In addition to hosting The Constructivist Celebration, I will be part of the following sessions during NECC:

Student-Centered Laptop Integration into the Classroom

Ron Canuel, Eastern Townships School Board (Canada) with Susan Einhorn, Sylvia Martinez, Scott Parker and Gary Stager

Monday, 6/30/2008, 2:00pm–3:00pm; HGCC 211

Successful integration of laptop technology into the classroom focuses on having students be active participants in the solution-building process.

What Effective Computer-Using Educators Know about Teaching: An International Perspective

Geoff Powell, St Hilda’s School (Australia) with Peter Skillen and Gary S. Stager

Tuesday, 7/1/2008, 11:00am–12:00pm; Grand Hyatt Lone Star Ballroom E

While focusing on increasing their technical fluency, we run the risk of assuming that all teachers understand foundational learning theory and child-centered classroom practice.

Transforming Technology Projects from Good to Great

Melinda Kolk, Tech4Learning, Inc. with Sylvia Martinez, Peter Reynolds, Adam Smith and Gary Stager

Wednesday, 7/2/2008, 12:00pm–1:00pm; Grand Hyatt Lone Star Ballroom E

This panel discusses strategies educators can use during project design, implementation, and evaluation to help ensure that student technology use inspires creativity and improves achievement.

With any luck, these discussions will be Web 2.0 free zones 🙂

While I’m being criticized for not understanding fair-use and intellectual property law, Tim Berry in The Huffington Post offers the following food for thought – Ebooks, Copyright, Piracy.

I’m personally fond of what he calls the “Slashdot Argument.”

David Pogue’s articles and music videos (links included) are also worthy of your time.

Here is a terrible news story about a working-class Massachusetts community in which high school girls may have made a pact to get pregnant.

The girls, the “fathers” and the babies are about to have their lives ruined.

I know that educators can’t solve every social pathology in the world, but I can’t help think that a little more interaction with a caring adult might avert similar disasters.

I love conferences. I’ve attended and spoken at hundreds of them. I relish the opportunity to spend time exchanges ideas and catching-up with old friends while meeting new ones. I welcome any opportunity to discuss powerful ideas with colleagues.

A large part of me would like to attend the upcoming Edubloggercon before NECC. I know that I am welcome there, but are my ideas?

The problem is that although I understand and use Web 2.0 tools, I am less sanguine about their potential to revolutionize education. I believe that the emphasis on using computers as information appliances represents a tiny portion of the computer’s power.

This and other important issues are worthy of debate, but I am not sure that Edubloggercon is the right venue for questioning the educational assumptions held by a good number of participants. Some colleagues identify so closely with the ethos of the blogosphere that any criticism of the software tools or classroom applications is interpreted as a personal attack. One educator wrote the following about me today,

I just believe the criticism, even if justified, was not done in the spirit and manner of a what I was taught an educator should do.

Really?

I respect Steve Hargadon and his efforts on behalf of Edubloggercon too much to generate unwanted dissent or be the skunk at the Edugarden party.

The recent Sturm and Drang over the Associated Press’ concern about their stories being excerpted in blogs and on web sites without compensation has been continued in blogs [1] [2] by Will Richardson.

Some well-fed fully-employed bloggers long for a Utopian world where all intellectual capital is free. They use the technical breakthroughs of the Web as evidence that expertise and intellectual capital are devalued in a world in which “content” can be had by the barrel at no cost.

Such a view ignores the value of art, culture and civil traditions while viewing the world entirely through the eyes of economists. The answer to runaway capitalism is not Marxism.

I just read a terrific new article about how good old fashioned hard work, competent management, respect for artists and emerging technology is being used to make opera more profitable and accessible.

New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera Company is improving the bottom line and increasing its relevance without defaming, devaluing or disrespecting their employees or compromising the quality of their “product.” In fact, they are honoring hundreds of years worth of artistic tradition and its importance to Western culture, by building upon those traditions and reaching new audiences.

Surely, there are some lessons here for education.

Last December, New York Magazine published an article The Littlest Hustler: Portrait of a New York childhood, in the extreme. The article tells the story of “tween” Alex Goldberg who through grit, perseverance and force of personality views the world as his kingdom. I’ve thought about this terrific article over the past six months and my graduate students debated it.

Alex’s adventure ended hours later, at Nobu, where the pool crowd had migrated to feast on junket sushi. He had been chatting up Venus and Serena Williams at a nearby table, and mugging for cameras with a cigar hanging from his lips while eating a bowl of ice cream. Then the faces at his table went blank. Alex looked up and saw what they saw. His mother.

But Alex isn’t like other boys his age. He’s had free rein over the streets of Nolita since before he can remember, and he quickly learned the rules of that playground, turning his relationships with the neighborhood’s shop owners into access to free gourmet meals and designer clothes and trendy sneakers, then turning those freebies into even better stuff (like courtside Knicks tickets), and leveraging those perks into even more valuable things, like connections to athletes, rappers, nightclub owners, and so on.

This article is a reminder that long before Web 2.0 there were kids kids who were competent, clever, resourceful, responsible and eager to learn.

I wish I was as cool as Alex! I love that kid!

What do you think?

I’m delighted to be a member of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation’s Learning Team. The learning philosophy of OLPC and its computer, the XO, are an exciting manifestation of my 25 years worth of teaching Logo to kids and teachers as well as my work with “laptop schools” since 1990.

On May 20th, hundreds of educators, government officials and thought leaders from dozens of countries descended on the MIT Media Lab for a global summit organized by OLPC. Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of OLPC, gave a “State of OLPC” presentation in which he reviewed the organization’s amazing accomplishments and presented XO 2.0. He also explained how the success of the Give One, Get One program made the XO cost $100 in developing countries.

Several leaders from countries using the XO (the “$100 laptop”) spoke about the need for the XO in their countries, the implementation issues and the obstacles they have overcome. Oscar Becera’s presentation, “The Starfish on the Beach: Why OLPC for the Poorest and Most Remote? and How?” was particularly interesting. Many children in Peru live a 4 day walk from Internet access.

My old friend and colleagues, David Cavallo and Mitchel Resnick spoke about learning and computing, while the father of the personal computer, Alan Kay, finished the day with another thought provoking discussion of the computer’s unrealized potential in education. Dr. Kay’s talk is highly recommended.

Best of all, these videos are all available for you to watch online here

The videos are up to an hour in length and available in Flash and OGG formats. The OGG files are easier on the eyes and larger. If you don’t have software capable of playing OGG files, try VLC. VLC is GNU free and cross-platform. VLC the Swiss Army Knife of video players. It seems to play anything, including DVDs encoded for another region!


At the risk of being (rightly) labeled a pampered American wimp, I wish to expose one of the most critical issues of our time.

Passionfruit ice tea.

An international tribunal should be convened in the Hague to try the inventor of this loathsome libation. There is no punishment too cruel or unusual. I demand soft-drink justice!

Who likes this stuff? Why do restaurants insist on serving a beverage that tastes like “Curious-Perfume by Britney Spears?”

For the love of all that we hold sacred, please stop polluting my ice tea!

Hey, Guess what? The Supreme Court ruled properly on an intellectual property case.

Sensing a way to make even more money than it already does, Major League Baseball has tried to force people to start paying for their fandom by imposing licensing fees on “fantasy” baseball leagues to use major league players’ names and statistics. Happily for fans and free speech, Major League Baseball was tossed out of the game this week in the Supreme Court.

Read the entire NY Times article.

Bill Moyers is ambushed by a “reporter” for The O’Reilly Factor, and turns the tables on him with the help of a gaggle of reporters surrounding the guy. The end of the video is fantastic as the O’Reilly warrior is chased down by reporters asking questions about his journalistic ethics.


Try not to cringe!