Reaction to D.Warlick's Precon Keynote for K12ONLINE Conference

You can download the preconferenece message here.

"Putting kids in touch with the world they are learning about." I can't think of a better quote to start thinking about the Internet and the new tools. This generation of kids is living in a world of constant change...a world with no boundries and now we send them to a school, to a world with rigid boundries (I'll use the same definition of boundries Dave does: physical walls, bricks and morter, not an absence of absolute truth) How do we help kids create learning boundries--a firm place to put their feet--in a world that constantly changes? In a rapidly changing world that forces children to grow up faster, be smarter, and interact with others more precisely and in more powerful ways, what is the "learning" foundation we start them with??

The question really is, how much boundry change is good and how much is bad? Does it even matter? Is change just what it is? We have no choice? Again, I'm not talking about faith issues, Jesus is who he says he is, and that's that, but I'm talking about how kids learn in this world. What would we think about having a classroom that looks like a Starbucks? (A thought from Warlicks chat cast tonight :-) Kids creating boundries in the context of education? What would that look like? That's why they need teachers!

It is hard to imagine how students would be active creators of their own education. I liked Dave's analogy of watching his father get ready for work and seeing his future. Do most of our kids have any idea about what their future will look like? Even if they can, it will most likely change. OK--so does their education prepare them for this changing world?

Again...let's ask the question: Where are students finding educational boundries--It's in the network! There is power in the collaboration of a network. When kids are gaming or texting or "social networking" they are learning with in the context of a network. Learning--that's the key word. They are learning! As teachers, we can tap into the network and be a part of their learning. One of the biggest misconceptions is that students come to school to listen to us impart knowledge and wisdom to them, and that they like it (some do because they enjoy learning that way). Most of the learning that takes place on a daily basis could be more easily accessible to students with in the context of a network. In our classrooms, how often do we "create the students we want to teach, instead of teaching students where they are"

Information landscape of today is one of change: how we view the information, what it looks like, how you find it, what you can do with it, how you share it. The information hasn't changed--besides there being exponentially more of it--but it's the landscape of use that changes. Today it flows, it's networked, digital, over-whelming, participatory, reader directed......I COULDN'T AGREE More! These words by Dave are things I run into everyday. Our students live in this world and don't know how to survive it! Thank the Lord for teachers :-) Lutheran Schools have always done a great job of helping students be "gatekeepers" when it comes to the heart and mind, but it is increasingly important to help students develop into information gatekeepers! AMEN! Do you still have students who think that everything on the Internet is true? How do you teach students to filter out the information that competes for their attention? Changing definition of literacy. Students as remixers.

According to Dave --not totally sure where he got the number--57% of middle school students have created digital content. They have had conversations with other people about it, discussed it, analyzed it. How many of us are published authors? Besides you Dave Black :-)

Here is the bigget take-away from the keynote for me:
Students of today are:
  1. info-savvy (don't know what to do with it or determine what is good and what is not, but they know how and when to get it)
  2. wanting to work in responsive information environments
  3. wanting to share experiences, personal and educational
  4. wanting to form and participate in communities
  5. intrinsically questioning, inventive, and accomplishment driven. They want a place where they can invest themselves.
  6. wanting a place where it is safe to make mistakes.
  7. yearning to earn audience and attention

These student attributes can be the new boundries for education. Instead of having the 'test' lead the way, teachers can use this new information landscape coupled with these student characteristics to create a new way of "doing school." Did a Concordia University prepare you to teach like this?? Did any state university prepare you to teach like this? NOT ME! Might I have to relearn teaching?? Maybe!

If our students can't really predict what their future will look like, imagine how we teachers should feel as we prepare them for that.

Where will you start--I think I'll start with the parents :-)!!

More to come on that later.

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