Notes on This Issue
I hope that you experience this issue of Horace as compelling, illuminating, and a significant force for change in and improvement of your practice as an educator. “CES 2.0: Technology and the Essential School” presents insight into and experience from seven educators across the country who have immersed themselves in the world of cutting edge technology in order to improve student achievement; create opportunities for authentic teaching, learning, and assessment; and create possibilities for their students that would not otherwise exist.
All of these articles feature students as content creators, demonstrating their learning publicly. First and second graders in Washington State use Twitter, Twitpic, and Chirbit to tell the world about their learning—and as they do, they build their literacy skills in immediately relevant, clearly meaningful ways. A high school in Los Angeles is designed from the ground up to teach students digital literacy mastery through digital portfolios. Video technology allows dance students in Philadelphia to grapple with race and identity in their creation and production of a dance piece. And, of course, there’s much more.
Undeniably, there is a genuine whiz-bang, supercool quality to the technologies described in these pages, but in each case, this issue’s writers focus on particular technologies for their ability to deepen students’ understanding and create meaningful learning experiences. They talk about their own learning curves as they immersed themselves in the digital waters. If you’re not already in the pool, we invite you to jump in: the water’s fine. And just like swimming, you can’t learning it by reading a book about it. Because of the nature of interactivity, just as the authors in these pages have done, the only way to learn about the synergy of cutting-edge computer, software, and interactive technology is to use the these tools and see what happens.
As the world goes, so goes Horace. You have received notice of this electronic edition of Horace via email. Perhaps you printed it out; perhaps you’re reading it online (and if you are reading it online, click on a link; they’re live!). We worked hard to create an experience that captures the flexibility of electronic communication with the practicality of ink on paper. CES has a few reasons for moving Horace to online-only publication. We want to be smart with our money, and chose not to spend additional dollars on printing and mailing costs. As well, we want Horace to have the widest possible reach, and it’s a lot easier to “pass along” by forwarding a PDF or sending a link to a URL than it is to do so with a physical magazine. That said, if you want to print and read on paper, please do. We chose to preserve the layout of Horace so that it would not lose its offline readability.
This issue presents the excitement, potential, and challenges of networked, co-created learning, terrain with which Essential school educators are deeply knowledgeable, not only in their classrooms but also as part of their school-based professional learning communities, and the widespread professional learning community that CES represents. For 25 years, Fall Forum has been a networked, “non-virtual” group learning experience, and more recently, the CES Small Schools Network has represented peer-to-peer learning that is the real-time example for interactive technologies, and Horace, written for and by CES network practitioners, represents CES’s commitment to the expertise and wisdom of CES network educators. CES’s historic identification as a network makes our transition to the 2.0 world comfortable and immediately relevant.
In addition to Horace’s new electronic persona, we’re in the process of recreating our website, http://www.essentialschools.org. We can’t wait to welcome you to our transformed online home, which will debut in the coming months. We’re also establishing outposts on social networking sites in which you may already be active. Here’s where you can find us:
CES Fall Forum Ning
Connect with others interested in Fall Forum’s “Changing Schools, Changing Lives” theme. Join in discussions about CES principles and practices, connect with people planning to attend Fall Forum, and take advantage of an authentic and vibrant conversation among friends to deepen your understanding about Fall Forum and CES.
We’re @cesnational. Give us a tweet!
We’re on Facebook! Search http://www.facebook.com for “Coalition of Essential Schools” or go straight to our group at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=22085646681&ref=ts
Join the CES Flickr group to upload photos of your school, and get happy and inspired with images from other Essential schools across the country and worldwide. Go straight to our photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/essentialschools.
For video clips of CES teaching and learning, search http://www.youtube.com for “cesnational” or go straight to our channel at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=cesnational&view=videos. Upload your videos of teaching, learning, and interaction that exemplify personalized, equitable, and academically challenging education.
Many thanks to the authors who worked diligently to present their experiences; it’s been a pleasure to work with you! We are grateful, too, to the many thousands of Horace readers over the years, especially those of you who are taking the journey with us as we transform and, we hope, continue to improve. Let us know how we’re doing—drop an email, give us a tweet, post on our Facebook page—we’re eager to hear from you.
Best wishes for a great summer,