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Page history last edited by Bill 4 years, 1 month ago

Digitally Speaking


"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing,not running office automation tools."


---Nicholas Negroponte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab 




fEasily the greatest struggle that educators face in today's day and age is properly preparing students for a future that is poorly defined yet rapidly changing.  While we know that something must change, we simply cannot begin to imagine what those changes might look like.  Thankfully, leading thinkers on teaching and learning are beginning to tackle this question in a very structured and systematic way.  In a 2008 post on his blog, Will Richardson---widely recognized as one of America's most progressive educational thinkers---worked to define the kinds of skills that would be necessary for students to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.  He wrote:


Our kids’ futures will require them to be:

  • Networked–They’ll need an “outboard brain.”
  • More collaborative–They are going to need to work closely with people to co-create information.
  • More globally aware–Those collaborators may be anywhere in the world.
  • Less dependent on paper–Right now, we are still paper training our kids.
  • More active–In just about every sense of the word. Physically. Socially. Politically.
  • Fluent in creating and consuming hypertext–Basic reading and writing skills will not suffice.
  • More connected–To their communities, to their environments, to the world.
  • Editors of information–Something we should have been teaching them all along but is even more important now.



Like many of those working to redefine schools, Richardson believes that technology can play an important role in promoting the kinds of networking, collaboration and global awareness that will become a regular part of tomorrow's learning.  The question becomes are today's teachers prepared for the significant changes that must happen before this new vision of an educated citizen becomes a reality?


In most cases, the answer to that question is (sadly) no!  For a range of reasons---lack of interest or time, poor access to functioning technology, limited opportunities for ongoing professional development, an accountability culture that over-emphasizes test-taking skills---teachers have fallen far behind in their understanding of meaningful teaching and learning.  Classrooms are often simplistic places where students are prepared for today, but completely unprepared for tomorrow.  Digital experiences are almost non-existant, leaving our students lost in a school environment that is uninteresting and ineffective. 


What makes this disconnect between what is and what could be so disheartening is that a wide range of free web-based tools are available to educators that are making digital creation, collaboration and communication incredibly approachable.  The purpose of this wiki is to introduce a few of these tools to users---and to include practical examples of how educators can make digital dialogue a real part of their classroom instruction. 



General Overview Handout




Table of Contents







Social Bookmarking and Annotating

Information Management


Problem-Solution Resources

Visual Influence


Research and Reading

Hearing Voices


Interesting Technology Videos


Internet Safety



Contact Information


Wiki Go Home







Comments (1)

Bill said

at 6:47 am on Oct 19, 2011

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