might be saying that I did this in a room of thirty 8th Graders. No, there were over 300 students in the room.

Another topic that I focused in on was the integration of the idea of the 'flat classroom.' I have written responses to David on his blog about this in the past, but today, I felt that using the idea that classrooms are made up of energy. And in the past, the energy in a classroom was created by 'gravity' created by the teacher being 'superior' to the students, not just in knowledge, but in stature in the fact that the teacher's desk was larger than the student desk and in many times on a podium. In a scientific sense, gravity creates friction and therfore creates energy in that way. In the 'flat classroom' there is not a source of friction, since the teacher and students are at the same level. So, how do we create energy in a 'flat classroom?' My feeling is that the energy in a flat classroom comes from a 'chemical reaction' of students and teachers collaborating with each other and the energy that is created by the 'conversation' that takes place between students, with themselves, and teacher.

Driving and maintaining audiences: This point also hit home with me, since I am currently reading a book, called 'Convergence Culture' by Henry Jenkins. The idea behind 'Convergence Culture,' is that we are connected to multiple media sources and that there is an interaction between the creators of the media and the consumers. Where the consumer now has an interactive relationship with the media they consume. This manifests itself in items like fan websites created to figure out who will win the next 'Survivor' or the next 'American Idol' competition. Fans making home movies or writing stories using the characters from 'Star Wars' or 'The Matrix.' The idea of interaction between the creators and comsumers of media interacting with each other and the consumer deepening the experience for themselves and others is intriguing and will only get bigger.

The last thing David mentioned was close to the quote I use as the quote on this blog. "There is a big difference between teaching thirty years and teaching one year thirty times."

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