22nd Century Skills: BD2 at DEN PreCon @PETE&C 2012

BD2…That’s (Max) Brooks, (Steve) Dembo and (Hall) Davidson, (Steve) Dembo open the DEN PreCon at PETE&C on 2-12-12 exploring 22nd Century Skills. Special thanks to Max Brooks, organizer of the DEN PreCon 2012 for all his efforts in bringing us the best of PETE&C before it begins. What skills will students need?

Max opened the day by welcoming veteran and new participants, showed a video, told us Reed Timmer would be our PM surprise, and reminded us that Discovery Education and teachers have a student-centric mission to ready our students for the 22nd century. According to Lance, Necessary to implement a 22nd century vision: blow up the old models and introduce a new model. That new model’s new interface is not just a copy/paste from a hard copy text to an etext. Porter asserts that what is needed is a re-definition of digital texts. Discovery was the first, and it is still the best instructional resource. Very proud, we are, of the Discovery Science Techbook, and today you will have a chance to see it at the ground level. All DEN STARS/GURUS will have free access to the Science Techbook for a year. Check the DEN Global blog (or the PA DEN blog or the Pennsylvania Den page on Facebook for more information).

Hall’s set piece was a humorous but ahead-of-its-time view into what reconnecting students to etexts looks like by showing us STUDENT-CONTRIBUTED work. When students interact with the text, digital books change when Discovery enables student collaboration. WHAT IF all etexts looked like Discovery Education texts? My answer: it would be a much better world for student and teacher learning and teaching together, interactively with texts–and let’s add globally.

Hall showed us working models of the power of interactivity, and that is what Discovery is doing really well. The next step: Virtual Eternity. VE lets you, the teacher, enter the text collaboratively, adding your intelligence to the text, interacting with the environment. In Hall’s session, he will discuss how to make an iPad a tri-corder by adding a microphone with a grommet, making the iPad highly interactive. (If you have never experienced the wonder of Hall and his mashups, be sure to check the blog post later today or tomorrow about his session). Hall asks: what happens when all the interactives coalesce. The answer is a student-configured etext that continues to reconfigure as learners and teachers add their intellects and creations to the text. I love it (makes me wish I were back in the classroom). Ebooks like Discovery’s will be 5 times smarter than other books and texts, and it can only get better as we are free from restraints that held us back (schedules, busses, … and add your own).

Steve opened with asking us when will cars fly, and he had the answer: 2379. You can find tech information about the future at the NYT Science site, Predicting the Future of Computing. Play in the 22nd century enables you to construct with a purpose interactively in real time; align schema with collaboration for learning with a purpose. Interestingly, purpose keeps changing, enabled with technology. Think cubelets = modular robotics which let young children program before they can even read using deliberately designed schema. Sifteo cubes are similar but sense each other in digital space.

Check out this TED Talk (below) from 2009 to see how play is evolving children’s skills.

Porter says that in the future world, children will go beyond simulation to real-world applications. For example: sell the same item in a classroom on eBay to see which student gets the sale. Neat real-world application.


Steve’s next site: Kickstart. Clever way to get students involved in real-world creation. Check out The First Ever Pinnacle Middle School Yearbook.  These students inside Kickstart fund raised to produced their yearbook, and depending on your level of donation, you received a thank you gift.

Yet another site from Steve: Klout. This site values and promotes your influence based on quality, not quantity. It reverses the 15 minutes of fame to 15 friends of influence. Taking it to a higher lever, Scholar Match matches students with donors based on students’ profile, online influence. Donors Choose is a Discovery-based site and asks teachers to write a small grant to fund a classroom project.

Palmer’s quote from Arthur Schopenhaur: All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Back to Steve on health and fitness: for a body scale that applauds your weight loss. Health, like learning, is social. People who share simply do better with collaborative social accountability. “I do this too” makes you feel just a bit better about what you are doing: think grading…

We no longer want to buy a magazine; we want it to come to us via devices like Chumby, FeedAir, and RFID. (Please check links; this session was hard to stay with, but links will explain). Porter says technology xhould be like oxygen: ubiquitous. Steve said technology should be more seamless: Aurasma = QR codes without the code but the object itself. Learning is about making tangible connections and contributions. One hundred years ago, people in 1901 predicted global telephones and connected cameras (think EarthCam).

Final message: be aware and ask what does what is coming down the stream do for our students and classrooms. Great advice. Be the one who invents the classroom of the future.




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