Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

“This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.”

Sites for bullying, friendship, personal safety, anger, or conflict resolution:



Personal Safety-



Conflict Resolution-


In an excerpt from his new book, The Quants, Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson shows how a brilliant new breed of mathematicians and computer scientists nearly destroyed Wall Street.

Also, read the Wall Street Journal Article:  “The Minds Behind the Meltdown

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This was a wonderful experience spending time with some of the great leaders that inhabit  the fifth grade classrooms around western Nebraska!  The following is a podcast the students created:

Fifth Grade Leadership Day Podcast

I am proud to say my own son, Ronan, was a member of this great group!


I have gone through the process of writing a new AUP for my school district. I wanted to share some of the resources that I used along the way. The challenge has been to include Web 2.0 technologies into the mix of things while leaving some flexibility to mature and grow with these ever changing tools. What have you done in your districts to meet your AUP challenges?

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

Institute of Educational Sciences United States Department of Education

United States Copyright Office

United States Department of Education Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

United States Department of Justice (ECPA)

Space I thought this picture was great (Click it to see it bigger or go here), and it caused me to reflect on us down here on the good planet earth. I have been quite busy it seems for the past year, and as over 600 articles pile up in my RSS reader, as April 15th looms closer and closer (It is my youngest daughter’s birthday too so I’m excited about that part), and as life seems to zip by at an ever increasing pace it takes a picture from space to give a little bit of perspective from up so high to way down there or here depending upon if you are in the space station or not. If I do have readers on the space station, thanks for stopping by during your busy schedules and I would recommend that you not stop by anymore and just stay focused on your space station duties! 😉

Speaking of time, I have been debating what I could enroll myself in via MIT’s Open Courseware. What a great opportunity, as there are with many universities now. A visit to iTunes U opens up many lessons to be had and learned. That is what I like about this “new” world, it is smaller, flatter, and it is easier to get around. It brings us closer together, if we make time to do so. That is what I need to do: make the time, shape the time, capture the time. A focus on things that matter most is the key. Peace!

Also, go here if you haven’t as of yet (PBS Frontline special “Growing Up Online”).  We really need to address digital citizenship!  Things are happening each day and we need to help young people navigate this digital world.

PBS Frontline special (Can be viewed online at the program web site):  “Growing Up Online.”

I read this article last week and I see this world with my own young ones. An interesting read: “Web Playgrounds of the Very Young.”  NeoPets is the site of choice right now at our home.

Great site:  Taking It Global! is an online community that connects youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It’s the world’s most popular online community for young people interested in making a difference, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month.

TIG’s highly interactive website provides a platform for expression, connection to opportunities, and support for action. Join now and connect with thousands of other young people around the world!”

Active Learning at its best!!!

T+L reference to H I T I have returned home to my family, town, and school district from Nashville, Tennessee and the T+L Conference. The presenters that were most impressive to me include Will Richardson, Peter Diamandis, and Ian Jukes.

Ian was most impressive and captured the essence of many of the presenters in the fact that we need change and it is time to do it NOW! We can talk, converse, plan, analyze, and hope, but it is time to take action and bring about real, active change in education.

Here are some bits of information and excerpts from what Ian Jukes shared that put the situation into perspective for me and hopefully for many others:

The song remains the same…

“Just like 50 years ago many students still sit primarily in rows – for many, the oral tradition continues – many teachers still believe that chalk and talk is the most effective way to teach – many students are still expected to learn primarily by listening – most information still comes from the teacher or textbook – the primary focus in the classroom remains on content recall that is taught in isolation from the learning context.

We have access to some new technologies but their use is generally optional not integral and certainly not required of all teachers – and the technologies are often used to reinforce old practices and assumptions about teaching and learning and assessment and do not require the teacher to change their current instructional practices.

As a result it’s increasingly apparent that there is a fundamental disconnect between the way most kids think, learn, and communicate – and the way schools interact with them. And students are voting with their minds and feet, which is reflected in the data shows the seriousness of the disconnect between the real world of high-school student & the real world of schools.

According to the NCES Condition of Education report, report, 6% of white kids, 29% of African American and 24% of Hispanic kids are at-risk. Now, think of the exponential, the quantum impact of these numbers on our society and economy – unless we address all of the needs of all of these children.

Beyond this, children’s view of the relevancy of their school experience to their future lives has declined steadily and dramatically since the late 1980s. According to their research 28% of 12th-grade high school students believe that school work is meaningful; only 21% believe that their courses are interesting; and a mere 39% believe that school work will have any bearing on their success in later life.

And these statistics are even more shocking when you realize that these are only the opinions of those students who have remained in high school for four years. Students who find the high school experience the least relevant have already exited the system in huge numbers.

The Carnegie Institute reports that in the largest 32 urban districts in our country, only 50% of students who enroll actually graduate. Each day, 2000 U.S. high school students drop out. If their voices were included in the above poll, the profile would be far worse.”


“Our job as teachers and parents is not to make this a matter of either or – either our world or theirs. Rather our job is to be a counterbalancing influence in their lives – to help them understand the world from many different perspectives. And if we are willing to do this – if we are willing to acknowledge their world, – we will set them free. And in doing so, we will be able to leverage their digital lifestyle and help them become better, more engaged, more independent learners.

Ask yourself this very important question – would your students be there in your classrooms if they didn’t have to be? Are they there because they want to be there? Or are they there because they have no other choice? And if they’re there only because they have to, what can we begin to do differently to help more students want to be in our classes?

If we want to unfold the full intellectual and creative genius of all of our children more of the time. If we want to prepare our children for the world that awaits them. If we want to help them prepare for their future, not our past – for their future, not our comfort zone. If we are going to march through the 21st Century and maintain our tradition of success. If we want our children to have the relevant 21st century skills – we must create a bridge between their world and ours because the way we define our schools today, the way we define teaching and learning and assessment, will define our societies tomorrow”

Consider this…

“If we truly want to make a difference in the lives of our children, schools must become a place where students are actively engaged in constructing their own knowledge and know how, develop an understanding and the ability to apply key content concepts and ideas, explore dynamically, discover, pose questions and question answers, solve problems, engage in complex tasks that enable them to address essential questions and participate in the processes that make up intellectual accomplishment, tasks that are generally inquiry driven, span different media, link different disciplines, have more than one right answer, multiple routes to each of these answers, an understandable purpose and a connection to the real world outside school.

The context of a significant event provides a frame of reference and relevance for remembering the specific information about what you were doing long after the event. By providing a context for the new information teachers are actually helping students with long-term memory. The power of context to assist with learning is worthy of note for teachers who are struggling to prepare students for large standardized tests. By providing a context for the information teachers are actually helping students learn the material so their short-term recall will be better when they write the test as well as with long-term recall. The starting point is to understand how much differently they learn from the way we learn and then to reconsider what we can do to modify what we teach and how we teach it and how we assess learning.”

Next, what have we been doing and how do we change…



“I’m going to stop right here for a moment to stress this point. It’s absolutely essential that we understand that Digital Natives come to school able to do and understand so many complex things. But if you REALLY talk to them, they will tell you that the curriculum they are given feels to them like they are being put in a strait jacket; or that their mind is being laced with powerful sedatives – and that every time they go to school they have to mentally power down.

The sad truth is that many educators just don’t understand how truly different digital natives are. They’re not just a little different they’re completely different and as far as I’m concerned the major problem is that today’s learners.

Today’s learners – Digital Natives – are not the learners our schools were originally designed for – and today’s learners are not the students teachers were trained to teach – this is a clash of the cultures. As Bill Gates once said, even when schools work exactly as they were designed, that can’t teach our kids everything they need to know.

And if we continue to do things that we already know aren’t working, we really have to consider just who really has the learning problem – and it certainly isn’t the kids.

Consider for a moment that that 50% of the world’s population is under the age of 25 years old – then consider what % of teachers are under 25 or what percentage of people in this room are under 25? And because we don’t get it, a lot of kids think they have to slow down when they’re dealing with us.

The bottom line is, that if we want understanding, if we want retention, if we want success on state and national exams, if we want to address and exceed the mandates state, provincial or national curriculum, if we want children to demonstrate proficiency beyond content recall, we can’t just lecture at them.”



“The emphasis in the classroom can’t just be on simple data information recall, low level thinking skills, and lots of information – what we call LOTS (lower order thinking skills and LOTS of information).

If we want our children to be successful on the test, if we want them to be successful in life – if we want them to be successful in life beyond being able to successfully complete a written exam or fill in a bubble test – if we want them to graduate as more than just highly educated useless people – people who are good at school but not adequately prepared for life – then our emphasis as professional educators has to be on more than just LOTS.

It has to include more emphasis placed upon HOTS, higher order thinking skills and processes, on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Order Thinking, on critical thinking, problem solving, project and process based learning, Gardner’s analysis of multiple intelligences, de Bono, 21st Century literacies that move beyond theory to the application of what is learned, metacognitive skills, and application of best practices based on an emerging understanding about how learning actually takes place.

This shift is so fundamental – the gap between them and us is so wide – that there’s no going back to the basics. There’s no going back to the way things were when we were kids.

The problem is that many educators just don’t get that there is a digital divide. Many of us pay lip service to the notion that this generation is different. We knowingly nod our heads but then we shut the door to the classroom and go back to business as usual where it could just as easily be 1960 all over again.

We really don’t understand their digital world and we never will until we take the time to honor and respect where they come from. But to honor their world and to create new schools and new opportunities for learners.

But to do this, we the adults need to have a 21st century cultural awareness. And we need to know and be able to use the very 21st century skills that we talk about our students having. In reality, most teachers know very little if anything about the digital world of their students – from online gaming to their means of exchanging, sharing, meeting, evaluating, coordinating, programming, searching, customizing, and socializing.

As a result, despite our best efforts and intentions, it’s often impossible for us to design learning in the ways our students need and want – learning that will engage and inspire them.

Most teachers know very little if anything about the digital world of their students – from online gaming to their means of exchanging, sharing, meeting, evaluating, coordinating, programming, searching, customizing, and socializing.

As Daniel Pink writes in A Whole New Mind: Moving From the Information Age to the Conceptual Age by Daniel Pink, there is an emerging world where critical thinking, problem solving, and a deep level of information fluency is increasingly more important than content recall by itself.

Research tells us that people who grow up in different cultures don’t just think about different things, they actually think differently. As educators we have to understand how truly different our students are. In the past most of the changes we experienced were about style.

As we grew up, we saw incremental changes in clothing, language use, body adornments, music, and lifestyle. But for anyone 25 and younger, the changes and differences go far deeper than just style and they are largely driven, by the arrival & rapid dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th century.

The bottom line is that we really don’t understand their digital world and we never will until we take the time to honor and respect where they come from. But to do this we have to be willing to acknowledge their world and start to educate ourselves about that world.”

Dale’s Learning Cone…

Dale Cone

I know I have shared more information than I probably should in a single post, but these are fundamental, life changing, insights into what needs to be done in education. Ian repeatedly referred to “lip service” and unfortunately he is right. All talk and maybe a little action for a little while until it all fades into the sunset. The time is now, to do!

Read all of Ian Jukes article at:

I was reading Julie Lindsay’s E-Learning Blog and watched the following video she shares on mobile computing.  This is a very interesting and enlightening presentation.  Enjoy!

I keep coming back to Sir Ken Robinson‘s speech “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”  I watched it again and share it here:


Digital Kids

Teachers and Parents read the following CNET articles:

Savvy teachers use the Net to engage students (Reuters Article)

The ABCs of learning online

Summer’s here, the Web surfing’s fine

When digital kids rule the classroom

Developing safe and smart Internet citizens

Digital Citizenship and Safety sites:

Be Web Aware

Media Awareness Network

Kids’ Rules for Online Safety

The Skinny on a Good Media Diet for Your Kids


Sites for Kids:

ALA Great Web Sites for Kids


Yahoo Kids

Ask for Kids

First Day of SchoolFor most students, in my part of the world, yesterday (now two days ago) was the first day of school; however, 7-12 students had a reprieve until today (now yesterday). So, today (now yesterday) I shall deem the first day of school for everyone. With a busy schedule yesterday (now two days ago – are you seeing a pattern here), 😉 that included getting my five children where they needed to be and home, I did not get an opportunity to post here at H I T. It is a busy and exciting time to be in education, and we face some difficult challenges. Nevertheless, we face these challenges together because of kids like my own that you see in this post’s picture. They are our future, and we must not be afraid to do what is necessary to help them prepare for an uncertain world. Problem solving skills must be taught and practiced in order for our children to make a way for themselves. Technology can serve as a tool to solve real world problems, but in order to do so these children need access.  My children are fortunate in that they have opportunities at home that many kids don’t have.  A place to close this digital divide is in schools, but this requires a commitment on the part of policy and decision makers to come to the plate and hit a home run.  I realize this is not a game, but there is much to be won or lost, and my position and mindset is that we go for the gold!