Going Horizontal: A Systemic Approach to Technology Implementation Published 2006-07-06

Going Horizontal: A Systemic Approach to Technology Implementation
By Timothy Magner
Director, Office of Educational Technology (DOE)
Wednesday July 5th 10am

I attended Tim Magner's NECC session yesterday and left like I had visited the Twilight Zone. Tim is with the Department of Education and consistent with my image of a "bureaucrat", he presented in a nice but conservative suit standing behind the presenter's table - above and removed from his audience. His presentation was scripted and his delivery was direct - not flashy.

But it is was here that the session diverted from my vision of a DOE message. Tim referenced ideas of globalism ala Thomas Freedman. He questioned the skills needed for the US to remain competitive and recognized that teens live in a digital world which they leave to attend school. He understood that we need to find a new metaphor for schools. Gone are the days of thinking of schools as factories with inputs (content) and output (knowledge) - the student moving along a learning conveyer belt with teachers molding her to a desired form. Tim challenged us to come up with a new metaphor and to define the school of the future - School 2.0.

It took me a while to really comprehend or believe that my DOE was embracing 21st Century Skills, understanding the significance of our kid's digital world to education, and soliciting the lowly educator for ideas on how to define education of the future. Is this just a PR stunt or does Tim really believe it?

After finishing his presentation, Tim entertained questions. This is when we got to see that he and his colleagues really believe in this stuff. He spoke passionately about change; he was not speaking from a script or offering sound bits. I went down to the DOE booth in the exhibit hall (they have a booth - isn't that cool) where I found Tim continuing the conversation encouraging others to put their ideas to pen and post-it. It was great to see him and other members of DOE in the booth talking to people, answering questions, and LISTENING.

Well Done Tim!

2 comments:

Miguel said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's a hopeful sign!

Miguel Guhlin
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net/blog

Tom McCurdy said...

I saw Tim present in NYC this summer and the "School 2.0" theme was very exciting to see. I wish there were some resources about this on the DOE web site, but I couldn't find any. This is very exciting thinking coming from Washington. It needs to be shouted from the roof tops.