Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, March 26, 2010

Teacher Pay and Leave us Alone

Pensions have been a recent conversation on NPR this week. Pensions are crucial to guarantee we have quality public employees. A solid and good pension system is crucial to provide good teachers in any state. If the pension is neglected, that state will soon find a weak educational system. The pension system is our counter to outrageous salaries of some Americans and bonuses of other Americans. Pensions are equitable and reflect true value unlike astronomical salaries for a few and outrageous bonuses of the plutocrats.

Why shouldn't students be responsible for teacher pensions? (go to 11:15 of audio) Who was most responsible for the job that students will get one day? Have teachers received bonuses from those who are now making good money the way many of them get bonuses for their work? What is very ironic is that the very folks who have found success and criticize teachers got to where they are because of teachers, not all their teachers, but some of them and they should honor them with greater respect. The work of the teacher goes unrecognized because we are never sure of that teachers effect on us as we know the effect of a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a coach, a cook. How many times does something we learned from a teacher become cognizant to us years later and maybe after that teacher has died?

The teacher's pension is the most important business of all school boards and if the future generations are to be made responsible for those pensions, that seems appropriate.

On another note, Diana Senechal, please leave us alone. I was absolutely disgusted with her recent AFT submission. I was disgusted with the cry for maintaining the status quo, for the lack of sound pedagogy like differentiation, and for the lame attack on technology. Here we have a former elementary teacher of four years who has had an elitist edcuation of her own speak about something she has no knowledge, technology in the high school. I'm still wondering why the AFT published this maudlin piece. We really aren't paying attention. And when Diane Ravitch and ED Hirsch are key references, I know we are in for a one sided reactionary status quo type of article that will make me lose my last meal. Most daring reform of all, indeed, do nothing. Leave us alone Ms Senechal. At then we see a promising article, only to find it fall way short. It is sad to see the major teacher union publish backward looking articles about reform, obviously protecting someone from actually getting into the 21st century. Nothing about how technology can be used well and mentioned only when they bash technology. Another example of why we are so far behind and being bashed by everyone. Why do we consistently defend our practice by living in the past and forgo the present at the cost of the future. Keep in mind when we quote Socrates, we aren't quoting him because he was the first teacher, but because he was forced to kill himself because he corrupted the youth by looking forward. Quite obviously these authors don't know Socrates. Socrates wasn't in favor of the status quo. He would embrace technology as would Dewey.

I'm looking forward to the next two week vacation. Happy holidays to those who celebrate.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Technology Counts, reviewed

When I began using technology in my classroom in the mid 80's, I came to realize the power of the new technology as a potential publishing tool, similar to the tool the information power brokers of the world used. Then came the World Wide Web and BANG, all of us were publishers. That required a new order for teaching. Classroom publishing became a reality and allowed the classroom teacher to do what school newspapers and yearbooks were doing, publish their scholars' work. This month sees an important publication, Classroom Publishing, a book that describes, outlines, and provides examples of classroom publishing being done in classrooms across the country. It is more than serendipitous that this book is released at the same time the US Department of Education released a new Technology Plan and ED Week published its annual Technology Counts. Publishing is what scholars do and I hope our educational leaders take this power of technology more seriously and do more with the technology than is now seen and even forecast.

Education Week has recently released its latest issue of Technology Counts. The opening editorial salvo outlines the major stumbling block in "Powering Up Change." There are many problems inherent in our current push to use technology in schools. Going mobile and using the more advanced tools seems to be the latest wave pushed either by the geeks or the manufacturers, while too many of the teachers are barely able to use email and are being left further behind. Why push and limit ourselves to "mobile." They are an elite technology. The articles in this issue bear this out. Why not start with technology which hasn't found its way into our schools to any level of how it is used in other areas of our lives. I'd suggest we keep it simple. I don't see the mention of webpages, but I see wikis, which are a real bad idea in education cause they don't work for classwork and blogs which are very limited. I say webpages because we use webpages every day. We should have our scholars make webpages. Then, maybe, these other tools can augment our webpages. It is suggested that these mobile devices are accessories. We don't even have the main wardrobe under any kind of control. We aren't ready to accessorize and this is not a place to start. Once again we have skipped over the basics and have widened the technology gulf between the geeks and the neophytes. No wonder education is floundering in the use of technology, it lacks pedagogy. How many teachers have their own webpage that provides everything their scholars need in their class? Not enough to make the leap to "mobile." Most teachers don't know how to use the basic technology in their classrooms. Everyone knows how to use webpages in their work except teachers, so let's start there before we explore "mobile." The biggest problem is stated near the end of the essay, "'Right now, we’re just focusing on what’s easy, what can be developed quickly, because it’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out what is the best practice for doing this,' says Joy Smith, the chief development officer for the Florida Virtual School, the largest state-sponsored online school." Obviously she hasn't considered webpage development. We need to understand why we want to use the technology, how to use it, and what we hope to get out of it. How are we going to make us more productive? Produce is the key and creating webpages is the how. Why? So we have a record of it, it is public, we can engage in peer review , and because it becomes the foundation for all the other technologies. Technology has to be more than multiple choice tests, flashcards, and polling. Come on folks, think outside the box.

Now the other real problem is what we call research. This is a bogus argument. There is no way we will get the research we need if we won't use technology in our schools which won't happen until the research informs us. We are like the dog chasing its tail. Another useful metaphor would be our first job. We can't get that job because we need experience, but we can't get experience unless someone hires us. The vicious circle or more affectionately called "Catch 22." Forget the research for a moment and look around you. The President of the United States is not the first politician to use technology in such a way as to get elected. We have seen very tech savvy campaigns run by the unlikeliest of candidates get elected to office because of their tech savviness. Consider how all professions now use technology to function. When we have natural disasters or other events around the world technology is how we communicate and get the information we need to react and act. Technology is the difference in all parts of our lives from getting tickets to an event, buying products online, communicating with everyone, and gleaning information before we visit the doctor. When we need information we "google" it. Come on folks, if we wait for the research we will never get it done in education as it is done in other parts of our lives. We know it works because we can't exist without it in our lives. What more research do we need? We need to learn how to use in our classrooms. Heck, we are hard pressed to see technology used well in these colleges that will do the research.

"Mobile" technology still is a consumer activity and does not create a producer environment as does making webpages to display the work of our scholars. The best place to do this is on the computer, be it desktop or laptop. Making technology accessories the key in education suggests we have a better handle on technology. We don't. Too few schools and far too few teachers use technology in their everyday work as compared to how they use technology away from their work. It is quite obvious we aren't getting anywhere with technology in education because we aren't thinking correctly as geeks or as teachers. We should be thinking as the Cybrarian.

I hope we get serious about technology in schools because the current trend is going in the wrong direction. We have to get beyond thinking of technology as a toy, a gimmick, an accessory. It is a very serious tool not being taken very seriously by the very people who have the most to gain. The key to improving education is by using technology correctly and that means by publishing our scholars' work and our work, then we can consider accessorizing. One last important use of the web not mentioned or rarely used or spoken about is the WebQuest, which would also be a great way to help develop a set of national standards. Technology is used badly in our schools and this report only highlights our shortcomings and dark future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Are We Paying Attention?

Three items in the Sunday New York Times' "Week in Review" got my attention.

First, the front page's "Identity Politics Leans Right" by Sam Tanenhaus discusses the impact of the Texas Board of Education on textbooks, a national curriculum, and the thinking in the rest of America is finally getting some national attention. I have written about this dilemma a couple of times in the past on Feb 15 and Mar 5. The constant battle is local and about private interests when it comes to recording history. I've always been of the mind that history is told by the victors. The crux of the matter comes when Tanenhaus says in his conclusion, "Today it is not regional or ethnic identity, but ideological commitment that threatens to submerge larger “national myths.” But one thing remains unchanged from 50 or 60 years ago. As Americans struggle to see where they are going, they continue to gaze fondly at the past — and to see in it what they like." History is viewed romantically and with one eye closed. I can only think of how the indigenous peoples of America are dealt with in our history books. The history of the history text is a painful one. The local battles in Texas are taking on a more national scope than should be allowed and no one seems to be paying attention.

The second important article is on the editorial page, "Who Grades the Graders." I don't think they took it far enough. It isn't enough to question the ability of the principals and superintendents and the method by which they evaluate teachers. What we need to do is evaluate the tests that are made by the testing companies and check their validity and worthiness. If the tests are going to have such an importance and impact on people's lives, then we need to have a better method in their evaluation.

The third noteworthy submission were the letters about "One Country, One School Yardstick?" So many realities being revealed. One that not all students will go to college, that the top and bottom scoring nations have national standards. Voices from all parts of the educational spectrum reveal our conundrum. Education is far more complex then we hear from educational leadership.

The point is that education will soon dominate our attention now that the health care bill is passed. Now is the time to pay attention to education.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What my scholars have done

I'm very proud of what my scholars have done this year.

In 1974 my teaching career began in competitive private schools in New England. I moved to NYC and worked in a very good high school for 18 years where I began my work with technology. After a few years of working for a district as a technology staff developer, and then helped start a technology oriented high school. The scholars in these schools were high caliber. Four years ago I moved to teach in a transfer school. This is very different kind of school from those I have spent the past 30 years. We are constantly getting new scholars who have been forced out of another school, have returned to school after jail, pregnancy, travel, dropping out or any other anomaly which finds them in this difficult situation. They come to us with some high school credit, but not enough to graduate. We help them complete the credits they need to graduate. We don't have grades, we have classes. We are the last stop. That being said, teaching here can be a challenging endeavor, because these scholars have a varying degree of skills or not. The challenge I face is trying to get my scholars into a consistent college ready mode. They may have the skills to do that work, but they haven't demonstrated it in for a prolonged period. Starting to get them to school everyday is our first challenge. Then getting them to all their classes is the next challenge. Getting them to stay in class all period, to work bell to bell, and to produce are the challenges in each class every day. Our scholars have developed some very bad habits and we need to reverse that by helping them develop good habits. That is the purpose of a school like ours, we work with scholars that other schools have released or given up on. This is why working here is so rewarding, because when we see our scholars on graduation day, we know, they know they have overcome some incredible obstacles to get to graduation day.

The focus for me is to have them produce. I work with computers and the scholars make webpages. Using a different environment from which they are familiar is useful in creating good habits. It is a new environment and they have no experience with failure in this environment of technology. Last fall three scholars, Jessica, Seneya, and Edwin took it to another level. Not all scholars took advantage of this opportunity to display their skills. They are all at different levels in the same class. Some are amazed that they could do this much like Dekia, Francis, Raphael, Nelson while others start out well and then falter and fall back into old bad habits. This is not a class that does things in the same old same old way.

This spring has begun very strongly as the scholars worked very hard on a civil rights project. Their products were very good. Juliell, Brengi, Jubair, Dijana, Kremlys, Karyna, Kenrich, Stephanie, Seneya. These are the links of the scholars who got it. There are still those who struggle as you can see on the link to the scholars with the spring scholar and the fall scholars.

What my scholars have done was to develop better habits and to so some things that they haven't done in a long time or have ever done. In conversation with colleagues, we struggle over the need for a rigorous curriculum. I suggest we need to start at their level and then help them rise at their pace and in their time. The traditional schooling these scholars have had has failed them and hasn't worked. We know this because they are in our school. So using technology changes the entire environment of school. When they walk into the computer lab, many ask if this is an English class. It is sort of like starting with a clean slate. Our rigor has many different facets than does the rigorous classes I had in those previous schools I taught in. I am proud of what my scholars have done at this school.

All the teachers in this school should receive merit pay, because they do miraculous work with scholars other teachers couldn't, but our test scores wouldn't tell you that.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Healthier Schools

Quietly our schools are getting healthier. When I was a young boy, my mom followed the edicts provided to her by Carlton Fredericks and Adelle Davis, especially the quote, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper." Not so easy to do especially today. We now live in too many single parent households and/or in a too much of a rushed lifestyle to follow this sage advice. One other difficulty has been the proliferation of fast food, especially around schools. I'm always amazed at how dirty the streets around schools are with all the discarded food wrappers and containers that litter the streets and sidewalks when every corner has a garbage can on each of the four corners. NYC is one of the dirtiest cities I've ever been in. When it rains heavily we are made even more aware of it as the street drains are quickly clogged with all the trash causing minor flooding. This is endemic of the state of the health of our scholars. They are overweight, out of shape, and too lazy to get their trash to the corner garbage bins. I wonder if there is a correlation between our trash and our unhealthy children poor academic performance in our schools.

Last year we had an interesting discussion about the number of scholars who are getting doctor's notes to be excused from physical education and the request for elevator passes. Obesity had become epidemic. This school year began with the addition of a Health Corps volunteer who joined our staff at school. She has begun many radical programs in our school to help our scholars learn more about their health just as I did when I overheard my mom listening to her health gurus and practicing what they espoused. It rubbed off on me, unbeknown to me then. She has begun to hand out healthy breakfasts to the scholars when they enter school, she has worked with the school kitchen to modify and provide healthier lunches. She has handed out healthy snacks after school. She conducts after school cooking classes that provide excellent hot snacks to us when we leave after our after school programs. She is changing the culture of the school as evidenced in the diminishing amount of food the scholars bring from the outside. I have noticed a marked, a very very big decrease in the amount of and even kinds of foods the scholars bring in with them. The other day we had a different discussion about the health of our scholars from the one a year ago. Our early morning before school and after school spinning classes (30 bikes) are full. Our physical education classes are getting fuller and our team sports better. We are becoming a healthier school, our attendance is improving and the grades of our scholars are too. Mom was right. I still try to follow her advice as she passed it on from her sages.

Just as the President and his Secretary of Education are fighting to improve schools from one direction, the First Lady is taking on the health issues by leading the charge to help our children with the "Let's Move" campaign to reverse obesity in our schools. She is using the tools of the children, software to reach them. Just as NETP is a plan to use their tools to help them academically, the First Lady is challenging the software industry to develop software that encourages our children to be more active. One category of software development asks for more family shared programs that have us move around like dance or play active games, instead of the sedentary ones we have now. Another category of software development asks for software to help parents design better meals. When shopping she is asking for apps on our cell phones that will better inform the shopper at the point of purchase. This is just the beginning.

Just as the White House has its own kitchen garden, more and more schools are growing their own food. In NYC, there is a push to get more schools to become more involved with the fallow grounds around their schools and to plant gardens that can be used in their cooking classes. Schools in more suitable climates like Florida will of course find great success in this area. Schools further north must figure out how to grow more food in their gardens. That is the educational challenge that makes this so much fun and healthy. The main idea is to teach them how to be healthier and eventually more successful scholars in the classroom.

Once we have grown the food and harvested it, we need to learn how to cook it and make sure it is healthy. Our scholars are learning this and so are scholars across the country, one school at a time. Scholars are enjoying cooking, much to their surprise. "After a student had taken a couple of bites of stir-fried brown rice with vegetables, he pronounced his verdict: 'I loved it at first and now I still love it!'" This is a happy healthy scholar who will be ready to learn after lunch.

The schools in NYC replaced all of their soda machines and junk food vending machines with juices and healthy choices. The bottom line for the soda companies has dropped which is bad news for them, but good news for us. Now the soda companies need to listen to us and create healthier drinks and snacks.

Will the fast food nation change its ways and become healthier and more conscious of their health. The continued reports about obesity and diabetes are alarming and sad. What will it take for us to forgo the fast food and to begin living healthier lives. I know smaller cars might help so as not to accommodate the larger inhabitants. Walk more, ride a bike, stand instead of sit on public transportation. I know more people could sit down on the subway or bus if people became thinner. There is nothing sadder than seeing a scholar on hir way to school taking up two subway seats and munching on some fast food breakfast while the discarded wrapper sits on the floor.

Once again it is on the shoulders of schools to help our citizens become more healthy and more happy. A healthy scholar will do better in school and eventually realize hir dreams.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Zen of NETP; Being the NETP

Let's explore some ways we are going to make the very aggressive tech savvy plan of the Office of Educational Technology a reality? We constantly hear how more tech savvy our scholars are than we are. So let's be zen about it. Use that power to help them not to fight them and we will see and have far more success and be less stressful. Let the force of their tech savviness be with you, not against you. Here are some schools in which we found promising uses of the technology as proposed by NETP.

At a recent morning session at the ASCD annual conference a speaker reiterated what has to happen in our schools. We need to embrace the Net Generation, not turn them away or off with our continued educational methods. We need to incorporate their tools, their websites, and their ways of learning into our schools and not continue with our last century ways. Those methods aren't working; we are seeing the dropout rise, not drop; and the Net Generation is learning without us. We need to embrace the technology, make our classes more project based, and be more collaborative on all levels. We need to pay more attention to how they learn, how they produce and how they use the technology to learn in our schools. The speaker was of course being zen. He was saying we need to use the force of each of our scholars to help them learn and not fight that force. They have their technology and we need to adapt to them, not the other way around because they are the future which is one of our pedagogical mantras. It is about choosing your battles and their technology is not a battle you want to fight, because you will lose. Mark Prensky and others have been writing about this for years as it pertains to gaming and letting the scholars go with the technology to see what happens. I can attest to the power of this from my years doing CyberEnglish.

In Rhode Island, middle schools are working with teachers to teach the tech in a program called Waytogo. It is a career path identifier and guide. The teachers acknowledge that the students are way more tech savvy and the first group to learn the software split up and go to other classes to teach other scholars who in turn help others. It is a good example of collaboration, peer teaching, and using the technology to disseminate the information more quickly and more efficiently. As the scholars said, they roam about in a series of pages to find their way to a goal. This cannot be accomplished in a class without the technology. It is a form of play, game oriented. The scholars have choice and they must make decisions and follow that path to a conclusion. This is vital in learning, choices made by the learner, by the scholar in order for learning and acceptance to happen. This is a good example of how NETP can be realized in a very zen way.

A model for the kind of schools we need to see in order to be NETP, is seen in the ASCD's Vision in Action award. The Iowa lab school collaborates with the University of Northern Iowa's College of Education. The whole child approach uses lots of choice. I didn't read about how technology is used, but that doesn't matter. The concept of the school is collaboration and that is important as we need to learn as teachers how to collaborate in our classrooms that once were our domain and will now have to be shared. It is the zen thing to do.

I'm interested in how the online tests in Hawaii will work and serve as an example of assessment for NETP. The use of technology is crucial because it is cost effective and provides the teachers with immediate feedback so that it will help inform them about instruction. Another interesting aspect is that the tests are adaptive. Will the test be only a part of final assessment as will happen in Florida? Will it be more than multiple choice and true/false? More needs to be researched, but the effort is good as a future possibility in NETP. The environment is certainly more scholar friendly and has zen aspects.

Yong Zhao has been writing about the use of technology in our schools from a more global perspective. He advocates the use of technology as a way to satisfy the needs of the curiosity aspect of our scholars. Let them wander, let them roam and eventually they will find their way. This is not available in the traditional classroom, but is in the technology rich classroom as seen in the above mentioned Rhode Island school and schools that are more zen.

Massachusetts has begun a plan to create Readiness Centers where teachers can go to learn how to collaborate. The uniqueness of these centers is that they are virtual and will be incorporating the very technology they will need in their work in schools. The program is part of the Race to the Top, but will be very useful in making NETP work for them and is very zen.

I'm still tickled by stories about how technology is not the teacher. I tap my forehead and chuckle. Of course the technology is not the teacher, but this is a huge stumbling block many teachers have to get over. The work in Oregon is a good example of how teachers have come to embrace the technology and not to shun it. I hope we get beyond this notion and realize that technology is our friend and it will make us better teachers and better humans. It is zen when we let the technology flow around us while we control what we can and let what we can't somehow work in unison with us.

Another school in Indiana hopes to be a model for other schools in the state as it incorporates many of the aspects of the NETP in its classrooms. The classes are using group work in project based lessons. They are incorporating the technology the scholars know. Again a key element is choice and letting go. This is another very zen approach.

An Alabama school has added technology to enhance learning.

Everywhere around us we see more zen approaches to using technology in our schools. Some common elements I see are choice by the scholars, letting go by the teachers, and the zen of scholar tech savviness. These elements are that paradigm shift.

The American Center for Educators at the National Constitution Center offers online resources to teachers to gain more knowledge about teaching tech savvy students as well as a plethora of online courses to advance teachers in the digital age.

A recent survey of teachers at the recent ASCD conference indicated they believe textbooks will be digital very soon. Teachers will find many of the resources they need are online already. My entire CyberEnglish curriculum is built from online resources. I have access to all the literature I need from public domain sites including audio readings of poems and short stories and videos. I also have digital access to current news from the news media that include newspapers, magazines, and journals. Digits are far easier to maintain than atoms and it is so zen.

Another trend is advancing the use of social media. This one may a bit more dicey as it could be dangerous and an application that may not be as useful in the classroom as we may think. It can be useful in some respects as it could augment other technology we use, but I'm not sure about its usefulness as a major technology. It does take a zen approach, but I'm still undecided about its need before other technologies, especially as getting off task is just too easy. Perhaps we leave the social networking stuff to the scholars on their own time and not poach this area. I've seen too many teachers get in trouble themselves on some of these social networks. Are they really for the classroom when we have so many other fine web tools?

We can't forget the need for leadership that understands collaborative efforts of the teachers and encourages them to be collaborative themselves. We will need to see more horizontal leadership and less vertical leadership in the school and the classroom, in order to see NETP work and thrive in our schools. The lone wolf, the dictatorial leader or teacher is a character of the past. Teaching is not cooking, too many teachers do not spoil the scholar, just the opposite, the more the better. There is no "i" in team, unless we spell it "teim." The new teacher is more zen.

The rewriting of NCLB is next.

Friday, March 12, 2010

NETP: Learning Powered by Technology Part II

This is the conclusion to my observation about the recent plan issued by The Office of Educational Technology called the The National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) 2010. I began the other day with a review of the overview of the plan and the first major area of the plan, Learning. Today, I will conclude with a discussion of the last four major areas of concentration: Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity.

Assessment
The model of 21st century learning requires new and better ways to measure what matters, diagnose strengths and weaknesses in the course of learning when there is still time to improve student performance, and involve multiple stakeholders in the process of designing, conducting, and using assessment. In all these activities, technology-based assessments can provide data to drive decisions on the basis of what is best for each and every student and that in aggregate will lead to continuous improvement across our entire education system. (page vii)
This is a lofty and admirable way to begin the section on Assessment. What I am hearing in this section is that we need to move beyond existing forms of assessment and to find and use assessment that is more aligned to what our learners are doing and to mirror our pedagogy of differentiation and Universal Design. In other words the current multiple choice, true/false tests aren't enough to do what we need to do in the areas of assessment. Methods of assessment that will emerge will be mean more thrashing during the creating process of the scholars, not just drafts but conferencing during the process. Technology is easy for this, especially in a networked lab. In my lab I can sit at my station and view the scholar working, editing, creating. I am not in close proximity so as to inhibit the scholar. Observing and intervening when necessary makes assessment more reliable and useful. When our scholars make their work public via the Internet they can engage in peer review and share their work with telementors who are near or far, but have access via the Internet to the scholar's work. When we make the scholars' work public assessment is universal and more available to all concerned. Another aspect of using technology, as elicited from this document is the need to archive our scholars' work so we have benchmarks to show growth and for future teachers to have samples of work so the next teacher is more informed about the scholar. What I heard was the need for technology to do more than crunch numbers and collect numbers as forms of data. We need more, we need the work of the scholar to make better assessment. It becomes clear that we need to understand what is to be assessed and how we do it in a new and better way. Conferencing, self assessment, peer review are some ways this may be achieved. Archiving all work becomes the data. What the scholars do has to be more project oriented and less multiple choice and true/false. The curriculum needs to be project oriented, inter disciplinary, collaborative, and it must show learning has occurred. In addition for the need for webpages, I see a need for the old CAI, Computer Assisted/Aided Instruction so instruction can be more differentiated while incorporating the universal design elements. Games can serve a useful purpose in this area. One area of assessment we seem to be neglecting when it comes to using technology more efficiently is telementoring. Telementors can come from schools of education. If every school of education had each of its scholars telementor a scholar not only would our future teachers become more familiar with technology they would be providing further instruction for our scholars. Finally I understand the need for a consistent and universal data collection source so we have access to the work of the scholars as well as some of the numbers from tests. Getting the results of assessment to everyone is crucial in making technology more effective in schools. Something like the WayBack Machine is a good model.

Teaching
Just as leveraging technology can help us improve learning and assessment, the model of 21st century learning calls for using technology to help build the capacity of educators by enabling a shift to a model of connected teaching. In such a teaching model, teams of connected educators replace solo practitioners and classrooms are fully connected to provide educators with 24/7 access to data and analytic tools as well as to resources that help them act on the insights the data provide.(page viii)
Changing the teacher paradigm is the most important aspect of powering learning with technology. We must change how schools operate and to free teachers from isolation. Teachers are the only profession that works in isolation. That will change with this plan. Connected teachers collaborate, professional development becomes professional learning, and schools of education need to be more proactive about teaching future teachers how to use the technology. Of course I love this, since I have been advocating these changes in our profession for years. I have advocated a school where the scholars work at their desks and the teachers working together move from bullpen to bullpen working with the different groups of scholars. Too much time is lost in class changing, start up of class and ending of each class. The principles of the connected teacher remind me of being a Cybrarian. Teachers work in collaborative groups, publish online, and use online resources with more peer review. Teachers will find when working in a technology rich room, more time can be spent conferencing, overseeing what each scholar is doing is simpler, and teaching actually happens. In addition teachers will be able to create their own online digital lessons that are more comprehensive, universal, and differentiated. Connecting to experts will be a greater possibility. One facet of the plan I really applaud is that schools of education have to be more active in the training of future teachers. In addition we need more professional learning. I know in the business world, workers take the whole week off and are trained to use applications during that week. Teachers have professional learning an hour at a time, not sustained time. This is not enough time. I'm happy to read this section about changing the teacher paradigm. The most difficult part of this will to get teachers to actually learn how to work as a team and in collaboration since they have been the only teacher in the room at a time. Sharing the stage, acquiescing, and collaborating in a class will have to be taught.

Infrastructure
An essential component of the 21st century learning model is a comprehensive infrastructure for learning that provides every student, educator, and level of our education system with the resources they need when and where they are needed. The underlying principle is that infrastructure includes people, processes, learning resources, policies, and sustainable models for continuous improvement in addition to broadband connectivity, servers, software, management systems, and administration tools. Building this infrastructure is a far-reaching project that will demand concerted and coordinated effort. (page ix)
Technology hasn't been used well because we have simply replaced traditional information delivery and documenting creating tasks with the computer. We still have classrooms and not "working bullpens." Education is still an industrial model and not digital model as evidenced in the real world of politics, finance, medicine, transportation, and every person's daily life. The tools we use are restricted, in that we ban scholar technology, we block the Internet with filters, and we don't have project based lessons because the test is still the means of assessment. The plan suggests the alterations we will need to see in the cyberinfrastructure will include a more sophisticated use of cloud computing on a more community oriented basis. To bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots, cloud computing will be necessary and the need for digital devices to access and produce the information has to be addressed. The plan is well aware of these facts. It further acknowledges that classrooms need to be altered, computer capacity, and access from home are going to be important and necessary improvements. These will be the ways schools will be able to capture and share resources. Cybraries will be the norm in the new Open Educational Resources (OER) library. These OER's will be both commercial, public domain, and teacher generated. By altering and modifying the cyberinfrastructure, we will be saving money on redundancy of resources. Digits will be replacing the atoms.

Productivity
To achieve our goal of transforming American education, we must rethink basic assumptions and redesign our education system. We must apply technology to implement personalized learning and ensure that students are making appropriate progress through our K-16 system so they graduate. These and other initiatives require investment, but tight economic times and basic fiscal responsibility demand that we get more out of each dollar we spend. We must leverage technology to plan, manage, monitor, and report spending to provide decision-makers with a reliable, accurate, and complete view of the financial performance of our education system at all levels. Such visibility is essential to meeting our goals for educational attainment within the budgets we can afford. (page x)
The key is to be sure our scholars are producers of knowledge, not just consumers. The overarching concern is that schools be more productive at all levels from leadership to teachers to the scholars. The business metaphor emerged, and that could be scary in some respects. The business model has some strong points such as training, the "bullpen," and cloud computing. Some of the other notions are best left alone. Money is not necessarily the answer, but money wisely spent is and we need to incorporate more ways to spend the money wisely is sage advise from the plan. In the end it is about the bottom line and productivity is the bottom line. By making our scholars producers, we will achieve the lofty goals set out in this plan.

The Office of Educational Technology has presented a very comprehensive and thoughtful plan for education in America. Much of what I read I agree with, have written about, and have practiced for nearly 20 years in CyberEnglish. I can only say it is about time and I hope they can pull it off. It is a revolutionary plan and will require total participation by all of us at all levels of education.

I'm jazzed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The National Educational Technology Plan 2010

The Office of Educational Technology has just released a draft of The National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) 2010. The document promotes learning powered by technology by addressing five major areas of concentration: Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity. The plan begins with a 12 page Executive Summary followed by a more comprehensive 87 pages, concluding with an 8 page Appendix.

The panel acknowledges that transforming American education using technology will be revolutionary and not evolutionary. It further acknowledges that education must catch up to the rest of the world as far as the use of technology is concerned. I couldn't agree more. Making this leap to a more technology driven educational system will be no small feat and will require careful and thoughtful planning. Finally they proclaim often that the scholars are more tech savvy than their teachers and use technology more outside school than inside school.

The report begins by stressing how important it is that schools be more of a part of the American Life and that it help power our economic stability in the world. Education is not matched with the workplace and it needs to be. This is a very strong indictment of the current way schools run and is very forceful and dogmatic in its words about how our schools must change to reflect society and other parts of society:
To accomplish this, schools must be more than information factories; they must be incubators of exploration and invention. Educators must be more than information experts; they must be collaborators in learning, seeking new knowledge and constantly acquiring new skills alongside their scholars. Scholars must be fully engaged in school – intellectually, socially, and emotionally. This level of engagement requires the chance to work on interesting and relevant projects, the use of technology environments and resources, and access to an extended social network of adults and peers who are supportive and safe. (page 1)
This revolutionary indeed, coming from the US Government, especially since they are the ones who have perpetuated and been most responsible for the schools we now have with their tests and other nonsense. Those of us involved with trying to transform American Education by using technology have known this for years. The last big technology push in education came under the Clinton administration. Since then we have gone in a completely different direction, supported by Diane Ravitch, who worked for the first Bush and supported the second, has now decided after all of her years of supporting one initiative that she was mistaken, at what cost to our children, is now disavowing that connection and support. I hope she apologizes to those children, teachers, and schools before she can even consider joining those of us who have spoken out against those tests for years, without some form of apology and attrition. I really hope she isn't recanting to sell books, because that would be deplorable. I need to read this book, but for now she is on hold. The major focus must be technology. Her voice is one of the reasons we are in the mess we now find ourselves.

I am confused about how STEM and "Race to the Top" will work together to achieve these goals. On one hand STEM logically supports technology use, whereas "Race to the Top" does not. "Race to the Top" seems to be supporting using the tests to assess teachers and scholars and this is the opposite of what is being said in the NETP: "We also must apply the advanced technology available in our daily lives to scholar learning and to our entire education system in innovative ways that improve designs, accelerate adoption, and measure outcomes." (page 3) Finally we see statements of the disparity between the use of technology in schools and out of schools and an admission that schools should be more capable of doing this.

I like that the realization to the fact that technology is so lacking in education as compared to the rest of our lives has been said forcefully and many times in this draft. Technology is the panacea and now we need to examine the five points the panel has finally made as recommendations to improve Education in America using technology. Yippee.

"Transforming U.S. education is no small task, and accomplishing it will take leadership at all levels of our education system – states, districts, schools, and the federal government – as well as partnerships with higher education institutions, private enterprises, and not-for-profit entities." (page 6) Yes, the goals are lofty, revolutionary as they should be. Now we can see if we can get educators at all levels to change the way they teach, because that is the bottom line. Schools of Education must use technology more aggressively, schools must spend more time doing professional learning to support the teachers, and teachers must now embrace technology. I'm jazzed. Let's get to the particulars now, Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, and Productivity.

Learning

The model of 21st century learning described in this plan calls for engaging and empowering learning experiences for all learners. The model asks that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know, how they learn, where and when they will learn, and who needs to learn. It brings state-of-the art technology into learning to enable, motivate, and inspire all students, regardless of background, languages, or disabilities, to achieve. It leverages the power of technology to provide personalized learning instead of a one-size fits-all curriculum, pace of teaching, and instructional practices. (page vi)
This opening salvo on Learning in the Executive Summary provides great fodder for what will come in the plan starting on page 9. I am constantly amazed at how comprehensive this report is reporting that our scholars are so tech and how we aren't. The challenge is to find ways to engage our scholars in ways we haven't already. Schools aren't working the way we operate them is failing our scholars and our country. Technology is a powerful and valuable tool that is being used in far better ways than it is being used in schools and it is about time we caught up. In the 80's we called it CAI, Computer Assisted/Aided Instruction. That software was powerful and mostly DOS based which meant we could interact with the software and incorporate our own lessons. Very powerful software that I still use today. Now with the Internet and all the web tools, CAI has taken on a new face. Perhaps the notions of anytime anywhere learning we espoused twenty years ago is finally getting its day at the federal level. The old ways of teaching, in schools, with one teacher per class, and little or no technology will change according to this plan. It is about time. Learning isn't one size fits all we are told and we knew this, so why the tests? Technology helps, assists, aids us in learning. If we don't know, we go on line. This plan acknowledges the power of being able to learn when we need to, to problem solve, to collaborate when we need to and technology is the way to do it. We are moving away from the content delivered lessons that must be memorized for some test to an era where we learn how to solve a problem, learn what we need to now for this problem and not necessarily be repositories of knowledge that may never be needed. In this new era, we will be using what I call the Velcro Theory. The Velcro Theory states that we learn and remember when the information is relevant and has a sticking point in our brain for that knowledge so we can recall it when we need it. Finally the brain sciences are going to be adapted to education in a meaningful and useful way. This plan will revolutionize education as we know it. I've mentioned the kind of school I'd like to see. The young scholars would go to their desks and use the technology to gather assignments and previous work and begin their day. Instead of them working on one subject at a time, the different disciplines would be integrated and the scholars would be working in groups in their "bullpen" areas. They don't change classes , the teachers do as they walk from "bullpen" to "bullpen" to conference, assess, and inspire. It would be like an office. They have their work area, and they leave for lunch, gym, science labs and conferencing in larger rooms. The bulk of their day is in their "bullpen" working on line as they are interacting with their peers, their teachers, and the outside world working on projects that are interdisciplinary and differentiated. This is how technology change education. We need to turn the current way we operate upside down in order to make this revolution happen.

I'm exhausted . I'm jazzed. I will discuss the other four points on Friday.

Viva la revolution!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Plagiarism

Be on the lookout for a photocopy of the latest case of plagiarism of a newspaper reporter in your school mailbox or a link to the online article in email from colleagues and/or administration today. Teachers around the world should be prepared to be receiving spam from those plagiarism software companies in the next couple of weeks pointing out the most recent account of plagiarism at the New York Times and how it could have been prevented with their product. Teachers without prompting should be using this latest account in their classes to remind their scholars about the dire affects of plagiarism. Teaching ways to avoid plagiarism and not adding this odious plagiarism software to schools is the teachable moment here.

The latest plagiarist has lost a job, and in these times that is tragic. What is more tragic is that he will never be able to write for a living. His reputation is smeared and his livelihood lost. This is not always the fate of cheaters in other walks of life. We see cheating athletes continue in their game, cheating spouses continue in their marriage, tax cheats merely pay a fine and continue doing whatever it is they do and so on. Plagiarism is the death knell to a writer's career. The account of this latest plagiarist is so close to those accounts of our own scholars, "an accident." The ease to copy and paste and the neglect in being careful is not an excuse. The argument to use plagiarism software continues at the Times. Some are against it because the cost, the inaccurate results, and the basic cumbersomeness of it makes the use of said software impractical; while others argue the embarrassment makes it necessary.

To use the software or not creates problems as stated by Craig Silverman, "it makes many journalists uncomfortable because it seems to assume guilt." I agree and the use of any software in academia implies guilt and sets a bad precedent. Teachers should not need such software. Assigning unique essay topics that can't be plagiarized is a start. Knowing the writing style of our scholars is a second. We should be getting initial and occasional writing samples from our scholars in class so we have benchmarks to use to compare any writing from a scholar we might suspect. Requiring drafts, too, will help rather than simply expecting a final paper. Class lessons in writing should always include how to paraphrase, what and how to cite correctly, and developing one's style. One of my online resources comes from Purdue, which offers a very comprehensive website about plagiarism. Writing is a process and we should be intimate with our scholar's work, rather than depend on a third party software. Paying attention is always an option.

Using said software may give the teacher a false sense of security and safety. The software is not without its failings. For one thing when one scholar uses words and phrases used in class in hir paper, the scholars who submit papers using these class generated thoughts and phrases may be flagged. These packages don't take into account a writer's style from one paper to the next as the writer may use similar phrases and even text from former papers when appropriate. I'm also not sure this is the most ethical, correct, or wise use of technology in our schools. Something is very very wrong with this approach, because it will be abused and sends a wrong message.

When I am suspect of a scholar's paper, I find using a couple of search engines to search for a set of 5-7 words of a questionable essay will help me resolve the question one way or another. Conferencing with our scholars is a way to determine authenticity by asking a pointed question about what was written to determine if a scholar is in fact the author. I should know the writing styles of my scholars and should be able to determine any questionable submission without the use of a software program. The software may seem easier for some teachers, just as plagiarism is easier for our scholars. What's the message being sent? In the long run it will drive the teacher further from the work of the scholar. When I have had situations of plagiarism, it is my fault because I have posed a stupid essay question that is too generic or I have been lazy and used an assignment from the past that I failed to alter enough to make copying simple. In my CyberEnglish classes, plagiarism is difficult unless I mess up as I stated above. Because my scholars make their work public and we engage in peer review, former scholar's work is cited as a way of learning citation methods. The work of my former scholars is available to us, as the third tenet of scholarship: "Pass it on." These papers serve as models and as resources. Since the peer reviewers are using many of the same resources, they can help classmates paraphrase, use correct citation to learn how to avoid plagiarism. Scholarship and the avoidance of plagiarism is a team effort in CyberEnglish classes.

Ironically I discovered that there seems to be a market for cheats to cheat the cheating software. In other words as the cheating software escalates so will the cheat the cheating software escalate. What a waste of time, money, and teaching. Just say No to this heinous software and do what has to be done in the classroom. If we take the easy way, so then will our scholars. Don't send the wrong message.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Teaching, the Ignoble Profession

First the Bad News:

There was a time we were called the noble profession. We worked hard, were paid little, had no political power but were compensated by being called the noble profession. Not any more, the times have changed. The luster has faded, we are tarnished and we are getting battered, hammered, slandered, and denigrated from every corner of society. We are to blame for the educational woes of the country. We are easy targets and when the President of the United States takes aim and fires on us we know we are in deep yogurt. This is not the change I was expecting, in fact there is no change. I witnessed a beer summit, but was not amused by the President's inappropriate comments that demanded the summit. I thought W was the only president who opened his mouth to change feet. We now have a another president who changes feet every time he opens his mouth. When the President starts bashing police departments and school teachers, I realize we are in trouble. It reminds me of a former mayor of NYC who was a bully and wanted to be president. It sets a bad precedent of federal intrusion in local matters. As a private citizen he has this right but not as President. Cooler heads prevail at the local level. And from our Department of Education I see Duncan as a bad continuation of Spelling and Paige. His education programs are chaotic, they are aimless, they are complying to the corporate demands of the publishers and test makers who continue to make money, just as the banks have made more profits this year than last. What a mess that doesn't get better.

I've been watching the returns in the Texas primaries, esp the school board elections. This school board has a great deal of power in what textbooks contain and don't contain in all schools in America. No other state, nor block of states has the power this one state has with its fifteen members over our textbooks. Too few teachers are part of the process. This affects us all. I find it ironic that Texas is one of two states not to sign the initiative for national standards.

Power in the hands of too few is becoming a problem in this plutocracy. Our bankers, our textbook/test companies, and this president compounds our problems as the teachers are getting bashed and kicked more and more often. We have public education for a reason and we have forgotten that reason. Private schools and charter schools are not going to educate everyone because they are selective. Public schools are losing resources and any kind of support because the media and the politicians are using us for their talking points.

As budgets are trying to be met, schools and teachers are taking the hits. Schools should never be subject to budget cuts, because they are so crucial to our well being. We are creating a bigger gulf between the haves and the have nots and if this continues the gulf between the classes will get wider and create even bigger problems, larger prison populations and a ravaged America.

Now the Good News:

On a positive note, Scholastic, funded by the Gates Foundation, conducted a survey asking 40,000 teachers their thoughts about improving education. I was surprised to see that 74% were in favor of national standards. I was happy to see they recommended multiple measures for students, not just the state test; wanted more innovative and differentiated instruction; a better tool for assessing teachers without monetary reward; and better home-school connections. I was hoping to see a request for more technology, which will assist in realizing the above recommendations, and will be addressed by the Office of Education Technology for the U.S. Department of Education next week. It was good to read this recently released document that was teacher centered. I hope it becomes an important document in education reform. Teachers in Maryland also did a survey that highlighted a need for mentoring. And finally it was good to hear the superintendent in Rhode Island has decided to negotiate with the teachers that she fired. Finally only sixteen states are finalists for the final round of "Race to the Top." Winners will be selected April 1, no joke.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Cybrarian

I became a Cybrarian in the early 90's after creating CyberEnglish and my cybrary. I chose this name because I was becoming a cybernaut, a cybernut, a teacher who was jacking in and morphing into more than what I was before I became a Cybrarian. I am an etymologist as well and looked for a word that would complement what I was becoming and Cybrarian was the word. A Cybrarian is one who tends to the matters of Cyberspace or things cyber related. I say this because "cyber" was the current word of the realm in which we were playing and I drew a bit on the Greek origin of steersman and govern to "cybernetics" of the Sci-Fi world and "arian" which means "having a concern or belief in a specified thing" as in antiquarian, humanitarian, vegetarian, agrarian, necessitarian, latitudinarian, disciplinarian, contrarian, or librarian. When I did a word search using "*-arian" on Merriam-Webster, I found 228 entries that support my contention. A Cybrarian is not necessarily aligned to librarians nor it is exclusively the domain of librarians. A Cybrarian is more, much more than a librarian. Just as the Oxford English Dictionary defines words through published usage, I can explore the use of the word through not only my publications and presentations but others as well.

In my early presentations, I'm skirting around the use of Cybrarian. It isn't until November 1997 at an NCTE conference in Detroit that I actually use the word "Cybrarian" in a session title. I came to understand this after a few years of using technology in my classroom when I wrote a personal vision document during my days in a doctoral program in 1997. In 1999, I raised the ire of librarians when I published an article for Multimedia Schools Magazine titled, "Morphing from Teacher to Cybrarian." The Magazine sponsored a conference for librarians and the editor asked me to speak, especially since my article had angered many librarians.

Since then I have seen many people call themselves Cybrarians. Janet Murray wrote about this for the librarians, which is probably where we began this mistaken idea of the Cybrarian as a new version of the librarian, when she published her article over a year later in the same magazine I published my article about morphing to the Cybrarian. This misguided idea continues today. Cybrarian is not a derivative of librarian as Marilyn Johnson suggests in her new book as discussed on Leonard Lopake on Wednesday, February, 24, 2010. Not all librarians can be Cybrarians and not all Cybrarians were librarians. A Cybrarian is one who knows how to use the tools of cyberspace and how to access and assess the information and tools of the new information highway, to oversee CyberSchool, to coordinate a Virtual School.

The Cybrarian is more than a librarian, a teacher, a technician, a webmaster, a technology coordinator, a geek. The Cybrarian is all of these things and more as I outlined in my Personal Vision or in Susan C. Hunnicutt's definition. The Cybrarian would be a key player in Lengel's Education 3.0 vision. Every school needs a Cybrarian for so many reasons, with student safety being the most important. Cybrarian can't be an added role to an existing role. It is a new role.

In my role as a Cybrarian, I assist scholars in using the Internet safely. I assist in searches, I deal with ethics; plagiarism; creating email, webpage, blog, web accounts; cloud computing; operating software; integrating virtual with real world; and so much more each day. I teach a class, I maintain the school webpage, oversea our cyberschool and virtual school, provide professional development, and work with others to maintain our technology, infrastructure, and user accounts.

As we continue to make attempts to integrate more technology into our schools, we need to identify those Cybrarians in our schools who will help us make that leap into the brave new world of cyberspace.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has references of the use of Cybrarian before 1997.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Education 1-2-3

Professor Jim Lengel, Department of Education, Hunter College, New York, NY, in cooperation with Cisco, has created a series of presentations on the topic of what our schools should look like now by exploring educational history as it corresponds to the workplace. Listen to his quick podcast first to get a better idea about the concept.

I was immediately drawn in because Winslow Homer is one of my favorite artists. I remember spending those halcyon days of my youth in the Boston Museum with my grandfather who introduced be to Winslow Homer. We visited that museum often and now I am drawn to Homer whenever I enter a museum. Sure I liked those halcyon day pictures of Homer that Lengel presented, but the Homer that blew me away and really caught my attention was The Gulf Stream, which is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

I can really relate to this guy because I'm a teacher in NYC. Listening to Lengel reminded about Washington Irving and Ichabod Crane, Little House on the Praire, and the concepts of education the Prussians brought to these shores in those halcyon days. Education 1.0 matched the needs of workplace 1.0. Heck that was how we created that education calendar based on the agrarian lifestyle. Sadly education 2.0 matched the needs of the regimented workplace 2.0. Even sadder, education 3.0 is no where near the needs of workplace 3.0 because it doesn't exist and is unlikely to exist by all indications we receive from the current educational leadership of this country. education uses the calendar of education 1.0 and maintains the regiment of education 2.0. I've ranted and railed in the past about why education today is not preparing our scholars for real world 3.0.

Lengel's complete curriculum is online in the form of presentation slides; text, both rtf and pdf; podcasts; and curriculum guides. The entire program is very interesting and agreeable. I agree and have argued for this kind of learning for years. As I read, viewed the slides, and listened to the podcasts, I was constantly reminded that corporations and college professors of education still don't have a clue about K-12 education.

Sure Sally can do all those wonderful things like contact friends on her cell, read her digitized texts on her ipod, and use facebook and other social networks to collaborate. Sally is even able to contact her school's server. This stunned me, because we can't because we have a firewall. This is why my scholars use freewebspace to build their webpages. There is no way our school system in NYC will ever allow students or teachers to access their internal servers, if they have them in the first place. We have firewalls. Digitizing their work, something I have argued for for years and practiced on my own, will never happen. I love the matter of fact way Lengel presents this. We are constantly reminded about Cisco's sponsorship to as the students refer to the "Cisco WebEx connection." When Sally gets to school all of those tools, the cell, sidekick type machines, ipod, and access to facebook are restricted and silenced. Sally enters an education 2.0 type school, even if some in the school is prepared for education 3.0. The schools have filters and restrict sites like facebook and youtube and more. The idea that Sally could contact the people outside of school is hilarious. Great idea that is not happening in many schools. The technology and being able to operate it correctly is highly unlikely. Even this video conferencing session I was involved with on Friday was a bust. Lengel and the other 142 participants were constantly disconnected and the slides we were watching did not match what Lengel was saying. Sally is a fantasy student. She is a fantasy because we have not begun to teach our scholars to use the technology for anything educationally related. They are entertainment toys not educational tools. I'm always amazed at how tech savvy my scholars are. They can find their music, find a proxy so they can open the blocked Twitter, facebook, or myspace page. They view sports pages and watch videos of games. They shop for sneakers, handbags, shoes. They even find online job and college applications. Then when it comes to doing educational research, they are lost. Teaching them to make webpages during the first couple of days of a semester is a treat, because they finally recognize they are becoming producers, and not just consumers. I've had a Sally or two in my classes and it is a treat. Watching that student use a sidekick device and the computer at the same time for an assignment in class is one of those extremely delicious moments for a teacher. Now if I could just get them to use that ipod plugged into one ear for literature or a podcast, instead of music, I would be a really happy camper. We need to first teach our scholars to be education 3.0 type scholars and our teachers to be education 3.o type, and finally our leaders to be education 3.0 all at the same time. I agree Prof Lengel, Sally's day is very possible. It is highly unlikely with the current leadership and the state of education today. Remember we have been speaking about this possibility for more than fifteen years in education without seeing any improvement, while other industries around us have embraced technology.

Lengel has presented an ideal notion for education 3.0 which of course is reminiscent of education 1.0. I have been trying to practice this idea for the past twenty years and still see little progress on a more global scale for this to happen to little affect. Even with all the help from folks like Cisco or Gates or any other like minded individuals or corporations and university professors, it won't happen because they don't understand how K-12 functions. We are still stuck in education 2.0 and are very test oriented. We need to do some major work on the infrastructure of schools, reeducate teachers and administration, and above all replace our educational leaders in all levels of educational leadership because of the yahoos we currently have from the federal government to state education departments to local departments of education. Their only concern is the test and not education 3.0. Whenever we have conversations with these yahoos, we always hear, "Yes, but..." There's the problem, "yes, but."


I was inspired by Lengel's naivete and vision, I share both. It was a further example of just how out of touch with the realities of K-12 that professors in colleges of education are and how clueless corporations are. We are still receiving this inspiring stuff from afar. It is still education 2.0 delivery mode, not education 3.0 which is collaboration and interaction. They do not visit the schools, they simply imagine what the schools should be from their ivory towers or corporate suites and then lecture at us about how K-12 should function. They quite obviously haven't done their homework, nor have they spoken with teachers about moving towards the halcyon days of education 3.0 many of us have been writing about for years. What I learned from this Thursday fiasco was that those who try to help K-12 schools, don't know how to listen. Many of my former colleagues have left the classroom to become these dreaded corporate types who have forgotten what teaching was like, those who have become principals have forgotten, and even worse are those who have become college professors have forgotten. I say this because they speak down to us, so ignorantly about education at the K-12 level that I know they have forgotten. They don't get it and I don't think they ever will. Educational reform is too top heavy, it is too vertical with top down leadership. In order to have reform of this magnitude it should be more horizontal and more bottom up. Otherwise it is a waste of money.

Corporations believe if they go through college professors and superintendents than change will happen. Sorry, that won't work, never has. The teachers need to be consulted, listened to, and not talked to. It's about the teachers, because they are the ones who have to make it work in the classroom.