Chris Lehman’s Keynote: ISTE 2011

Note: so sorry that this video was made private & can’t be shared anymore, because it is always worthwhile to listen to Chris Lehmann! My observations at the end of this post might give a tiny hint at how amazing a speaker & leader he is.

I am almost never able to listen to a presentation by Chris Lehmann without crying. He is such a powerful speaker and leader, and every time I get to see him–so far only virtually, but one day I’ll make it to a conference–his message touches me. There’s an overpowering sense of optimism in his work, and he always makes me think, plus, I come away feeling encouraged and energized.

Below is Lehmann’s Closing Keynote at ISTE was posted yesterday, and I just spent an hour enjoying it, taking it in. He is preceded by his school’s Slam Poets (at about 31 min) , and, as he said in his blog post yesterday, they were breath-taking too. They–the kids–are really what this is all about, aren’t they? We lose sight of that in most of our schools, in the thick of things. The kids are the reason that I wanted to do this with my life.

Opportunities to hear keynotes like this one, and to take part in discussions on twitter and in web chats, etc. are truly brain-changing! That’s why I value my online network so much–I learn from, and sometimes with, so many people who are so much smarter than I am! 🙂

My notes–nothing particularly deep–just some points that resonated with me:

  • The greatest lie of education: You need to learn this because you will need it some day. Why aren’t we helping kids to think and act relevantly in the world!
  • Must develop kids’ hearts, minds, tools and VOICE.
  • From a student: I don’t need a network. I need a family. I need brothers and fathers and mentors. (how true)
  • A theme that permeates so much of Lehmann’s work: Our goal is not, as so many would have you believe, to create the 21st Century workforce. That is far too low a bar. All of our goals should be to help our students become the 21st Century, and beyond, citizens that we so desperately need.
  • Lehmann wants his kids to come through it all being thoughtful, wise, passionate & kind. A much more worthy goal than most mission statements I’ve seen.
  • Great quote of the day: If the best we can imagine these tools to be is the next greatest flash card, better way to test our children, we will have failed.

Thanks Chris. Amazing as usual.


Laming it Up For the Kids

July is one of my favorite times of year! This is usually the month that I catch up on the reading–professional and otherwise–that I just don’t get around to during the school year. I usually have various home improvement projects going during the month–this year, it’s tiling the house, which necessitates painting walls, replacing and painting baseboards, napping frequently to avoid all of the above… I spend a lot of time on Twitter with my PLN there as we attempt to recharge our batteries for the coming year.

I also spend a lot of time viewing & thinking about professional conferences & presentations that I’ve missed during the year, or those that I need to see and think about again! ISTEvision is always a treasure trove of ideas and I love, love, LOVE the openness with which the ISTE approaches their annual conference. Almost everything is online–much of it streamed in real time. It really is phenomenal. ISTE ROCKS

This morning, I was catching up with the amazing Teacher Librarian Smackdown, and got no further than the first round, when I had to stop and go use one of the tools that I learned about! I created this Google Search Story to promote our library and it’s theme for this year:

Cute, eh? And they’ve made it wildly easy to do on Youtube with the Google Search Story Video Creator!

After I created it though, I realized that it will be problematic for me to post on the library web site to share with my students–anything that I want to embed on my page is always a pain, but I can usually figure out a way to make it work in our arcane program!

No, the problem will come with the curriculum department, which has intermittently supported blocking Google over the years, and still maintains an anti-google stance, for the most part. They purchase Nettrekker yearly for student use, and it is a good tool, I admit! I find that it feels “artificial” to me however. While students can use it from home, and some do, the go-to tool for most people is still Google!

As a librarian, of course I encourage my students to use authoritative sources such as our online databases for their research. I want them–and their teachers–to go to these sources first when searching for reliable information! Additionally, I want them to consider using Creative Commons images and music whenever possible, and perhaps even use Nettrekker first, to see if a “safe” web site can be found using those tools. However, I also know that Google is the first place that most students, parents AND teachers go when they need to know something “on the fly.” I want my kids to have the information literacy skills to discern which is reliable information–a daunting task these days! And it’s a vital one as well. How can they do that if we create an artificial, thoroughly blocked experience for them at school? That certainly won’t be the case for most of them when they go home to use technology!

So. Back to my really cute video.
I guess I won’t put it on my web site. I may use it with kids later on to make the point that Google is a great tool to find certain types of information. Brings me to the point that my husband, a non-educator, is fond of making. He says that the education machine has an amazing ability to take a great idea and lame it up to the point that it’s unappealing to everyone involved. I think he hit the nail on the head.

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