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Will Richardson

"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 exits” — Eric Hoffer

The World is Changing
  • Over 1 billion people on the Internet
  • China will soon be the largest English speaking country in the world.
  • China has more honors students than we have students.
  • Name this country
  • “None of the top 10 jobs that will exist in 2010 exist today." -- Richard Riley, (Former US Sec. of Ed.)

The Web is Changing Politics

The Web is Changing Journalism/Media

The Web is Changing Business

The problem is not change...we've always had change. The problem is the speed of change, and that change is cultural now. Because of that it feels like our kids are leading the way with technology

The question is, is education changing?

Challenging Times for Educators:
  • Our students are leading us.
    • Participating more
    • Creating more
    • Connecting more (55% of kids use social networking sites, 57% have created content online.)
  • We are entering a time of deeply personalized, passion based learning.
  • The amount of information is overwhelming.
  • Pace of change is lightspeed
  • More and more, the expectation is to create, not consume, yet we're not creators.
  • Differing levels of access
  • Standardized tests still emphasize content
  • Legal liabilities are unclear.
  • Our own time is limited.

The Web is Changing How We Learn

The Web is Changing 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 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, every MIT course online by year's end.) (Discussion group on bio class here.)
  • 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?)
  • 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.
  • We can no longer be "just" readers...we must be editors as well.
  • And reading is no longer a passive, linear activity that deals simply with text. How do we read multimedia and hypertext? (A Tank of Gas)
  • In this world, we must read with an ear for writing and responding, engaging and interacting.

The Web is Changing our Assumptions about Classrooms and Teaching
  • If teachers are no longer the arbiters of knowledge in the classroom, our roles need to change.
  • 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.
  • 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." (Buckle Up)

We Need a 2020 Vision for Education
  • Why is this important? Because the world is changing, and we are changing it, and our students need to know how to change the world with these technologies. (Water Buffalo Movie)
  • 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?
  • How do we the use of these technologies in our own practice?
  • It starts with one small step.
  • Educators need to ask themselves:
    • Who are your teachers?
    • How are you building your own learning networks?
    • How are you modeling your learning for your students?