Monday, October 8, 2007

K12 Online Conference Preconference Keynote

I enjoyed David Warlick's preconference keynote video. I was curious how the actual conference would work, since I never "attended" before. It looks like it's going to be interesting and thought provoking.

I agree that kids are much more adventurous about using anything related to computers. I do question how they view the tool. I hear people talk a lot about how tech savvy kids are, but they are savvy in a narrow bandwidth.

When I teach using a wiki, for instance, as a collaborative tool they have no problem getting into the page and editing. They really are more worried about "completing" the project than thinking about the connections with the other students. They don't really "see" the application of collaborating for any other purpose than "my teacher said to complete this project".

Last week, I got my sixth grade math students working on Classblogmeister. One child does have a Myspace and uses the blog section. He was surprised that the class blog was for work purposes. The rest of the class never used or viewed other people's blog before this class. On the other hand, 80% of this same class has played Internet games.

I think the long and short of it is that they see a computer no differently than we see a DVD. They can operate the DVD player, but we have to guide them to appropriate videos.

It will take a lot of guidance, on my part, to explain and teach the students how to collaborate on a project. In my Copyright, Plagiarism, Fair Use, Creative Commons project, I'm trying to given them the opportunity to collaborate with others and start the process of being a life long learner. As we continue down this path, I'm hoping that today's sixth graders will be much more comprehending of being interconnected learners.

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