Muddling through the blogosphere

David Warlick at SCOE


I’m at the Sacramento COE this morning for Dave Warlick’s Preparing Students with 21st Century Skills workshop.

Opening comments are by SCOE’s Ben Anderson delivering his Educating in a Google World – To catch the full flavor, and Ben’s engaging sense of humor, you need to watch his slide show, which included a live Skype call to a friend in Warsaw, Poland – pretty amazing how seamless it is to connect virtually with colleagues thousands of miles away. If his preso is online, I’ll come back and add the link.warlick.jpg

Dave Warlick has started his presentation…without PowerPoint. Presentation is posted to Slideshare. Handouts are at

Below is a mix of some of his tech tools and words of wisdom:

  • For the first time in history, the best thing we can be teaching our kids is how to teach themselves
    • They need to be literate – knowing how to do what you need to do now
    • Plug for Wikipedia – information escalates but it’s still as easy to navigate – As an educator, don’t go back to the good ol’ days of books as sole source of information. THE SHAPE OF INFORMATION HAS CHANGED. We need to teach students to prove the authority of the information. We need to be journalists with openers like “according to this source…” Our job is not to teach which sources to teach, but to show students how to evaluate. Wikipedia is really good about currency of information e.g., announcement of Pluto’s fate – if you check date and minute that article is published – Wikipedia less than a minute behind BBC news.
  • RSS ( – Shift in that information comes to us. We’re training information to find us. Recommends because it’s web-based, you can make your aggregator look like a newspaper. Demoed from view point of social studies teacher. Cool tab feature. Went to Technorati, “which is to the blogosphere what Google is to the web.” Enter a specific term such as cartography, find blogs that are specifically about maps. Go back to Netvibes, tell it where link is – then drag down into tab box. Strange Maps – very cool (but I can’t find the link). Flickr example -grab – so only photos labeled with “map” will come up
  • New model is more about us modeling new literacies than teaching them
  • What about arithmetic? – 2 things have happened in last 15 years: we’re working with digital numbers (in the 1000s) – into his Library of Links (from Technorati) – For a demonstration of a raw data link, he showed the ANSS site (connected to seismographers all over world). Started by copying data, grabbing Excel and pasting it in – used text to column feature to clean it up – went through wizard and used scatter plot in graphing tool – You can “make numbers tell their story.”
  • Words of Humankind – Searched for presidential inaugural addresses – and tag clouds – TagCrowd – new tool! Allows you to for example top 75% – added new Web 2.0 twist. Gives you ability to zoom out and look at content in new way.You could compare Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat, Tears speech to Roosevelt’s “Day that will live in infamy” speech.
  • Today, all information is made out of numbers. It’s about the ability to use the information to accomplish goals.
  • The Long Tail – 1998 study – Developed by Chris Anderson – calculating line where everything to the left shows hard copies of books available in store because they’re lucrative enough; to the left books, etc, not lucrative enough to market – but are available online. Dave uses to surprise to publish his books.
  • 21st century – we have to communicate with multimedia. Information now competes for attention – therefore kids must learn to write well, including with images and animations. – used iCan sweatshop video.
  • Beacon HS in NY – Humanities school (alternative) paperless school – teachers evaluate quality of work based on its strength as communication piece, not the technology component – Othello assignment -What was the difference in entertainment from 1500s to today? Students produced movie trailer and in the process became script writers, collaborators, videographers.

In a nutshell – 3Rs to 3 E’s: Expose truth,Employ information, Explore ideas – spam (costs US billions in investments to block it out) – Cost of controlling HIV/AIDS. Any definition of literacy in 21st century must explicitly include a conversation about ethics – k-12! Right and Wrong on Internet – A student & teacher information code of ethics – grabbed from journalists association. Students must be able to justify how something they’ve cited is true – teachers must model this accountability. Spam peaks in august – kids bored – and don’t have ethical background in place.

I couldn’t stay for his afternoon hands-on session, but I’m glad I made it to the morning session.

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