"Footprints in the Digital Age" October 29, 2008 By Will Richardson From the “Shameless Self-Promotion Department” I just wanted to note that for whatever reason, my essay in the November issue of Educational Leadership has been picked for free Web viewing. Would love to hear your thoughts…
Amazing article Will! Still trying to get my teachers and administration to understand the importance of all this, hopefully with sharing articles such as this, progress can be made one step at a time.
Anne Davis says
I loved the article, Will! Perfect issue for you to be in! It even prompted a post and a comment from me! You are making a difference! I’m even thinking of taking paper copies to the next local school board meeting!
Lisa Shaw says
Great article and so true. Recently, I “Googled” a long-lost friend, trying to reconnect and found her name on a “rate your teacher” website. OUCH is all I can say!
Marcelyn Smale says
I received my new issue of Educational Leadership yesterday and immediately decided that I want my Introduction to Music Education class to read your article. How nice that they are going to be able to read it without my having to get permission to copy it!
I had been planning to have the class construct PowerPoint presentations about their [as yet hypothetical] band, chorus or orchestra. After reading your article, the assignment has become much broader — the students will research and report on a variety of ways the web can support their elementary or high school music teaching. Thanks for your timely article!
Michelle Podulka says
I really enjoyed your article and I’m planning to send a copy to my administrators. It is amazing to me that this conversation is still such a difficult one for some people. When we were in college we discussed the idea of the saber tooth curriculum. It is the same conversation we are having today. The essential question becomes what are we preparing our students for and how do we do this?
Lynn McCartney says
Great article Will and very timely for Iowa educators. We are implementing the Iowa Core Curriculum which features 21st Century Skills as part of its essential concepts and skills. I guess Iowans are pretty much like everyone else around the country; we’re struggling with getting our teachers, administrators, school boards, and community to understand why these skills are so important to our students and why they need to be taught explicitly in our schools. Articles like yours will go a long way to helping us make the case that our students need to be taught information literacy and digital citizenship so that those skills can be infused in all the other “literacies. The world has changed and will continue to change. Our very traditional schools need to reflect those changes and transition into becoming flexible, interactive, collaborative partners in learning with our students.
Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been thinking about for the last several years.
Tama Leaver says
Will, great article. I’ve got a 15-day old making gurgling noises in the other room, but already we’re trying to think sensibly about what digital tracks we’re leaving for/about him! One thing I can say for sure: Facebook photos are out thanks to their ridiculous EULA (thank goodness for Flickr!).
PS Given it’s an article on digital literacy to some extent, perhaps your sub-editor would like to respect danah boyd’s choice not to capitalize her name? 😛
I’m thrilled that you posted the article and the link to it here on your blog! Now I can keep sharing it.
Excellent article. Thanks for showing us the way to it from your blog!
Now if we could only get some other people to “get with it!”
We always seem to be preaching to the choir! LOL
Keep up the good work.
Gina Geoghegan says
Thank you so much for a great article and so to the point. I am planning to share this with teachers K-12 at my school. I agree we need to start early and often.
Cathy Higgins says
This is a timely and very valuable article to illustrate our need to address Web 2.0 tools with students. I love the analogy of the bus. It makes the point. The to-do list at the end is also helpful.
Angela Stockman says
I’m hopeful that this piece will provide further incentive to teachers and admins in Laura’s school, who have been incredibly supportive of her work, but who still struggle to integrate it within her academic day. At times, it’s very frustrating to watch her labor over less meaningful and engaging assignments while her blog remains largely neglected for days or weeks on end, simply because she “can’t do it all” as a new middle school student.
We’ve invited participation, encouraged other kids to blog, volunteered to help in classrooms, and nudged everyone from classroom teachers to district level administrators in very respectful ways, but there has been no movement within her school on this issue. As an educator and as a mom, I hear a lot about how parents fail to support the work of teachers well and how parents fail to cultivate a love of learning and important literacy skills at home. This experience has been an eye-opening one for us.
Last week, I attended a community forum hosted by our Superintendent. He spent a portion of this evening sharing the school’s vision and their ultimate goal: to become a premier school district. I’m uncertain what this means honestly, but it’s given me a lot to think about in the week since. In the past, my husband and I have worked very hard not to be “those parents.” You know who I’m referring to: the parents who question or judge or constantly ask for more, to the supreme annoyance of every professional who crosses their path. I taught for a long time, and I’m well-acquainted with parents like these.
I’m realizing something though, slowly but surely: becoming a “premier school district” probably requires a community of parents who expect a lot more from the system than what is currently being provided. And as a member of that community, I’m realizing that maybe this is going to require opening my mouth a bit more often. This will not be comfortable, but necessary and comfortable are two different things, I suppose.
I often wonder how other parents who are also educators support their children, advocate for change, and address the gaps of knowledge and experience that are created along the way……
Dan Froelich says
Way to go Will. Your shameless plug comes just in time, as I am running off materials for use the Saturday. It’s a great conversation to be held.
Ann Etchison says
Great discussion of the pervasive nature of this type of communication among students in school today and the opportunity it provides to teach them lifelong skills. My children tell me they feel they were “born knowing this stuff”, yet, with the exception of accessing information electronically, I don’t see a big shift in using web 2.0 technologies at school. I suspect they’ll keep up changing and new technologies in spite of what happens at school, but it’s starting to make more and more sense to me that schools need to evolve to reflect the way these kids learn with a greater emphasis on what to DO with the information and how to use it once it’s accessed.
Andrew Neely says
I agree with some of the other posters, this article could not have been published at a better time. As a small part of a large state wide technology initiative I will definitely be sharing this article with my faculty at a kickoff meeting early next week. It’s time for schools to stop fearing this movement or simply trying to wish it away. As Kesey says, “You’re either on the bus, or off the bus.”
Gail Desler says
I’ve been facilitating a series of Internet Safety for Parents workshops in my district and have introduced the term “digital footprint” via a parent newsletter from iSafe.org. Your article and explanation of the importance of “being Googled well” adds a whole new layer and makes for a discussion-provoking and complete package.
I’ll echo the others in thanking you for such a timely resource.
I think the link has been changed. I think this the new URL.
Wow! Talk about an echo chamber. Will, what do you do to find those dissenting voices? Besides Gary Stager, dissenting voices are few and far between on your blog.
I have been reading your blog for over a year. Like your blog, I enjoyed your article in Ed. Leadership.
I agree that educators should be responsible for helping students use these technologies in safe and collaborative ways. However, I think you overemphasize the need for students to be “Googled well”. For me it is more important that students are not being Googled poorly.
People do great things that are not necessarily recorded on the internet. To me, you seem to over-emphasize the need to get your positive (resume quality) stuff on the internet. I see this stuff being important for networking with people that share similar interests but not necessarily for employers or admission officers.
Will, I feel that you need to try and communicate more directly with teachers. Based on the comments above, it seems that your audience includes a lot of tech coordinators and non-classroom educators. My feeling is that for these types of changes to take place you have to speak directly to teachers and in turn they will seek out these tech people to support their pursuits. In twenty years of teaching I cannot think of many times where I received practical insight into improving my teaching methods from non-classroom teachers.
In a similar vein to Laura’s story, which you wrote about, maybe you could map out 25 days (lessons) to getting this type of classroom up and running. Or if someone else has done this could you direct me to it?
As a teacher that is what I need to read about.
Joe the teacher
Tammy Gillmore says
Thanks for sharing…just “shared” this again with my Seconday English Methods students. They are blogging for the first time!
Peter Pawlick says
To add to the echo…A short while ago I had a talk with my superintendent to fill her in on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. We are heavily into a prescribed teaching model in our district. I mentioned very generally that I felt students needed to own their learning and teachers needed to own their teaching. When I arrived home that day I found the latest copy of Educational Leadership with the title “Giving Students Ownership of Learning”, and it had your article in it. It is nice to feel vindicated once in a while.
carolyn hassard says
Bravo! I like the googlable twist on what has been, for the most part, a cautionary tale. The idea of being googlable underscores the reality of digital citizenship in very tangible ways.
But I contend that eductors do NOT have to “own these technlogies” to let students live and learn in them. The manifestation of this technology as part of our ‘ever-changing world’ heralds a fundamental shift in what ‘teaching’ is. Shirky, Prensky and Brown all write about the transitioning from conventional social organizations to a ‘flatter’, less hierarchical connectivity.
Never before have students had such mastery over a realm adults were largely mystified by. This is bigger than rock and roll, bigger than television and bigger than the dark. Its a parallel universe. If we’re going to wait until “educators . . . own these technologies and [are]able to take advantage of these networked learning spaces . . . to prepare students” we’re going to go down. Its time to harness the power right under our noses. Let a kid take your hand, open the door and follow them through it; not by walking around the room and supervising – but by getting them to show you how to log on, get in, and start learning. Tomorrow.
Chris Huss says
What a surprise, every post here strokes your ego. While I congratulate you on being published in Ed. Leadership and for being chosen for Online viewing, I have a suggestion for you. Perhaps while viewing your own article, you could take a look at some other articles and some other issues of Ed. Leadership. I recommend looking at the ones dedicated to useful assessment and feedback.
I was a student in one of your courses at Seton Hall University who was one of many that was disappointed with your teaching practices, especially your assessment. As a retired high school teacher and someone who lectures on using technology to improve education, I thought you would get it. But, clearly and unfortunately that is not the case. My apologies if this post leaves a negative tread in your “digital footprint”, but I have this thing for people practicing what they preach.
Doctoral Student – Seton Hall Universtiy
Patrick Darfler-Sweeney says
Chris, I have to agree with you, the sad part about the “Will Experience” is the emphasis that he placed on collaboration. The term itself implies that there is an open give and take of ideas unfortunately this does not seem to translate to feedback to his own students. Well, good luck Will, here is to getting more feedback here than you gave to many of us, your students.
Doctoral Student- Seton Hall University
abeer amro says
A very interesting article. the internet made the world a small village and changed the way we live our lives. from the way we shop, the way we travel, the way we interact to the way we are learning now and new possible ways for learning in the futures.
With one click, we can surfe the web and review information about anything that cross our mind, as if the world is an open book that we can review any page of it in minutes. The real challange would be how to guide this new learning enviroment for students and for teachers, how do teachers guide their student along the way. leading the way for teachers is always goin to be faced with their ability to capture the technology and be in bar with their students, my feeling is that students would always be ahead of the curve. A child’s mind once is allowed to fly and would be a real challenge for everyone to keep pace with.
Toby Fischer says
It is great to see a publication such as this featuring your article. I am sending out the article to our 500+ teachers later today in our monthly edtech wikiletter. Earlier this year the entire staff was told they shouldn’t have Facebook pages. I am looking forward to the comments we get related to your suggestion to create a Facebook account. Keep up the great work. Even though our progress is slow, we are making progress!
I do agree with Carolyn. I watched students present the use of SMARTBoards to 100 staff members earlier this week. I believe this was a more powerful sell of the technology than I, or another educator could have presented. With the guidance of those of who “get it”, the students might be the best sellers of educational change to the masses.
john brandt says
I just read this blog entry on Bloglines and apparently there was a bit of a “feed error” – well at least that’s what i hope. At the bottom of the entry there wasa link to “Viagra Canada Online.” This linked to http://www22.ips.qoarn.com/
What do you supposed that means?