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Monday, June 25, 2007

Live Blogging First International Leadership Summit: Dr. Robert McLaughlin's Keynote



I am live blogging the first international leadership summit -- Mark Van 't Hooft has just talked about the priorities of making educational research relevant and understandable to teachers as well as creating effective opportunities for research on the newest technology.

Dr. Robert MClaughlin
Whose in the room -- state, industry, R&D, foundations, international committee of ISTE, telelearning teachers -- leaders of national and international organizations and leaders in R&D and dissemination.

How can we dramatically improve what fostering responsive learning technology development, Research, and Dissemination.

Challenges to responsive development, research, and dissemination:

Largely supply driven -- solutions being thrust into schools without sustained and valuable input from educators themselves withouth adequate professional development. The tools given aren't in response to their priorities.

We believe that this conversation this morning is going to have very serious impacts for children and educators. Pragmatic recommendations that will be created and shared -- take the recommendations that we generate today about how can we begin to implement them in the 21 largest school systems -- the big 21 network. Staff development leaders of the 21 largest school systems. How can we put into practice things that are solutions to problems teachers have instead of telling teachers what to use?

Just gave out a handout about the priorities of staff development of various organizations.

"What we are doing for the most part in educational technology is wasting educators time. About 90% of investment in educational technology has been wasted. The supply driven approach is not working."

Challenging companies and technology providers to demonstrate the research.

Those who are good at technology aren't invited to discuss things. And those who aren't good at technology are afraid to speak up because they don't understand bits and bytes and RAM -- attempts to install "stuff" -- and teachers need to see themselves in those decisions. A small minority of people who are into this stuff. Most educators are just trying to cope.

Most educators don't know of tech applications relevant to their priorities for improving teaching and student learning.

Many tech coordinators aren't given a good knowledge base to draw upon to have technoogy applications -- tagged and cataloged by grade level and subject area -- that is professional malpractice -- that is not acceptable.

Those who are knowledgeable in learning technology R&D to work more closely with professional organizations.

Joke -- "A foolish question -- 'Can you hear me?'"

Learning Technology R&D

Largely driven by the desires to:
  • generate revenue
  • to carve out a nice for one's dissertation or tenure and promotion
  • to create novel tools and methods for student learning and engagement
But... where do educators priorities for imrpoving student learning results figure in. We are "off."

How do we get those who are doing doctoral research excited about topics that relate to teacher priorities. We are doing a terrible job of connecting. We're not... but we need to... but we can.

Noisy Dissemnation
Most disseminationthat happens in our profession. The characteristics:
  • Too much info from too many sources.
  • Information from sources not known or trusted by recipient
  • Topics I don't care about.
  • Uses terminology I don't understand so I don't know I care about it (abstruse vocabulary - research-ese) - We're too smart, we can do better.
  • It looks interesting but i don't see how I can use it. We're being driven by tenure and promotion and counting the frisbees that we fling out into the field and not caring if the frisbees are caught.
  • Before the standards based performance movement was invaded by "body snatchers" -- assessment industry owns conversations that educators started -- like the math standards -- we don't own our conversation anymore. We've been complicit. We should be having educators talking with educators about what excellence looks like and how it needs to be fostered. We need to be cataloging best practices in learning technology. Our terms as professional educators to catalog our content. It is not hard, it just isn't happening.
Supply Driven
  • Topics determined by what dissemination knows
  • Not by what educators tell us they most need to know.
Worked for a foundation -- threw out frisbees -- "Look how many I've thrown out there" but it wasn't driven by educator's agendas. With web surveys, we have all kinds of technologies to do great surveys to drive what we are doing like we've never had before. We can be driven much more by the needs and demands of educators and we're not having that conversation... but we can.

Responsive Learning Technology R&D
  • Driven by educators' most pressing needs and demands to improve their practice and their students' learning.
  • Educators aren't asking for everything they need because they don't know things and it is OK to have some supply driven however to ignore teacher needs is wrong.
  • We've done it for our kids let's do it for ourselves -- let's start with what we want to learn about. Then the people who think technology is irrelevant might sit up and take notice.
  • R&D, foundation levels -- corporate sector -- go back to those who are spending most of the dollars and say -- we need to look at "these priorities"
  • Focuses on creating, field testing and validating learning technologies keyed to these priorities -- teachers say "I don't have time for this" -- "I don't see the relevance of it." We will see better adoption if we focus on the relevance of it.
Responsive Learning Technology Dissemination
  • Keyed to educators prority concerns for improving practice and student learning.
  • Uses jargon-free vocabulary and terms familiar to educators
  • Is research-based, yet practical.
  • So much great research is hidden in journals in arcane language. I want to share it with educators but there is a lot of translating that we need to do.
  • We need to be non-territorial about dissemination -- go through professional organizations that have professional relationships with their organizations. Trust it and will listen to it.
  • Comes through sources (eg. association publications) that are known and trusted. It will be likely to be used.
  • Is organized using familiar frameworks and categories. Use the 12 standards for staff development -- like "learning communities" - they want tools that create effective learning communities.

Note: This man is incredible. He needs to continue to be escalated in educational leadership to reach more researchers, PhD programs.

We're getting ready to discuss - "What obstacles do developers of learning technologies face to contributing more effectively to a global knowledge base on technologies that improve students' learning opportnities, learning climate and/or learning results?"

We are not friends with data -- we need to become friends with data. We don't like it because people use it to "beat us up." We're talking about data that we can use for our own practice. Everything is being driven by high stakes standardized testing.

We ought to be looking at learning climate for ourselves and our kids. It has a profound impact.

National Center for Student Aspirations did some research -- look at strong correlations between student aspirations and student achievements. Critical aspects of our learning climate and kids having high aspirations. Sense of belonging -- means they have a better learning climate. Do they feel the courage to take risks. Not only improve student results but improve student learning climate.

Get kids involved in tech support for the school -- gives more pride to kids, they are a part, it improves the learning climate.

Learning opportunities. Classic common mistake of high schools -- it is considered a benefit of the most senior teachers to not teach the "gatekeeper courses" Geometry and Algebra I when those are the most important courses that are most highly correlated with student success. We're putting rookie teachers there and need to be targeting our resources in ways that make sense. WE need to put the best in the places that we know are important.

Talking abut how great the US navy has done for cataloging, standards, and performance assessments, automatically pointing every sailor to their area that they need to handle. Personalized instruction for every learner that is keyed to performance assessments -- Dr. McLaughlin is blown away by what they are doing.

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