Thursday, October 11, 2007

We have a lot to learn...

I don't even know where to begin to talk about the online learning explosion and information overload I have encountered lately, between k-12 online keynote and fireside chat, WOW2 which topped 60 learners, and infrequent posts
are telling me I need to SLOW DOWN and start reflecting to complete the learning process. And boy do we have a lot to learn...

We have a lot to learn about the tools
I wrote earlier about my experience with google presentations. Having all of those folks "show up" for my session was a very powerful model of the tools, but for me it was missing one critical element, the ability for folks who are not there in the room to hear the audio was a real set back. I wanted to LEARN A WAY to add audio to google presentations....but how?

I decided to try google presos another time, with skype. I was invited to "present" a session on Google tools to a class who was at a distance. I could "call into" the class using skype and then use my goole presentation to talk about google tools. Solves PART of the problem, now folks outside the physical room could hear, but only a limited group...those on the skype call. I had directions to the class wiki, but this still did not meeting the objective of bringing folks "in" to the presentation. So right before I "skyped" into Bucks IU for my presentation I had a brain fire...Ustream has been a real hot tool lately--why not use THAT for the audio for afar while using SKYPE to connect with the class I was teaching...really quickly I threw together a channel and twittered it out and lo and behold...I had a few viewers who could either watch me in my office OR use the audio from ustream to hear the content and they could follow along with the "class" in the Google Presentation. I wasn't running ustream "chat" but via skype chat a few folks told me it would be great if they could hear the content....My mind started to think about the possibilities and the roadblocks of the else could it be used?

We have a lot to learn from / with others
So I spent some time popping in on ustream is kind of like dvr in that if you don't catch the live version, you can catch the recording...So I popped in on Will Richardson from time to time...he proved that ustream could really easily be done wirelessly. Darren Draper used a dv camera to shoot his screen. CamTwist was demonstrated as a way to run multiple stream....I REALLY wanted to get a chance to test that skype call when I saw over twitter a ustream skype test, I just had to jump in. The room was packed, the video was choppy, the audio was echoing ....Vicki Davis and I were DYING to figure out if we really DID need all of the software solutions suggested, it seemed to work fine when I did it in my class so I asked her to hop over to my channel to test, The next thing you know I was in a room with 16 viewers and we did IT....we ran multiple skype callers on a ustream video. I wish I had installed and played with my camtwist prior as the "show" was visually not all that appealing....I wasn't planning to broadcast but I had a network of folks willing to help....and now I think I have all of the pieces....but the reality of it is, it is not about LEARNING THE is is about what these tools can do in our schools to help kids to engage in the learning process....Isn't the most important learning the learning we do when we listen to the kids....

We have a lot to learn from / with OUR STUDENTS

In David Warlick's keynote for k12 online conference, he talked about the kids being different, about how they are so connected outside of school and they come to school and their connections are cut off. He talked about his son and showed an example, he talked ABOUT them, but the one thing I think was missing...was talking TO the kids...

UStream had several folks talking to kids...
Web-logg-ed TV Will talked to some kids about Gaming. On Practical-theory-TV Chris Lehmann talked to his kids about how they see SLA and what makes their experience there different than a more traditional High School. I really like how his reflection of this experience was part of his learning process...

The thing that is coming through--very powerfully--is the message that for our kids, the technology comes second. And just by happenstance, on my OWN ustream channel a VERY powerful conversation with a 14 year old web programmer from VT. Ardus had been doing web-design consulting since he was 12, and Vicki...who is an amazing host asked do you envision schools? I asked if school was engaging to him? and we talked about what it would take for that to occur. Unfortunately here at my school I can't get enough bandwidth to stream and relisten, but I will post the audio remix later...but his message was POWERFUL--and really I had an epiphany when I stopped to really reflect on it...Ardus said that in school, (and I am paraphrasing from my memory of the conversation) there isn't a whole lot that the teacher is telling him, that he can't google to find....more important the teachers should be teaching kids how to think and solve problems. He talked about a teacher that had good pedagological practices without the computers. We need to remember this. Right now, we are getting tools to change practices....there are some practices that we SHOULDN'T CHANGE just because we have the tools! Yes we need learn about the tools, but it is not about the tools exclusively. Chris Lehman said...

As we think about 21st Century tools and reforming education, we need to remember that we use the tools to leverage the relationships, to extend the relationships, to push a progressive, inquiry-driven, understanding-driven, project-based way of teaching and learning, but without the pedagogy, the tools are nowhere near as powerful.

Yes, we are content experts and we have lot to share but as Arthus said, the most important thing we can do is learn how to learn...Please, read this boy's blog it is so interesting in this echo chamber to hear the voices of the students...

Yes, we have a lot to learn about our kids...we have a lot to learn FROM our kids If you ask them, I am sure they will tell you... They may not know the tools as Arthus does, but they know that they have to start to learn differently, isn't it time we start to listen?

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  1. CamTwist, CamTwist, we all love CamTwist!

    Phew! That shooting the screen with the DV camera is something I'd prefer to leave for my students to do. :)

  2. Actually you have hightlighted exactly what I would have loved to see in David's presentation -- chats with teachers doing fantastic work and students talking about how it has changed their lives.

    Ardus is only 14? WOW he writes well - have added him to my Google Reader. I network with a 16 here in Perth -- he has been on our Web community board for 2 years and totally amazes me all the time. Even gives me parenting advice in twitter.


  3. Thanks for the post! I can't wait to engage even more with all of this. Just a small note, my name is "Arthus" - not "Ardus." (Confusing unfortunately)

    I plan to be on edtechtalk this Sunday and hope to see you there. In the meantime, Twitter away!

  4. Arthus--
    My has been a LONG learning week for me. Can't wait for the edtech talk podcast to pass along to my teachers!