I’d like to invite you to a very special event this summer. Some of my fondest memories of teaching and learning come from summer camp and much of what I know about effective teacher professional development was gained working with Dan and Molly Watt at their summer Logo Institutes in the 1980s. It has long been a dream to create a 21st learning environment in which educators spend long periods of time immersed in creative computer-rich projects collaborating with world-class practitioners.

My dream continues….
In addition to hands-on activities, leading education thinkers would shape provocative discussions about the nature of learning, creativity and school reform in order to help participants sustain the constructive use of technology back in their schools and districts. Informal learning and conversations will occur during meals, walks and fantastic social events.

These goals led me to create Constructing Modern Knowledge, a minds-on summer institute for educators July 28-31, 2008 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH. In addition to four days full of computer-rich learning adventures for creative educators, Constructing Modern Knowledge features amazing guest speakers, a BBQ at a minor league baseball game and a night on the town in nearby Boston.

Since knowledge is a consequence of experience, Constructing Modern Knowledge, is designed to create a context for remarkable learning experiences. Instead of spending a conference listening to an endless series of speakers, Constructing Modern Knowledge, enables participants to spend time interacting with educational pioneers and colleagues from around the world.

Please take a few moments to browse the web site and read the bios of our institute faculty. Alfie Kohn is one of education’s most provocative speakers and bestselling authors. Bob Tinker and Cynthia Solomon are pioneers who invented some of the educational technology we use every day. Peter Reynolds is a beloved artist, software designer and children’s book author. The rest of our team has expertise in creativity, multimedia authoring, student empowerment, programming, robotics and a whole lot more.

Hotel accommodation is affordable and Manchester, NH has one of the most convenient and affordable airports in the United States. Constructing Modern Knowledge is also within a reasonable drive of most cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states.

Don’t miss the learning adventure of the year! Space is limited, so register today!

I can’t wait to learn with you in Manchester this July 28-31.

Here is a link to my most recent blog about Teach for America failing to prepare teacher candidates at even the most fundamental level.

Read, One Lesson Teach for America Missed.

I usually spend about 1/3 of each year on the road speaking and consulting with schools, governments or corporations. So far, 2008 has been no exception.

Over the past month or so I was a featured speaker at MACUL, made three presentations at the COSN Annual Conference, delivered two keynotes for Toshiba about 1:1 computing in education, led a STEM keynote in Potsdam, NY, was the closing keynote for the Texas Distance Learning Association Conference and in the spare time began teaching a computer programming class for K-5 kids once or twice a week in a Long Beach, CA school as a volunteer.

Just as Spring blooms and I mourn the fact that I only got to ski two days this winter, I’m off in a few hours to lead my "10 Things to Do with a Laptop: Learning and Powerful Ideas" presentation in Calgary, Alberta where it may be as cold as 9 degrees Fahrenheit! Time to schlep the parka! Ah, the glamourous life!

I won’t be there long enough to enjoy the weather or the scenery because immediately after the day-long Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation’s 1:1 Computing Leadership Summit, I fly to Seattle to participate in a similar event. The following day I will teaching my class in Long Beach. I will also be doing more work with the One Laptop Per Child Foundation over the next month.

If you want to catch me live and in-person over the next few months. Here are some of the places where I’ll be speaking:

I will probably be working across Australia in August.

Stay tuned for the announcement of an exciting summer event for educators over the next few days.

Gotta go find my ski gloves and scarf. Brrrrrrr!

We are cheating our students by turning reading into a game of dodgeball.

Perhaps there are many more distractions facing children today, but great teachers continue to create environments where their students want to be and to learn. The answer to bad teaching is better teaching, not another worksheet, get tough movement or quick fix. The sad truth is that schools may be better at destroying interest in a subject than inspiring it.

Read my new article about computerized reading comprehension systems and their threat to literacy.

The Games Teachers Play
in the April 2008 issue of District Administration Magazine.

District Administration Magazine has a feature in its April 2008 issue about corporate involvement in schools. Inside the feature is an interview with Billionaire education philanthropist, Eli Broad. I ask some questions about turning public schools into the plaything of rich folks.

Read Public Schools? Be wary of a gift that might squash the benefits of public education.

As the Marine Choir led the singing of “We Shall Overcome” in the Capitol Rotunda in commemoration of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s death 40 years ago, there was a most awkward moment of slapstick when civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis signaled his fellow officials how to link hands in order to sing the song. First he had to signal that they should do so and then he had to demonstrate how to do it while this choreographic train-wreck was captured by C-Span.

You must read this article from New York Magazine, Testing Horace Mann.

When students created Facebook pages that viciously attacked a teacher, and when their wealthy parents on the school’s board defended them, Horace Mann was forced to confront a series of questions: Is a Facebook page private, like a diary? Is big money distorting private-school education? And what values is a school supposed to teach?

When students post racist and sexist attacks on a highly-qualified teacher, it is that teacher and her defenders who are fired by an uber rich school much more concerned with their children realizing their birthright at Harvard than with education or doing the right thing.

I took one of those wrongly ridiculed diversity courses while an undergraduate. If memory serves, the course was entitled, “Racism and Sexism in a Changing America.” We watched footage of the 1950s-70s struggle for Civil Rights, learned of Emmitt Till, James Meredith, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, John Lewis, Freedom Summer and the Freedom Riders. We read Ann Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi and Gloria Steinem’s book, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. We argued raw issues of racism and sexism in an environment of respect.

Since that deeply transformative educational experience I have read countless books about the Civil Rights movement. I’ve tried to learn about the unsung heroes of America’s struggle for justice, both the giants like Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Dubois and the foot soldiers in the movement.

I’ve watched my set of Eyes on the Prize countless times and have hung on every word of Tavis Smiley’s week of interviews with friends and associates of Dr. King.

I’ve had the honor of meeting Jesse Jackson, Cornell West, Al Sharpton, Julian Bond, Ruby Dee and Spike Lee. In 2006 I enjoyed the privilege of serving on a panel discussion with the organizer of Freedom Summer, Bob Moses, who now works on education issues as founder of the Algebra Project. My love affair with jazz and what its artists have contributed to America has grown stronger. My affection for Jonathan Kozol’s lifetime of work, inspired by the 1964 murder of Goodman, Schwerner & Chaney in Philadelphia, Mississippi makes his work even more resonant for me.

As I write this, I’m watching a C-Span interview with Congressman John Lewis, the first Chair of SNCC. He named Thomas Merton, Ghandi and Thoreau as three of his heroes. They would form a pretty good humanities education for any student. He spent as long as 40 days at a time in jail and was beaten twice during the 1960s. The courage and wisdom of these young men and women (almost all in their 20s) is humbling. Last night, one of King’s workers at the SCLC told Tavis Smiley of how King visited her church in Virginia while they were fighting to integrate the public library and invited parishioners to come to Atlanta to work with him in the citizenship education effort. Mrs. Cotton’s husband drove her to Atlanta and they remained separated from that day on. Countless freedom fighters such as these made the world better through their non-violent protest.

King’s attorney and friend, Clarence B. Jones is the gentleman who smuggled paper and pencil into the Birmingham jail so that Dr. King could write his revolutionary, Letter from a Birmingham Jail. He just told C-Span that he was hired right out of law school to defend King against tax evasion and perjury charges in Alabama. Do you know the extent to which the United States fought to destroy and discredit King?

Over the years I have made personal pilgrimages to the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island, Little Rock’s Central High School, Ole Miss (Oxford, Mississippi) and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. This week, I learned that Lorraine, the co-owner of the hotel had a heart attack when Dr. King was shot and she died three days later. Even a Nobel Laureate like Dr. King was forced to stay in segregated accommodation as late as 1968.

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel, now the site of the deeply moving National Civil Rights Museum. It was at this hallowed place of remembrance that Senator John McCain had to apologize for his multiple votes against the King holiday and Hillary Clinton spoke of meeting Dr. King at the age of 14.

Senator Obama strains credulity when he suggested that he could honor King’s life and sacrifice better by campaigning in Indiana rather than attending April 4th’s commemorations in Memphis. The sad truth is that a large part of Obama’s appeal to White America is a professed hostility towards the militancy of the civil rights movement and the inference that our racial problems have largely become history, especially “in the hearts” of the young people his campaign celebrates. Obama seems to resent the “baby boomer” generation while he exalts “Generations X, Y & Z.”

King’s life, work and martyrdom was only partially concerned with ensuring that men like Obama could some day be elected President or head a major corporation. King fought for economic, social and legal justice and died marching for the rights and human dignity of sanitation workers. He fought against racism, economic disparity and militarism. It is the last two “evils” that rarely make our classroom discussions of Dr. King.

As our schools are more segregated than in 1954, the Supreme Court recently reversed Brown vs. Board of Education, our nation invaded Iraq and economic disparity is at an all-time high, King would have much to say. It is tragic that our nation is so hostile to King’s entire legacy, not just the happy talk about the “content of their character,” that Barack Obama needs to hide in Indiana while the rest of America’s attention is on Memphis.

Princeton history professor, Sean Wilentz, wrote Obama was the First to Play the Race Card, in the Philadelphia Enquirer on March 30th. His arguments, including the following are quite compelling.

Although Wright had until recently been obscure to the American public, political insiders and reporters have long known about him. On March 6, 2007, the New York Times reported that Obama had disinvited Wright from speaking at his announcement because, as Wright said Obama told him, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons.” By then, conservative commentators had widely denounced Wright. His performances in the pulpit were easily accessible on DVD, direct from his church. But Clinton, despite her travails, elected to remain silent.

Instead, she had to fight back against a deliberately contrived strategy to make her and her husband look like race-baiters. Obama’s supporters and operatives, including his chief campaign strategist David Axelrod, seized on accurate and historically noncontroversial statements and supplied a supposedly covert racist subtext that they then claimed the calculating Clinton campaign had inserted.

In December, Bill Shaheen, a Clinton campaign co-chair in New Hampshire, wondered aloud whether Obama’s admitted youthful abuse of cocaine might hurt him in the general election. Obama’s strategists insisted that Shaheen’s mere mention of cocaine was suggestive and inappropriate – even though the scourge of cocaine abuse has long cut across both racial and class lines. Pro-Obama press commentators, including New York Times columnist Frank Rich, then whipped the story into a full racial subtext, charging that the Clintons had, in Rich’s words, “ghettoized” Obama “into a cocaine user.”

Read the rest of Professor Wilentz’s Op-ed piece.

Kristin Breitweiser, one of the prominent 9/11 widows who forced the government to create the 9/11 Commission, writes in the Huffington Post that presidential candidate, Senator Obama, repeats the patently untrue Bush Administration story about the 9/11 attacks.

OBAMA: Oh, well, the–I don’t think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don’t know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.

Yup. That’s right, Barack Obama glibly stated that he didn’t “think anybody predicted 9/11.”

Some thoughts:

1. Maybe Obama needs a tutorial from former Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, who just endorsed him yesterday. Heck, even Hamilton knows and has to acknowledge that 9/11 was predictable…

Read the rest of the article, 9/11: Where Barack Obama and Condi Rice Sound Alarmingly Alike.