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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