Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Education action team rocks

The Education Action Team had their third meeting on October 21.

Read their big ideas and take a look at the Wordle!

A book called Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns was mentioned. I'm going to pick up a copy. I like the title.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rural TeleCon 2008 in Vermont

Rural TeleCon 2008 occurred this past week at Smugglers Notch. Hundreds of telecom professionals from across North America convened for several days of learning, networking, etc. around bringing broadband and cell coverage to more of rural America.

I led a rich discussion about local community building via Front Porch Forum with a room full of interesting people, and then Front Porch Forum collected two wonderful honors…

First, the RTC People’s Choice Award — Most Innovative. And then, the real shocker, the RTC Champion Award… this is the top national award from the Rural Telecom Congress! And a genuine honor, especially considering the caliber of the other award finalists.

Regrettably, an excellent panel focused on the state of Vermont's e-State didn't materialize.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Response to Student Video

The message that I take away from this video is that students want to be engaged, they want to be enthusiastic. They want to be passionate and productive. Technology offers the tools that attract kids intuitively. Kids don’t think consciously, “That stupid map doesn’t move, doesn’t show me how high the mountains really are…” They are simply not interested in static presentation materials. Kids react more than they think. Their response to interactive material is physical and intellectual when they reach for the mouse saying, “ WOW! If I fly over the Himalayas I will feel like God looking over the Earth!” Curiosity takes over and they begin probing the capability of the application and the various types of things they can learn by using the technology. Can I scale the mountain and look down? Which peak is the highest? Can I mark out the trail I’d like to take or can I see the route that Sir Edmund Hillary took?

From Sue Mc Cormack's post: I wonder if it is also fostering a stronger sense of community?
In some ways, I think technology (and I really wish we had a new word for it!) fosters a stronger sense of community by offering a forum for new ideas to kids with unique experiences and perspectives. Particularly in rural places. lower populations seem to narrow the walls of acceptance. Yet, when kids and adults have access to communities beyond town and state borders, they often discover that they are not as alone as they thought, and that their perspectives are not so foreign. Think about the movie ( for the older folk reading the blog) Footloose. The kids in town were strongly influenced by their traditional values and venues for expression and interaction, but they ached for change. When the troubled Kevin Bacon arrived on the scene, his passion for dancing and willingness to teach and share it provided an outlet for some of the kids’ frustration with the local traditions. Technology opens doors for expanding minds.

My thought on technology fostering community: Yes. Technology fosters community. Technology fosters new definitions of community and technology fosters kids’ willingness and ability to interact with their communities. Our task is to assure that more kids in Vermont have access to many of the tools South Burlington has!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What is the STATE of the eState of Vermont?

The Education Action Team met on September 9 to discuss this question. Around the table was an interested group of people ready and willing to get into the messy conversation of where they really think we are as an eState and where it is we want to be. The group pondered these questions:
  • Does this team support educators or provide education to a broader constituency?
  • Is this team contributing to managing the process of education or will it engage in the practice of education?
  • Does this action team deliver education?
  • How can we go forward - do the thing (educate) we say is necessary to bring the eState forward?
The group was clear that the actual vision of where we want to be should be a bit fuzzy right now. It will be ever changing as the technological capacity continues to grow. They were in agreement that this conversation should not be held back by what is. The group challenged the idea of maintaining the status quo until we can change the structures around us. Clearly the message of urgency was heard around the table.

Ultimately this work will entail the PROMOTION of an idea; ACTION on the part of many educators, community members, businesses, and government officials; and FUNDING for the work and the tools to bring the ideas forward to the public.

Some ideas that stirred up the group to discuss further:
  • How do we keep the intellkectual capital in Vermont? how do we build for this sustainability for and with our youth?
  • How do we create global community thinking within
  • What should education look like in the future?
The next step will be to invite more people to the table. This group needs to be more diverse. The next meeting will be another "skunkworks" meeting - with each person bringing another person to the meeting ready to get deep into a messy conversation wrapped around these big ideas.

Are you game?

Next meeting date: October 21, 2009 @ 12:30-2:30 Pm in the conference room at the Superintendent's Office in the Essex Town School District.

Student Video on Classroom Technology

S. Burlington students made this video contrasting technology in 1983 to today’s classroom technology. First of all, the production values make this thing look like the network news. At the end they list the current ways technology is being used to teach, communicate and learn. It seems like all of this technology is making teaching and learning more efficient. I wonder if it is also fostering a stronger sense of community? Or weakening traditional ties that get formed when students have to call each other on the phone to find out about homework. Do students still have study groups where people all show up at someone’s house?

Here is the link:

Posted by Karyn Vogel for Sue McCormack