Many edtech bloggers including Will Richardson and Bud Hunt have been linking to a powerpoint presentation by Karl Fisch on his blog The Fischbowl: Did You Know? I watched and enjoyed the presentation with that same sort of "yes, why don’t more people get this," that now extends through various postings and books that are becoming part of a conversation, as Will would put it, that are too innumerable to list and that most teachers using RSS understand. It reminds me of the dilemma of how much to teach a person about the hardware of a computer and whether this will help them understand better what is happening on the screen in front of them. If you used DOS and old command line computers does this now make it easier to understand how a graphical interface changes back slashes into folders? A part of me thinks that much of these tools will go through the same process of something like email, not having a known use and so neglected, embraced but without ease of use and usage agreements, to familiar and essential. I hope! Teaching to the standards does not consider the medium as inherently important but the evaluation or assessment and the showing a student is meeting the skill is. Why use a computer when there is not enough to go around and when we already have a 1 to 1 pencil and paper/book interface?
My initial reaction after watching the presentation was to connect many of the decision makers and teachers in my district, who look at how technology is used in our schools, to either the blog or the powerpoint file. Later on however, I realized that the sources Karl used for the presentation would be unknown to these people. He could have been pulling this information out of the air for all they know. I myself wasn’t familiar with some of the information. I remembered some of the facts from The World is Flat, and David Warlick’s and Will Richarson’s presentation that I saw at the NECC over the summer. And so the dilemma as it came to me has to do with not only about source and value, but also that we need to have commonality amongst teachers who are new to this and teachers that have been participating for some time in this discussion. There was a posting on Will’s site about citing of sources and primary sources a week or so ago and elsewhere, and I find it ironic that I would consider sharing a power point presentation that did not thoroughly present it’s sources and did not analyze with the same scrutiny that I would for a text based blog posting. I keep wondering if Alan November is right when he said at the NECC that when someone tries to go from one medium to another they lose and forget the skills in which they analyze and question content and so we don’t teach our students what we ourselves have abandoned. With text sources we teach the students about glossaries, indexes, citing sources, but how about information literacy for the new medium of the internet? Alan November Weblog : How much do you know about Information Literacy?How can I suggest professional development when someone doesn’t even know that it is needed?
I was thrilled at the NECC in San Diego when I saw the poster labeled School 2.0 from the U.S. Department of Education Home Page. I ‘ve been signed up for the RSS feed for sometime, but neither that or periodic searches with the web site have yielded any results.