If you want to find an area of the country that is getting really serious about the Read/Write Web in the classroom, look no further that Western New York. If nothing else, the last two days here speaking to and with the superintendents from about 50 districts and the staff developers from the Erie BOCES made it clear that these people either get it or want to get it and will do whatever it takes to move the schools in a new direction. It’s been really gratifying to be involved in some very provocative, challenging, and imaginative discussions, ones that I think bode really well for the students and teachers of the region.
For the last few months, the BOCES has been planning a series of blog, wiki and podcasting in services that will start up in September throughout the region. They’ve invested in servers and training, and it’s an attempt at least at the kind of support that’s needed to make their efforts successful.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t hills to climb and roadblocks to navigate. But the good news is that there was real weight to the discussions these two days. These are educators who I think are starting to understand the importance of taking these conversations to larger and larger audiences and work together to find answers to the obstacles that remain. People who get what Barbara Ganley is talking about when she writes:
But now things feel more urgent suddenly, as though weâ€™ve reached a crossroads. Much is in flux. Much is under threat. My students have changed, for one thing,â€”these young ones are now true digital natives and what that means has collided with our present model of education, exploding into an alarming reality.
For maybe the first time working with a group of educators, I felt that urgency too. The urgency that comes when more and more students feel disengaged, disenfranchised, and disinterested. And I have to thank all of you that contributed to my talk by posting to the blog, and especially Chris Lehmann, whose blog post I read to the superintendents to close my talk. It was and is a powerful statement of the world as we know it, and the world as more of our school leaders need to understand it.