I attended two sessions with David at the ERB Conference in NYC on Friday. What follows are my NOTES on the talks, so please excuse the shorthand form.

Part I

The first was his keynote, entitled "Defining Literacy in the 21st Century": Edit

Online handouts: In blog: include redefine literacy warlick – this will be linked on “Session Blogs”

(Using Flock – wiki on pbwiki)

Links on blog links to his different presentations, including the new shape of information. Has a wiki on Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century – encourages us to go in and add. Also has links to related websites.

As educators we are inventing the future. Workplace of the future: Phones: when will the majority have given up the old phone for mobiles. Has a regular phone become redundant?

U Berkeley: How much information is out there? 2003 we added 5 exabytes of new information – 37,000 Library of Congress needed to hole. Only .001 of 1% is printed. We are spending too much time teaching our children to use paper. Paper should be removed from the workplace of the future.

Chairs: virtual meetings – cameras to broadcast meetings

Wearable computers – Levi-Strauss has a jacket with computer/GPS/mobile phone/mp3 player – Phone on pinky and thumb. GPS toe rings. We will have our computers with us in the work place of the future.

We don’t really know what we are preparing our children for.

Stop integrating technology – instead, integrate literacy. We need to be teaching our kids how to teach themselves. They will constantly be retooling, they will need to be able to learn new tools, new ways to contribute. They must know how to teach themselves.

How to define literacy? RRR – the old definition of literacy MLK bogus site – Students must first ask questions – who published it? Who wrote it? Time to investigate – to be literate students must know how to do the work to find out what they’re seeing.

URL back-tracking – erase the end of the URL to find parent page. Webmaster – right click, copy information into the clipboard, paste into Notepad. Email address indicates domain: Now look up person and domain. Turns up “White Pride World Wide”. If all we’ve taught our children to do is how to read, are they literate, or are they dangerous? We were taught to read what was handed to us. Our children face a global, electronic library. It only works if we are literate in terms of the new information landscape.

Every child must be able to read. Expand notions of what it means to be a reader – Expose the truth

To be literate: Find the information Decode it – text, video, sound Critically evaluate it Organize it into personal libraries

Reading? Aluminum foil deflector beanies California’s failed Velcro crop Haggis hunt

Wikipedia-demonstrated – open source content He would do this with 5th graders: look it up on Wikipedia, now prove that what is there is true. Don’t let them assume it’s true, but prove that it is true. We must stop teaching our children to assume the authority and teach them to prove the authority. You need to know when to look and where – some information is more accurate in the Wikipedia – Example: 8 planets, not 9. Wikipedia article was updated one minute after news broke. Article edited 90 times before midnight that day.

It’s not about competing systems, its about teaching which sources to use depending on the goals they are trying to achieve.

Calculations Every child must understand the language of numbers. We no longer solve numbers on a piece of paper. Now we need to know how to process numbers online, on computers. Check his Library of Links on his website. Raw Data: columns and rows of numbers ANSS- seismic systems – Data base is online and searchable. Generates data set Takes the numbers, copies them into Excel. Selects text to column wizard – separates into columns, then formats type of data.Also select what to import and not to import. Chose scatter plot – Dec. 2004- visually of tsunami earthquake New skills needed to help numbers tell their story.

Expand numeracy to employing information – Keyboard - Midi controller generates numbers to tell computer what note to play – this is all about converting numeric messages into music Played music, making computer transform numbers into something he can work with. It really is math. Since it’s all made of numbers now, including video, sound, photos, we need to expand our view of math. How to process images, sound, add value to it all.

Writing: Anatomy of the Long Tail - Wired Magazine 2004 Looking at the new industries (Rhapsody, Amazon, Netflix) as opposed to old “smoke stack” industries. Discovered there were many books, music, etc. that don’t sell enough copies to be stocked in a store, but worth having available in the digital marketplace. Self-publishing on websites, small interest items, etc. David’s books were published 2 hours after writing by Save manuscript, upload. Print books on demand once they are uploaded. You suggest what you want to make on the book, they set a price – just like Café Press.

We must teach our students to be good consumers and effective, responsible producers of content.

We are communicating with multi-media in the 21st Century. How do I get my message through the storm of information? The children live off this information. They need to be able to communicate with all forms of media – a range of skills involved. Can you express ideas compellingly to your audience?

Video by 15 year old inner city student. Global economy. Rather than write an essay, produced a video essay. Very powerful production. Video gets posted online – CEOs contacted her to explain what they are doing to improve the work qualities of their workers.

Our schools become factories if we don’t include music and art. As schools lay off music teachers, we must consider what is wrong. Students must learn to read, expose truth, do math, to make use of the numbers, to write and express ideas clearly –

Ethics and information – Ethics must be included in all discussions of literacy.

Stop integrating technology and redefine the meaning of literacy. It comes along because it is the pencil and paper of our time. That’s how kids need to be learning. Photo of all the technology son is plugged into – he wouldn’t tell about the objects, but about the information. Less about the machine, more about the information landscape. Games – not investing in game, but in story, visuals, experience.

1983 – Nation at Risk – Education Reform We will get there when: When no teacher believes that they can teach the same thing the same way year after year.

To end the talk, showed the website: You have reached the end of the Internet…


His group session was called "The New Web and the Changing Shape of Information" Edit

Blogging – is really about conversation. Not assuming content, but engaging in conversation. At a conference people were actively blogging in the session, so he got questions from people who weren’t even there. People were editing the page by changing the questions to create essential questions.

Podcasting Conference session – people brought their own equipment – Had groups talk to each other, record conversations. Blog entries were instantly posted about the session. They were sharing what they were learning in the process. Soon there were 15 blog entries, in a variety of languages all about the one session he had run the day before.

Online handouts – blogging web20 session warlick at

Book called: Coming of Age. Book is free and downloadable. They are working on the second edition. Web 2.0 online conference: Conference online, so everyone is attending from over the world.

History of read/write web 18th century pamphlets – rise in literacy and decrease in the cost of publishing 1999 – arrives – anyone can blog for free – dramatic increase in digital literacy. Convergence of those who are digitally literate, and can publish for free.

2Cents worth (on Wordpress) David’s blog. Shared what he has been writing about. Demonstrated what he does to publish his blog. Uses “text processer” – uses speech feature to hear what he’s written to help him clean it up.

Wordpress is opensource and can be installed on your own webserver. It is now so easy! There is no sophistication required. It is almost 100% about communication. Children start to beg the teacher to let them write. Blogging means others are reading it. They know there is an audience. Someone might read it and respond. Online handouts include code of ethics for teachers.

How do you educate teachers who are unaware of this world and could care less? Make sure the new teachers are aware and using this new information landscape. Video games are huge – doing research about using video games in education. They are learning engines. Why is the experience so compelling? Figure out what it is that makes it so compelling. What are they learning? Halo – isn’t just using these games as such, but started using it to create other projects – plays through imovie – friends work with him – machinema – take something like Halo that they make their own.

Three factors: Democratization of production Democratization of distribution Connecting supply and demand

“Don’t underestimate the power of a million amateurs with keys to the factory.” Chris Anderson, The Long Tail.

Safety: – not free, but provides email accounts for students. Teachers have control. Now it connects classrooms, and has blogs. You can search on Epals and they will find you a connection – define your capability – Free – will also translate. You can record and podcast. - same – free – Class Blogmeister – free on This is a blog site for schools to use and David continues to develop it as it goes. Must have class password to see students. This allows for privacy. Students can blog, podcast, etc. When the student is done with writing, an email goes to the teacher. This gives the teacher a chance to respond, assess, etc. before it is published. All content is passed through teacher. Generates RSS feed.

Students work on blogs even when they’re out sick. Excited by comments from other people. Students will write spontaneously into their blog. This motivates kids to write. It becomes a conversation. Question: quality of writing? Give rubric, let them know how they will be assessed. Let students use rubric to assess each other. There should be a clear goal to their writing. They will understand how to present themselves. – the google of blogs. Search blogs – not good for kids. Too much dangerous stuff. Teachers should use it. Over 50 million bloggers are tracked. CEO publishes a blog called “The State of the Blogosphere”. Blogosphere is doubling in size every six months. We are laying down a “digital exhaust” – picture of the human experience.

We used to think of information that was kept in containers. It no longer is contained that way. We need to understand how different it is now.

Young children using computers have their brains short-circuited in terms of social interaction? He doesn’t believe that. He would like to see the hard research. He sees that boys and girls are greater friends. They have more common ground. They are more together, more like room mates. Human beings will always demand face-to-face relationships with other people. He thinks that by and large this is enriching their relationships.

Concern that on IM kids say things to each other they wouldn’t dare say face-to-face? Point: now videos are on laptops, the technology is making it more fact-to-face, even globally.

Web 2.0 – mash-ups. Taking content from other places and arranging it to add value. – goes into Google news, locate it, then do a scatter plot/map to identify where news is taking place.

Social Media – Flickr Online photo album site – through Flickr you can upload off phone, to blog directly.

RSS feeds. Explains how to track things. RSS- subscribe – He uses Newsfire but recommends – Drag “chicklet” into the aggregator. webbloggED – Will Richardson

Can subscribe to newspapers using RSS feed. You can subscribe to only a section rather than the whole paper.

Example of Google hit: Google News – search for stories – sort by date and it gives worldwide news up to the minute. Can add RSS to track specific topics in the news. This is where you add bookmarks. It allows others to research using your bookmarks. This way you are carrying your digital library with you.

New face of learning – Will Richardson in Edutopia. Notices how many people have placed it in their bookmarks. You can see who has saved them in the bookmarks. You can see what their categories are. You can go into other people’s delicious accounts, too. This allows you to go through other categories and this helps you share what you are looking for. It’s collaboration. Use RSS to keep track of whether new bookmarks have been added.

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