Monday, October 08, 2007

David Warlick's presentation: Inventing New Boundaries

Well - here goes - 3 weeks of thought-provoking presentations to watch and listen to in the comfort of my home from the K12 Online Conference. But the discussion doesn't have to stay there. Through blogs, twitter, wikis and chat rooms the conversation continues. That really is one of David Warlick's messages - the importance of networks for learning, building knowledge and collaborating. So spread the word to others, if you read this post.

I am now watching David Warlick's pre-conference presentation.
He is talking about the importance of side trips in education. Walls are invisible for both teachers and students and it is possible to learn any place. But this comes at a price - how do you get the interaction that happens face to face? What are the new boundaries (not classroom walls)? The traditional boundaries are going away - we need to create new kinds of boundaries to find a sense of structure in this new world.

He goes on to discuss: With the speed of change our children can no longer look to us to see their future. We can no longer describe the future - it is unpredictable. Change is happening so fast - when we talk about digital natives - which it is really about adapting to the constant change. The territory is shifting so quickly. The big difference between digital natives and digital immigrants is not being afraid of the technology and knowing where to go for help. Students know how to find networks that can help them problem solve their technology problems. They are part of a community. They are learning about the power of collaboration - through social networks, online games, text messaging. Our classrooms do not take advantage of this. Instead - we cut them off.

New literacies -
Information (find information, evaluate it, organize it into personal digital libraries)
Math (numbers now apply to full range of content - binary)
What information is competing for our attention
Can you produce an information product that competes for information attention
we can shape and reshape information to create new learning experiences. We can make students remixers of content
Many of our students know how to do this, how to publish online. Our new classrooms are flattening - students and teachers must all be learners.
3 converging conditions
Info-savvy students and tech savvy - know how to play the information, they need us to help them learn to work the information
New information landscape - information increasingly networked, digital, participatory
Unpredictable Future - preparing our students for an unpredictable future - need to teach students how to teach themselves

And I will add - teachers need to learn how to teach themselves - to be open to lifelong learning and to welcome the excitement that comes of mastering something new.


  1. HI Susan, thanks for hosting the blog response for Dave's keynote. My take-aways:

    I like the way he uses visual metaphors - this year, it is the airstrip. And he poses the question - Teachers and students are looking for new boundaries - where do you get your traction to move forward? Not sure that he gives an answer, but an honest question!

    Also, he points out that there are no longer the old familiar boundaries - we have to either find the new boundaries or create them. I like that idea! Once we flatten the classroom walls, how far can we go? We are definitely in new territory and I find it very exciting! But we have some questions to answer along the way and some new boundaries to define.

    I also was taken with his point that our students now have more publishing experience than their teachers and in many ways are more literate. WOW! Yes, this is definitely true in the case of my own kids!

    However, I am not so sure about his statement about the students being insulted when we cut them off. Yes, but is this more a case of inconvenience to their social lives? Even students still possess a fundamental disconnect between what goes on in their classrooms (i.e. they have certain expectations based on the "old" model) and what happens on their social networking sites. I have heard them say that they find it difficult for them to imagine using their social networks for educational purposes. There is a fierce sense of territorialism about what happens where. We as educators need to address that perceived disconnect IF we are serious about using these online social spaces as educational learning spaces.

    Just my own two cents' worth!

  2. Christiane Dufour9:40 p.m.

    I attended the fireside chat with David Warlick tonight. Fireside vortex would be a better description... 110 participants. I came away with one idea that I decided to nurture and to make my mantra: we need to help teachers see themselves as learners, like their students are. But we also need to see that learners are leaders, teachers as well as students.

    In the act of teaching, we deepen our understanding of what we teach. We've all experienced that. This leads to 2 conclusions:
    1- In our classrooms, we should create opportunities for our students to teach each other (whether our students are kids or teachers!).
    2- People who learn in this deep personal way, who walk the walk, who learn by doing and teaching are those who will become leaders in their community.

    Thanks, Susan, for helping us discover this on-line conference