Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Inventing the New Boundaries - David Warlick

I have just finished viewing the pre-conference Keynote for K12 Online presented by David Warlick. This is a well presented video with enough to keep you interested for the full 45 minutes.

David said something that got me thinking though. He mentioned the 'digital divide', and I started to think about what that meant. A few years ago, that meant the divide between the people who had computers and those who didn't. Then more recently it meant the divide between the people who could access information and those who couldn't. However now, David points out, the divide is between those people who are connected to a network or community through their digital media and those who aren't. It's not about the equipment anymore, it's about the people. This was demonstrated beautifully by my 10 year old daughter who decided to walk in at that moment. She looked at the screen and saw David's smiling face talking away to me. She crept into the room because she expected David to be talking to me live through the computer and expected David to be able to see her. She waved and smiled at the computer until I told her it was a video. It was not too long ago that the thought of communicating with someone through the computer in that manner was the stuff of science fiction novels. Now my ten year old thinks it is the only way to connect with people. What are we doing in our classrooms about this digital divide? Are we teaching our children how to connect safely across the internet?

David also said that today's students "know how to play the information but they don't know how to work it." That's where we come in. My children all know how to pick up any technological instrument and play with it, but it is our job as educators to show them how to work the technology and the information and the connected networks for their own unpredictable future.

I have subscribed to the conference through iTunes so all of the workshops should be downloaded to my computer without my having to go to any effort (I love podcasting). Here is the link K12 Online Conference 2007

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Graham said...

Seems like you had a similar moment to Clarence Fisher on the opposite side of the globe. Now your kids have connected expectations.

David Warlick said...


When I read you post, I have hope. It's about a generation who grows up connected, as members of virtual communities, learning that there is so much that a community of people, collaborating together, can accomplish.

But another part of it is I wonder if a generation who grows up connected, regardless of boundaries and borders could bring themselves to invade another country, or tolerate dictatorship. Could a generation who sees through the walls truly change the world?

I hope so!

Thanks for watching!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Jane! I have subscribed to the podcast! Yay for me! I missed the Elluminate session by about 12 hours (oh well) next session maybe.

Mrs S said...

Hi Jane

What you are saying has real merit and certainly leaves teachers with more to ponder and consider.

My current ideas on this are that usually the children actually already know how to use the technology and that our role as teachers is to teach them the why and the when.

So many of the teachers I work with are concerned about understanding the technology before they introduce it to the children - I strongly believe that this limits both the teacher and the students.

Thanks for your link!