Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wk#2/Blog#4 Free Choice - Tony Wagner

This week, I had the privilege to attend a lecture by noted education expert Tony Wagner. Wagner has written several books; his latest is called The Global Achievement Gap. He is a first rate speaker and recently was named the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard ( My school sponsored the lecture and I was asked to videotape it (I own a professional video camera). Of course, Wagner spoke about everything that is taught in the EMDT program at Full Sail and in fact after the lecture, when I had him sign my book, I mentioned the program and he said he had heard of it.

Anyway, I've embedded the lecture and Q&A session that I edited and uploaded to Vimeo this weekend for your viewing pleasure. There are a lot of pieces to his talk that I liked but one of the most important I liked was that he gave a REAL definition for what critical thinking really is. I think this term is used way to much and most educators have no idea what they really mean when they use it. Until we, as educators, are able to really define what it means, we won't be able to re-define our teaching to enable this important skill.

One of the other pieces that I think relates directly to how this program is the notion of developing an online portfolio. Wagner says that the development of a digital portfolio for all students, teachers and administrators will be an important element. I believe this is something important to consider. At Whitby, I have helped the students create an iWeb this past year that is a Developmental Workbook required by IB for the middle school program, but in essence begins to help students create a sustained place to document their work over the course of their life as a student. And, the AR site I did last year serves as a cornerstone for my digital portfolio. No only did I put all of my AR work there, but I also uploaded all of the projects from each class.

Wagner said that Tufts University asked students to submit YouTube videos last year as part of their admission requirement and they were astounded at the creativity shown by the applicants. Helping our students create a positive digital footprint AND show them how to make a portfolio of this work will be something I will work on as an educator. And, of course, I will document this effort for MY digital portfolio!

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