Sunday, July 16, 2006

NECC - Telling the New Story

It was great to get to see David Warlick in person. He is just as articulate and inspiring in person as he is on his blog. Video of this session is available for streaming or download. It's probably better if you simply watch the session yourself, but I'll try to hit the highlights.

He told a story about a 2nd grader that created a video of how to use control panels on a Macintosh. The punchline - she's blind.
Quote 1: We (adult educators) see technology, kids see information/stories/conversation. Our (adult educators) century was defined by our machines, their (today's students) century is defined by information and conversation.
I think this is a very important distinction, very much related to the digital immigrant versus digital natives idea. Our students view technology as perfectly ordinary and natural and focus instead on the relationships it allows, whereas we are still amazed by the technology itself.
Quote 2: (talking about Instant Messaging) - Kids created their own grammar in collaboration with each other and they did it casually. Nobody taught it to them, there wasn't a textbook. They just invented it.
I think this is an amazing observation. For as much as we complain about students using IM language in formal writing, I think we sometimes miss what they have created without our help. Now, I still think there is a time and place for formal writing, but I think we need to be careful about "looking down" on IM speak.
Quote 3: (talking about Video Games) - Teachers should be the strategy guide (curriculum), not the monster (boss).
Kids like - and will use - the strategy guide. Kids dislike - and will avoid - the boss.
Quote 4: We're asking more questions. Google processes one billion searches a day. Were we asking these questions before? . . . When we have new questions, where do the new answers come from? Sometimes they come from something somebody said yesterday on a blog.
This is a huge shift from getting answers from "reputable," published-on-paper sources. Hmmm, can I create an acronym here - "pop sources" for published on paper?
Quote 5: He quotes Vinod Khosla - Children believe everything is clickable (even their parents and teachers).
Quote 6: Classrooms used to be hilly places - teacher up high, kids down low (sometimes literally, but definitely figuratively). But it's different now - we have flat classrooms (relates to Friedman) - our students are often more literate than we are.
Quote 6: quoting Vinod Khosla again - Content is not king - whoever grows and maintains audiences will be successful.
So, what are we doing as educators to "grow and maintain our audience?"

Update: In the comments Molly mentions "leet." You can figure out what she's talking about from the context, but for many of us older "digital immigrants" you might want to check out the Wikipedia article on leet. Thanks Molly.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I think he's definitely right about how my generation sees technology. And his idea about chat speak certainly is interesting. And as much as I detest chat speak, I will admit that there is some truth to it. Almost every teenager knows some 1337 (leet) and this is certainly not a language that has ever been taught. And some people can type entire sentences in leet without using a single regularly formed word. Most of us know html too, which is similar, just more useful.

    And I like the video game connection. The curriculum just has to make sure that, when we do come face to face with a real boss, we can stand up to the new standards. Because bosses and employers don't care if you were never taught the correct usage of the word "whom", it is simply expected, no excuses.