April-May 2010 Newsletter
Table of Contents
1. Quick Review
2. Items You May Have Missed
3. Selected Blogs
4. Some interesting resources
1. Quick Review
April-May Newsletter--Spring is finally here!!
I spoke at the New York Institute of Technology’s “Engaging NYiT’s 2010 Interdisciplinary Symposium” on March 19th 2009 and attended the SITE annual conference in San Diego. Where I gave a workshop with one of my very admired colleagues Dr Kathy King of Teacher from Fordham University and co-host of Teachers Podcast Our workshop "Preparing our Students for a 21st Century Globally Integrated World” on Monday March 29th 2009 was full and we had a great set of teachers, administrators, professinal developers and education professors. As a result of the enthusiasm for the ideas we discussed, Kathy King and I set up an interactive Ning, 21st Century Global Teacher which everyone is welcome to join! The purpose of the Ning is as a discussion/resource group to explore more deeply the topics we discussed in San Diego and elsewhere connected to the teacher re-tooling necessary to prepare students for the 21st century.
On a more personal note--I shared some great moments out in California and enjoyed the great scenery and wonderful sunshine! There is still nothing quite comparable to taking a ride down the broad sweep of coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego. I shall also remember my conversations with Dr Greg Tanaka an education professor at UCLA with my son.
He talked about a long road we have to walk to restore American education and opportunity one that rivaled the kind of reconstruction necessary in the 1930s.
His positive spirit about the future and the challenges it poses for young people will stay with me for a very long time. I also redesigned my website--take a look--reactions so far have been very favorable!
Also take a look at my newly redesigned website--reactions so far have been positive!
Items you may have missed
Michael Kimelman in “DIY Culture” the New York Times views globalism through skeptical eyes:
“It’s a widening realization, I think, that globalism, beyond banking, climate change and warfare, has always been a dubious concept, a misleading catchall for how the world supposedly works, to which culture, in its increasing complexity, gives the lie.
He shows how globalism can work both ways to preserve and maintain local cultures that would otherwise die of extinction “Years ago a language like Cimbrian, a Bavarian dialect today preserved by just a few hundred speakers in northern Italy, would have been doomed to extinction; now Cimbrian speakers, according to a recent German newspaper article, turn out to be getting their own online newspaper and television show. The language is being sustained by the same global forces that might promise to doom it.”
One insight that is worth preserving and thinking about is how local cultures form a “bricolage of global choices” We cannot argue with his conclusion based on some very well observed examples of local cultures as disparate as those in Berlin and Gaza that “We miss much about how culture works today — including how what might be called local standards of quality vie with the global aesthetic of sensationalism and fashion — if we stick only to seeing it as critics and consumers through our own aesthetic lens.”
It is also worthwhile to share Friedman’s optimism as he does in this New York Times op ed worthwhile to share Friedman’s optimism as he does in this New York Tn, “America’s Rimes columeal Dream Team” about a world that we created here in the US in our schools which do by and large a great job of integrating the children of immigrants from Asia and not so great at making the kids from the US inner cities feel like winners.
You can remain optimistic while you listen to his descriptions of the Intel Science Award Winners (the famous school science competition that was formerly sponsored by Westinghouse)
“Indeed, if you need any more convincing about the virtues of immigration, just come to the Intel science finals. I am a pro-immigration fanatic. I think keeping a constant flow of legal immigrants into our country — whether they wear blue collars or lab coats — is the key to keeping us ahead of China. Because when you mix all of these energetic, high-aspiring people with a democratic system and free markets, magic happens. If we hope to keep that magic, we need immigration reform that guarantees that we will always attract and retain, in an orderly fashion, the world’s first-round aspirational and intellectual draft choices.” All this is pretty standard “flat world” Friedman stuff but then he hits on an interesting idea:
"In today’s wired world, the most important economic competition is no longer between countries or companies. The most important economic competition is actually between you and your own imagination. Because what your kids imagine, they can now act on farther, faster, cheaper than ever before — as individuals. Today, just about everything is becoming a commodity, except imagination, except the ability to spark new ideas." Take that back to the parent evening, the chamber of commerce and the education officials that run the schools and who have resisted these kinds of calls because of the testing regime that NCLB imposed but who need to rethink their ideas based not just on Friedman’s insights but also those of Yong Zhao who challenges NCLB and stands up for a new dedication to creativity in our teaching. You need to see this video
He shows how NCLB is moving us away from a 21st century future.
Yong Zhao’s impressive backgroundis important to know –he is the "University Distinguished Professor of Education at Michigan State University, where he also serves as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. He is a fellow of the International Academy for Education and currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council’s Committee to Review the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays International Education Programs” This is the achievement of a man whose own formal schooling was non traditional to say the least.
Highlights from Selected Blogs
First Signs that the i-Pad is Beginning to Fuel the E-Textbook Revolution
Well it has happened. Change is occuring in a record fast fashion. E-books will soon be replacing textbooks and i-Pads may soon replace lap tops. Evidence for all this is drawn from a recent report from Minnesota, the consolidated school in Winthrop to be exact plans to put an i-Pad into the hands of every student
New Report: An Imperative for Schools to Transform?
The New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, 2010 Horizon Report: K-12, represents an ongoing research effort established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within education around the globe."
Cell phones versus i-Pads: Problems looking for Solutions?
In a thought provoking column in this Sunday’s New York Times, The Triumph of the Ordinary Cellphone, Anand Giridharadas, discusses whether the US has thought about high tech correctly when it comes to meeting the needs of a majority of the world’s citizens not jus the most affluent.
More Teachable Moments in Understanding Global Warming
A review of a new book in this Sunday's New York Times --“Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution” (Scribner, 272 pages, $26) points out how gullible we are when it comes to companies trying to sell us on how green they are.
More Great Resources
TED is a great source for global awareness --take a look at some of the most thought provoking ones. How about setting for your students the problem that Bjorn Lomborg discusses--with $50 billion dollars what global problems would you solve first?
Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg heads the Copenhagen Consensus, which has prioritized the world's greatest problems -- global warming, world poverty, disease -- see the lecture/video and make your own mind up. Full bio and more links
Then view Prime Minister Gordon Brown (now running for re-election) giving a brave talk about the need for a new global ethic to tackle world problems and that we are moving however slowly towards a new moral spirit working in the world
See this TED talk and discuss this with your friends and family. I am also interested in what you think.
To his credit Bill Gates has turned his formidable intelligence to solving key world problems --his Melinda and Bill Gates foundation is a leader in solving malaria and HIV/AIDs in the developing countries and now his Gates Notes is full of interesting nuggets. For example, his "Infrequently Asked Questions" is well worth reading --particularly this one about the role companies need to play to alleviating poverty.
I will be interviewing the educational thinker and author of the terrific blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, Dr Scott McLeod who will be kicking off my podcast series on 21st century skills and will be interviewed by Steve Hargadon the founder of the Interactive Future of Schooling
So thanks for reading and being part of myglobalpicture community-- have a happy and productive "green" spring and please stay in touch
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and enjoy the great weather!