This evening, I live blogged Ian Juke’s keynote presentation at the Laptop Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. To use one of my favorite quotes from that great philosopher and ball player, Yogi Berra, the message was “like deja vu all over again.” Ian recited a message that I have been hearing and am beginning to discuss on this blog, that due to the exponential growth in computing power, the exponential growth in bandwidth, the emergence of the Internet and Web 2.0 tools in the last 18 months, and the fact that we live in an age where information overwhelms its meaning is changing the scope and acceleration of change towards light speed.
Using information from Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, and many of the statistics that Karl Fisch put together fall spring in his Did You Know presentation, Ian created a narrative that maybe for many was a dizzying and overwhelming set of questions that we as schools have to wrestle with. Questions such as, what are our goals and how are we going to starting moving the glacial pace of change in schools to move our faculty, parents, students, and government entities so that they keep up with the change.
For many, the approach may have been new. Going by the audience reaction, the number of people who are using the tools were the minority of the users at the conference. By my estimate, about a third of the users had heard or used Skype, which Terry Friedman (England) used to chat with me on Friday and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach contacted me to confirm my participation in a “speed dating” workshop Tuesday. Concerning Second Life, of which I have only dipped a pinky toe into, less than 10% of the attendees admitted to having an avatar. Looking around, I can only find Will Richardson, Jeff Whipple, and Jim Heynderickx whose blogs I that am aware of.
But if one has begun to immerse themselves using the new tools to create personal learning networks, blogs, podcasts, twitter, and nings, these are the questions that we have been asking. For me, these are conversations I have been having for the past three weeks, since EduBloggerCon and NECC. The conversations we began are important and it is through the development of these networks which will help us shape an answer and direction.
For myself, Ian is reinforcing in me the need to heed the personal call to action towards leadership to help move things forward. It is not about the computers, bandwidth and the growth of the Internet. As confirmed by my summer reading list (The Fifth Discipline, The Starfish and the Spider, Wikinomics, Wisdom of Crowds, Gaining Digital Citizenship, Five Minds for the Future, Cult of the Amateur, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) but it is the way we use the tools to collaborate and extend our networks so that we can begin to develop solutions to questions that Ian posed.
To that end, I will be rushing down to the BlogByte cafe between sessions to share how I am using these new tools to creating a learning community where all constituents of my school community, faculty, parents, and students are active participants.
And in the fall, you can join me at the K12 Online Conference during my session on Extending Horizons – Developing Personal Learning Networks sometime between October 22 through October 26.