David Warlick at Noble and Greenough

by Jean Tower


A t today’s conference at Noble and Greenough in Dedham, keynote speaker, David Warlick , began his presentation with "what I just learned." He told us that he always likes to start by showing something he just recently learned about. Today, that was irlconnect.com . IRL stands for "in real time" and it is a visual social networking site.

The backchannel conversations were flowing on knitterchat and twitter (#nobles09). Knitterchat is similar to twitter but is specifically intended for backchannel chat during a conference. I enjoyed keeping my attention on the speaker and the online conversation at the same time and I think it enriched the experience.

Following David Warlick’s lead, I will devote this blog entry to "what I just learned" – new (to me) sites, tools, ideas, concepts, insights that I heard or thought about today.

I apologize in advance that I have caught only snippets, and they are all partial quotes and are not intended to capture the whole keynote.

"prepare our children for a future we cannot even describe"
We hear lots of people say we are preparing students for their future and not our past, but it brought the concept to a new level for me thinking about a future we couldn’t envision or describe.

"we should stop integrating technology and instead, integrate literacy"
I have been keeping notes for a blog entry that we should not be integrating technology, and I have been thinking quite a bit about how to explain what I meant and what the alternative would be. This comment will contribute to clarifying my thoughts. What I have been thinking about is that many really dedicated and bright Instructional Technology Specialists work with teachers to integrate technology. I know it is well-intentioned and for some, an entree into the classroom and to collaborating with teachers, but after almost 20 years in technology in education, I have too few examples of teachers who began by integrating technology but kept on the road to really transforming teaching and learning. Still need to think about this.

"Literacy is the ability to take the information you encounter and expose what is true"
If I followed this right, he was talking about how the skill of reading is so much more today than when we were kids. Today it involves a whole set of higher level skills beyond just deciphering the words.
My notes read:
find -> critically evaluate -> organize -> apply

He showed a couple of sites to create visual representations.
Tagcloud , which I have used, and manyeyes , which I had not.
Tagcloud creates a word cloud of a user’s tags (or labels). Manyeyes seems more complicated and robust. It creates visual representations of many different kinds of data and has many models. Some look like wordle clouds and others more like graphic organizer drawings. Looks like lots of fun!

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