Generation YES founder and CEO Dennis Harper is profiled in the latest post on 5 Things I’ve Learned, a collection of personal reflections from education leaders devoted to improving the fortunes of others through learning.
Here’s #1: Kids are here now.
Yes, kids are our future but they are also here now. For the most part, schools ignore what students can do now. Take the case of three fourteen year olds: Jordan Romero scaled Mt. Everest and the highest peak on each continent, Alexander the Great ruled over the largest empire in history, and Anne Frank wrote a diary that has sold 30 million copies. Schools are full of students with similar capabilities but they are held back by “standardized” tests and “common” core. Schools that trust and empower students are the ones that will make all our futures better.
ISTE (formerly known as NECC) is the largest national educational technology conference in the U.S. This year it will be in Denver, Colorado June 27-30.
Generation YES will be there in full force with a booth (#855) and other events. If you will be in Denver, we hope you will come by and say hello!
Pre-conference event– The Constructivist Celebration, Sunday June 27
Held once again the day before ISTE starts, this is a day-long workshop focusing on creativity and computing. For a very reasonable $60, you will receive free creativity software worth hundreds of dollars from the world’s best school-tool companies, breakfast, snacks and lunch, and a full-day workshop led by Gary Stager and other members of the Constructivist Consortium. Added bonuses: a free just-released “ImagineIt2” DVD and a TechYES mini-kit. It’s always a sell-out, but right now there are still a few spaces left to join in the fun, so register today – you won’t regret it!
Dennis Harper – Establishing Student Technology Leaders Programs for Districts, States, and NationsWednesday, 6/30/2010, 8:30am-9:30am, CCC 605. Discover how districts, states, and nations can establish effective student technology leaders organizations that meet integration, infrastructure support, and technology literacy goals.
Sylvia Martinez – Tinkering Toward Technology Literacy Wednesday, 6/30/2010, 10:30am-11:30am, CCC 605. Combine tinkering and technology and you have a time-honored tradition that allows imagination and creativity to lead the way to technology literacy.
Events in the Generation YES booth #855
Adora Svitak (12 year old author, blogger, and the youngest person to be invited to speak at TED) will be sharing her ideas for education from a youth’s point of view.
We will be sharing a new technology literacy study by a well-known researcher making the case for project-based technology literacy assessment. (more about this soon)
GenYES and TechYES teachers and students from nearby schools will be in the booth sharing their projects and tech integration tips.
Plus… we will be printing handy business cards for any teacher who forgot theirs at home!
This is a remarkable piece of video from 1998 unearthed by Gary Stager. In it, Ryan Powell, then a GenYES middle school student, interviews Seymour Papert and John Gage about the model of students learning technology in order to help teachers in their own schools. Both of these heavyweights of educational technology say some really interesting things about the model, including Dr. Papert saying that it’s the best thing the US Department of Education has ever funded! Pretty nice to hear that.
As further background, Dr. Papert is the father of educational technology, a colleague of Jean Piaget, and an internationally renowned educator famous for the theory of constructivism. His advocacy of student laptop programs extends around the world including the XO laptop for developing nations, and he invented the Logo programming language for children. John Gage, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, started the NetDay movement to wire schools and originated the phrase, “the network is the computer.”
About halfway through this clip, Dr. Papert talks a bit about why he believes that education reform can happen now, even though decades of reform efforts have not had much impact.
He says there are two things that are different now. One is that school was designed to fit the previous “knowledge technology” of chalk, blackboards, paper and pencil. These technologies match quite well with the prevailing pedagogy of the last century, which relied on instruction, teacher as the center of all knowledge, and delivery of content. So criticizing it was a bit idealistic and theoretical. But now we have new technology that directly enables construction, connection, and distributed expertise. These new knowledge technologies tip the balance and as a result, new pedagogy can become reality.
The second factor is what he calls “Kid Power.” The technology amplifies the voices of people who are traditionally without voice or representation in our society.