Reflections on the K12 Online Conference Keynote

In the 21st century, we learn by teaching with each other. We learn by sharing our knowledge, our experience, what we’ve discovered, what we’ve
– David Warlick

As I have re-immersed myself in education-technology recently, I have been paying particular attention to the array of digital tools and the blogs of some prominent reform thinkers. As a result, I came across the K12 Online Conference, which is a fascinating asynchronous professional development opportunity that fully leverages the power of the technology tools now readily available.

The keynote speech was presented by one of edtech’s foremost heavy-hitters David Warlick. Entitled “Inventing New Boundaries,” it is a short movie that features Warlick moving around to various locations that serve to metaphorically strengthen his presentation.

Overall, it is a kind of extension of his blog and podcast material, but he makes some wonderful points about the nature of education today. While none of it is ground breaking or even completely original, Warlick is a wonderful synthesizer with an easy-going, genteel demeanor that is both engaging and charismatic. It is interesting stuff for anyone interested in how the world’s changing is impacting education. I highly recommend giving it a look.

His main thesis is establishing three major issues converging conditions:

  • Info-Savvy Students – Yet they still need assistance to learn how to work the information.
  • New Information Literacy – Yet they still need help to create opportunities; need to work in responsive environments; safely make mistakes; earn audience and attention.
  • Unpredictable Future – Most powerfully the young need models to help teach them how to teach themselves.

One of the more interesting analogies was a reference to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and the creative problem solving of the protagonist. The Ender’s Game discussion of boundaries reminds me of the intricacies and subtleties of the folksonomy idea. Now that the traditional boundaries are disappearing, that doesn’t mean that there is no need for boundaries. In fact, it puts more responsibility on the learner to erect their own boundaries and taxonomy, in order to establish some kind of order and frame for their learning. Of course, this act is constantly changing, evolving, fusing together the individual and experience.

The whole thing has really got me thinking, as you might have noticed, especially as I begin preparatoin to venture into online teaching. That’s right, I will be teaching a class completely online, for the first time, next semester. I am very much looking forward to what the rest of the conference.

Many Thanks and More from Visits

So I have been getting a lot of pressure about keeping the photos of Hadley updated on a regular basis, and it is not just my wife. Unfortunately, things have been a bit crazy and thwarted many of my efforts to keep uploading more and more new pics. For one, we are still settling into the new digs, albeit extremely slowly. Although as you can see, progress is being made, thanks mainly to Ali and our families. We also bought another car this past week, which was somewhat time consuming and laid waste to most of last weekend. More on that later.

Photo: Me working amidst the chaos as Grandma watches the baby.

Photo: Hadley's Room - Before Photo: Hadley with Grandma

Photo: Hadley's Room - After

Still so many people continue to be overwhelmingly generous to us, for which we cannot be thankful enough. Many of these pics feature wonderful gifts in use. We, read primarily Ali, have been doing our best to keep up with the thank you cards and hope that none have been missed. Although, we did recently receive a beautiful area rug for Hadley’s room that was on our Babies ‘R’ Us registry. Unfortunately, it had no name, card, nothing attached to let us know from whence it came. So, if any of you out there sent that gift to us, kindly let us know so we can thank you properly.

Photo: More Hadley with Grandma

Photo: Hadley Hating Her New Swing Photo: Hadley with Grandma and Mommy

Photo: Hadley's First Ride in Her Jeep

Also, here are some more pictures from all of our recent out of town visitors. Unfortunately, I still haven’t managed to get all of my electronic tools together and connected yet.

Yet Another Distraction from Frequent Posting

While the turmoil of change this summer has been documented, one of the things that has been occupying some of my time and keeping me from posting is research. Once again I have been steeped in technology research on the web. Mostly, I have been trolling for things that could enrich my classroom practice, but as I have immersed myself in podcasts, rss feeds, and the like I keep stumbling on more and more cool tools and gadgets. Some things I have been on to for a while but hadn’t really had an opportunity to play with much and others are just popping up everytime I sit down at my computer for longer than ten minutes. For instance, the way I embedded the gallery of images of UMass – Boston from the last post is a new tool I recently discovered.

There are so many cool bits exploding all over the web right now, take that new embedded iPod at the top of the right-hand column as another example. Initially, I only harvested some songs in the preexisting gallery to play with it and see what it was like, because it just looked so cool. Now I have uploaded a small sample of songs by artists that most of you haven’t heard but happen to be some of my favorites. So press play and have a listen and let me know what you think about the music, the new items that I am sprinkling on the site, anything.

I love it when people leave comments. It makes the whole site a cooler place to visit. Fortunately, Blogger (the service I have been using to post content) has made leaving comments a whole lot easier.