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Keynote Speaker: Will Richardson - "Read/Write Possibilities of the Web"


Check out Will's wiki page

...but don't get too distracted and make sure to come back to mine!


There are new ways of communication and social networking as well as a new shift in using information and connectivity. As teachers we have to ask ourselves, what does the future, not the present, of our students look like? Referring to the video created by Karl Fisch, (linked to Home page) Will began citing general trends including the fact that this might be the first election where all of the candidates have a MySpace site. January 1, 2008, will be the first MySpace Primary election.  Businesses are shifting from a focus on the product to conversations about the products (e-pinions). Appearing on Craig's list are job opportunities such as Director of Community Conversations. 


How does this transfer to education and today's students in K-12 environments?  Kids have changed and are involved in the online exchange of creativity and ideas. The traditional ways of learning are being challenged.  The content the world is creating is exploding and, therefore, content is less important than HOW students acccess and become engaged in the exchange of ideas.  We all need to become part of a powerful learning network which is global and intensely engaging.


"The world is hyper transparent, and we are hyper connected." (HOW)

Check out FanFiction.net  (This links the book site.)

MANY people are submiting their writings as additions to books already written, and then others are reviewing. What engaging assignments these could be for our students. After reading a book, the students either make connections and come up with an addition to the book, or create a thoughtful review of another's addition to the book. Are book reports passe?...or should they be? This is definitely higher level than stating some basic facts to satisfy a book report format, and the successful completion of the assignment will reflect that students have read and comprehended the book.

2, 971 have added to The Outsiders

302,301  have added to Harry Potter



Collaboration is Different than Cooperative Learning

He mused that cooperative learning can be 3-5 students in one group where everyone is assigned a role and basically, one kid does all the work.  True collaboration now conjures up possibilities of global, intensely engaging and powerful learning networks.  We should teach our students hypertext reading and writing as we use these digital environments. He noted, "If there is a computer in the room, you are no longer the smartest person in the room!" 


Secret Life of Bees Blog

I found this to be an incredible example of collaboration!  The students themselves are creating the Reader Study Guide for this book.  These are high school students, however, I think we can all see the exciting possibilities for any age!   I love how the entries are submitted by various departments; themes, chapter summaries, historical events, artisitic interpretations, symbols, characters, class discussions, etc.


NATA Village Blog

On a global level, here is an example of effective real world collaboration spreading the word about the battle to control the spread of HIV/AIDS in an African Village. 


Endless possibilities exist for giving our students the crucial tools and feedback they need to grow and learn:

  • We can involve adult mentors out of the building
  • We can engage peer editing and peer publishing across the country
  • We can collaborate on a common goal

Students Invested in Their Work!

The work we give our kids has to change!  Pedagogies need to change as we cannot just take what we do in the analog world and transfer it to digital. No matter what pace our educational systems seem to be going, think personally about how you can change how you teach. Check out Awesome and Amazing Ants and think about how vested these students are in what they are learning and sharing.

Questions for Educators

Will ended with several personal questions to educators:

1. Who are my teachers now?  (He added that if they are only physical, we are all missing out!)

2. How am I building my networks?

3. How am I modeling learning for my students?

4. What is your personal "yeah but..." with technology? (for Acres Green teachers...what is your poersonal iceburg with technology?)


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