In praise of gaming – Sydney Morning Herald (Via Google News – Games Education.) This article captures the essence of Prensky’s message in a few brief and clear paragraphs. There’s a (rare) hi-res picture of him to boot.
I was busy supporting an OCDE presentation at the time Warlick was presenting. My wife, Eva, was presenting at the same time as well. I did manage to duck out and watch a few minutes of each of their presentations – enough at least to get the feel for the content and the chemistry in the room. Later, I walked past Warlick and CUE president Scott Smith, and after a moment’s pause, turned around and apologized to Scott for interrupting – at which point he was kind enough to introduce me to David. I knew he was on his way home, and I was still running about, so it was a quick exchange… but enough for me to appreciate what it’s like to hear his voice and talk to him in real life, and I hope he was able to put a face to a name and feel the same way. (Warlick has commented on this blog from time to time, and I’ve certainly enjoyed his 2 Cents Worth and his book, Raw Materials for the Mind.)
Tech hungry schools should look to Linux (Via Moving at the Speed of Creativity.) Wesley Freyer: “That being said, I think most school districts are being fiscally irresponsible today if they are not moving towards open source computing solutions, at least for some of their campuses and instructional applications.”
I can report some related good news. For my presentation about open source software at the CUE conference this past week, I prepared 40 handouts thinking I’d be lucky to get 20 participants. By the time I started speaking I had about 80 people in the room! The facilitator went back for 20 more handouts twice! At the end of the session, participants approached me with specific questions about applications such as Open Office, and about Linux. Better yet, the evals revealed a crowd that left the room jazzed about getting started with open source software! I suppose the humor I added to the presentation paid off. I did not expect to feel so successful about this session, but I’m thrilled that perhaps the open source movement might finally be picking up some grass roots momentum in schools.
After the CUE conference, I’m back to working on phd outlining tonight.
It’s amazing, this excerpt from Bruner’s 1986 Actual Minds, Possible Worlds sounds quite a bit like something an edublogger like Will Richardson might write today:
We are living through bewildering times where the conduct of education is concerned. There are deep problems that stem from many origins – principally form a changing society whose future shape we cannot foresee and for which it is difficult to prepare a new generation. (p. 121)
This bit a few pages later was also striking:
A culture is constantly in process of being recreated as it is interpreted and renegotiated by its members… Education is (or should be) one of the principal forums for performing this function – though it is often timid in doing so.
This is not quite as shocking as reading Dewey write about these things a century ago, but it still makes me sad that we haven’t been able to address this fundamental problem in the last 20 years when it was so apparent so long ago.
Bruner returns to this theme in the preface of his 1996 The Culture of Education, where he asks these questions, familiar to a 21st century educational technologist:
Given the revolutionary changes throuigh which we are living, [would schools] do better to didcate themselve to the.. risky, perhaps equally quixotic ideal of preparing students to cope with the changing world in which they will be living? And how shall we decide what that changing world will be and what it will demand of them? … education is not just about conventional school matters like curriculum or standards or testing.
It seems Bruner was quick to rebel against standards, too. He was certainly suggesting an affirmative answer to these questions, but how long will it be before those in power feel the same way, and what can we do to create the social change necessary for that to happen?
At any rate, I hope to post more (and get some exercise) later tonight. Oh, and I hope to sleep. ;)
Seth Godin on the Noise of Blogging (Via Easy Bake Weblogs.) “RSS fatigue is already setting in. While multiple posts get you more traffic, they also make it easy to lose loyal readers. Blogs with restraint, selectivity, cogency and brevity will use attention more efficiently and ought to win.”
Perhaps I need to take a hint from this and not worry quite so much about posting all the referrals to cool resources that I’ve been posting. I’ve head both angles from readers… we count on you to scour the web and find cool stuff for us, and we preferred the feeds separately. I don’t expect many responses, but pipe up if you are either happy I post the referrals or wish I would stick to original posts. In the meantime, I think I can refer with more “restraint, selectivity, cogency and brevity.”
We’re learning as we go with these technologies… both how to be of use to our readers, and how to work the writing (and thinking) into our lives.
UPDATE: I guess what I’m asking is… has this feed become “noise” since I’ve incorporated my referrals here as well (instead of at FURL)? I really love that people are commenting on them now… but if I am going to write about them all, instead of simply saving them, I hope it is worth it to the readers, and not just a time sink. I suppose I can count on you to manage your RSS reading… but I want people to be able to receive my original posts without being turned off by the clutter of the referrals. Hm. Definitely learning as I go.
CUE 2006 (Via Steven Glyer’s Podcast.) I caught up on sleep today, got settled back into the house, and did some balance bringing things. Consequently I had little time for blogging, though of course I read my feeds, as I did each day at the CUE conference. I have over 40 new drafts in the queue (not counting my Kurt Squire posts) and almost 50 flagged emails (not counting work email), but tonight I’ll simply leave you with Steve Glyer’s retrospective on the “and Life” side of the conference… a two and a half minute slide show podcast for your viewing pleasure. :)
The team I work with is a big part of why I enjoy this job. In this podcast you’ll see all five of us, Robert Craven, Stacy Deeble-Reynolds, Mike Guerena, Ranjit Mayadas, and myself enjoying the time we had together after hours at the conference. We’re out with several of my former teammates from Newport-Mesa (including Steve Glyer and Lainie McGann) and several of their colleagues. (Noteably absent was Jenith Mishne, who is recovering from a difficult surgery.) We were also joined by my AB 75 co-presenter, Christine Olmstead, and her colleague from Brea-Olinda, blogger and 2005 showcase winner, Sheri Bithell. And of course my wife Eva, who was also presenting two sessions at CUE, was with us, too. :)
Naturally there will be more on the conference in my coming posts.
This was the final presentation I gave at CUE. It was the second to last presentation of the conference, but (thankfully) the room was still packed… and the participants contributed a lot to the presentation. I was amazed what some of them were already doing, particularly when it came to having students create their own video games. Many others seemed to leave the session motivated to put games to work in their classrooms… and to tap into their students expertise when they felt as if their own experience was lacking.
I look forward to seeing what fruit this session bears.
Also, I look forward to CUE 2007… in the same way that there were literally a dozen sessions on blogs, wikis, and podcasting this year, I expect there will be a dozen sessions on games in education next year. ;)
I asked this session, “What are blogs?” Some answers were: online journals, web logs, and online conversations.
No one in the room knew what the read/write web was! So here we go…
In a few moments I will be begin my next presentation at the CUE conference, Blogs are the New Crayons: The Read/Write Web in Education. This post is just a quick and dirty link to the slides and handouts.
UPDATE 03/11/06: There’s been problems uploading these files from the conference center… check back again tomorrow, after I’ve returned to a more reliable internet connection. :)
UPDATE 03/12/06: All should be well now. Please let me know if you have any trouble downloading these files. I should also mention that the room was absolutely packed! The conversation was exceptional, and despite the short time frame (only 1 hour), most participants were able to set up a blog in addition to exploring the resources I discussed. As is often the case, the interactions I had with them on their way out were the most inspiring.