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Thanks and glad to be here.


I’ll be showing a fair number of videos this morning, and I’m going to start with one that is completely off the topic of educational technology.  The purpose for this video and the eyes-closed exercise that follows is to help us all maximize this day out of our classrooms.  You want this day to be maximized, and so do I.


VIDEO: What are you Sinking about?

It’s a funny line, right?  But that can have serious consequences on a day like today, if we don’t do something to help us focus on the task at hand.  What I’m going to have you do, (and you don’t have to do this one if you don’t want to), is close your eyes and picture a suitcase on your bed, empty and ready to be packed in.  Take a moment and reflect on all the things in your life that are not today.  Think about each of the things I’m about to mention and if they are a burden you can put into the suitcase, do so.  You’ll have to take them back out on your drive back home, but for now please safely stash your school, the sub plans, your car, your family, those health problems, future plans, money troubles, arguments, that other emergency, and that other .  Close the suitcase and leave it there, and then in your mind go outside to the outdoors—a peaceful place for you.  Imagine that you have brought your iPad or laptop and a nice drink of something you enjoy, and you’re ready with nothing on the docket except to curl up and read and watch videos and create something you can take back to your professional life.   

Freeze your memory there, and get ready to open your eyes.  When you open your eyes, you’re going to find that you are in a place where over 200 other professionals have come together to share best practices for helping kids learn in a technology-rich environment.  You don’t know these 200 people, but you know why they came.  Each one of them is like a cook that came to an idea-potluck with a desire to learn from your experiences, and each one of them has some flavorful dish worth sharing.  I’d even encourage you to make it a private goal to try to find what several (you can set the number) of them brought to the table today.


Raise a hand if you came here today because you want to improve the learning process in your schools and classrooms?  Me too!  I want to be a better teacher at the end of today than I was yesterday. 

[Change Ahead]

I’m going to do a talk called “Defining the New Normal” this morning, and then there are breakout sessions we’ll all get to pop into and see what some of the named chefs-du-jour have to say.  In each session, lean forward, posture yourself for learning, and don’t be afraid to learn from someone besides the person up in front of the room.


As we start the talk about NEW NORMAL, I want you to have a shoulder conversation with one of those awesome people who came today (don’t forget that each of them has something good to share with you).  In this shoulder conversation (2-3 people) I want you to make a list of—at minimum—5 NEVERS.

[5 NEVERS due to technology/societal changes] (text)

Five things a child born in 2012 will likely NEVER do, due to advances in technology and changes in society. 

[Family photo.]

My own family is a principal motivation for why I researched this talk.  For the last 15 years I’ve been teaching—3 years at the university level in southern China, then 12 years at middle school and high school level in Oregon.  I’m certified in Texas as well as Oregon, though, and for the last two years I’ve been teaching virtually for Guthrie Virtual Schools—a provider for the Texas Virtual School Network. 

[Guthrie TxVSN]

I LOVE what I do.  But it was my own kids that got me thinking about how much of a new normal they’ll experience in their lives—I’m preparing them, and you who are K-12 teachers with me are preparing them, for a future that does not look like the present. 

[Digital Native]

It was years ago now that Marc Prensky coined the term Digital Native in respect to kids who are growing up digital. 

[Mind the Gap]

My 11 year old daughter remembers the days of VHS tapes, and she even at one time knew how to use the tape rewinder we had next to the TV.  Thumbs up if you’re with me.  My 8 year old son barely knows  that there was such a thing as VCR tapes.


Did anybody else get a visit from a door to door encyclopedia salesman?  My family bought a set of 1985 Worldbook encyclopedias (just curious—how many of you remember that particular vintage?  As I travel I find that it was a blockbuster year for Worldbook.

David Pogue tells a funny story about a gradeschool kid who was being shown his new school and when they came to the library he gestured to the wall that looked like this and asked “What are all THOSE books?”  The kindhearted librarian said “That’s called the encyclopedia.”  The boy, amazed, said “O-M-G.  You mean somebody printed out the WHOLE THING?!”

[] text

I’m about to head over to a video.  During the video, if you’d like to come with me to on your device, I’ll be needing some volunteers here in a minute.

VIDEO [R/Evolution]

If you have someplace to jot a note—can you please write down one thing that was remark-worthy from that video.  I’m going to show a second “we’re in a revolution” video and I’d like you to also take a couple of notes from that one.  Just one or two remarkable ideas that relate to this new state of normalcy.

For those of you who found edtech2020 and are taking notes on the Google Doc, can someone jot down that the first video was Berlitz What are you sinking about, the second was R/Evolution, and I’m about to show one called Socialnomics 3.  After this video I’m going to have you stand and stretch for a 6-10-minute conversation about the changing times and what that means for our schools and our classrooms.

VIDEO [Socialnomics]

Now, then.  That’s a lot to think about.  Reflect for a moment and write down--if you wish--one or two thoughts to share on the topic of CHANGE and our CLASSROOMS.  Not everything in our classroom changes just because Facebook is the size of a large country.  But some things do.

[Role of Teacher
Essential Skills to Learn K-12
Importance of School
Impact of Technology]

This one should find you standing, though if you need to stay seated for any reason, that can be something you decide.  It’s a standup-handup-pairup and you’re allowed to move into the aisles to form groups of 2 or 3.  I’ll play music and come join some of your conversations.



VIDEO: Cisco connected learning societies

Maybe the new normal for your kids will be increased e-learning.  Already there is legislation in some states that mandates e-learning as part of the graduation requirements.  Idaho requires graduating seniors to accomplish 2 of their credits via online.



Finish with final conversation: Living History Museum.