Wow, what an opportunity! This is something to think about, but what comes to mind right now is:
The way kids use technology...Instant Messaging, Chat, E-Mail, Photo Sharing, Watching Television....and so on.
The funding sources most school districts use for technology.
State implementation of the Intel Programs.
The most admired American, past or present.
I like Tom's idea about what technologies kids use but I would pose the question about what "technology tool" 'they use the most or find the most useful" BUT within the same VR activity have already asked some actual students/kids to rank the same list. The power will be in the comparisons demonstrating how technology can foster/support collaboration/sharing etc..
Just an idea .:-)
Here are possible items to consider:
Chat/Instant Messaging Online
Text Messaging on your phone
Cell Phone (actually talking on your phone)
Phone at home or in your office
Social Networking sites (Facebook etc)
Blogging (communicating using Twitter and other communication sites)
Searching the Internet for information
Sharing Photos Online
iPods and other devices like iPods
I like Tom's idea and love Dan's extension but how about instead of technology in general ...tie it to education. The connection would be the technologies used in the classroom (digital storytelling, podcasting etc.) The comments feature with the students will be important because folks will see why certain technologies may not be used (if items are blocked,if not available etc).
Yes - the showcasing of the Thinking Tools such as the Visual Ranking tool is essential and could be that possible "hook" of captivating the attention of our congressmen and women of understanding the importance of why the govt needs to support educational funding. Big picture ideas that come to mind immediately include creating a visual ranking activity to encompass 21st century skills and key concepts, and ranking their key importance for student, educator and administrator technology literacy. Other ideas include focusing on NETS for students, teachers, and administrators.
Wouldn't it be interesting to offer a hands-on session to incorporate a wireless classroom response systems(CRS) and instantly poll the audience of congress to evaluate their knowledge of technology literacy standards- just as we do- during the Intel Leadership Forum for administrators? This would open up their minds and provide background knowledge of what administrator technology literacy standards/expectations are, and really shed some light on the true accountability factor of what students, educators, and administrators are responsible for mastering in a 21st century K-12 teaching and learning environment.
Other polling tools that you can now incorporate include SMS (text messaging) through a cell phone and Twitter presentation. You could also set up a Google Form with addressing essential or probing questions, submit it as a shared link through Twitter, and instantly poll results from individuals in real-time around the world or at NECC. Then you could insert a Google map gadget into the Google document and get immediate map results from a visual global perspective of who and why have collaborated on the Google form.
You could also set up a session to Ustream the presentation and have an active back channel chat with a "global audience" to showcase to congress how students, educators, and administrators can learn in real-time. This type of activity is essential to showcase the importance of the "big picture" why the funding is so critical to maintain the sustainability of learning tools and online resources to support teaching and learning in our global and digitally competitive society. These technology tools and resources are the vehicle to leverage global communication and collaboration, and to engage, motivate and inspire life long learning.
Okay.... I have many, many more ideas.... but these are my first ideas to share with you.
I like all the ideas shared, but on the lighter side we could look at:
What characteristics do you look at in choosing a good restaurant when visiting a new city or foreign location?
What is important to be considered when selecting a candidate to run for president of the party?
What ten elements from the periodic table are most essential to survival?
Paige and team,
This certainly IS exciting! While I love all the ideas about getting senators to THINK about education and the way in which they use technology could trying to present the tool with an issue indirectly tied to education also make the point?
I attended an energy conference today and as presenters from companies were talking about ways that municipalities could entice energy experts into their towns, I thought about how the VR tool might help these town councils in finding the best way (or most supported way) to do this. So a prompt might go something like this:
In order of priority, rank the following initiatives you would take in order to entice renewable energy and energy experts to work locally to help your communities and cities: (They could brainstorm this activity as well)
Offer income tax credits
Offer tax incentives for specific forms of energy savings created
Offer subsidies on land purchases
Offer subsidies on building purchases
Offer government land at no cost
Offer government buildings at no cost
Offer incentives for universities and companies that partner in programs to develop needed workforce
Create grant funded workforce training programs to educate electricians, construction workers, etc. in new technologies
Offer scholarships / aid to older workforce to obtain new degrees in energy management, sustainable development, etc.
Offer new businesses tax incentives
I am trying to remember everything I heard today and it is impossible but hopefully this is a start. If you could direct the prompt to maybe be tied more specifically to workforce development in general, I think that could work too...
All of these ideas are fantastic and could help our elected leaders understand the tools more effectively. Knowing how busy lives in Washington D.C. are, I think you need to decide on the one concept that best fits your intended focus. Based on time constraints, the Visual Ranking tool is fantastic for this. The big question would be whether you want to relate this to their role in Washington D.C. or as an elected official for their local area.
I'd suggest you go with a pre-prepared list for them to rank instead of creating the list onsite if time is a problem. I think they will realize the power of this tool by experience and an explanation of how students use it.
My first suggestion would be to have a list of nice restaurants in the Washington D.C. area (listed alphabetically). The prompt would be: "Rank these restaurants in the order would you recommend them to a constituent visiting Washington D.C. for the first time?" Elected participants would then rank your list of 10-12 restaurants in order from highest recommendation at the top to lowest recommendation at the bottom. I would ask them to include a reason for their top and bottom three choices. The power of this tool comes in comparing not only how closely lists rank but in why people decide on the order of ranking.
My second idea would be to provide a list of 21st Century Skills and ask "Order these 21st Century Skills from highest important to least important." Again, I would ask them to include a reason for their top and bottom three choices. Note that the skills are alphabetized in this list:
- Communication and Collaboration
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
- Digital Citizenship
- Research and Information Fluency
- Technology Operations and Concepts
Good luck in the process and please send out an email ahead of time if you want to have our assistance as "educators" who rank these as well - for comparison purposes. I'm speaking on behalf of the entire community and am sure everyone would enjoy helping in the project.
I LOVE all these ideas- thanks for your sharing your creativity! We have more info on the showcase now- it will be a bunch of vendors in a room showing off their ed tech offerings- so this will be more like an NECC demo than a full training or captive audience. But I think your prompt ideas will give Steve and Alison an idea of how to set up the project to quickly engage the congressmen. I think it would be great to have it focus on some of the education, engery or economic topics you raised- and to have the project pre-populated with some of their constituents opinions (e.g. have a student group, a parent group, a corporate group and a teacher group that they could compare their priorities.) We may be coming back looking for volunteers to gather a specific perspective. thanks again for your time and energy- we should flesh out some of these ideas further for the tools space on intel.com/education.
All of the ideas are wonderful but I would send home the message to congress that we use technology like Thinking Tools to do things in classrooms that simply cannot be done without technology. There simply isn't another way for a group discussion to take on the levels it does without VR. Imagine if groups in a appropriations committee were to use the tool to prioritize pros and cons of a decision before making it. Even better than that - what if their consitituants were to include their voices on the discussion by ranking, as well. The multiple perspectives would be golden nuggets of information.
Just wanted to close the loop with all of you and let you know that Steve Andrews did a very successful Visual Ranking demo using the energy policy project idea. The crowd in the Rayburn building was better than most including the Chairman of Education and Labor, Cong. Rush Holt, Rep. Ehlers and Tierney and more. THANKS for all your good ideas and support of this event.