Unlike most Saturdays today didn’t start at the Modesto Farmer’s Market or involve a trip to Costco and Raley’s. Today was actually a whole lot more productive. The day started with a great keynote presentation by Will Richardson. I have been a regular reader of Will’s blog for more than a year and have gleaned many ideas from him. However, just as at CUE last year I was able to pick up a few more by seeing him in person.
For those of you who were unable to attend, Richardson’s keynote was all about how the Internet it changing life as we know it and changing the way we need to prepare our kids for the future. To many readers of this blog you might be saying “yeah…and?” However, I could tell that for many in the audience it was a message they needed to hear and to which they enjoyed listening. From the keynote here are few interesting tid-bits I picked up. You can take a look at much of what he shared by visiting his wiki.
Open Phone Tests
Actually Marc Presnsky brought up this idea as well yesterday, but Will reiterated it. Why aren’t some quizzes open phone? Nearly all of my students come to school with a cell phone in their pocket. How about teaching kids how to search for information using these portable minicomputers? You could ask harder questions, that stimulate good searching skills and conversation.
Do you have a student who is an avid reader, but hates writing? Or perhaps he is only an avid reader when it comes to one particular book. At Fan Fiction students anyone can write endings to their favorite literary works and read what others have submitted.
Good MySpace vs. Bad MySpace
I know…many of you think all MySpace is bad. However, I know there are few closeted MySpace and Facebook teachers out there (after all they are on my “friends” list). As much as a few of us may want to bury our heads in the sand and pretend social networking will go away…it probably won’t. Now you can even set up your own social networking profile on a presidential candidate’s website. Why aren’t we teaching our kids productive MySpace behavior (joining networks for productive collaboration) instead of letting them pay the price (as in lost job opportunities due to an inappropriate picture) for poor MySpace behavior? As one of my favorite tech directors said, “Its kind of like sex education.” We might be uncomfortable (or uneducated in this case) about the topic, but ignoring it won’t make it go away.
There are many other gems from Will Richardson’s keynote. As I mentioned take a look at his wiki and perhaps even read his book. I did over the summer and it was great. However, I did leave the session with one lingering question. The test-centered education we have today won’t be going away anytime soon. To a certain degree we will always need some sort of exam to hold parents, students, and schools accountable. On top of that all of our students need a certain set of knowledge skills which I am unsure can be taught in a collaborative nature. So where do we draw the line? What do we keep? What to we eliminate?