Fullscreen capture 11142009 15021 PMI love this ladder of  “social technographics,” as described by the authors of the book Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies.   Hat tip to my colleague and fellow (very fine) blogger Josie Holford, Head of Poughkeepsie Day School, and her blogging about this ladder.   The ladder represents various stages of social technology use, from “inactives” to spectators to joiners and on up to Creators; Josie and I agree vigorously that an important goal of our two schools is to educate and empower our students to rise to the top rung.  At her blog, the Compass Point, she argues that

That top rung is small in the wider world but in schools with students beyond the early elementary years it should be 100%. In schools [like PDS, ( and like St. Gregory)] getting engaged, being creative and collaborating is not an optional activity. And technological innovation makes it possible  to engage with a global reach.  And if we believe in the importance of innovation and creativity,  making a positive contribution and changing the world – there is the purpose. It brings a whole new meaning to the eduspeak catch phrases of problem-solving and ethical and creative thinking. It makes our mission possible in effective, dynamic and inclusive ways.

I have written here often that 21st century schools educate, empower, and enable students as publishers– that they should be asked to share their content with a wider audience, and use the many new technologies available (like wordpress!) to do so.  Our students at St. Gregory are blogging, but still primarily within the walls of stgregoryschool.org domain; it is my intent we find ways to broaden the reading audience for their publishing.

Some terrific elaboration on this approach is provided at another excellent blog, The Innovative Educator.   The post is entitled “21st century educators don’t say hand it in– they say publish it!” Right on.    This is exactly aligned with what I preach here: publish or perish, publish to the wider world to make school work meaningful to the wider world, and to bring home the significance of real-world audiences.  This piece is terrific:

It takes more than collecting data or creating on computers to be a 21st century school. If educators are not having students publish regularly in thoughtful, authentic, and relevant places they are NOT preparing them for today or tomorrow….The authentic publication of student work should be a part of EVERY SINGLE UNIT OF STUDY. If an educator can’t figure out a way to help students publish anything in a unit of study they need to either 1) Rethink the unit or 2) Rethink the assessment. While data in an expensive database may be impressive to educators, leaders, and test prep companies, it is not intrinsically meaningful for students or helping them in an authentic way.

The blogger goes on to then provide six terrific tips, really valuable, on how to do exactly this: make publishing online abolutely central to the learning process.   I have pasted in below one of the six suggestions:

Hand it in teaching:
Read the book I tell you and write a book report which I will read and hand back to you with some comments. Some papers will end up in the trash and some our bulletin board.

Publish it teaching:
Join our class online learning network where you will join a group based on the book you are reading. You will select a character from the book whose profile you will take on in the learning network. In the network you will create your profile page, engage in discussions and contribute blog posts as if you were the assigned character.

Technology used: