Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wired: Learning And The Internet

Wired Education PresentationWatching The Wild Center live telecast of the Wired Education teacher training day October 25th, I felt excited, inspired, amazed  — and oh, so dumb.

I sat at my computer for five hours mesmerized by internationally respected educational consultant Alan November.  His keynote address and two workshops were presented to almost 200 Adirondack teachers participating in person at The Wild Center and virtually at three remote sites.

The idea for the event came from AdkAction.org, whose board last fall voted to pay to bring in a high-caliber speaker like November to excite Adirondack educators about the opportunities presented by a high speed internet trunk line just recently completed to the Park.

AdkAction.org took the idea to The Wild Center, which suggested building a program around November for a Franklin-Essex Hamilton BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) in-service training day for teachers.  BOCES and the Adirondack Community Trust signed on as co-sponsors, but The Wild Center did most of the preparation work, which was extensive.

Thanks to The Wild Center’s high speed internet connection, sophisticated camera equipment and pioneering expertise in distance learning, the entire program is now available 24 hours a day on their website for anyone anywhere to view.

You are probably thinking at this point, “Nice, but I’m not a teacher.  Why should I be interested?” Do yourself a favor.  Watch Alan November.

November’s presentation certainly is a must for every teacher in the Adirondacks, hundreds of whom were not able to be there. It should be a must for every teacher in the nation.  It is a must for every parent of a student struggling in school or of a gifted student not being challenged, or for a high school student who wants some secret tips that might make his school work easier now and in college.  It would be great for any news editor who wants his reporters to be armed with the best research tools available today.  It is invaluable for the average person who uses the internet, and who doesn’t?

Just a few of the things you will learn:

  • Why any cocky student or adult who thinks they know how to Google anything will be grateful for November’s tips on how to REALLY turn on the “magic power”of Google searches and zero in on the content while saving hours of work using Google’s 16 search operators.
  • Why — whether beginning in third grade or the retirement home — all of us should have a Diigo account to take better advantage of our web searches and catalog and save them on the Cloud for future use anywhere in the world.
  • Why schools boards should rethink their stand if they have banned cell phone use at school.  November calls cell phones the most powerful education tool ever and suggests they can be an effective tool for teachers and students, not the enemy.
  • How much more students learn when they are invited to create tutorials using such tools as Club Academia and Mathtrain.tv.  “If I have to design a tutorial then I really learn the material. Plus it is fun,” was one student’s comment to November.
  • How students around the world are getting hooked on Mathletics, an online learning game where students around the globe compete at solving math problems.
  • How WolframAlpha, a “knowledge engine,” can walk a student or parent trying to help through any math or chemistry equation.
  • How Poll Everywhere can be a great tool for feedback not only in the classroom but in your business or even your social circle or extended family.
  • Why even grey-beards who may have thought Twitter was a waste of time may become converts once they discover the power of Tweetdeck.
  • Why it may be a mistake for schools to block such sites as iTunes and You Tube, where educators have built and posted for free whole courses taught by some of the world’s top academics.

(If you want to dig even deeper into Alan November’s bag of tricks, go to the resources page of the November Learning web site.)

Another important reason you should watch November’s speech and workshops is to appreciate why every day we delay putting an internet-connected device in the hands of every Adirondack student is one more day he or she falls behind.

Watch Alan November. You will laugh as you learn.  Then share his video with everyone you know. And next time you get the chance, thank The Wild Center for making something like this available in your living room 24-7.


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Marsha Stanley is a former reporter for the Rochester Times Union, where she covered government and did investigative reporting. She freelanced for many years for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, writing feature stories for the Sunday magazine. She holds a bachelor of journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

Marsha is a founding member and on the board of AdkAction.org.

One Response

  1. Naj Wikoff says:


    I too watched the session on-line, agree with everything you said, and thank you for taking such good notes. I was impressed with his examples of using Twitter, youtube, and the rest to engage students heretofore near impossible to engage, to foster greater involvement by parents in their children’s education and school, and to build and tap into a global community of people passionate about education. Sobering was to what extent people from China and elsewhere take advantage of free on-line programs we put up, and that contrasted by how few Americans take advantage of such offerings.

    Thank you again for your great coverage – and to the Wild Center, AdkAction, and all others who made this terrific program possible.


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