As a matter of disclosure, Ethan Warlick, whose comment I am responding to here, is my nephew. He will be graduating from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington next month and moving on to the real world of work and learning by joining a social media startup. I’m not sure if this is why I’ve elevated my response to full blog-status, or because of the story he tells, that..
..one of my roommates recently received a failing grade on a paper for “plagiarism.” Whether it was or wasn’t, he says he “missed a quotation mark,” I think that it will be interesting to learn new ways to deal with plagiarism from the summit! Especially from a collegiate perspective, as I hear about issues on campus constantly.
I scanned through a number of definitions of plagiarism from a number of sources and the most inclusive one came from Wiktionary, “The act of plagiarizing: the copying of another person’s ideas, text or other creative work, and presenting it as one’s own, especially without permission.”(Plagiarism, 2013)
There seem to be three parts here, or three questions. Did he copy the work of another person? Did he present the work as his own? ..and Did he get permission to use the work? Considering these three questions, I would have to read the offending paper to determine if he committed plagiarism. But in my own work, attributing the expressed ideas of another person is more than just punctuation.
When I write (or draw, paint, compose, etc.) something, I am presenting it as my work — a representation of my ideas. When the expressed ideas of another adds value to my work, and I include the expression of those ideas, then it is my responsibility to credit the creator of that expression; and that is not simply a matter of punctuation.
Quotation marks simply, “..set off and represent exact language (either spoken or written) that has come from somebody else.” (“Purdue online writing“) They indicate ownership, but they do not attribute the owner. To avoid plagiarism, I must identify the creator and do so in a way that the reader will not fail to recognize the information’s source and the roll that it plays within my work. That credit best falls within the text along with some form of assistance to the reader who wants to validate its accuracy, reliability and validity. If Ethan’s roommate credited the work with a phrase such as, “John Battelle recently said in a lecture..” or “Berkman Center fellow, David Weinberger wrote in …” Well, the writer isn’t presenting the work as his own, and is not plagiarizing.
So, if the roommate was simply careless in his punctuation, then was the failing grade fair? From a student’s point of view — that is to say, academically — then perhaps it was not fair. However, from a learner’s point of view, especially if the learner is preparing himself for endeavors that will rely on written communication, then I might consider it a fair, if not authentic, response.
When we finish school and begin to work (and continue to learn), we can still fail by leaving out a quotation mark. A potential client, customer, or employer can, and often does decide to choose another provider because it appears that I have used the words of another as my own. In my opinion, the concept of intellectual property should be an integral part of our basic notions of literacy — receiving, perhaps, even more attention than it already does.
But that said, I’ll let you in on a little secret; something that my teachers never shared. In the world, after formal schooling, we almost never do anything, that’s important, alone. It was one of my surprises when I left the solitude of classroom teaching to work more directly with other educators (district office). Those other professional educators were constantly asking me and each other to read their writing before they sent it; and I adopted the habit myself, when what I needed to say was important. Almost every day Brenda and I ask each other to read our emails before we hit the send button, and we usually catch each other’s careless mistakes. When the conveyance of an idea is important, then it takes more than one head to effectively construct its expression.
This leads me to wonder, are your school writings important enough that instructors encourage you to read each other’s work? ..or are they just grammar?
Purdue online writing lab: How to use quotation marks. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/577/01/
Clipart, curtesy of http://internet.phillipmartin.info
I spent Wednesday morning at the “Every Teacher Every Learner” conference in College Park Georgia. The event was organized by Woodward Academy and mostly for private school teachers from the area. I talked about contemporary literacy (learning-literacy) and about new pedagogies.
In reviewing and commenting on the backchannel transcript this morning, I ran across a comment/question that deserves a little more exploration here. The question was:
“Should the tools and environment drive the learning or vice versa?”
It’s a common question in the greater edtech conversation that begs the answer, “No! the learning drives the tools.” My answer, which I inserted into the backchannel, was “Both!”
One of the mistakes that I believe we make is believing that the principle purpose of these information and communication technologies is to enhance education – as we’ve known it. This is a reasonable assumption and the way that we have all promoted technology for education since the early ’80s.
However, personal computers and the Internet are the pencil and paper of our time. Like pencil and paper, the productive use of these technologies will not end at graduation. We continue to use them as we continue with our lives and work. They are our prevailing tools of accomplishment.
But perhaps even more important to this discussion is the fact that we are preparing our students for life-long learning. Many, if not most of the students I graduated high school with (more than 40 years ago) went to work in the textile mills of my hometown, fully expecting to spend the next 35 years doing pretty much the same job – a job that required almost no continued learning. Of course, those jobs have moved thousands of miles south and west – and my former classmates who continue to be employed accomplished it by learning new skills, and learning to continue learning new skills.
It is a defining quality of a time of rapid change, that you live a lifestyle of learning.
The readers of this blog live that lifestyle, and we know that information and communication technologies have changed the way that we learn. We learn from large and small networks that we create and cultivate with machines that we carry under our arms and in our pockets.
If it is a learning lifestyle that we should be preparing our students for, and if these tools are a principle mechanism for that lifestyle, then to that degree the tools should drive the how and even what our children are learning in school.
Bud The Teacher posted a great blog article last week, Centering on Essential Lenses. His references to lenses reminded me of a bulletin board I use to have in my classroom that said something to the effect that, “This classroom is your microscope on the world.” Not being much of a bulletin board guy, it usually stayed up all year and for some years my classroom was a telescope.
I especially liked Hunt’s references to DIY and hacking, and I agree about many people’ misconceptions of the word, hack. I use the word a lot and often to the widening eyes of the person or people I’m talking to. I usually use it to describe a cleaver, sometimes elegant and often disruptive fix to a problem or unattained goal – and it always refers to a particular person – the hacker.
I’m a big-time hacker. Most of my toys, growing up, were the result of fashioning various shapes of scrap wood I found my my Dad’s workshop, using straightened nails, into the toy gun, or truck, or boat that I wanted. Programming code is my primary language of hacking today, though I still do it with my hands, recently hacking the plans of an adirondack chair I downloaded (have I said lately how much I love the Internet), because I couldn’t find the cedar planks in the widths called for by the “Materials List.”
I talk and write a lot about learning – that “Being educated today has more to do with your ability to learn than it does with what you’ve been taught.” ..and learning is often the practice of hacking. It’s about tricking Google into reveal exactly the information you need and examining the information, pulling together its aspects to determine its validity and value and reshaping it to fit with other similarly fashioned bits of information. Then fitting that new knowledge into an old condition and even hacking that condition so that it fits your solution.
Learning today should rarely be about being told something, though a well-told story is a wonderful thing. Learning today should be about hacking.
I taught my students about inventions and inventors, but I should have told the stories of how he or she did that, about how he hacked those filaments and electricity into something that would ultimately result in this…
Those stories need to be told, admired and emulated and they need to be an integral part of our classroom conversations.
“How did you learn that?”
“How do you know that’s true?”
“How would you find out why?”
“How do you think she came up with that conclusion?”
“What information do you think we would need to find that out?”
Practice it this summer. Hack some new knowledge.
I mentioned this on some social networks the other day, but thought I’d post it here as well.
I recently got a call from an automated polling service, which promised me a trip for two to the Bahamas if I would complete the short political survey. I pressed the number for “yes,” more out of curiosity than a burning desire for the Bahamas.
Here are the first two questions, as I remember them.
Question #1, What issues should the presidential candidates be most concerned with in the 2012 campaign?
- Rising gasoline prices
- U.S. involvement in the Middle East
- Staggering unemployment
- Health care reform.
I pressed “4″ and to my surprise, was asked the same question again. I pressed “4″ again, and the same question was repeated. This time I answered “3″ and the poll continued on to the next question.
Question #2, Where do you get most of your political news?
- Fox News
- The New York Times
- (I don’t remember what 4 was)
I pressed “3″ and the same question was repeated. It was at this point that I hung up.
Now the critical thinker in me first considers whether the survey automation server is broken. Then I wonder, if it’s not broken, and this exchange was designed, then why? What might someone have to gain by contriving this exchange?
I won’t delve further into the same conclusions that most of you have already made.
Critical thinkers see through manipulations and perhaps might even extend their scepticism to question any and all political survey findings of a similar political tilt — in which case, this type of information fixing would backfire.
My reason for including this story here is that we are told by almost all quarters that..
..They want schools to help their children become critical thinkers.
I mean, “Who wouldn’t?”
I had the pleasure of facilitating an unconference session at Friday’s CUEBC conference in Port Coquilan, British Columbia. I had just finished my keynote, so it was a great way to follow-up. Admittedly, I did not start things off very well (my prompting question was too complex), but the session turned out to be productive – in my opinion. There were quite a few beginners, but mostly some well connected educators, for whom this was probably not their first unconference experience.
There was a great deal of knowledge, experience, and vision apparent in the room and a variety of topics explored. However, what still discourages me is how often I continue to hear educators say that we need to “teach our students this skill” or “teach them that skill.”
This is not incorrect. We have to teach skills. We always have and we always will. But it seems to me that a large and explicit part of 21st century learning and the transformed classroom is the notion that skills must become habits. We need to teach our students important skills, but we need to also craft and cultivate learning environments and experiences where learners are constantly provoked to use those skills as part of their learning practice. We need to instill a learning lifestyle.
We teach reading at an early age. Then our learners use those skills throughout the rest of their schooling. We need to more fully describe the expanding qualities of literacy that reflects today’s networked, digital and info-abundant environment, and then make sure that learners are utilizing all of these skills as part of their learning practices.
I’ll say it again, We need to think about ”learning literacy”, not just literacy.
What I should have asked at the beginning of the session:
During the day, I had a number of educators come up to me explaining that they were still in university, or a first year teachers, or experienced but considering technology in their classrooms for the first time. They wanted to know, Where to go to begin to learn how to transform their classrooms for 21st century learning?1 That’s the question I should have prompted the unconference session with.
- What do we call 21st century learning when we’re more than a tenth of the way into the century? [↩]
On Saturday, I’ll be attending EduBloggerCon in Philadelphia, where the sessions will be of an unconference style. This means that the expert will not he standing in front of the group. Instead, the expertise is expected to come from the group. The facilatator is tasked with generating the conversations that draw that expertise out while minimizing the venting that sometimes erupts.
One issue that frequently comes up is their almost exclusive exposure our learners, in their native info experiences, have to short and independently focused media messages and the highly abbreviated messages that they share with each other. The concern is that millennials are not prepared and are disinclined to tough out longer stories or thoroughly explore deep and complex issues. I have run across research that seems to support these concerns – and I share them.
When I think of my own experiences and my deep love of reading, the idea of the novel’s decline seems so incredibly unlikely that I fear it not even a little. I’m not an addictive personality, but I am addicted to stories. I love and crave long, deep, rich, wet, stories. I hate when they end. I particularly like series. At any time, I have two fictions going, one in audio and the other in print. It’s why I walk two to four miles a day, so I can pick up on my story.
I haven’t always been that way! Have you? I hated to read when I was young. Reading books was work and there was no joy in it. I was not, nor am I now, a strong reader. It’s still work for me. But a good and richly told story, or an intriguing new way of thinking about something (currently reading Visualizing Data by Ben Fry), is more than worth the work, because I grow in the process
Before my Junior year of college, I prefered the pampering delivery of content and stories by network television. But in college, friends and more open-minded teachers introduced me to books that were not on standardized recommended reading list. I discovered the great stories of Arthur C.Clark, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Hesse, and many others and cannot think of a time since when I did not have at least one book with a bookmark in it.
Now, what got me going down this path this morning (when I should be working on slide deck for ISTE) was my wife’s desire to have a way to easily record the books she is reading along with short personal reviews. I showed her a couple of library services, spending more time on Library Thing, my favorite. Then I started digging a little deeper — further procrastinating my upcoming presentation — and found their Zeitgeist page. It features the fifty largest libraries maintained by readers, fifty most prolific reviewers, twenty-five most reviewed books, seventy-five top authors, and much more — all based on the data generated by users’ use of the service. You can see of their vital statistics to the right. When I look at this, at the people who are not only reading, but wanting to share their reading — well I feel fairly secure in the continuing validity of the bookcases in our home.
- Posted using BlogsyApp from my iPad
The title has been edited to remove the errant apostrophy. Was, “The Last of it’s Kind.” SAT
IBM Selectric Typewriter, circa 1968
When I was in high school, a junior I think, I took typing from Mrs. Sapenfield, one of my father’s colleagues when he’d taught there twelve years earlier. We used manual typewriters, though there were three IBM Selectrics in the back of the room, with a type ball that rotated and pivoted, lining up the letters, numbers and symbols being pressed. That was just too future.
Before I graduated from high school, I got a Royal portable typewriter with case for Christmas. For a number of years, it was probably a quarter of the volume of my entire worldly possessions — and it was about that important. My handwriting has always been atrocious, so all of my turn-ins, from that point on, were typed.
For a number of months, I actually used this (left) 1912 Royal 5 (which I inherited from my grandfather) for printing labels. It was the novelty of an experience that I knew was fading.
..and perhaps it is an experience that has faded away, as Mashable blogger, Todd Wasserman, reported this morning that the last company to manufacture typewriters is shutting its doors in Mumbai, India.1
Godrej and Boyce – the last company left in the world that was still manufacturing typewriters – has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India with just a few hundred machines left in stock.2
An update on the Mashable blog post indicates that according to Gawker, there are still manufacturers of typewriters in China, Japan and Indonesia.
I suppose that at some point, perhaps in my lifetime, we’ll read, somehow, that the last manufacturer of laptops or mobile phone devices has closed its doors because of the rapid adoption of …
- Wasserman, Todd. “RIP Typerwriters: Last Manufacturer Closes Its Doors.” Mashable. Mashable, Inc., 26 Apr 2011. Web. 26 Apr 2011. <http://mashable.com/2011/04/26/rip-typewriter/>. [↩]
- “The end of the line: Last typewriter factory left in the world closes its doors.” MailOnline 26 Apr 2011, Web. <http://goo.gl/Pn5Xv>. [↩]
I would suggest that “YOU NEED OUR LIBRARIES!”
From the Texas Library Association web site
One of the upcoming events I especially look forward to is the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin. I’ll be part of a series of presentations for administrators about libraries and their evolving and increasing importance in a mouse-click world.
One component of my message came to me about a week ago during a conversation with someone who works with librarians across the country. I did not know her before this conversation, and so, do not remember her name now. It takes two meetings for me to remember someone’s name. No stickiness left in my brain.
During that conversation she said something to me that did stick. She suggested that for high school students, who are going on to college, the school librarian is perhaps the most important teacher they will have. I think that this was a gross understatement.
We talk hard about life-long learning, but I do not believe that it is figuring in to the procedures, policies, and pedagogies of formal education nearly as much as it should. Today, with everything changing so fast, the ability and proclivity to learn is as critical as the basic literacies were in my time. Perhaps they should be the same thing — learning and literacy.
I often ask people, especially non-educators, “How much of what you do in your job or profession, did you learn in high school?” “..in college?” ”In the last five years?” ”In the last month?” How much of living and working today is significantly dependent on our ability to learn? Imagine education focusing less on what’s been taught, and much much more on skilled, curious, resourceful, and habitual learning. Imagine a generation of super-charged learners embracing a day and time when almost anything is possible.
Coming back around, what educator in today’s schools, holds, as an explicit part of their mission, helping children learn to teach themselves. Why it’s librarians, those educators who are too often among the first to be laid off in order to balance budgets.
Such a sad and tragic lack of vision.
Click to link to the original Washington Post graphic
In 1986, I was the director of instructional technology in a rural school district in North Carolina, a job that hadn’t existed when I’d started teaching only 10 years earlier. Thanks to researchers at the University of Southern California, we now know something about the state of technology ten years into my career.
For instance, In 1986, 41% of the world’s computer processing power was in pocket calculators. Personal computers made up 33%, with 17% going to servers and mainframes. A whopping 9% powered video game consoles. According to that study things had changed dramatically by 2007. The amount of the world’s processing power residing in personal computers had doubled, to 66% and calculators had disappeared from the picture. Video games accounted for 25% of the processing power and new comers, mobile phones and PDA (which didn’t exist when I was director of technology), held 6% of the world’s computing power. Servers and mainframes dropped to 3% and supercomputer weighed in at 0.3%.
But the real sign of change is in information. Back in 1986, the world held 2.64 billion gigabytes of information — and 2.62 of them resided on analog media (paper, film, audiotape and vinyl and videotape.) The growth of information soured over the next 16 years, when, in 2002, the amount of digital content exceeded the information we stored with analog technologies.
By 2007, our quantity of information had risen to 294.98 billion exabytes of information, and only just less than 19 of them still resided on analog media. If you took only the paper — and film, audiotape and vinyl used to store information today, it would account for only 0.004% of the world’s content. That means that anyone, whose schooling and experience has not included the skilled, responsible and practiced use of contemporary information and communication technologies, well for more than 99.6% of the worlds information, they are practically illiterate!
What it means to be educated has been flipped on it’s side!
From April 2009 Ben Clement (cc) Photo
Several days ago, trying to settle in for a fruit and yogart breakfast in the lounge of the Evansville Airport Marriott, I posted this Facebook status update…
A brief exchange of comments followed which forced me to think a little harder about the feelings that prompted that post — and it had only a little to do with the content of the program — but at least little. I will admit that there is not much that I have seen on the FoxNews Network that does not challenge the values of my country, at least as they were taught to me by my parents and teachers. But trying to cut down deeper to the aspects of the broadcast that were bothering me, I concluded that it was not the content. What irked me was the unapologetic enthusiasm, with which the newscasters were delivering that content.
FoxNews is certainly not alone in their apparent need to dress up their news with zeal, entertainment, or sex appeal. Around the time of the last Presidential election, I took to watching or listening to a couple of the more liberal counterparts to FoxNews, and found myself just as disgusting with its self-righteous and drama-charged presentation — intended to generate emotional energy instead of delivering news, The sad fact is that…
The truth has become anything that people are willing to believe.
What finally provoked me to write this blog entry was an October 27 report from the PEW Research Center for the Peiople & the Press, “Wide Partisan Divide Over Global Warming.” According to a 2007 Harris Interactive survey, 97% Earth and atmospheric scientists agreed that global temperatures have increased during the past 100 years. 74% stated that “currently available scientific evidence” points to human-induced warming, and 84% of the scientists believed that warming is a result of human activity.1
Yet, according to the PEW survey, 44% of the polled population said that scientists do not agree that the earth is warming because of human activity, and the same percent (44%) said that the scientific community does agree. To be fair, the argument can easily be played out based on semantics alone. But when desegregated, based on political parties, a picture unfolds. When asked if there is solid evidence that the earth is warming, 8 out of 10 of Democrats (79%) said, “Yes,” while less than 6 in 10 Independents (56%) agreed. 62% of polled Republicans indicated that there is no solid evidence of the earth’s warming.
Is the earth warming? With three snows in December and ice still on the ground from our January 11 ice storm, it’s easy to find reason to question claims of global warming. The fact is that I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. If I want to know, then I’m going to read what scientists are saying in scientific publications, not to what enthusiastically partisan news reporters are telling me.
But to say that it’s partisanship is too easy. It’s that enthusiasm part that really twists my nerves. One of the epiphanies that I experienced, after finishing my formal education and starting to pay attention to this world, was that it’s not a boring place. The world and what happens here is intensely exciting, and one of the forces that came to drive my teaching was that learning about this world should be just as exciting.
Anyone who understands and reflects on their world experience, the forces that influence that experience, and how we affect others, does not need to be convinced by bubbly or blaring reporters. The person with knowledge and understanding can make his or her own “interest.”
What does this mean to classroom? Two things…
- We should help learners form not only the information literacy skills that are necessary in an information-driven culture, but also the literacy habits of exploring all sources and all viewpoints and drawing well-reasoned and defendable conclusions. Expect them to compare and contrast — everything. ..and model those habits.
- Stop teaching from beneath the standards. Instead, teach for understanding. Teaching to the test serves only those who want to sell us something.
- Lichter, S.R. (2008). Climate scientists agree on warming, disagree on dangers, the media’s coverage of climate change. Stats Articles 2008, Retrieved from http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html [↩]