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Schalmont hosts Alan November, international leader in education technology

March 11, 2016

Alan NovemberRenowned international leader in education technology Alan November was at Schalmont today to speak to educators from Schalmont, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Broadalbin-Perth, Capital Region BOCES, Cohoes, Guilderland, Menands, Mohonasen, Niskayuna, and Shenendehowa.

His appearance was part of a joint effort between Schalmont and Mohonasen, which hosted November for a parent presentation last night.

November, author of “Who Owns the Learning?,” is on a mission to revolutionize education by changing the way we think of it. In this digital age, November said schools need to stop “teaching kids to memorize and start teaching them how to apply knowledge.”

“The real revolution is not technology; it’s information,” November said. “We overestimate what kids can do with technology. The overall impact of technology has been negative, mostly because it is kids teaching kids. There’s not an adult in the room when kids make decisions about technology.”

November advocates teaching students the basics of solid Internet sourcing and finding viable alternative perspectives.

“Kids don’t have the skills to use the Internet to find the best answer. They can find an answer, but it usually isn’t the best one,” he said, adding that most students don’t understand or know about search tools to narrow down search responses to educational sources or how to find reliable sources that present other perspectives in different countries or cultures from native sources in that country.

November said he believes self-assessment is key to getting students excited and engaged in their educational process.

Alan November“Teacher training in the U.S. goes against all the research. Teachers are trained not to self-assess,” he said. “Turns out, our kids need more help than we have the time to give them in class.”

November said self-assessments, including using sites such as WolfRamAlpha, which allows students to self-quiz and gives step-by-step instruction for how an answer was reached, frees up the teacher and allows for personalized instruction for each student.

A common obstacle in the use of digital technology for learning is that there will always be a section of students who will search Google and copy and paste an answer.

“The biggest cheating machine is the Internet for traditional problems. The way around it, and what we need to be doing is writing different problems. Change the wording. Change ‘solve’ for ‘involve.’ Shift who designs the problems. We need more students to become the problem designers,” he said.

November shared several instructional stories that backed up statistics that show that by challenging students to design the problem or assignment, they actually end up spending more time on a project than they would if one was assigned to them.

He also stressed the essentials of forging global connections, starting as early as Kindergarten.

“We can teach kids to deal with multiple perspectives. When you teach kids other points of view, they find it fascinating,” he said. “Show students student work from across the world. It’s amazing how motivated kids can be by showing them what other students do.

“We have a connected world,” he said. “We need to teach our children global empathy and perspective.”

Bronson Knaggs, director of Curriculum and of Schalmont Teachers’ Institute, worked with district officials to bring November to the area after seeing him speak in Saratoga.

“No one else has had more of an impact on me as an educator, than he has,” Knaggs said.

Schalmont Superintendent Dr. Carol Pallas said November’s innovative way of thinking aligns with the direction the district is moving in terms of integrating technology and digital literacy in the classroom.

“We have started to implement some of these new concepts in our classrooms this year, and we will continue to explore how innovations in teaching methods such as those Alan November spoke about today can improve student learning,” she said. “As Alan said, we cannot continue to teach and give assignments as was done prior to the Internet. We need to pioneer new ways of engaging students in the classroom and helping them take ownership of their education, all the while preparing them for life in a global community.”

To learn more about Alan November, visit his website or watch him on YouTube.

Alan November speaks at Schalmont

Alan November speaks at Schalmont













Alan November speaks at Schalmont

















Alan November

Alan November speaks at Schalmont