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Milken Panel Presentation

I participated in a panel discussion this afternoon at the Milken Institute (Blogs, Wikis, MMORPGs, and YASNS: Shaking Up Traditional Education) – meeting and dialoguing with members of the panel was the conference highlight for me).

I was impressed with the attendance. Initially, I expected that we would have limited number attending (the conference is geared toward decision makers in financial, healthcare, and education – but most of the conversation I had with people were at a fairly high level beyond the implementation of blogs/wikis). The room was full…with many not being able to get in (a good problem!). Feedback following the session was very positive. While many of the participants were business focused, their reason for attending seemed to be the education of their children. Will fielded several questions from individuals trying to understand Myspace and needed changes at the K-12 level. Like many of the other panels at the conference, I left with the impression that people understand the issue, but a vision, will, and path to move forward are lacking.

As educators, we feel we have part of the solution to the problem, but we don’t have a seat at the power table. We can’t impact change systemically. Our change happens in a small box (online or physical), consisting of 20 – 30 learners at a time. While this is what we must do, it’s important to rethink how we create influence and impact change. How we get to the power table, and gain access to decision makers, is going to be critical in spreading our message.

I started blogging some of the session, but became too involved in the conversation. Here are a few bits: (David Weinberger covered the panel much more effectively than I did…Will weighs in with his thoughts as well).

Will: blogging has taught me more than anything I’ve learned through formal education. His focus is – rightly in my eyes – on what blogging enables, not just simply blogs themselves.

Liz: people who want to learn from my syllabus can’t see it – they can’t ask me questions. It goes away from access at the end of the course. We end up with a dialogue that isn’t possible in a classroom. I can bring in authors and outside experts.

Adrian: Make it a learning space and a special kind of learning space. Talk technologies – that is learning that provides concepts through the course activities.

David – this works. We can know stuff together. (Breaking a mindset or limitation). You have to share and be willing to participate in this space. We’ve been told to simplify (starting with the Greeks) – that knowledge is a simplification of a complex issue. Today, knowledge is complexification. We can take simple issues, and turn it over in blogs and wikis, exploring the deeper aspects.

Doug – art and music were places of passion…but we are teaching to the test. We need to integrate artistry back into the curriculum.