Beyond the Silver Bullet

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Presentation given at the advisory board summit celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Horizon Report

Text of Beyond the Silver Bullet

  • 1. Beyond the Silver Bullet 1Wednesday, January 25, 12 Good afternoon, folks. Thank you to the NMC and Larry for roping me into speaking. Im excited to see what the next 10 years will bring to the Horizon project. In my six minutes, Id like to talk about what Im noticing in the K-12 wild west; its a fascinating time to be in education.
  • 2. K12 Horizon Report Advisory Board Apple Distinguished Educator Google Certied Teacher The Global Education Conference CoSN 2Wednesday, January 25, 12 Just to give you a quick idea of my perspective.... I wear a lot of hats. As a former classroom teacher and now consultant, Im lucky to work with teachers, schools, and corporate entities around the country. I love that Im not silod; I learn from each place I visit and spread the word about the good things that I see in schools. Im also known as a connector, hence the lariat. I use social media to connect and learn from educators all around the globe.
  • 3. QUestionS How do we change the current national narrative to one that inspires and supports educators, students and and their families? Why do we expect technology to revolutionize or save education? How do we connect more teachers AND administrators? 3Wednesday, January 25, 12 So these are some questions that have been on my mind lately and I think are important as we discuss the future of the K-12 edition of the horizon report. Our narrative around K12 education is negative, disrespectful, and uninspiring Technology is not a silver bullet. Dont look at it to save or revolutionize learning. Innovation is unlikely to happen where there is no culture of risk taking. Our educators are still far from being highly connected
  • 4. Changing the Narrative to Show We Value Education 4Wednesday, January 25, 12
  • 5. 5Wednesday, January 25, 12 Have I lost my sense of humor? I think I speak for the thousands of teachers who, quite frankly, are feeling beleaguered. Wheres the respect not just for teachers, but for education as a whole? Our messaging and values are off.
  • 6. Most children dislike learning which explains why most kids younger than 1 are unable to read. Brush up on book-learning with todays Groupon.... 6Wednesday, January 25, 12
  • 7. Knowledge is power, which is why locomotives run on burning encyclopedias. Chug towards new understandings with todays Groupon.... 7Wednesday, January 25, 12
  • 8. Hitting the books is a good way to acquire knowledge, but a terrible way to settle an argument with a pile of pugnacious tomes.Teach young students to read with care with todays Groupon.... 8Wednesday, January 25, 12
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  • 10. Is this a reection of todays anti-teacher, anti-education mentality? Dangerously stupid! Kinda rude to both kids and teachers. Kids *do* love to learn, and there are a lot of talented and dedicated teachers who foster this love of learning. 9Wednesday, January 25, 12
  • 11. Technology alone is not going to revolutionize education. 10Wednesday, January 25, 12 Many in the education world are deceiving themselves if they believe this. We must help others to understand the complexities of schools. They are not corporations.
  • 12. Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade rst and ask questions later. 11Wednesday, January 25, 12 Why is this just about test scores? We are trying to focus using the wrong lens. The narrative should be about powerful, rich experiences with digital media.
  • 13. 12Wednesday, January 25, 12 Ive also noticed in subsequent articles about Apples announcement this past week that imply that Apple will save education. Im thrilled about the new tools unveiled and am hopeful about changes to the textbook industry. To me, the big question with this, however, is: Will teachers, in some schools in this era of canned curricula, even be allowed to author their own content?
  • 14. 13Wednesday, January 25, 12
  • 15. Technology Plus.... Better learning environments Informed pedagogy Strong relationships Resourceful leadership 14Wednesday, January 25, 12 This past week, Ive visited about 10 Chicago Public Schools, ranging from selective enrollment schools to isolated neighborhood schools. The conversations in these schools served as a reminder to me that these best practices are at the core of successful schools.
  • 16. Urban schools face challenges that are probably unimaginable to the general public. 15Wednesday, January 25, 12 This past week, Ive visited about 10 Chicago Public Schools, ranging from selective enrollment schools to isolated neighborhood schools. We need to remember that there are schools that are absolutely struggling to keep it together. Technology may not be their biggest priority. One friend that I interviewed says that her school has had to wrestle with serious discipline issues in previous years, and for kids who arent connected at home, checking email and grades is more attractive than engaging projects.
  • 17. Highly Connected Teachers AND Administrators 16Wednesday, January 25, 12 Finally, Id like for us to expand on the call for teachers to shift. Not only do teachers need to re-examine their practices, but administrators do as well.
  • 18. The Highly Connected Teacher Data Resources Each other 17Wednesday, January 25, 12 Where are the decision makers in this? Why are we not learning more from each other? How do we help educators see beyond their silos? There are thousands of teachers currently using social media to connect in the most creative ways, yet this is often not legitimized by the powers that be. Last year, I did a workshop for school leaders participating in a special leadership program at a midwestern university. Out of 60+ educators, only 1 was using Twitter. Not that Twitter is the be and end all, but its an indication of how these highly regarded teachers are participating in the professional world outside of their school buildings.
  • 19. Looking Forward Deepen the reports outreach Tell the stories of what works Engage all stakeholders 18Wednesday, January 25, 12 The work of the Horizon Report is still relevant ten years later, and very much needed in K-12. The reality is, however, that not everyone has heard or truly understood what the Report stands for. Let us continue to spread the good word in new and creative ways!