Saturday, June 25, 2011

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Planning for Workshops - and the ipads

I think it's very telling that as we are planning for the TechItU event coming up in July, we expressed real concern over the notion that someone might come with an ipad and expect to be able to do all that the rest will be doing. They will be able to browse some websites, but they won't be able to edit a wikispaces page (except in wikitext editor mode), they won't be able to edit a google doc (except in basic mode), they won't have certain toolbar functions (Digo toolbar, for example), won't be able to copy and paste (easily), won't be able to see some of the sites because they're flash based, won't be able to do MANY things in Google Earth - and the list goes on and on.

Yes, it was I who mentioned the concern first, but everyone else in the group also voiced concern. "They won't be able to..."

Very telling, I think.
Creative Commons Licensed:Flickr: Smemon87

Saturday, June 18, 2011

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Learning from the Masters

I was watching the video of this year's YouTube Symphony Orchestra performance (Outstanding, by the way) when I heard one featured performer talk about his violin training. This is what he said:

"I never went to music school.
I just learned from my mother
But all teachers have their limits
You can't learn more than the teacher knows
So who could I study with?
I put my entire career in the hands of the Internet.
These are my teachers.
Musicians who are no longer alive
But who left their work behind, recorded in black and white.
I learned from them.

I incorporated their movements into mine
When I play a new piece I upload it
I want people to know who I am
… what I do…
..and to appreciate it…"

So, here's a boy who studies violin with the masters in the field by watching them on youtube. I looked back through this blog at the number of times I said that we're risking having our schools become irrelevant to kids and their education. I found one post dated in 2006 that mentioned that. And where are we FIVE YEARS later? Are we much further ahead? Are we winning the fight against becoming irrelevant? In some schools, yes. Perhaps. But, certainly not as a nation.

Kids don't need school to be successful. They've got all the answers they need right in their pockets. But, when they come to school they can't use their cell phone. They can't access youtube. In some schools they can't even see wikipedia because it's blocked. Some are still blocking all wikis and even Google Docs! And that school isn't irrelevant? Are they really THAT ignorant of what's going on in the world that they think their school has meaning to their students? Not in ANY real sense.

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe this family doesn't have the right idea. Not only were they not schooled in a public or private school, and not even home schooled in the typical sense. They were "unschooled."

I don't know. Schools seem to be in business for the benefit of the school, not the students. Schools make decisions based on what will get the kids to score higher so that the school makes AYP. It's not about the students and what they need, is it? If it were, then a great many decisions would be made differently. At SOME point schools will HAVE to come to terms with the fact that it's not about filling in a blank or choosing A, B, C, or D, or True or False. Start listing questions that can't be answered from a browser. So, it's not about that any more. Let's start with a different 'Given.'

Given: Students have access to ALL the world's knowledge.

Now what? Build from there. Make decisions based on that. Make education meaningful in that context.

P.S.
Here's the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. Make sure you watch it around the 1:47:00 mark to hear some beautiful music and see some amazing sand art being created live. What incredible talent.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

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Saturday, June 04, 2011

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.