Friday, May 03, 2013
Exponential Curve Momentum and Global Threats
Monday, March 11, 2013
NCTIES 2013 Post Analysis
How long before state and national educational "technology" organizations recognize that the issue is not about technology but about what we do with it? Can we replace the noun technology with better goal focused titles than this seeming focus on mere equipment? How about Literacy, Discovery or Learning? What about verbs, e.g., Solving, Thinking? What did fill the halls and rooms of the conference though was an intense and motivated interest in the presentations at hand, with many filled to overflowing.
fine pre-conference analysis of the last two years of NCTIES presentation topics that also showed changing trends. Post-conference, after seeing many of them, I analyzed 203 presentations (David counted 202) in the downloadable Conference Program. I deleted a couple of them for which there was insufficient information to determine what the presentation was about. Naturally this eCROP blog site takes the digital palette strategies and media categories (image on right) that make up 21st century literacy and reworks the NCTIES presentation topics into eCROP's digital palette structure. Note that deciding on the focus of a presentation is a highly personal perspective that others would treat differently. You can try your own hand at categorization by changing my outlining treatment in this Word file, NCTIES-sorted-by-eCROP-digipalette-only.
On this first pass look at the data, it showed 67 Strategic focus sessions and 136 Digital Palette media focused presentations. Further details show a much deeper tilt. Of the 67 strategic thinking related sessions, only 1 focused on problem sharing and discovery. Two were on problem shaping (thinking more deeply about questions), and 61 focused on some aspect of problem solving (46 on the Look or search for digital information or the annotated listing of digital thinking tools, with 5 on actual search technique and the rest on new teaching strategies with new tech) 4 on composition (Evoke), 9 on Assessment and 3 focused on Publishing. That is, our state's digital leadership is missing much of the exploration of 2/3 of the larger strategic problem process on which our culture's advancement depends and lacking a fair amount of attention to key elements of the problem process (LEAP).
Distributing the 136 Digital Palette media presentations across the the 11 media elements of the digital palette that make up the current range of dominant tools for digital composing and understanding, the results showed: 17 Text, 2 Image, 2 Audio, 11 Video, 1 on 2D Animation, 2 on 3D Animation/Printers/Virtual Reality; 1 Sensors/Robotics, 15 Interactivity and gaming, 3 programming, 15 on teaming/collaboration and 69 devoted to Frames (planning tech use, use of digital devices, 1:1 computing, and software tools).
None of the sessions on programming tackled the topic head-on by focusing on real computer languages, addressing them rather obliquely. As programming and computer science undergirds everything we discuss, where is our both our instruction and our advocacy for this knowledge as well as lucrative and critical career? No one in the vendor area nor any presenter discussed the impact of 3D printers, laser cutters and the potential rebirth of the "shop" in school programs undergirded by new digital technology. (It should be noted that the vocational education theme was the first bill sought from the Legislature and signed by the governor in 2013. Do we need a Current Topics session every year so that late developing topics can get proper attention? But even with the noted shortcomings, clearly the term "technology" in the conference title is relevant to the overall thrust of the conference. What was surprising here is the small numbers of sessions that focused on gaming given that gaming was the theme of the conference. Perhaps this tilt towards technology, this focus on digital things and their maintenance, is one more measurement of the current state of the art in our educational systems's digital integration. Our schools are a long way from universal one to one (1:1) integration but clearly moving in that direction. Until our outgunned and underfunded technology staff teams can put the 1:1 issue to rest, a monstrous challenge, it is hard to see beyond that. Though I wonder how we can properly do that planning without the larger strategic view being much better understood. I conclude that our group is far more focused on applying the mechanics of the digital tools of the age than the bigger picture of where we are and where we should be going with those tools.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Planned Obsolescence in Academe
Saturday, May 19, 2012
A global misunderstanding of the value of "intangible" ideas
The surface political problem is relatively clear as these two stories reveal.
Spain’s Yearnings Are Now Its Agony
Why breaking up the eurozone could be painful
What is missing from this analysis by news reporters with tight deadlines and insufficient vision is the invisible global transition of power from finance and manufacturing centered control to information age control on a continent that lags behind the United States in developing the talent pool of software creators and entrepreneurs. The young talent from Spain that they have educated is migrating elsewhere. We have an explosion of knowledge and problems to solve while these news writers have little awareness that it takes a knowledge refinery infrastructure to fix this.
Unfortunately, the problem is hardly European. There may well be misguided Wall Street type thinkers of the world inhabiting every continent. See this tortured bit of thought from the Wall Street Journal editorial page about the new economy being led by pale, socially incompetent, algorithm writers.
Rich Karlgaard: The Future Is More Than Facebook
Some European thinkers have seen and have understood some important aspects of the problem. The countries now most in trouble have done the least to invest in the digital age. Warning, heavy reading, but graph on page 16 of the first link below really sums up much of the authors' points. Note carefully the black bar of "intangible investment" from US on left thru Spain and Greece on the right.
The more troubled the system, the more they have been putting their money on the wrong horse.
The understanding of this problem goes back a number of years.
"In the field of knowledge collaboration, Europe reveals opposing paths in the business and in the academic worlds. Within Europe, the level of investment in scientific and technological activities is so different across countries that it does not merge into a single continental innovation system."
What I chafe at is the concept of defining the knowledge economy as about intangibles (meaning an idea, not a piece of metal, plastic or wood). Perhaps therein lies an interesting element of the problem. Perhaps it is harder to solve a problem when it's key components are framed as intangible. This is precisely what my digital palette model and the ecrop model address, making the idea engine tangible, from its fundamental literacy to its problem engine processes to its economic entrepreneurship generators.
We focus so much on energy policy and investment as a way to save economies (fracking, solar, wind) that other ideas that deal with creativity get crowded off the stage. Energy is a problem in need of solution but it is one created by the agricultural and manufacturing ages. Let's separate policies about energy from policies about the information age.
Ideas that solve real problems using the seemingly limitless flow of information– that's a tangible benefit. How can you get more tangible?
So why is Europe so uncreative or conservative about the use of minds and the US less so? Does it go back to the pioneering spirit of immigrants? How do you create an educational system that builds the spirit of being a pioneer into the curriculum?
Thursday, March 15, 2012
ChronoZoom - wow!
Monday, February 06, 2012
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
TPACKs insufficient transitional model
The currently popular TPACK model separates technology knowledge from pedagogy and content, viewing technology as a set of basic operational skills with a thing or things. This might be useful if it will be seen as the insufficient perspective that it provides. It is the equivalent to saying that writing is the basic operational skill with pencils, pens, books and paper, with skill in using and safely storing and organizing the data put on them, with skill in installing and removing books and articles and switching out procedures for different writing sequences and using the postal service. Yes, we needed to know those things to think with text for the last several centuries, and we need to know basic digital skills for the 21st century but this perspective loses sight of the forest for the trees.
TPACK is a transitional digital immigrant perspective forced on education by its low socio-economic status in our culture. Education’s SES has long prevented digital technologies from becoming ubiquitous for its primary constituents (educators and students) in contrast to the way that digital utilization has evolved in every other major industry of our culture. The TPACK model is akin to someone learning that new language, a learner focused on its underlying structure, not yet fluent, not dreaming in the new language yet.
To the digital natives steeped in the new tools, literacy has been transformed by the digital page. There are two overlapping circles, not three. Digital literacy is content. It is one of the major content areas; software (not hardware) is king; information is valued for its distribution not its possession; technology is the invisible infrastructure that makes it all happen but never the focus of the scene. The new literacy is the particular content that deals with expression and problem solving in the minute-to-minute digital happenings of their lives. These “expressive arts” are the new language arts. The words language, reading and writing are now but a subset of the larger means of expression, understanding and composing.
Digital literacy is so much more than the expression of words, having made significant progress towards having a means for editing, mixing, archiving and transmitting the full range of human senses and unique capacities. The software that holds the ideas for digital understanding and composing has major categories of many variations with a rich history of practice prior to and on the Web: text, still image, video, audio, 2D animation, 3D animation, sensors/robotics, and social interaction. I take literacy to be the capacity to compose and understand what goes on a page (or frame). Arguably within a decade these fundamental elements of digital literacy made most of the former literate world illiterate or functionally illiterate with these newer means of digital expression on screens and Web pages. This takes time for cultural digestion and transition.
This cultural transition should also be seen within a much larger scene. The current economic malaise that so impacts world educational progress can also be seen as a holding action, an impasse between the forces of information and those of wealth and force. Our setting is caused in part by our current culture’s deep misunderstanding of the unique economic and cultural power of information and its current dominating digital nature (over 94% digital), which contrasts to our long practiced history with the cultural powers of wealth and physical power/force (manufacturing, military, agriculture) (Toffler, 1990). The political process of putting the digital natives in positions of significant leadership and authority is going to take some time.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
The knowledge society: How can teachers surf its data tsunamis?
Properly sifted and mixed, data becomes knowledge and occasionally wisdom. The ongoing explosion of information, represented by the graph on the left, has challenged our cultural capacity in the extreme. Your comments and reactions to a much larger article, The Knowledge Society, are encouraged.