Next Parent Technology Literacy Coffee Morning: 12 Jan 2011

We’re already excited for our next Parent Technology Literacy Coffee Morning on January 12 2011. This time around we have a larger space, so please join us in the cafeteria. Of course, there will be tasty treats provided by Stu along with a discussion about tips and tricks for helping your children stay safe online. We’ll focus the session on digital citizenship and online responsibility, as well as brainstorm strategies for managing computers and the internet at home. See you then!

First Parent Technology & Literacy Coffee Morning

Wow! What a turnout we had today! This is not an “official” tally, but we probably had at least 40 – 50 parents in the library this morning. Thank you! Please spread the word and we’ll make sure we’re in a bigger space next time.

For those of you that were not able to attend (or those that would like to review some of the topics and resources we discussed), here is a brief re-cap of the event.

We started off by watching a fantastic video from the New Learning Institute called Introduction to Technology and 21st Century Teaching and Learning:

Introduction to Technology and 21st Century Learning from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

The video prompted some great discussion topics:

  • It’s exciting to start thinking about new ways of learning, and how we can use technology to support and enhance learning experiences at school and at home with our new Connected Learning Community beginning next school year.
  • It’s overwhelming to think about all of the changes that technology is bringing to society. It brings a new layer of parenting (and teaching) that we are all learning about together – which is exactly what these sessions are for!
  • There was some discussion about Mac vs Windows. Many ideas and opinions were shared, but probably the most important was the point Bob made about Apple’s long history in, and support for, education. Specifically for YIS, we have 10 Apple Distinguished Educators on staff (Rebecca Smith, Jamie Raskin, Elliot Tracey, Frank Curkovik, Sylvie Meada, Brad Johnston, Genki Unno, Rebekah Madrid, Kim Cofino, and Stephen Lehmann), and Apple recently sponsored a trip for 7 YIS staff members to visit 1:1 schools in Hong Kong.
  • Lots of practical questions about the upcoming Connected Learning Community initiative were raised. We are still working on the finer details of policy and there will be many more opportunities for meetings and discussion about the details of implementation over the next few months. The most important point raised was that it’s not starting in January 2011, but most likely January 2012.
  • Parents would like ideas, suggestions, advice for helping their children learn how to stay safe online and responsibly share information with others (thinking about Facebook, YouTube, etc). This blog will be used as place to share those kinds of resources as part of the recap for each session. Please also feel free to share other resources in the comments!
  • Alan November’s session was briefly discussed, specifically the need parents felt to learn about how to evaluate web resources. Alan has a great set of resources available online for interested parents. There is also a recap of his session here on the Community Learning blog with lots of links and videos.
  • There were a number of requests for more topic-focused sessions at varying times in the day/evening. Kim, Brian, Adam and Bob will work on setting a few different sessions up (how to use your Mac, navigating Facebook, understanding Youtube, etc) and details will be shared here on this blog and through e-mail broadcasts.
  • The Learning Hub was introduced as a great place to see and hear more about what your children are doing in school. Please note: the log-in box is for teachers and students only, parents do not need to log in to read the posts.

That should cover the basics! If we missed anything, please feel free to remind us via the comments below.

Our next session will be Wednesday, Jan 12 at 9:15 (maybe in the Library, but most likely somewhere with a little more space). More details to come about the topic and location!

Thank you again for spending your morning with us! What a wonderful community we have here at YIS!

Bridging the Gap: Notes & Resources

Alan November offered two thought-provoking keynotes at BTG this year. For those that were unable to attend, here are some of the key concepts and resources (as I was able to record them during the presentation). If you were there and have other great resources from Alan, please share them via the comments.

What are the skills we value?

Alan asked corporations what are the most highly valued skills: ppl who are self-directed, lifelong learners, independent, able to put teams together, able to function on a globally collaborative level. How are we teaching these skills?

Recommends that we look as far out can we go (in terms of what technology will be) & look backwards to plan for the future, for example: Sixth Sense Device (Pattie Maes, TED Talk)

With increasing technology, we will need to increase the complexity of problems that we teach kids – and teachers will be more important than ever. The same way the printing press & advent of the book increased complexity & need for teachers.

Biggest chunk of the brain is devoted to the hand – more active technology (like 6th sense device) will help more active learners – will engage more of the brain. Hand and Brain: About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of the brain which controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands.”

Redefine classwork vs homework

Do you believe that students at Harvard/Stanford can be taking tests, and graduating without understanding? Unfortunately, they are. See this research about multitasking at Stanford.

If you make a mistake w/homework without immediate feedback, your brain records the error. If you bring it into school the next day, and the teacher corrects & then turns back the next day, it’s too late. You’ve already learned it “wrong.” You need immediate feedback. View “From Questions to Concepts: Eric Mazur” for more details – removing HW actually improved understanding.

Alan recommends that we flip classwork (transfer of knowledge) to HW, and then practice and implement learning in class – to support immediate feedback. Plus, by shifting the content online, you get more students to ask questions in an online format, rather than F2F.

Now, the teacher’s job is to walk around and listen to students explain to each other – gives a much better insight to students understanding. No homework & no explanation by the teacher. For example, Technology High School, Newark, NJ is using the same tech as in Eric Mazur’s class. 50% take AP Physics (in poorest community in the US) – in NJ, the avg # of students taking AP Physics is 2%. How did they do this? Abolish HW – this is not just a Harvard model.

If your child happens to have a teacher who’s brilliant, but doesn’t match your child’s learning style, using Khan Academy could be a good option to supplement their learning. Alan believes that we’re going to have libraries of every lesson imaginable – Google just gave Khan Academy billions to develop the largest ES – HS video library in the world.

Here’s an example of what students will do once they’ve “learned” everything from class – both for “high flyers” and those that might “fall between the cracks”: Mathtrain.tv

Recommended viewing: Conrad Wolfram at TED: Teaching kids real math with computers

Redefining the Role of the Learner

Alan recommends that we redefine the role of the learner, to be the role of the teacher – kids love to teach, they will learn the material even more if they have to teach it. Here are some resources he recommends:

If you really want to inspire kids, show them the work of other kids from around the world

Google Literacy

The more links going into one site, the higher the ranking. Explore Alan’s resources for Information Literacy

1st question for parents to ask their kids “How does google work?” Alan shared an example of how to validate web resources using a screencast.

Next questions for kids: Who wrote this website? How long has it been going? Who controls it? What’s their motive?

Way Back Machine – really interesting reference site that allows you to take any website and drill back in time and see how their changing their story, adapting their story, over time – allows you to see that scientists change their minds.

“If you’re gonna put something on the Internet, you just need to know that your grandchildren will be reading it.”

Myth of digital native/digital immigrant

Kids know almost nothing, but they think they know everything. Adults think kids know b/c they can push the right buttons. That’s not the point. We have a whole bunch of kids who don’t know, but think they know, and a whole bunch of adults who believe them.

We’ve lost control of the quality of information that children can access. We need parents who can work with their kids and say “how do you know that’s true” and then show them how to validate that information.

Recommends watching The Machine is Us/ing Us:

We need to keep asking: Who’s controlling who? Tech controlling us, or us controlling tech?

“There’s going to have to be a partnership between parents and teachers, working together, to prepare children for a world more complicated than the one I grew up in”