A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

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Will Richardson

Powerful Learning Practice Network (Co-Founder)


Solution Tree Summit Keynote

List of links

Contact: weblogged@gmail.com
Author: Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms ( Corwin Press, 2nd Ed, July 2008)
Latest Articles:
"Footprints in a Digital Age" (Educational Leadership, November, 2008)
"World Without Walls: Learning Well With Others" (Edutopia, December 2008)

(NOTE: Keep the conversation going by adding a comment at the discussion tab above or by simply adding my name or the tag "willrichardson" to any blog post you may write which will then be displayed at the bottom of this page. Thanks! )

Some Quotes to Think About:

external image 3038947117_1899dd257a.jpg?v=0"It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change" – Charles Darwin
"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." -- Alvin Toffler
"Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation" --Fortune Cookie from PF Chang's, Austin, TX
“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” — Eric Hoffer
"The kind of questioning, collaborative, active, lateral rather than hierarchical pedagogy that participatory media both forces and enables is not the kind of change that takes place quickly or at all in public schools." -- Howard Rheingold
"For any given organization, the important questions are 'When will the change happen?" and "What will change?" The only two answers we can rule out are never, and nothing." --Clay Shirky
"This isn't the time to use technology to refine the model we had before; this is a time to harness technology to let children go as far and as fast as they want." --Stephen Heppel

My Goals:
  • To start conversations
  • To ask questions
  • To challenge your thinking about teaching and learning
My Lenses:

The Big Premise:
This is a very challenging moment for educators. Our children are headed for a much more networked existence, one that allows for learning to occur 24, 7, 365, one that renders physical space much less important for learning, one that will challenge the relevance of classrooms as currently envisioned, and one that challenges our roles as teachers and adult learners.

The World is Changing
  • “This is a period of prolonged and profound transition in the ways we relate to communication and information.” Henry Jenkins
  • Toyota overtakes GM in world auto sales.
  • In just a decade’s time, we’ll have gone from half the world never having made a telephone call to half the world owning a phone. (Mark Pesce)
  • UNESCO says there will be more "educated people" in the next 30 years than in the sum of human history to date. (Cited in the TED Talks video with Sir Ken Robinson.)
  • The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that most American workers will change jobs between 10 and 14 times by age 38.
  • "Hypertransparent and hyperconnected world." Dov Seidman, How
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The Change: The Read/Write Web
  • It's as easy to create and publish content as it is to consume it.
  • "Web 2.0"

The Web is Changing Politics

The Web is Changing Government

The Web is Changing Journalism/Media
external image ms2126B-thumb.jpgThe Web is Changing Business
  • Markets are conversations AND relationships, not transactions or products. Advertising is not a relationship. (Cluetrain Manifesto)
  • Allstate and Sara 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Look at the conversations about Amazon's Kindle e-book reader.
  • Or look at what happened to Spore.
  • The fastest growing companies are adopting social media.
  • Take a look at how Cisco sees the new "Human Network " where "you subscribe to people, not magazines."
  • The Goldcorp story (Canadian Mining Company)
  • "This generation will transform the workplace and the way business is conducted to an extent not witnessed since the "organization man" of the 1950s." Don Tapscott, Wikinomics, pg. 54
  • Accenture, which spent $700 million on education last year, says its 38,000 consultants and most of its service workers take course on collaborating with offshore colleagues. (Business Week)
Challenging Times for Educators:
  • Our students are leading us.
    • Participating more
    • Collaborating more
    • Creating more
    • 71% of students with online access use social networking tools on a weekly basis (NSBA)
    • 75% of college students have a Facebook site
    • More statistics on the social networking divide.
  • Their notion of privacy is shifting dramatically
  • We are entering a time of deeply personalized, passion based learning. (John Seeley Brown)
    • "Youth using new media often learn from their peers, not teachers or adults, and notions of expertise and authority have been turned on their heads." (Article) Living and Learning with Digital Media (.pdf)
    • That makes our current curricula less and less relevant to our students.
    • More and more, the expectation is to create, not consume, yet we're not creators.
  • The amount of information is infinite and overwhelming.
  • Pace of change is lightspeed
  • Differing levels of access
    • 21 percent of households with an annual income of $30,000 or less had a broadband connection at home in 2006.
    • And what happens when municipal wifi gives kids unfiltered access in schools?
  • Yet we are becoming hyperconnected. (Nortel study .pdf)
  • From "anywhere, anytime" to "everywhere, all the time."
  • Standardized tests still emphasize content
  • Our idea of presence is changing as well . (Facebook login required.)
  • Legal liabilities are unclear.
  • We block instead of teach
    • Filtering does not work
      • A Melbourne student disabled the Australian governments $84 million porn filter in minutes. (Herald Sun)
    • Restricting use of technologies will not work
    • Fewer than 25 percent of educators feel comfortable teaching students how to protect themselves from online predators and cyberbullies. (District Administration Magazine)
  • In the next 10 years, over 18 million teachers will be needed worldwide, over 2 million of them in the US (roughly half the education workforce.)
  • Our own time is limited.
external image del.icio.us_network_explorer-20071017-072045.jpgThe Web is Challenging Traditional Approaches to How We Learn

The Web is Challenging our Assumptions About Knowledge, Information and Literacy
  • It's not as much about content anymore as much as it is about context. Knowledge and information used to be scarce...that's what our education system was built upon.
  • But how much of that information do we really remember and use? "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" How many sides to a trapezoid?
  • But today, I can learn anything, anytime, anywhere providing I have access.
  • Knowledge is no longer scarce. (MIT) (1.4 million visitors per month from every country, 2,000 courses, 440,000 course downloads per month.) And now there is a section of content just for high schools.
  • Or check out the YouTube channel from Berkeley.
  • Or check out the catalog of podcasts from Stanford on iTunesU.
  • Or this free physics textbook (being used by the state of Va.)
  • Here are free college texts via shared, open content. (Flat World Knowledge)
  • We can connect to information and build knowledge from it collaboratively, and freely. (Wikiversity)
  • And we tend to look at knowledge as hard or unchanging...but these days, knowledge is soft. It's constantly changing. (Wikipedia) To date, almost 6.5 million articles have been created in some 250 languages by almost 6 million people.
  • (By the way, errors are everywhere. What would you do with this textbook ?)external image twitter-20071017-072113.jpg
  • And the collaborative construction of knowledge is effective...just ask the CIA. (Open Source Spying)
  • In this world, we cannot only seek information, but information seeks us. (Pageflakes)
  • But in a world where anyone can create and publish information, how do we know what to trust? (Dove Beauty)
  • How do we teach our students (and ourselves) to make sense of a much more complex literacy regarding who to trust as authoritative sources. When we can be manipulated or be the manipulator.
  • Even NCTE describes literacy as "malleable."
  • We can no longer be "just" readers...we must be editors as well. And we read (Diigo) and write together.
  • More and more we are living in an information world that is digitally linked together. ("Scan This Book")
  • And reading is no longer a passive, linear activity that deals simply with text. How do we read multimedia and hypertext? (Flypmedia)
  • In this world, we must read with an ear for writing and responding, engaging and interacting.

The Web is Challenging our Assumptions about Classrooms and Teaching
  • If teachers are no longer the arbiters of knowledge in the classroom, our roles need to change.
  • Classrooms can be global and anywhere. (Supplementing my kids education.) Teachers come in all shapes and sizes. (Andrew from Perth, Scotland.)
  • Take this teacher's Tweet: "In Gr.8 - using Google Earth, Flickr, YouTube, bbcnews, to learn about the protests in Burma .. world at their fingertips, AS IT HAPPENS!"
  • Now we have the opportunity to be connectors, to bring our classrooms to the world in a variety of ways. We can find other teachers who may know more than we do. (Secret Life of Bees)
  • Here's another example of students learning from mentors. (Polar Science)
  • We can also connect our students to other students around the world so they can learn together. (Flat Classrooms Wiki)
  • And in a world where all of our students can be content producers as well as content consumers, we need to re-envision the work we ask them to do.
  • They can teach what they know. (Radio Willow Web)
  • Our students can teach in powerful ways. (Pre Cal)
  • And they can share their experiences in meaningful ways, like Sam Jackson's Education Blog--12th Grade student blog about college application process
  • As Marco Torres says, students' work "should have wings." ("Parents")

We Need a 2020 Vision for Education (Bud Hunt)
  • Mark Pesce--"Capture Everything, Share Everything, Open Everything, Only Connect"
  • Those who don't understand these shifts will be "left behind." (2009 Horizon Report)
  • How do we learn to help our students leverage the technologies they are already using instead of have them check them at the door? (Especially when our students can get around our efforts anyway.)
  • How do we change? How do we re-envision teaching for a vastly changed world?
  • What do we have to unlearn about schooling and education?
  • How do we the use of these technologies in our own practice?
  • "We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them - that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create." --Michael Wesch
  • Top challenges for 2009-- Educause
  • How do we begin to change the culture of schools?
  • How do we begin to add nodes to our own network maps? (Blank ClustrMap)
  • To make sure we're as prepared as we can be to lead our kids into their futures.
  • To take advantage of these opportunities, we all need to:
    • Find our passions
    • Connect to others who share those passion
    • Participate
    • Build learning networks with other teachers and learners
    • Model our learning for others
  • It starts with one small step.

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