Sunday, February 17, 2008

How Do You Do That? Tools for the Future

I feel like there is a tipping point that is on the horizon. The conversation that has been swirling around the EdTech Blogosphere for the past few months has been much more abstract than concrete and in some cases difficult to follow. Will Richardson, David Warlick, Miguel Guhlin, Scott McLeod, et al have all tossed their spices into this strange mix of new and emerging learning styles and technologies. The discussion has been lively to say the least.

For me, the conversation is necessary, since it provides me a perspective that is different than my own and it begins to frame the question in new and somewhat different ways. Most of this really relates back to a post Will Richardson made just before New Year's Day. There was quite a conversation that ensued about how to best make substantive change occur and which changes were necessary. I posted a comment and blogged a reaction to Will's post and mixed in a diagram that David Warlick had been working on as a way to get me to start thinking about things in a different context. As I mentioned in my comment to Will's post, I have been looking to move into the administrative ranks, but I now see other possibilities, especially in smaller schools where I think substantive change is easier to achieve.

Over the past 6 weeks or so, I see things starting to bubble from new and different directions. First, both of the top Democratic contenders for the Presidency (Obama and Clinton), in favor of willing either to fund NCLB or dismantle it. Regardless, NCLB will more than likely be in a different form than it is today. Secondly, there is much more awareness of the need to move forward. I don't know if it is because of the attention being paid to things because of the presidential election, or that there is finally a critical mass of technologies, both hardware and software that create such a low cost of entry that they cannot be ignored or dismissed because of cost. Change is definitely upon the horizon, but like the sunset, looking at it too long can cause you to go blind. Miguel created a wiki page to compile all of the ideas from Will's most recent post on the subject. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. The conversation is extremely valuable, because it allows a synergy of ideas to come together from a variety of perspectives and gives us the greatest amount of information to make better choices in the future.

The Digital Ethnography project at Kansas State University is still churning out mash-up video's that illustrate the changing mediascape. The video below is created by mashing up 10 other videos that had previously been posted on 'YouTube.' This was all done by a biomedical engineer in his spare time. The quote below appears at the end of the video and to me crystallizes how teens interact with media today. Things are going to change in many ways and there will definitely be some surprises along the way.

"You can't kill the instinct that technology produces. We can only criminalize it. We can't stop our kids from using it. We can only drive it underground. We can't make our kids passive again. We can only make them pirates. In a democracy, we ought to be able to do better." - Lawrence Lessig.

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