It’s the message stupid!


This is a follow up to Scott McLeod’s post, Dangerously Irrelevant: Vision challenge – Part 1 and my post on this subject. The title comes from the James Carville quote during Clinton’s first run at the White House, “It’s the economy stupid!” While harsh, it does get to the point, reminding all the foot soldiers in the cause what they should be talking about.

In his post, Scott is asking the right question, what are we asking for and how do we articulate it effectively. David Warlick has also picked up this discussion, and I’ve seen a great post here, at cliotech: From the Three Rs to the Three Cs, which gives a great main idea for our discussions, we should teach Three C’s: critical thinking, creativity and continuous learning. I suppose it could also be critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

Whatever you choice of talking points, there is still a disconnect on the part of many of the commenters about how to shape their message to make it accessible to non-Educators. Some are still arguing about what to claim or ask for. If this was a lesson being delivered to students we would not be doing our jobs! The job was to articulate a vision of what we saw our students doing using Web 2.0 tools in a way that we could be used to advocate with lay people for these tools. It’s a vision, but it’s still a conversation with ourselves. We are making the same arguments and claims using the same, tired language. We don’t want our students doing this, why are we doing it? STOP THE MADNESS NOW! NO MORE EDUSPEAK! We are not talking to graduate students in pedagogy at State U, we are talking to parents and school board members. This will not get that job done. Here are some examples showing what I think is good advocacy…

The Definitive Guide To School 2.0 « The Elementary Educator is a great example of advocating technology and how it should be used to our fellow teachers.
From the Communication Workers of America, End the Digital Divide with High Speed Internet – Speed Matters.

Now, this is what I call a full featured political advocacy campaign. This gives information, elicits interest from the public, and tells people where to go (their elected officials) and what to ask for. This is good stuff.

School Libraries Work comes from Carolyn Foote, and is a research report on the effectiveness of school libraries, especially ones with a real librarian. This is a simple, well-formatted easy to read document that makes a wonderful support piece for advocacy. You can use the headings as bullet points for your pitch.

I hope that restarts this discussion where it should be, how to effectively communicate with the public about technology in the classroom. Enough said.

by posted under politics/policy | 3 Comments »    
3 Comments to

“It’s the message stupid!”

  1. July 13th, 2007 at 4:21 pm      Reply Carolyn Foote Says:

    Thanks for the links to those great examples of articulating a vision.

    I agree with your comments at Scott’s site that we need it to be clear and to the point.

    I also think it would be helpful to pull together research studies as we find them into part of that. Wouldn’t it be helpful to be able to say that a particular study supports uses of transformational technology?

    I’m sure such studies exist, and with all the collective minds we have around here, we can use them effectively.

    I’m wondering what Intel Teach to the Future and Apple’s Learning Interchange have in terms of studies. I know I was part of a project Apple did in 92, involving constructivist learning, computers in the classroom and First Class software.

  2. July 13th, 2007 at 10:25 pm      Reply alicemercer Says:

    Yes, Yes, YES!

    Since you’re a librarian, maybe you can help me find a post I KNOW I saw in the last two months (make it three to be safe) that could help towards this end. I desperately searched through my feeds, but since Google docs does not have search and find within feed posts, it’s not gotten me anywhere. It was about a study of students learning history. The control had lectures and tests. The study group worked on a project using online resources, etc. The findings were that initial testing after the project and lessons were completed showed both groups had roughly the same level of knowledge about the subject. The interesting part was later. In the following school year, the group doing online projects had better retention, were able to apply things they learned to novel situations in their studies, and they maintained a high interest in the subject matter. The places you bring up for potential studies would also be a great place to look.

    Thank you for your support!

  3. July 19th, 2007 at 12:53 pm      Reply Rick Says:

    As I continue my trek into this world we call school administration, I become increasingly mindful of how important it is for us to be advocates of public education. For most affluent, conservative business people, public schools are simply a place where kids score abysmally low on test scores and, on occasion, shoot each other. Thus, we get things like NCLB passed because there is a false notion that schools are failing and will only do better if we hold them accountable. As educators, we need to be on the forefront of public education about schools in general, and specifically how and why technology should be given a priority in the classroom.

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