Is America Really a Digitally Literate Nation? Do People Really Understand Inequity?Social Justice?

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Recently a lot of articles and workshops have come to us about the digital divide and that it still exists. It is a relief that people are coming back to the realization that we have an uneven learning landscape. Here is a whole article. The following is an excerpt. This is a lot of information, but it is very important to understand the challenges in education.
“For children in the U.S., their homes, their communities, and their schools both represent and perpetuate inequity. In fact, the inequity of childhood is increasing, not shrinking.”

At the Broadband Summit hosted by the FCC and NTIA, I heard  stories of people who are new to technology and how difficult it is for some populations to embrace technology. Many people are still waiting to embrace the mouse. Of course now we can leapfrog to a tablet. But understanding is the key to embracing technology in meaningful ways. Outstanding were the NTIA projects that support the uses of technology in community ways.

Sadly, many communities are still not well-connected.

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SHARING THE VISION

In February, there was an uncommon event. It was the 2013 Broadband Summit ( Broadband Adoption and Usage- What Have We Learned?)NTIA and the FCC shared the day in sharing knowledge.

The FCC is a leader in encouraging the safe use of electronic media by children.Educators are held to the idea of digital textbooks while many do not have connectivity in their schools. Students do not have the skills for workforce readiness. Many teachers don/t have the skills they need to be effective in the use of technology. Some of these ideas are shared in Digital Nation from Edutopia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nKIu9yen5nc

From televisions to laptops to cell phones, electronic media have become some children’s almost constant companions. The commission provides parents with a variety of resources to improve children’s safety in today’s complex media landscape, including:

At the SITE Conference in New Orleans… we will share the results of our work and research so that you don’t have to guess about resources . We have a Facebook Grant. The work will be published in the society’s journals.Here is a little information to frame the research that has been conducted.What is SITE?

We are the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, and it is our mission to promote research, scholarship, collaboration, exchange and support.

SITE Conference 2013 – Teaching in Exponential Times!

Sheraton San Diego

The 24th Annual International SITE Conference will be held March 25 – 29, 2013 in New Orleans, LA, USA

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP?

Definitions of Digital Citizenship In Our Facebook Grant Work

“Digital citizenship” is an umbrella term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it’s the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from “netiquette” to cyber-bullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more. In fact, some programs that teach digital citizenship have outlined no less than nine elements that intersect to inform a well-equipped digital citizen. It’s an overwhelming array of skills to be taught and topics to explore.The source of the nine elements is ISTE.org.

But while there is much talk about the importance of teaching digital citizenship in this information society, not many are sure what that really looks like. What tools are out there for teaching it? And how in the world can teachers make time in an already overcrowded curriculum?What  about those who do not have broadband access? Or limited bandwidth?

Digital Passport?

WHO USES TECHNOLOGY?Back Camera

There are lots of users of technology. My concern is that there are people who do not use, know about or are interested in the use of technology , nor do they know how they benefit from the ways in which technology is used at the highest levels in Supercomputing. They innocently use GPS, weather resources from Supercomputing, watch on television the news from around the world, get climate updates, and earthquake and seismic information without thinking of the source. They get visualization and modeling examples daily, and do not think at all of computational thinking , problem solving and the math that is required to be able to participate in computing.Many people use the cloud without knowledge of what it is. A good reference or starting point is at Shodor.org.

There is a higher form of computing that facilitates a lot of tasks for us and few people seem to be aware of it.

You will hear people say, I don’t need technology. Sure. Invisible uses are everywhere.

It is called Supercomputing.

GOT BROADBAND?

This morning several  articles caught my eye. But more than the articles is the interesting interaction on-line and the discussions about have and have-nots. Friends of mine,  a professor, a code writer and a mathematician had a late night discussion following my posting this video by Jeannette Wing.

Dr. Jeannette Wing was the Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation.Social Media helps us to communicate, though we may not always agree, at least there is the opportunity to exchange ideas and to think deeply with reflection. Dr. Wing has moved into the private sector. Microsoft announced that it has hired Dr. Jeannette Wing as Vice President of its Research division. Microsoft Research is an expansive group of technologists, scientists, and dreamers that build technology that may, or perhaps more often may not make it to market.

GOT PEDAGOGICAL KNOWLEDGE?

Such interesting conversations I have on Facebook. This is what I am talking about as a model for use of technology. It is not happening in most inner city and rural and distant schools. People have the tools but not the pedagogical knowledge of integration . ( TPACK)

TPACK Image (rights free)

The TPACK Model
The TPACK Model was created in response to the need to provide a framework around the important pieces of innovating learning with a focus on Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge.  The overlap of these three components is where the 21st Century classroom is most powerful.

Here is general information on TPACK

Got Computational Thinking?

Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, lets add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. Computational thinking is an approach to solving problems, building systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on the power and limits of computing. While computational thinking has already begun to influence many disciplines, from the sciences to the humanities, the best is yet to come.Looking to the future, we can anticipate even more profound impact of computational thinking on science, technology, and society: on the ways new discoveries will be made, innovation will occur, and cultures will evolve.

It is this that we learn with. So we had a person who writes code, a scientist and me, a teacher.. in a late night discussion with a professor about the video.This is one of the things about social media. It cuts the silos. Ground truths in social media.

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In this interview from the Education Technology & Change blog, Henry Neeman from the University of Oklahoma describes the increasing accessibility of HPC.

“You may not see the supercomputers, but every single day supercomputing is making our lives better. Everything from the cars we drive to the weather forecast on TV to the movies we watch to the detergent bottles in our laundry rooms are made, or made better, by supercomputing. Today, there are a number of ways for citizens to access supercomputing. Often, these are known as “science gateways,” and they provide a simple interface to a complicated back end. An example is nanoHUB, which K-12 and postsecondary students can use to do nanotechnology simulations. In fact, the nanoHUB website has curricula and teaching materials that any teacher can put to work in their classroom.”

Early exposure and interest

early exposure and interest through outreach

This article caught my eye because it says the things that I have been blogging about, talking about and sharing for some time.

The article is entitled “By the Numbers: Teachers, Tech, and the Digital Divide” it extracts information from the latest Pew Report which is here. The new Pew Research survey of more than 2,400 middle school and high school teachers released today shows that, while teachers believe technology has helped with their teaching, it’s also brought new challenges — including the possibility of creating a bigger rift between low-income and high-income students.

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Reading first.. . and there is free technology of excellence….Many of us know the challenges first hand . Many of us work at different levels of understanding of the difficulty. Often people dismiss what we who are on the ground , in the classrooms and in the places of need as if what we are saying is untrue. We have children who cannot read. Technology can help solve that problem. Early learning is important. Books and technology work too.

We know that people use the tools of technology, but that expense is a problem. We know that the cell phone has brought many people to a mobile use of technology and that “bring your own device” has become the salvation for some schools.Mobile use was shared in the Wireless Technology conference.

                         Wireless EdTech Beyond Being There – The Mobile Future of Learning ( in case you missed it)

There are a few other pieces of research that affect those of us of diversity in very important ways. We have always known that the digital divide is a problem based on access to broadband, hardware and access to teachers who may not have achieved the transformational skills to use technology in meaningful ways.

Some examples of ways in which people are trying to help are:


By Sean Cavanagh in Education Week

“Can online graphic novels help teenagers cope with difficult social situations?

Are 3-D technologies a tool for helping English-learners acquire language skills outside traditional educational settings? And what about the potential for mobile apps that let students manipulate on-screen images with their fingers to help them learn fractions?”

“A federal program, still in its infancy, is supporting research that seeks to answer those and other questions by wedding partners that often operate in isolation—educational technology and scientific research on learning—with the goal of transforming teaching and learning in schools.”

The federal government has been funding projects focused on technology and education for decades, and it has backed research on cognition in many forms. But the relatively new program, called Cyberlearning: Transforming Education , is the National Science Foundation ’s attempt to create a space within the agency devoted to supporting research on advanced learning technologies.

Some of the beginning steps of the program were shared in a conference .

NSF Funds Research to Identify What Works

Jeremy Rochelle of SRI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHmR0G_NmsE

The conference, which was hosted at the National Geographic, involved SRI ,  and NSF

you can find the portal here.They invite you to help write pages for the cyber-learning topic areas listed below. Their aim is to develop definitions that are strong enough to show the direction of the field but open enough to allow for innovation (see Defining Cyber-learning, below). If you have expertise in any of these areas and would like to be involved in editing these pages, please email cyberlearning-info@sri.com to request a wiki account.

Here are the topics:

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) project is also defining key TEL topics

This is the portal for this important work.( http://cyberlearning.sri.com/w/index.php/Cyberlearning:Community_portal)
There are many teachers, educators, administrators who are still learning to understand these topics and so even with help from various groups trying to make a difference, the leap of faith is a broad one. Edutopia has a program that starts to share why we must go digital.
There are still people who resist personal and educational use of technology for various reasons. Many teachers have the tools,but not the know how or support or the ideational  scaffolding that is needed to be technology fluent. The Pew Report outlined many of the things that I would say, but also lets us know that it is not just
those of us who talk about the digital divide and social justice who are complaining about lack of broadband, access, tools and support for learning the technology.
Edutopia has videos, blogs, and all manner of resources to share with educators on how to use and integrate technology into good practice.
There is no cost for exploring good practices in education at the site.

The Digital Divide Is the New Civil Rights Issue in America


My friend Allan Jones gave me this title from a piece that he wrote to describe the inequity of learning in the US. We were thinking about the effects of the PISA report in the US. We were also thinking of places where new ideas and participatory learning are not a part of the program. We have plans to transform education.

The “digital divide” that persists in Internet use is  based on income, education and community means people are not acquiring the digital fluency that is required to operate in to-day’s world.

The part that bothers, us, worries me , is that lots of people who are well connected technologically do not have an awareness of the level of difficulty that others have in reaching technofluency based on connections and awareness.

There is also a level of learning, a depth of knowledge that is lacking in many schools , and learning places.

“To put it quite simply, America is a diverse society in which educational differences have the potential to become a progressively larger source of inequality and social conflict. Many people now recognize that eliminating these differences has become a moral and pragmatic imperative.”

College Board, Reaching the Top(1999)

There is a concern about the status of education in the nation. The recent publication of the  PISA 2009  results have caused a wringing of hands and a contemplation of why the US has declined in education. In minority areas and in underserved areas we have always lived with these kinds of statistics. We are always racing to catch up to whatever is just regular. Broadening engagement is our goal. I was delighted with the US Department of Education Technology Plan. To implement it, however we need assistance. Those of us in minority communities have always been striving to catch up. We never seem to make it.

Rural, urban, distant and compromised describe some of the schools, students adn communities not making use of the Internet. The Internet has gone global in a big way. Here are some interactive ways to share how the web works, resources and the state of and power of the Internet, from the BBC.

What are we talking about? The Web

How the Web Works

Explore this interactive graphic to find out which are the biggest sites on the internet, as measured by the Nielsen company. This feature is part of SuperPower, a season of programs exploring the power of the internet.

Resources

BBC

Interactive program from the BBC- SuperPower

resources from Superpower

We need support for teachers.

I wrote years ago of the importance of teacher support.http://www.ait.net/technos/tq_04/4bracey.php

There are many teachers who simply want to help kids as best they can. What is the motivation for the change from chalk and talk to the use of technology as a tool? In American education, the textbook remains the basic unit of instruction. Absorption of its contents tends to be the measure of education. How can we change that? What motivation is there to take on the task of change?

Many teachers and instructors use chalk and talk to convey information. Students are often recipients of instruction rather than active participants in learning. When teachers upset the industrial model, what are the predictable differences? How do we convey to the public the models of this change and the reasons why U.S. education should change?

In the past, even the most dedicated, skilled, and caring educators needed paper, pencils, and books to ensure that their students got the knowledge they needed to succeed in the society they were being prepared for. To succeed in the society of the 21st century, however, today’s students must graduate with more than the memorized knowledge of the past. They must be able to synthesize and analyze information, not just memorize it. Today’s students must learn to think for themselves. And they must be able to adapt to a world in which the only constant is rapid change and the participatory culture is desired by students to be a part of their learning .

Most schoolteachers work largely in isolation from their peers, and many interact with their colleagues only for a few moments each day. In contrast, most other professionals collaborate, exchange information, and develop new skills on a daily basis. But teachers are often in the classroom, where the bell and the loudspeaker or PA system are the most significant technology. Although half of this nation’s schoolteachers use passive video materials for instruction, only a small fraction have access to interactive video, computer networks, or even telephones in the classroom. And these technologies offer opportunities for collaboration in spite of distance.

While computers are a frequent sight in America’s classrooms and training sites, they are often used simply as electronic workbooks. The interactive, high-performance uses of technology that the NII will allow—such as networked teams collaborating to solve real-world problems, retrieving information from electronic libraries, and performing scientific experiments in simulated environments—are all too uncommon in our schools. U.S. schooling is a conservative institution that adopts new practice and technology slowly.

So how do we teachers make the change? We have a variable set of needs: access to hardware, some familiarity and training, on-site permission, and patience and support within the educational setting. The support should hopefully be systemwide and involve all of the layers of funding; parents and community members; and—to effect significant national change—teacher inservice and training. And, finally, time: teachers need time to learn technology, to understand the applications, to synthesize ideas so they can use technology as a tool that will enhance the teaching process. All of these ideas are considered in detail in the NIIAC’s KickStart Project.  This was written years ago, and for many people the world has changed significantly, but there are those still toiling in pre-technology stages.

Here us a simple test for thinking about the level of teacher use of technology. Take the test.

Examples of Need In areas of the US – What about your Neighborhood?

Need

Without ready access to computers, students struggle

Even wealthy Fairfax is forced to contend with a digital divide

Fairfax County , Virginia USA

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/05/AR2009120501746.html?wprss=rss_education

Need


Teachers describe administrative failings at Dunbar

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/11/AR2010121102464.html?hpid=sec-education

Her account is one of several that have emerged since Bedford was ousted, less than three years after it was hired  by former Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to turn around Dunbar. City records show Bedford has been paid $1.2 million this year as part of a three-year contract to overhaul Dunbar and Coolidge high schools. The firm remains in control of Coolidge. of course, Rhee is gone but this was her project.

Need

Private Operators Ousted at Dunbar

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120807351.html?sid=ST2010121102563

Rural

There are rural schools in which I have worked that do not welcome the use of the Internet for various and sundry reasons.I have traveled tribal regions with Karen Buller of NITI, in the  Navajo nation and am impressed by the Hogan to the Internet program start. I work with Idit Harel Caperton in West Virginia, so I know the rural challenges. Her example of facilitation of the power of technology.

Lots of good examples of what works can be found at the NASA, National Geographic, NOAA and Edutopia Sites

Case studies , resources, and video are at www.edutopia.org.

Some Programs that work/Projects

http://www.Globaloria.com/.

http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.edutopia.org%2Fblog%2Fcomputer-science-education-girls-increase-interest-suzie-boss

I loved this learning experience also.

Scalable Game Design

Our main goal is to bring computer science to middle schools with the ultimate aim of developing a larger IT workforce to address the IT crisis.

http://www.agentsheets.com/products/scalablegamedesign/index.htm

Community Outreach for IT

NCWIT’s “Programs-in-a-Box” offer turnkey solutions to pressing issues facing the IT community. Programs-in-a-Box provide all the components necessary for quick and strategic action — right out-of-the-box. Each Box includes instructions, letters, templates, slide presentations, and other resources designed for practical use by IT professionals. Roll over the boxes below to read descriptions and find the one that’s right for you, then click a Box to download and get started.

Power Across Texas

Interactive Sites that Demo Good Use

There are also some groups that are restricted by disability in powerful uses of the Internet because new tools and ways of working are not commonplace, and well known.

Shodor

/ Curriculum for Computational Thinking