Monday, February 15, 2010

What's the Problem with Filters in Education

One of the only places student and teachers have a problem accessing the information they need is in schools. It used to be that the filters themselves were the main problem. Then CIPA came along and the problem was compounded by people using them poorly. Today, the filters have improved, but not the people. Filters are still being used poorly, if not worse. If filtering management and strategies had improved 1/10 as much as filters have improved, there would be no significant problem.

The ONLY thing CIPA requires in the way of technology is that you protect against accidental access to pornograhy, but too many schools use filters in lieu of supervision and education. The block everything from violence to nose picking. They are not protecting the children. They are trying to cover their collective asses and in the process are hindering education and access to the material that students and teachers need.

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posted by Art @ 10:58 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What's Wrong with this Picture?

The George Lucas Foundation and Edutopia.org are great resources for educators. Watch this video before reading the rest of this post.








This kind of video is one of my pet peeves. While it is a wonderful snapshot of what schools should be, it is strictly a vision piece.

I'm sure many people who watch it are asking themselves, "Where are we going to find funds for this sort of technology? We can barely keep our students supplied with paper and pencils." But that's not the important question. The important question is, "How did the teachers arrive at the point of being able to provide this kind of education?"

Clearly, there is team teaching and cross curricular collaboration. There is problem based curriculum in action. There are teachers comfortable with technology. Where is the video that shows the steps that went into the making of this kind of educational institution.

I think we know what education should look like. We need to know how to make it so. Let's produce videos and articles that are blueprint and plans, not pretty finished products.

Post Script: When I copied the code to embed the video, Blogger pointed out an error in the code that lies behind the embedded video. I think it's ironic that I'm complaining about a video that doesn't show the behind the scenes action and the code behind the scenes has an error in it.

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posted by Art @ 1:28 PM   1 Comments

Sunday, January 10, 2010

21st Century Skills, YouTube, and Education

Do you remember the Powers of Ten video which starts out with a picnic scene and then begins zooming out by a power of 10 every ten second? We realize very quickly that the further back we step, the more we see and each step adds new information and new insights. I had an experience today online that took me on a similar journey.

The Powers of Ten video starts out with a picture of one square meter. My story starts out with an email from a student about job hunting online in the digital age. I haven’t had to job hunt since long before the Internet was invented and didn’t have wealth of specific information at my fingertips, but I knew that with more than a half century employment and my knowledge of the web, online life, and social media, equipped me to get it quickly.

It didn’t take long to locate the information and send back the advice. After sending it, I began thinking about all of the skills that I was using in the hunt. I didn't have much time to think, because shortly after sending the message, my thoughts were interrupted by the ding from TweetDeck with a Facebook update from Leigh Zeitz via Twitter.

It was a link to a video about 21st Century Skills. When I visited the site, I immediately recognized the music as that which Michael Wesch had used in the Machine is Us/ing Us. As I watched, I was sure it was a new Michael Wesch video, and I realized that my thoughts had not been interrupted, they have been expanded upon by the video I was watching. WOW!

As the movie came to an end, I was pleasently surprised to find that it wasn't Michael Wesch, but the Weymouth High School social studies department who had been inspired by Wesch’s video. WOW!

Then something caught my eye. The video had been posted to YouTube as a response to another video, Curriculum 2.0. As I watched this, I began to get that Powers of Ten feeling. It was like mentally taking a step back and seeing a great deal more. A universe of connections powered by 21st century skills was unfolding in my mine and in front of my eyes. WOW!

Then for some reason, I went to The Machine is Us/ing Us for about the 100th time, this time I noticed the version I was watching was a video response, or in this case an update to an earlier version, which was a response to the Web 2.0 video. WOW!

Web 2.0 - 523,269 views
The Machine is Us/ing Us V.1 - 10,728,239 views
The Machine is Us/ing Us V.2 - 1,174,007
21st Century Skills - 6,249 views

That's almost 12 million views on YouTube alone. There's no way to tell how many other viewings took place around the web. WOW!

But why aren't we translating what we see here into our every day practice? Maybe it's because we still have to catch up to The Evolution of Dance and its 134,417,368 YouTube views. OW!

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posted by Art @ 4:41 PM   0 Comments