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Giddy

September 6th, 2011 Dennis Harter No comments

I’ve been out of the game a little bit and so I have to admit that I am incredibly excited to be heading to Shanghai tomorrow for the Learning 2.011 conference.  Great opportunity to reconnect with leaders in the Technology and Learning field, while also re-igniting my passion for learning outside of the traditional subject areas of schools.

I’m going.  Will I see you there?

What technology can do (differently)

December 4th, 2008 Dennis Harter 1 comment

Technology can do a lot of things.

Some are faster ways to do tedious things (like repeated calculations, making graphs, or maintainig draft versions of writing).  These are helpful.

Others provide flashy ways to present ideas (like web sites, presentations, and publications).  These can be incredibly powerful.  They can also be painfully mis-used.

But there is a part of technology that we have only begun to tap into that is transformational.  There are things technology can do for us now, that simply were not possible before.

Technology can connect us to anyone.

Watch this.

(you most likely have seen this Connectivism video at either Wes Fryer’s blog or Jenny Luca’s)

Pretty powerful.  And technology allows us to do that now.

Wordle – DIY word clouds

August 29th, 2008 Dennis Harter 2 comments

So there I am, just catching up on my Netvibes reader, and I find myself reading the Wired article on the internet being abuzz after Senator Obama’s speech. In the article, a cloud of words from all the discussion. So I look for some mention of how they made the image and sure enough, it mentions a tool called Wordle.

Amazing, because just the other day, my colleague, Chad, was asking Jeff and I whether you could generate your own cloud like a tag cloud, only with words of your own choosing.

And now, voila, the tool finds me.

So, maybe this is old news, maybe it’s new to you, like it was to me, mere minutes ago. But go here and play. It has a variety of settings for layout, different fonts, and color options. You can paste in your own text, or enter a URL. I put this very blog in and here’s what I got.

Cool.

I wrote more on the potential of this tool on the Talking Tech blog.

Categories: Web 2.0 Tags: , ,

Sending out an S.O.S…

May 15th, 2008 Dennis Harter 4 comments

Com’on sing with me now, “message in a bottle…message in a bottle…”

Justin, Kim and I have been invited to join Dave Carpenter and Jeff Utecht for an S.OS. Podcast. The Shift Our Schools podcasts look specifically at how, why and what schools need to do to answer to the shift that is happening in technology, the world, and hopefully in education.

This particular podcast, we will be focusing on the question, “How Do We Connect Technology and Classroom Instruction Seamlessly?”

We’ve presented at Learning 2.0 in Shanghai and ETC in Kuala Lumpur on our work at ISB on moving towards an embedded curriculum focused less on tech skills and more on the 21st Century skills that you read so much about in the edublogosphere. We wrote about our thinking in our blogs and as guest bloggers on Dangerously Irrelevant. We’ve put up our work to share and collaborate with in wikis, initially in newliteracy and then as an ISB21 team.Now we are excited to take questions, speak to solutions, and tackle issues that relate to implementation on these very Big Ideas.

venn21.jpg

Hope you can come by and tune in.

SOS logo

From their site:

SOS is a biweekly podcast produced by educators in the Asian region discussing the latest conversations in the educational blogosphere as well as deep thinking about education and the changing nature of learning. Join us on Ustream.tv for the live broadcast. Listeners will have an opportunity to Skype into the conversation “on the fly” as well as listen to an archived version via iTunes.

The way to 21st Century Learning

March 12th, 2008 Dennis Harter 5 comments

Will Richardson suggests that we need to get educators on board with the read/write web, before we can really hope to make widespread change in education. I commented on his post (as the 100th commenter!!!) that while this is incredibly important, real change can also happen as we continue to engage students in this way.

Of course, a full faculty of web 2.0 fluent teachers is bound to lead to engaged student learners writing and collaborating online, but a growing student group trained in the power of the tools, versed in the possibilities of a world wide audience of readers, writers, and collaborators can also force change.

Secondly, Will also points out that those without a voice online are losing “credibility” with him. His reading is online, his network is online, and he learns online, so if you aren’t online, then do you have something of value? Will is a very smart man, which I’ve said before, but in this case I have to disagree or at least tread lightly. He takes an extreme position to make a point, but in truth there are a lot of educators who don’t blog, wiki, or twitter, but who do in fact engage kids and TEACH. And they get that these tools can be powerful learning devices.

To undersell that voice in a learning network that should include personal contact and professional learning opportunities at our own schools is to miss out on real voices positively influencing children.

On a final note, what I think about most about after reading Will’s post is what to do next?

Will is right…we need to get teachers on board. We need administrators who prioritize this alongside the other priorities of a school, rather than an add-on from the tech guys. But our voices are starting to echo in the spread out, but still small world of the edu-blogosphere.

We blog, therefore we buy-in (for the most part).

The big ideas are good. We agree to complain about the same issues.

Now it’s time to bust out of our discussion of those big ideas that we wonder why people aren’t doing…and start talking about how we are going make it happen.

  • What are the best ways to get teachers on board?
  • How can administrators be convinced of this need?
  • How can curriculum be re-shaped without stepping on the toes of existing content curriculum?

We all agree…let’s start working on the ones who don’t.

Image: Change Direction by Phillie Casablanca, found at Flickr Creative Commons

More than collective intelligence

January 17th, 2008 Dennis Harter No comments

Will Richardson followed up his request for contributions to his wiki page mentioned in my last post with a thank you and an expression of appreciation for the power of people getting together to offer their ideas and share with others. To that, I left the following as a comment and since it is so closely related to my previous post, I thought I’d share it here.

(apologies to those who read it on Weblogg-ed already.)

The power of the collective intelligence that we can tap into with the web continues to amaze me. But even more so now, I am impressed and encouraged by the willingness of people to do so.

People continue to want to better EVERYONE’S knowledge and understanding through sharing, collaborating, and conversation.

I remember someone telling me (though I can’t remember who) that true collaboration is when educators recognize that they are no longer responsible for the education of their students, but rather they are responsible for the education of ALL students.

While easy for me to say in my tech coordinator role – it’s a tough thing to let go of and acknowledge for a lot of educators.

At the school level, that means a teacher letting go of caring only about the experience that their own students get and sharing ideas and resources with colleagues so that all children at the grade level or school benefit.

At an administrative level, that means letting go of representing only your own building or division and working cooperatively with other administrators to ensure that all students in the district or school can best learn.

What I see daily on the web is that very concept applied to its greatest level. We share ideas and resources not only so that our kids at our schools benefit, but so that ALL kids at ALL schools benefit.

We want EDUCATION to improve, and together, we are collaborating and conversing to make that happen.

Together we are all smart AND sharing.

That’s a pretty powerful combination.

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Our collective intelligence

January 16th, 2008 Dennis Harter 1 comment

Will Richardson, Karl Fisch, and Anne Smith presented outside of Philadelphia on the Read/Write web in a session called, “21st Century Education: 20/20 Vision for Schools”. In preparing for that, they put out a plea to edu-bloggers to chime in with tips, sites, or encouragement for the educators in seeing the direction that we believe education needs to go.

They have a wiki for this which is quickly developing into a fine example of the power of our Web to tap into the collective intelligence/knowledge of people – in this case the edu-bloggers.

As Will suggests in his blog, our contributions prove the very point we try to make about the power of the current and future web.

In essence, we want them to walk away understanding the power of connections that can reach far beyond the classroom.

Today, Justin, Kim, and I were de-briefing after a UStream presentation with the FLNW guys and Justin mentioned how important that online community is for the unconverted in helping them to see that lots of people out there are “getting it” and on board. That online community’s participation – whether through a blog comment, a wiki contribution, or a live chat presence – give credibility to the very tools that we extoll in our presentations. That presence does more for getting teacher buy-in than anything we could say. It’s like seeing the impact of learning happening right before their eyes.

So get on that wiki and add! Prove that the collaborative power of this technology can tap into the intelligence of the many.

I am already adding that single page to my Delicious – it’s going to grow into a fine resource.

Thanks to all of you us.

photo by jurvetson, found on Flickr Creative Commons

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Why they need us

November 16th, 2007 Dennis Harter 1 comment

There has been a lot of conversation over the Vision of Students video by Mike Wesch. Scott McLeod referred us to the “dust up” and Gary Stager and Wesch are having a good talk write about it. I see Stager’s point that the blogsosphere can “inflate” the worth of a piece of work, but I still think that the resulting conversation is powerful.

And not possible without blogs and RSS and our edublogosphere.

Whether the video portrays university education’s flaws or whether it gives us a picture of students’ reality or even if it just shows us that students are “whiners”, what has resulted from the video is a conversation that is awesome.

Students in the classroom are talking to teachers about their lives outside of the classroom.

Teachers are talking to their students about relevancy.

Educators are talking to other educators about how to engage students more.

Parents are wondering what their child is getting for 20,000 dollars a year.

And ultimately, people who believe in and love education are talking about rigor and scholarship and lesson design and LEARNING.

And that ain’t bad.

But in the end, what I wanted to share in this post was a quote from Wesch’s response to Stager and other’s criticism. This is why students (digital native or captive or whatever) still need teachers.

The great myth is that these “digital natives” know more about this new information environment than we do. But here’s the reality: they may be experts in entertaining themselves online, but they know almost nothing about educating themselves online.

What a fabulous quote. That whole paragraph is great. Check it out.

Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it yet.

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