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August 04, 2005

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RTodd

Dave, who is a self proclaimed liberal, is blaming the “conservative legislators” for the problems with our education system. I suppose the fact that the teachers union by in large votes liberal and that the vast majority of teachers vote this same why have no impact. Our country is not even in the top 10 any more and my state is dead last out of fifty. The tragedy is that everyone blames someone else instead of trying to correct the problems. If all of us gave a little more, volunteered a little more, and spent more time withour children we would be much better off.

Perhaps Dave could spent a little more time try to help the problem with our education system but I suppose the “Americans Against Bush” take up too much of his time.

SWilmarth

It’s too bad Dr. Stephens (RTodd), in his zeal to show his conservative political stripes, has unwittingly joined the Bob Novak “I’m so Blinded by My Ideology, I’ve Lost Any Vestiges of Credible Ironic Humor” Club. As a consequence, I think he has completely missed the point of the Weinberger article.

As an educator who tries to think deeply about how we prepare this generation of students for meaningful work in the 21st century, I’ve been struggling to get the message out to leaders concerned about the direction and trends in education in general, particularly at the most formative stages of education – the K-12 space. I just returned from a national conference on curriculum design where I had an opportunity to present my ideas and concepts to a gathering of nearly 1,000 educators and administrators representing all levels of our U.S. educational system. Here’s a thumbnail summary of my talk:

First, we need to grasp the significance of, and embrace the “new shape of knowledge” (Weinberger’s phrase), if we are to understand the power of “connectedness” and it’s real, current impact on “learner self-determination” (my phrase). Anyone with a pulse (or not hunkered down in a log cabin in the Montana Bitterroot Range) won’t need to spend more than a couple of hours with kids (note to Dr. Stephens) to see just how “connectedness” plays out in their knowledge creation activities. As technology shifts knowledge artifacts from the vertical, silo-ed, hierarchical model (imagine a visual image of a great “tree of knowledge,” strictly organized, categorized and maintained by the domain “experts.”) to the horizontal, conversational (For goodness sake, trust our students; if Google gives them hacking rights to what arguably is the most successful business model of the 21st century, then what are we doing in classrooms “locking down” information through anonymous textbook editors and distant governmental authorities!), collaborative model, I see four technology trends that change everything in education – wikis, the open source movement, the “informing” process (How often is Google used as a verb? When did that happen? Want to see the power of visualization to inform? Tour VisualThesaurus.com or Inxight.com’s StarTree product site and imagine, if you can, 3-D models of learner self-determination), and collaboration… turbocharged (Internet2, WiFi everywhere, VoIP, peer-to-peer networks, Ubuntu’s computer-on-a-stick, MIT Media Labs’ $100 laptop project, etc.).

Ignore the political distractions (the War on Terrorism and in Iraq, NCLB, gridlock in Congress – of the special interests, by the special interests, for the special interests). David Weinberger has it right. We should pay heed.

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