I had the pleasure of meeting David Warlick at Frederick County Public School’s Summer Leadership Symposium 2008. When I learned that Mr. Warlick was going to be at the Symposium, I was ecstatic since I had heard him speak at MICCA 2007 and found him to be very engaging.
Mr. Warlick’s keynote presentation was entitled “Our Students, Our Worlds“. As a Teacher Specialist for Instructional Technology, I was excited to hear Mr. Warlick stress the importance of technology in the classroom. One of the facts that he brought to our attention was that “in 2002 five exabytes of new information was created, and only 0.01% of that information was found in PRINT form”. What does this mean? We need to teach our students to stop using paper and start using digital resources to locate information quickly, efficiently, and effectively. We need to “teach students to teach themselves.” We need to show them how to search the Internet effectively, how to distinguish credible resources from the ones that aren’t credible, and how to participate in the online community by sharing content.
I absolutely agree. The Maryland State Department of Education has adopted and passed technology standards for students that states that all students will be technology-literate by the 8th grade. The big debate is, “What makes a student technology literate?” I believe that the answer can be found in David Warlick’s presentation. As of spring of 2009, eight grade students across MD will be “measured” on their proficiency of the technology standards. It will be interesting to see what happens when the results of this measurement tool are released. Maybe this is what is needed to continue to generate attention for the need for technology in our county.
The second session I attended was called “Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network.” At the heart of his presentation was RSS (Really Simple Syndication). By utilizing RSS, you can subscribe to Internet content and have the updates come to you automatically in feed readers such as Google Reader or Bloglines. In addition, social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us or Diigo can be used to store all of your favorite websites online so you have access to them on any computer with an Internet connection. I personally started using del.icio.us after I heard Mr. Warlick speak at MICCA in 2007, and I don’t know how I ever lived without my del.icio.us account since I have started using it. Furthermore, Mr. Warlick spoke of the educational implications of using wikis, blogs, and web 2.0 tools such as Skype, Moodle, Voicethread, and Google Docs.
I only hope that the leaders of Frederick County heard Mr. Warlick’s message as strongly as I did and that we can continue to work towards making our children technology-literate, information-literate, and “Learning Literate” (as Mr. Warlick states).