Ancient History

March 30, 2009

Today I had a reason to look to the past.

ETUG (BC Ed Tech Users’ Group) is putting together a history archive and they called for stories.  So I googled my own name and found couple of my old OLD documents 🙂 (1991 and 1996) The story told in these is that the BC provincial government was addressing technology in education before there was even a WWW. The “Education Technology Centre” that began at Dunsmuir Lodge (the Lodge itself has just closed its doors) began in 1989 as a small group of folks with a mission to incorporate technology into the K-12 curriculum.

Some Highlights:

Pea and Solway were concerned in 1987 that there was an ever-widening gap between school and society. Interesting to reflect on whether our current education system reflects what kids do online now, in 2009? And in that year they were the authors of one of my all-time favourite quotes: “information access does not make education.”

Reading through I realize I still believe quite a bit of what I said and quoted back then…   having an enormous wealth of information available is not enough to guarantee that we will have an educated society.  But if an educated society *does” have access to each other and to virtually unlimited information, the potential is amazing!

And much of what went on all those years ago was like a preview of coming attractions….

CSILE (Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter in the 90s) was almost a wiki. John Seely Brown, who I quoted then for the cognitive science viewpoint and his emphasis on authenticity is someone I follow on Twitter now 🙂  Clay Shirky wasn’t on my radar screen back then, but he’s all about how we can make good use of what’s available (as were the cognitive science thinkers 20+years ago) and he’s looking to a future where the cognitive surplus, when used wisely, can take us in directions we were barely dreaming of  “back then”.

And work like Zimbardo’s can perhaps help us understand how we’ll take on new online roles, and what those roles will mean with respect to our ability to do good or evil.

Why this blog?

March 29, 2009

Twitter seems to require an underlying blog so you can TinyUrl to a more complete explanation of What You Really Think. I must say that it’s a useful, thought clarifying challenge to condense big thoughts down to the 140 character tweet. And a release to then be able to have the details gushing out in another place 🙂

AND… the reason I started on Twitter at all was to see if I could follow folks who are involved in the big theme-y things that seem to define my life (of course my goal is see whether/how these might be pulled together — and to contribute to that if possible):

  • education
  • education as impacted by technology (social change, critical thinking, information literacy)
  • the participatory web and roles of the citizen (e.g. sharing our cognitive surplus)
  • peace/conflict resolution
  • creativity over destructiveness
  • civic responsibility/resisting unwanted influences
  • the role of culture and the arts in all of the above

Some of the key thinkers are Phil Zimbardo, Clay Shirky, Charles Leadbeater, Michael Wesch, Matt Langdon, etc. (ooh, where are the women here — I guess that’s another topic — I do follow Yoko Ono and a few female educators – but they offer something different). It’s very cool who’s out there, what they’re saying, who will actually answer you back, etc.

Another place where I am having conversations along these lines is the Ning site I’ve put together with my children’s book (“Echoes from the Square”) as a central organizer. But the conversations at that site are intended to be mainly on the education-for-kids side, so this blog is required for when I drift into other things.

Hello world!

March 29, 2009

I am starting this blog as a complement to my new life in the Twittersphere.