Future Bytes: Engaged Learning, Flat Connections

Facilitators: Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis

Elluminate Session


Session notes (taken by Danja Mahoney, aka MagistraM) Please excuse all typos and misspellings (particularly of names).

Session 1 - the Flat Classroom Debate (room 209) Steve Sokolowksi is managing this session

Lindsay Davis is showing up on Video now. Thomas Friedman just finished up a long distance conversation. He was in Washington DC, students in Qatar (students from all over Asia, Georgia (USA), etc. 90+/- participants. All being recorded for later broadcast

I think this is Lindsay Davis speaking

Debate is in Elluminate

Opening statements. Question here:

The education systems do successfully prepare students for flat world, global challenges.

Lost live feed, in room discussion about this statement.
Debate in the room: Change needs to come from the bottom up. Need leaders in place who are committed to change
What is our action plan? How do we do this?
Start with connections - Teacher to teacher connection; classroom to classroom; one thing at a time

Re-connect with Qatar [note: I'm having trouble understanding the Australian accent through the digital feed, delays, etc.]

Why did students have to leave the classroom (to go to Qatar) to learn something new?
"...if you had teachers who were trained properly to provide these opportunities for you?

It is challenging to follow the debate in part for the accents, in part for the connections

Now we disconnect from Qatar in order to have the same debate locally.
Can anyone speak on the affirmative side of the question? Seems like noone wants to.

Combination of issues that made technology not work.

We're not sure we can follow the debate since connections are so poor.

Ideas on the affirmative side:
We're here - some schools are successful - or starting to be

Peg Sheehy - let's rephrase the question. A small portion of conversation has to re-frame the semantics. Teachers can't instill 21st century skills in students until there's better understanding (what are they? why are they important?)
Traditional methods are still in practice, technology is being layered on top.
We shouldn't wait for next 10 years of students to get out of school
How do we assess 21st century skills? how do we get this into teachers' heads that "this is important"?
Media literacy - important in the work force

What is 21st century literacy - no change in literacy:
can I read? can I synthesize what I mean? can I use the written word?

One person speaking - not identified - Dennis Richards

??? - Do we even understand what is necessary/ new

"Talent is a combination of hard work and passion" - from last night's conversation

SO many people who HAVE to be in this conversation (state, administrators, leaders, $$$) who don't know a thing about this.

How do people know to get in? One person needs to be the knowledge source. The technology is going

Susan Einhorn - leadership plays a very important role. if you don't have leadership support at some level - we've seen over the past 25 years great teachers and practice - but when that teacher leaves... all that knowledge is gone.
We need the support, the vocabulary.
21st century skills are becoming normalized - collaboration, introducing technology
Danger "I've done 21st century skills this week"

International discussion - much different. At high levels, the realization that these changes have to happen. Laptop learning - 1:1 is becoming the NORM, the expectation. They are understanding that it is a flat world

Mary Ann ? (Englewood NJ) - grassroots leveraging change is important, but again that one person is still the one making the difference. It needs to be ALL of us
Educational activism - we all complain about NCLB but what are we doing to change it? Are we complicit in that? Are we continuing a system that is fundamentally broken? We need to speak up and make that change.

Jason Levy (?) from Bronx. Last election won by Web 2.0 - This technology has momentum at top levels (of govt) [how to bring it from white house to school house]
exposure can change our world view, but who is going to create fundamental change?

Peg Sheehy - as superintendent has to trust teachers - allow them to make mistakes, ask "what did you learn?" we have to look at the reality that it isn'talways going to come from the leadership. how do we allow our teachers to recognize that there is something they can do to incorporate these elements into their classrooms.

Offer a suggestion, provide the training, step back. STEP BACK and walk away. Let them figure it out. It needs to come from a colleague.

Future workshop on "The Principal Said NO" -

Danja Mahoney - long comment (me) about finding TIME for training. Training needs to be on-going. Dialogue with Peg Sheehy

Reminder - let's stop talking about training, but On-Going Professional Development

Kelly Wilson - we need to go to colleagues for support. It may be more important to empower ALL colleagues to ask others for help. Who do you go to? The person sitting next to you. Know who knows a little bit about each thing. [Who knows GradeQuick? Who knows SMART Notebook? -don't just go to the "expert" techie!!!]

Einhorn - begin the conversation in the school. Find a way to have the conversation in spite of blocks. Do we need to create a disruption? A fundamental change? So many innovations have died off because the fundamental discussions didn't happen. Principal needs to be pedagogical leader. Leadership must be involved to help change culture throughout the school.

NETS - National Educational Technology Standards - on line, mandated testing in 2012 - last week announced,

Climate is ripe for change. What if we make a commitment to take this up a notch and become political leaders for change. Let's move the conversation to the next level. Escalate the conversation.

Do we accept the premise that a system is necessary. Is it necessary/ value in creating independence. Instead of promoting a vision (within the culture that currently exists) should we be promoting a new vision of independence.

Jason L - accountability, standards are necessary. Platform that has been agreed to - where is it? are we too scattered to
practitioners are not in the same room as the policy makers
how do we get lobbying to happen that includes the necessary tools

??? - are we replacing one system with another? Debate is happening so quickly.

Steve S - In Rome, increasing laws and regulations replaced culture

How do we define the "system" if you want a flexible system that provides flexibility

Dennis Richards - "define the box," "can't allow total freedom." What is it that we know is "best practice" that hasn't necessarily been clearly articulated. Can't allow teachers to do things that AREN'T best practice. Freedom is essential. Significant changes in the parameters that the state has adopted.

STANDARDS: we need to provide resources for teachers to meet the standards

Conversations - bottom up and top down. Ask for what you need. How do we keep the conversational non-confrontational. How do we keep the dialogue focused on a common goal?

Are we all talking about the same goal? Over riding vision needs to match. If we are working at cross purposes, we'll never get anywhere.

Difference between standards and goals - the terminology is determining how we argue/debate.

SLA is a public school - all units have to meet the state standard. Units aren't created with standards in mind, but by practice manage to meet the standards. Start from a base of independence and work toward standards

Sheehy - what percentage of lives do we have kids in school? 9.2 % of student's entire life. How do we make the significant change in their lives? Something has got to shift. More learning is happening outside of school than in school. [In school learning is not meaningful or relevant.]