Friday, February 16, 2007

A few bad apples may spoil School 2.0!

I was visiting the read-write web blog, AKA weblogg-ed today and there was an interesting post entitled “Worse before it gets better”. Will makes a couple of fine points with his post. First, he doesn’t foresee schools embracing social software in a systemic way anytime soon. Second, he highlights the DOPA bill purposed by Illinois. DOPA is being introduced because, Facebook, Myspace, and Bebo aren’t really that educational.
Many would argue against the bill, but schools and libraries have an obligation to protect children from potentially harmful material or materials. I just hate that a couple of bad apples can spoil the batch (e.g. individuals that are using School 2.0 for learning).

Another site in question as of late is Youtube. Unfortunately, unlike the social networking sites, youtube actually has or at least had the potential of being a great site to highlight educational videos. This was until some bad apples decided to use it to post malicious and inappropriate materials. Too bad! I was actually thinking about using youtube to highlight educational videos for my classes. Now, like the social networking sites, schools will have to block youtube as well.

Nevertheless, blocking sites isn’t the cure all that many would have us believe. Even with the best software, libraries and schools will not be able to prevent individuals from using web proxies to circumvent networks. Libraries and schools could pull the plug on public Internet access or block all of the search engines, but I think that there is a better way. I don't have all the answers, but it seems to me like we need to establish better policies in our schools and communities.

Schools have to start teaching students about the world we live in, about how to make smart, safe, ethical choices, both online and off. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate to see the majority of our students suffer because of a few bad apples. If you don’t understand the concept of a few bad apples, you should read an article posted in the New York Times yesterday entitled teenagers misbehaving and publishing it online.

In closing, web 2.0 and school 2.0 have real potential, but things like this will kill them. Sadly, most politicians, parents, educators, and administrators are digital immigrants and won’t even miss the technology until it’s too late. What a shame for the individuals that are trying to integrate 2.0 technologies into our schools for the sake of our students...

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What is School 2.0? It's a modified Pinto!

Teachers and other individuals are constantly trying to get a grip on the concept of School 2.0. What is School 2.0? School 2.0 is creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information retrieval; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making; digital citizenship; and technology operations and concepts. Now, I didn’t come up with this on my own.

Actually, The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) just completed a draft of its National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students—“a groundbreaking paradigm for what young people should know about technology and what they should be able to do with it before graduating.” I stumbled upon the news at eSchool News and I’m glad I did because I believe it encompasses the concept of School 2.0 in a nutshell. What do you think?

The old version of NETS had six categories (e.g. basic operations and concepts; social, ethical, and human issues of technology use; productivity tools; communication tools; research tools; and problem-solving and decision-making tools.) and in the new version the six categories have been modified (i.e. creativity and innovation; communication and collaboration; research and information retrieval; critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making; digital citizenship; and technology operations and concepts). Isn’t this cool? I love the modification. It’s like modifying a Ford Pinto into a Ferrari. Moreover, I believe that the new NETS encompass the concept of School 2.0…It’s a modified Pinto!

Individuals interested in the NETS Refresh can participate by accessing the following URL and responding to the NETS Refresh survey (hosted by SurveyMonkey) or you may download the draft Framework for ISTE NETS•S Refresh.

Ferrari Photo Link

William Bishop (Bill)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Vicki Davis is one of my heroes!

I guess I should have said that Vicki is one of my Heroines. Well, so much for political correctness. Vicki is always writing something cool on her blog about technology and education. As such, I commend her. Maybe, that is why she is the cool cat teacher.

Anyway, I am borrowing from her post without permission, so I hope she doesn’t mind. In Vicki’s latest post she discusses connectivism and as my student’s would say, it rocks. She attended George Siemen's Connectivism online conference where 197 people from around the world listened and chatted through the presentation about his connectivism theories and how they relate to education. Below are my favorite points:

The infrastructure of dreams is growing up around our feet. Visionaries have been talking about what can be done and suddenly have woken up and realized it can be done today.

The institutional level has not responded to the change in infrastructure.

We cannot make ourselves more intelligent (yet) with technology but we can use technology to augment our understanding.

"Roads no longer merely lead to places, they are places." John Brickenhoff Jackson (sp?)

I love the ideology embodied in the above as it relates to School 2.0. and the educational process.

First, we are waking up and realizing that it can be done. Not tomorrow, not next year, but right here, right now! We have the tools to currently prepare our students for the global economy that is upon us, but we have to start using them.

The second point is that the Litmus test is not the answer, the Litmus test of course being the basis for NCLB. Sure NCLB pulls up the grades of the lower functioning students, but in many cases it is pulling up their scores at the expense of the higher functioning students. It is a give and take relationship. Is this a sound practice? See her post for more information!

Next, “We cannot make ourselves more intelligent (yet) with technology but we can use technology to augment our understanding.” Haven’t we been doing this with textbooks and other resources for years? Yes, we have. Isn’t it time to embrace the digital age and bring about change in the way we educate our students?

Last, "Roads no longer merely lead to places, they are places." John Brickenhoff Jackson (sp?). I’m not sure about the spelling either, but I know I like the quote. With networks expanding on a daily basis, you can’t help but like the quote. I hate I missed the conference, but I'm glad Vicki took the time to share it with us. Check out her post!

William Bishop (Bill)

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ignorance is bliss

I just finished reading a rather refreshing article by Paul De Palma entitled The Software Wars. In the article, De Palma brings to light a number of key issues that programmers and software engineers face on a daily basis. Although the article is more than eight years old it is currently as applicable as ever. De Palma states, “something unique to software, especially new software: no experts exist in the sense that we might speak to an expert machinist, a master electrician, or an experienced civil engineer. There are only those who are relatively less ignorant.” Ditto.

Likewise, I propose that in the world of instructional technology no experts exist, only those who are relatively less ignorant. Wasn’t Socrates famous for saying that wisdom is related to an awareness of ones own ignorance? I know that I wallow in my own ignorance on a daily basis when dealing with technology, as do many of my contemporaries. Does this make us wise? Regardless of the answer, De Palma concludes the article eloquently with “Most people are shocked when they learn that their computer requires more care than, say, their refrigerator. Yet I can tell you that its charms are immeasurably richer.” As a tech lover and amateur instructional technologist, I concur. The charms of technology, specifically instructional technology, are immeasurably richer than you can imagine. Ignorance is bliss!

Technorati Tags: