I did want to highlight for you the item in the blog below about being invited to go to Nootka to talk with Dr Jamie McKenzie, the former superintendent of Bellingham, now retired and working as a global consultant on technology and learning. His work underpinned a lot of what we were doing in the two-year district technology planning process for the 2006 Tech Plan. He works with several school districts here in BC which is why he was passing through Vancouver. All of our ICT Task Force committee members were familiar with his work.
Nootka VP Andrea had made an independent connection with McKenzie through her search for ways to enhance the school's capacity to build strong technological foundations for teaching and learning and her own course work, so he had asked if he could drop by as he was in the area. I was lucky enough to be invited by TL GS who is taking technology workshops I have been offering.
Nootka's Thrive program students made a lovely presentation -- twice, in fact, because I came in later, where they demonstrated and discussed online tools and programs that work well for learning. These students amply demonstrate that learning abilities are enhanced and activated by technology. Funding from outside sources also enables this group's learning. Amazing stuff, and McKenzie was the first to say so. Here's their webpage: http://nootka.vsb.bc.ca/thrive.
As we consider the future directions for building for technology in Vancouver schools, I would love to find ways to have more input from McKenzie, and he has an engaging presence too. It would be great to find a context to connect more formally with him ... as you can imagine from my position as disciple, McKenzie is also a very big supporter of the notion of school libraries as "hubs" for learning and TLs as support for technology integration in schools. McKenzie is a name that my merely mentioning brought on paroxysms of TL envy!
One interesting aspect of the discussions was on the recent trend amongst those who promote technology, a trend which casts students as "digital natives," by virtue of their having been born into the tech-rich world, and many educators and adults in general as the "digital immigrants." He has no time for this notion. Students may navigate with ease but they lack the capacity, without the guidance of educators, to apply the skills and understandings of the many literacies -- visual, critical, media, cultural, even traditional, to begin the multiliteracies list -- and need to have ongoing support for their learning. Anyone can learn technology -- but with the right support and investment in their learning, it becomes a tool for thinking, constructing knowledge, working collaboratively and more globally, and creating meaningful products.
Not one to mince words, he writes:
Those leading the digital surge are quick to exile older folks to a dust bin of irrelevancy simply because they were born before the iPod. Their point of view is harsh and ill informed. Their stance is unsubstantiated by evidence and is little more than digital delusion. They are guilty of "arcade scholarship" - analysis that is superficial and cartoonish.
This recent (Nov 2007) article in its entirety can be found here: http://www.fno.org/nov07/cov.html