Tom’s presentation is here.

Tom opens with his own background, emphasizing he began as a teacher who then began using technology, skeptically, and then became enthusisatic, and now is a trainer.

Using, Tom collects input from all participants here to express our edtech feelings:

55% enthusiastic, 32% interested but concerned, 13% mostly skeptical.

Next we go to create a room at; Tom helpfully shows us to create the room.   Our room’s conversation topic is hopes and concerns about a 1:1 laptop classroom environment.

Tom will ask students a question that is analytical, about what they have been learning recently, and then will send them into chat rooms in groups of 4 or 5, and have them discuss, (no spoken conversation allowed), and then he will monitor the rooms and discover the landscape of what students are thinking– looking for salient points, common themes and common characteristics.

A great way, Tom says, to quickly brainstorm with students and can gather an understand of where students are intellectually and emotionally with the material at hand.

Tom recommends,, and elluminate as good chat rooms for classroom use.

Tom talks about the use of a backchannel– a scrolling panel of discussion points coming in a twitter-like feed from the audience, by projecting on a smartboard a chat room discussion.  It can be very distracting, he explains, but it can also be very powerful for an audience supporting each other with commentary on the presentation or lecture.

Tom encourages use of elluminate for a shared classroom space on-line.

Tom kicks off a more formal prez, with the question Where are we Going?   What are our goals for students at school?

  • Preparing them to be effective citizens, socially skilled as humans, and excellent communicators.
  • Formal curricular knowledge.
  • Prepare them to discern all the information at their fingertips.
  • Critical Thinking and deeper understanding of key concepts.

Think about what our mission is, and how we can achieve it in our classroom learning.

Murnane, New Divisions of Labor: Enormous increase in the workplace over forty years of the importance of two things: 1.  complex communication, persuasively, using multiple modalities, and 2. expert thinking, identifying new problems and challenges and then solving and meeting those challenges.

Offsourcing and automation has rendered routine manual and routine cognitive tasks much less important.

So we need to think about teaching kids to do things that computers cannot do well.  What are those things?

What percentage of all information is or will soon be digitized? 90% plus– so, for instance, the historical field will be revolutionized, using on-line tools, researching and collaborating and publishing on-line.

Fundamental academic research is undergoing a transformation.

Tom references Cushing Academy and its decision to transform its library to the 21st century by removing all books, and replacing them with e-readers and computers.

Library roles have to be less about collecting and managing textbooks, and more about  helping students navigate the digital realm of information.  Practically speaking, the future is digital.  What does that mean for literacy: literacy has been redefined!

It is up to us what the balance is of the traditional and the digital– because it does need to be a balance.   How much time to teach broadened literacy and multi-modal communication, as opposed to simple print-based literacy.

Tom moves onto a new version of Bloom’s taxonomy– and explained that synthesis is no longer the highest order of thinking; now it is creating.  You have to be able to react to rapidly changing situations.    Tom pairs it is with Dale’s Cone of experience, which lays out effective instructional methods: Lecture is least effective, followed by reading, then audio-visual, then demonstration, then discussion group, and then practice by doing, and finally teaching!   Can be so powerful to have students teaching others, for their own learning.

Encouraging us to find ways for students to teach as a form of learning, he takes us to student news network as a great platform for student journalism. Another awesome teaching site:  mathtrain.TV

Instead of asking what I can do, using technology, to teach,  I needed to ask what can the kids do, using tech, to learn.

CRCD Framework:  Collect is become to research; Relate is to Collaborate; Create is to learn, and Donate is to bring to others.

Collaboration is the most important 21st century skill, Tom suggests; this is something that also emerged from New Tech HS, which places such an enormously high premium on collaboration and group skills.

I would assign a different kid each night to publish on-line their notes on the evening’s learning.   Then, later, after a midterm, I facilitate a conversation about how valuable was the accumulated notes from the unit or quarter, and the kids would say enormously helpful.  Then, I’d stop assigning students to post the notes, and shift the landscape to a voluntary dynamic to build and sustain a community of interdependence.

Kids don’t even know what searchengine to use. and are especially recommended.

Tom’s Google and search lesson: Wonder wheel, Timelines, organizing Keywords.    Here is a site for Google tools:

Guided inquiry and open search:  google custom search engine.


After lunch break, Tom opens with the topic of distraction laptops created:

the issue has to do with challenging and engaging students to find their learning meaningful and fulfilling.   We need to use tech for purposeful, meaningful, engaging activities.   This is not easy, and requires some trial and error to get to that point.    As much as possible if you can focus tech on meaningful, engaging ways, students will stay on task.

That said, there are practical things you can do.   You have to realize you cannot see the screens from the front of the room; you realize too that sometimes students are typing vigorously when you are only speaking slowly.    So you have to figure– what next?   Well, some students do multi-task, and you can allow a little of that without losing students’ full attention.

You can also start students off with a website visit at top of class, and then you can check the history of web-page visits since that first site.

You can also just physically have students turn around, and then you see their screens– simple but effective.


The  rest of the afternoon is dedicated to learning wikispaces, and video tutorials are here: