Sunday, January 27, 2008

Folklorico Las Alacanas

Folklorico Las Alacanas from Cholla High School danced for AzTEA conference attendees during our lunch break. Enjoy a QuickTime clip of this colorful entertainment!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

AzTEA Keynote: From Classroom Knowledge to Global Contribution

AzTEA schedules conferences every school year in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Phoenix. Each conference has unique content but all focus on educational applications of technology. On Saturday, January 27th, I attended the Teaching and Technology: Students in the Global Village conference at Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Tim Tyson is presenting the keynote addresses at all of the 2007-08 AzTEA conferences. He is the former principal of Mabry Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia. Mabry students hold an annual film festival. Student film teams are encouraged to identify an issue, research it, and present their work in a video. No grades are assigned for these projects. Dr. Tyson has shown several impressive student videos during his keynote addresses in Flagstaff and Tucson.

Here are some highlights from Dr. Tyson's keynote:
  • Kids are facing foreboding global issues. We’re not doing enough to prepare them. We’re so out of touch.
  • The new oil will be bandwidth. “Bandwidth is this generation’s oxygen.” - Steve Jobs, Macworld 2008 keynote speech
  • Brainwidth can’t keep up with bandwidth. Developing and distributing transformative ideas is growing exponentially, not linearly. How do we keep up? We don’t! Don’t focus on technology. Let kids handle it. Focus on making the connections in students’ minds.
  • Students want an emotional connection with their learning. We’re teaching kids with tools that they have no emotional connection to and we’re wondering why they’re not engaged in learning.
  • Technology is not a tool for students -- it's a habitat, an ecosystem.
  • iPods can be Trojan horses because students love them. Load them up with educational content!
  • Students crave educational experiences that leverage their unprecedented interest in technology.
  • Video is the language this generation speaks. Adults think in the two-dimensional world of words. Students think increasingly in the four-dimensional virtualized world of connected, interactive media.
  • Videos are a studio for students' creation, a stage for sharing, and a community for collaboration.
  • Kids are writing more now than ever but they're using different tools.
  • The use of technology tends to be at a very low level on Bloom’s taxonomy. We need to raise the bar to increase the scope and quality of what they’re producing.
  • Teach students in a language they understand.
  • Dr. Tyson predicts that public schools will join universities in a digital distribution model similar to iTunes University. Lectures, instructional activities, assignments, digital media objects, and student-created learning objects will be databased and available.
I've posted a podcast of the full keynote here.