Students First, Not Stuff

By Will Richardson
Presented by Melinda Ross
* Author of the highly ranked and read edublog Weblogg-ed and
author of the book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful
Web Tools for Classrooms
* Now an independent presenter and owner of Connective
Learning, LLC
* He is also an advocate for school reform which encourages the
integration of technology in learning
* Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Ohio University, Athens, OH,
* Master of Arts (Teaching), College of New Jersey, Trenton, NJ,
* Lives along the Delaware River in Western New Jersey with his
wife Wendy and his children Tess and Tucker, all of whom are
*“Technological change is not
additive; it is ecological, which
means, it changes everything”
* Rapid and technological change is not what we
signed up for is it?
* Is school still the place where people receive
their information?
* Resistance is futile to new and changing
* Great news for kids!
* Some want to limit technology
* There is great use of technology outside of
school which limits learning inside of schools
due to Standardized assessments
* What comes next?
* How can we do it better?
* Learning is now truly participatory in realworld contexts.
* Connecting with other learners outside school
* This is when technology changes truly become
ecological – students drive their own learning
* “We’ve spent billions of dollars on technology
that by almost every measure has had little or
no widespread effect”
* This technology has been used poorly
* It is not about tools, it is learning experience
of the traditional curriculum
* Educators must lead inclusive conversations
* If we define learning as “higher student
achievement” or “improved student
performance” as measured by test scores – we
will deliver the current curriculum more
effectively to make these scores “better”
* “Productive learning is the learning process
which engenders and reinforces why we want
to learn more”
* It has never been more possible to access and
research information
* However, “wanting to learn more” means a
transfer of power
* Discover rather than learn
* It is all about students pursuing their own
interests in context of their curriculum
* It is not suggested that teachers have not used this
approach before or that they rely only on
* Due to the web these changes must become the rule
in classrooms rather than the exception
* Colearners
* Experts at asking great, open-ended questions and
modeling the learning process
* Teachers should be master learners
* The redesign of literacy needs to change as well
* “National Council of teachers of English suggests
that literacy is much more than reading and writing
* This council defines 21st century literacies as
including proficiency with the tools of technology
* It is good to have the ability to share and design
across multiple streams of information that meet a
variety of purposes
* Users need to be productive with the
technology – rather than be distracted by it
* Its becoming increasingly more common for
learners to educate themselves outside of
traditional schooling
* Massively Open Online courses
* Writing and responding to blogs, webinars, etc.
* MOOC enabled more than 2,000 learners from all
over the globe to educate themselves, one another,
and model how to learn online,
* Universities like Stanford, Princeton, MIT offer
* Online courses are led by experts in the field
* These represent ecological change because they are
* Offer full college credit for completion of free
* How do you feel about that?
* Would you do that, if Bloomsburg offered it?
* The reality is that people no longer need to send their
children to schools to learn algebra, U.S. history, or
* Most self-motiveated students can use MIT Open
Courseware or Kahn Academy to acquire the
knowledge they need to pass a typical test
* The focus needs to develop learners rather than to
make sure students learn
* There now needs to be focus on individual passions,
inquiry, creation, sharing, patient problem solving,
and innovation
* This does not mean that all information and
knowledge is thrown out of the curriculum
* Long-term, inclusive conversations about what
teaching, learning, and being educated means
in relation to new technology
* Education will continuously be changed
* Students, not stuff
* My opinion on this article is that it is a very
good stance to have on the new technology
that is being incorporated into the schools.
Rather than focusing on the devices, changing
technology, and the web - educators should be
focused more on the students and their needs.
There are many new ways to learn, hands-on
due to the technological advances that have
been made over the past few years. These will
also continue to grow and change

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