Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alan November at ITEC

This morning I attended a keynote speech by Alan November at ITEC. The following are my sketchy notes from the presentation. (Words in italics are my own thoughts) This presentation was similar to this one:

  • Alan November says his generation is the boomer generation and our current generation of graduates are the boomerang generation; they go to college and come back home.
  • We should connect our students with authentic audiences.
  • We are teaching our children not to be free thinkers.
  • When you ask employers what they are looking for in new employees they say they are looking for people who are free thinkers and can work self guided.
  • Do you know how Google works?
  • Shows how Wikipedia almost always comes up first.
  • Students always use Wikipedia. Asks some students if any of them have never been to Wikipedia.
  • Then he goes into his West Point story about searching about the impact of the Pope’s speech about Turkey.
  • The internet is more a place where you can go to get your own view of the world reinforced rather than a place to expand your view or get alternative views. (Because when you search on Google you are likely to come up with only western sources first).
  • Good question from the audience: “What if you search the Turkish version of Google?”
  • Alan tried it and the same results came up. The algorithm is the same.
  • Then he goes into his “Shots heard around the world” example.
  • We spend too much time teaching teachers technology but not enough time teaching good assignment design with technology. – Applause!
  • Can find schools to meet up with at epals.com
  • Assessment needs to change too.
  • We have underestimated what kids can do to create rich content.
  • There are children around the world who are very very poor whose work ethic is scary to watch.
  • Colin Powel said k12 education is the #1 thing the candidates are not talking about.
  • Students are not asking for more technology, they are asking for a different role.
  • www.screencast.com
  • Says we should engage students with us in building learning objects.
  • This totally reinforces what I have long believed.
  • Demonstrates making screencast tutorials using Jing.
  • Are we willing as a culture to empower students/children with more control of what happens in the class?
  • Teach children real jobs, real responsibility.
  • Teachable moment? Google custom search does not work in Safari but it does in Firefox?
  • Teachers in elementary schools should be building search engines for students and families to use. High school students can help build this.
  • He believes there should be search engines by department. Why? Why not just one for the school?
  • I am thinking we should create a school del.icio.us account, require teachers to use Firefox with Del.icio.us tabs and use Del.izzy as our own custom search engine. This would make it extremely easy for teachers to use. Almost no training, almost no effort.
  • We need to change the assignments we give kids.
  • Don’t throw out your content after each course, keep adding.
  • English teachers will be using Google Docs…It is not up to debate.
  • Create a Google Doc for conference sessions and assign attendees as collaborators. In the end each attendee will have notes from all sessions, even those they did not attend. Better than each attendee blogging their notes separately.
  • Screencast football plays so players can put them on their iPods.
  • www.kiva.org – teaches students to make a difference in another part of the world. You can invest in companies and get your money back to invest again.

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