David Warlick, Keynote at #DENSI2012: Cracking the ‘Native’ Information Experience

Our very own DEN Princess Porter Wideman Porter kicks off the Monday session in Bozeman, MT where DEN STARS and GURUs join the DEN Social Media Team to teach and learn at the premier Discovery Education summer event. Following Porter’s inimitable introductions, Lance Rougeux, Executive VP, welcomed his virtual audience. Shifting to the Bozeman team, Porter congratulated the level of cooperation, collaboration, and community, but then, that is and has always been the essence of the DEN.

Our network guru, Steve Dembo, makes the live transmission via LiveStream possible. We appreciate this learning opportunity since so many of us for various reasons cannot attend in-person. Introducing David Warlick as a globally-renowned educator, Steve passed the microphone to him as the keynote began. David asked his audience to share something they had learned since arriving at the summit. He then proceeded to share his learning moment as well. He cites that it is important to define what it is to be a teacher, and continue to redefine it as a 21st century master learner.

Noting that it is ok not to know an answer but know how to find one is the modeling of a life-long learner who learns something new every day! The code for the Edmodo link to David’s resources is vey0n4 and the link is http://colearners.idave.us/. Http://knitterchat.com is a tool David is using to aggregate comments/questions as he presents. Definitely 21st century beyond-the-classroom learning.

Warlick said his early learning career was based on learning scarcity; not much information available. Unlike today, we teach in information abundance. So, what are the pedagogies of information abundance? Is there a difference between a 13 year-old today versus David’s childhood in learning and intelligence abilities? David says no, just a difference in what is available, the abundance of a global audience and a world-wide web of information environments that ignores barriers.

(Missed a segment). Warlick said a responsive experience that reminds people about the appropriate use of intellectual property. Today’s students learn by pushing and pulling on each other collaboratively. Learning needs traction. How do we as educators craft this traction.

Advocating the use of blogs (recalling that David created BlogMeister, a blog engine years ago for education), David says blogging is authentically responsive, perhaps not immediate, perhaps a week later, but it’s there. And that’s part of the native learning experience.

Are we “doing technology” or are we creating information. David says the latter: information we can use, work with to solve problems. The link in this image counts how information is used by clicking “start.” How much conversation takes place, and how much learning occurs withing these conversations? The live audience shared how many people they recognized in the online conversations. Did they learn from sharing, from being connected? Resoundingly yes. And it’s part of our culture–kids are hyperconnected and can’t help learning something new every day.

A large part of conversations are questions. We learn from asking, but where did we go for answers before Google before 150,000,000 questions a minute. We didn’t ask. Now we are a question-asking culture because we have the answers. It’s almost a race for the answers because we have the answers. Where do students go ten years from now for answers? That’s part of the educational conversation and as educators, we need to adapt.

How do students learn? They ask questions and play games with no instructions. David says we need to create barriers so kids question themselves, need to figure out how to do something. Provoke students into questioning themselves. His example. Show barbed wire. How is it used? Hurts cows. Why? Another way? Engage the students in questioning, provoke their learning. It’s the native experience. Leave something out. Let them figure it out. Motivate them.

Conversation provokes questions in the native experience. Hyperconnectedness. Does grammar still matter? It’s a tool. It adds value to your ideas, to your conversations. Your grammar needs to match your ideas. Children enjoy an interactive virtual experience; adults often prefer a passive virtual/experience.

A blogging experience began with students putting notes on a blog; the hitch: you add another student’s name and that student adds his/her notes the next day. Eventually, students crafted better notes, asked questions when they didn’t understand, and then collaborated. A note saying, “I don’t understand from this point” generated students jumping into the blog to add value and understanding. Do your students write their own lab manuals? Instructions? If you add value, your work will be used.

The bottom line: students will invest in the learning experience if there is VALUE in it. That’s the native learning experience. It’s ok to “get it wrong.” Give your students permission to have fun, to engage in playful learning fun. A special thank you to Jen Wagner for supplying links.

Can we allow our classrooms a place for students to make mistakes, have fun, be guided by safely made mistakes, with authentic conversations, personal investment, value, a desire to share, make learning fun…David says you need to make the learning experience talk back to the learner, must have value for investment of self. Dare learners to make mistakes. Educated today means the team you work with, a joyful exploring, inventing of the future, and that can be as simple as the teacher who says SURPRISE ME.


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