Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age - Session I. The Next Revolution in Learning

Uploaded by Google on 03.12.2009

Please welcome, Connie Yowell, Director of Education of The MacArthur Foundation.
>> YOWELL: Good morning, everybody. Oh, there, my mike is on. How cool. How is everybody
this morning? >> Great.
>> YOWELL: How many of you from the East Coast who've been up since 3:00am?
>> Yey. >> YOWELL: Yay. We're ready to go. It's time
to get started. So thank--first, I want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you to
Michael Levine and Gary Knell from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. Thank you to Linda Birch
and Jim Steyer from Common Sense Media. And of course, thank you to Cooney Edison--thank
you to Google. Thank you to Google, where we are. It's just an honor to be here. My
colleague, Craig Walker and I are just completely honored to be co-hosts of this event. We're
just really thrilled to be here. And of course, thank you to our speakers from last night.
It was really a terrific event and a great way to start this conference. So, I have two
tasks this morning as assigned: one task is to provide some background from MacArthur's
four-year nearly $85 million initiative in digital media and learning as a way to frame
today's conversation; and also, to take you through a very packed agenda for the day,
to give you a very brief overview of what we're going to be talking about today. And
when possible, to try to be a little bit provocative just as a way to kick start our conversation
today. So, I want to start off today just by giving you some insights from four years
of fairly intensive work with more than 250 individuals and organizations. This is brand
new work that the foundation started after 20 years of investment in traditional schools,
in traditional school reform. So, I want to start there to frame the conversation. So,
let me start with big learning points. First big learning point is a data point and I'm
going to talk about this with no slides and no statistics. I'm just going to say it very
simply. Kids today are learning differently, socializing differently, and engaging civically
differently as a result of their participation with digital media. Research from Mimi Ito,
Howard Gardner, Jo Kahn, Constance Steinkuehler, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and from Common Sense
Media, all point to this here in the United States. There's soon to be a report released
by Andreas Schleicher whose name I constantly mispronounce--Schleicher--thank you, from
the OECD that has the same findings in Europe. The OECD report is also going to show that
kids who are digitally literate or digitally savvy, are having much stronger and significantly
stronger outcomes in school. Here's the caveat for that finding that's important to pay attention
to. The findings are for out of school. Kids are becoming digitally literate outside of
school, not in school. It seems that our schools are falling behind our kids. Second data point
that's important to pay attention to, there's a participation gap that's emerging. It's
not a gap between those who have access to technology and those that do not; it's a gap
between those who know how to use and participate with the digital media and those who do not.
And it often aligns as one would expect with race, class and even with gender. It's a real
opportunity to learn gap and it's a gap that our current national policies and our local
practices are not attending to. It's the digital divide of the 21st century. So that's a learning
point number one from some of the things that we've been working on. Second big learning
point is a conceptual shift. We've been learning that in order to move out of a 19th century
paradigm under which we're operating primarily right now in terms of our educational system,
we have to make some fundamental conceptual shifts. Three that I want to point out. First
conceptual shift is from education to learning. Education is what institutions do. Learning
is what kids and youth and adults do. Learning happens anywhere, any time. And if we're going
to change to a 21st century learning system or ecosystem as was mentioned last night,
we've got to start operating in the best interest of learners as opposed to institutions. Second
major shift is a shift from consumption to participation. Henry Jenkins has written about
this beautifully in terms of how digital media has occasioned the shift to a participatory
culture. Our president in his speech to the National Academy of Sciences had talked about
the need to shift students from being consumers to makers and doers. This needs to be the
core ambition of a learning system for the 21st century. Third conceptual shift, and
again, it's a critical one, is the shift from institutions to networks. In the 21st century,
our systems of operating and delivery systems are going to be networks, they are networks,
they're not institutions. At ever younger ages, young people are participating in local
and global networks. These are the networks that are going to define their worlds as they
become adults. They're the networks that we need to be attending to as opposed to institutions
when we think about learning and learning ecosystems in the 21st century. So, those
are the two big learning points, one data, one conceptual. The third thing we've been
learning through our grant making is around what this isn't about. And you heard a lot,
the first point you heard a lot about last night, which is this isn't about technology.
But my--I fear that last night, there's a little bit of a misunderstanding as we talked
about how this isn't about technology. And that is that it is what it is about is that
it is about the social practices that technology can afford or that digital media can afford.
So, if you read any of the work of Jim Gee, for example, and you read about the significance
of games for learning, you read that--you learn that it is about the kinds of social
practices that happen within games and around the games. If you read some of the ethnographic
work that Mimi Ito and her colleagues have been working on, you'll learn that it's not
just about the social networks as a technology, it's about the social practices in and around
the social networks, what the young people are doing with them and how they're building
communities around those social practices that matter. We're going to be hearing a lot
more about that today and I really look forward to it. Second thing that is also not about
is getting rid of older traditional skills. It's about convergence. Again, Henry Jenkins
has written about this beautifully and Katie Salen has been talking about this beautifully.
Henry, about how tracking young people and their pursuit of their interests across old
media forms such as books, writing, story telling, through games, simulations and blogs;
Katie, about connecting analog and digital, about converting physical and virtual; they're
both equally important in the 21st century. Last point and I want to say this really clearly
because I think last night, we had a very good discussion. I think it was framed still
a little bit in the 20th or 19th century in terms of it being a discussion primarily about
schools. What we've learned in that grant making is that this is not just about schools.
Schools are a node on a young person's learning network and if we're going to build a new
learning system in the 21st century, we have to attend to the entire learning network.
We have to understand and support the entire learning network both online and offline.
I mean it's absolutely critical if we're going to be really looking forward to learning in
the future and I look forward to a much more expansive conversation today. So, now, four
years of grant making, we've got some valuable data. We've got some core concepts. We've
got some hunches. But what are going to be the breakthrough ideas? What are going to
be the next steps that we're going to take together? What about the--what are we going
to build together? How we going to re-imagine a learning system? That's our work today.
That's what we're going to be talking about today and thinking about today. So, let's
go through the agenda. And we have to start with the learner. Our first session is going
to start with research. To re-imagine learning and learning systems that support it, we need
to know how digital media is shaping. Where and how children and young people are learning.
So, for example, how do you make sense of this? I mean, what do you do with that? How
do you think about the perils and the possibilities? The panel is going to provide us with insights
and the latest research and innovations to learning. So, again, as my task is to be just
a little bit provocative and let me ask sort of a couple of next steps or possible questions
for us to think about today because the panel is important as the panel's conversation is
going to be today, this is just the beginning for thinking about research. As an example,
we have no national database that tracks how young people are using and participating with
digital media, or the quality of that participation. We should have one. We have no--randomized
controlled trial experiments are the gold standard. That's fine, but in a time of dramatic
change, we have to be supporting qualitative and descriptive research and data in order
to be developing new categories and new paradigms and theories. We absolutely have to. For MacArthur's
part, we announced yesterday the creation of a new research center at UC Irvine called
the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. It's co-directed by Mimi Ito who's here today
and David Goldberg. We have to figure out how to partner with industry. There's a vast
untapped quantity of commercial data in market studies that will tell us an enormous amount
about this learning environment. We don't use that for academic research. And finally,
after four decades of educational media excellence from a few groups like Sesame Street and PBS,
isn't it time to invent a new partnership approach to making digital media production
for learning a national priority? As many of you know, learning with digital media looks
fundamentally different. In fact, for many of us, it's unrecognizable, whether it's literacy
skills, systems thinking, or collaboration that may be involved in using Wikipedia, writing
hip-hop songs or playing games, not many of us really recognize them. We need to be able
to see, understand, and recognize new literacy practices wherever and whenever they occur.
The second panel will make them come alive for us. The panel is also going to raise a
whole set of design, implementation and research questions. For example, do we need a public
campaign to raise national awareness and a national conversation about what learning
looks like in the 21st century? Probably, I think. We may also need to reinvent our
research and development infrastructure. Our current system does not support innovation.
It does not support the kind of innovation that you're going to hear on this panel. Where
can we and where should innovation be nurtured? I expect the private sector not to be shy
or quiet during this conversation. The next panel takes on the school and the classroom:
classroom of the 19th century; classroom of the 20th century, with the exception of the
ubiquitous slumping and disheveled teenager of the 21st century, they look remarkably
similar. There is not much to say about this except that this is a context for consumption,
for the consumption of information—-it is not a context for participation, for production,
for making and doing. I think we have an extraordinary panel for today, that's really going to help
us to understand both the cutting edge possibilities of what already exist and what's going to
be possible for the future. A couple things to say about next steps or perhaps questions—-the
Education sector has had two centuries to change this picture. So, as you listen to
the panel, think about how we really do begin to create innovation and change for the classrooms
and schools in the learning system or the eco system looks like today. Katie Salen has
brought together game designers with curriculum experts, Nichole Pinkard, team librarians,
artists, computer scientists and educators, Jim Gee--the commercial industry, Ray Ramsey--housing
projects, Internet service providers and community organizers to extend learning. What does it
take to support and sustain innovation partnerships at scale? As important, we have to start re-imagining
policy. Creative Comments has taught us that design is policy. What can we take from that
lesson for learning? Last night there was a discussion of assessments, diagnostics and
feedback loops—-I'm not sure I heard discussions of how integrate assessments into the actual
learning experience, or how to design assessments and standards for peer-based-in-interest-driven-learning
or for the networked context in which kids are actually living. I think these questions
matter for the 21st century and I think as we re-imagine policy for the 21st century,
we have to understand the context in which kids are currently living. After lunch, we
move into discussion of teachers; if we are re-imagining the experience of the student,
the role and experience of teachers, of mentors and adults more generally must also be reconsidered.
After all, the role of the teacher hasn't really changed in decades if not centuries
as well. So, a core question is going to be discussed is: how does someone who learned
in a traditional setting, learn to teach in an entirely different way? How are we preparing
adults for their new roles as guides, not oracles? How can opening up learning resources
for remixing or retooling materials make a big difference as teachers evolve their new
skill sets? This panel brings a wealth of knowledge and ideas to the discussions. A
couple of thoughts for next steps, the opportunity to fail—-entrepreneurs have taught us that
to be innovative you have to fail fast, fail quickly and fail often. Where does that happen
in the learning system today, where did teachers have the opportunity to have failed? Network
learning, must teachers bear the whole burden of insuring that young people have all the
skills and competencies they need? Can we design a network of learning and opportunities
that distribute the responsibilities while reducing the participation gap? I think these
are core questions that we have to be thinking about as we're also thinking about merit pay
and accountability. So, I expect that by the end of the day, we should have a wealth of
breakthrough ideas and next steps. I think it's extremely unusual that we'll have both
someone from the Department of Education—-Jim Shelton is here-—as well as someone from
the FCC, Blair Levin will be joining us. I think it really begins to speak to the issue
that, learning in the 21st century is the purview of many sectors-—housing, health
and human services, labor, energy, and many others are all involved and of course, we're
here at Google. Industry is a huge part of the puzzle for learning in the 21st century.
It's absolutely critical as Joel Kline started talking about last night that we begin to
re-imagine what is the relationship between the public sector and the goals that drive
the private sector, right? So, I really want you to begin to think now, about what you
want to get out of this last session. This last session is really meant to be our opportunity
to speak to the folks who are making decisions about what the next action should be that
we can take together and collectively to begin to re-imagine the learning system for the
21st century. We're at a time of unparalleled possibility and opportunity, and as Geoff
Canada made clear last night, unparalleled need. So, as I look around this room, it seems
to me that we've got the right people in this room and on the webcast to begin to think
about, what is the system that we want to build for the next generation of kids. I greatly
look forward to the conversation today and to a very inspiring day. Thanks very much.
Ladies and Gentlemen, would Sharon Darling please come to the back entrance of the room
for a message. And now, ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome Brad Stone of the
New York Times. >> STONE: Thank you very much. A quick story,
if I look a tad sleepless, it's not because I'm from the East Coast, I'm actually local
but because I have 22 month-old twins. And one of those twins, Calista, has decided that
the hours between two and five must be properly experienced by being awake. Now, Cali loves
all the technology in our home; the cellphones, the remote controls and recently she did something
very interesting, she took my Kindle--this slender e-reading device with a screen and
buttons which really bears no physical resemblance to a traditional book—-and she brought it
to me and she said, "Daddy's book." This was last week, and I just marveled at how differently
our kids are learning about technology and understanding the world. And so I'm delighted
to be able to moderate this event—-I want to remind everyone as our panelists give their
presentations to tap in their questions in their iPhones or iPod touches and with that,
I would like to turn the podium over to the primary entertainer in my home, Gary Knell,
the CEO of the Sesame Workshop. >> KNELL: Thanks Brad. Well, it's indeed a
sad story that I'm the primary entertainer in your home. Sad for you. I want to welcome
everyone also and I really want to thank Michael Levine and Ann Thai from the Cooney Center
who did incredible work to bring this all together. We are here today to talk about
breakthrough learning in a digital age along the longest street in the world, Sesame Street.
And I want to give you a little bit of perspective from the workshop's point of view about we're
all taking this and how we are looking at all the things that Connie talked about and
how children are engaging with media in a Sesame Workshop context. In order to do that,
you really got to go back to Sesame Street's humble beginnings...
>> GROVER: Hey, Gary baby! >> KNELL: Grover! Grover what are you doing here?
>> GROVER: Oh, well I came for the koogle. >> KNELL: The what?
>> GROVER: You know, the koogle, the cute and delicious Yiddish treat. Is this not koogle
world headquarters? >> KNELL: No. Actually this is Google World
Headquarters. >> GROVER: Oh. Well, then perhaps someone
can do a search and find some koogle for me. >> KNELL: So, you want us to Google koogle?
>> GROVER: Yes. But I do not want to pay a lot. So, have them Google frugal koogle.
>> KNELL: Okay. I'm going to get someone on that right away Grover, but right now, if
you'll please excuse me I'm in the middle of a talk.
>> GROVER: Oh, a talk. I love talks. Ooh, perhaps I can help you, is it a talk about
the industrial revolution? >> KNELL: No.
>> GROVER: Oh, good because I know nothing about the industrial revolution.
>> KNELL: Well, then, that really worked out well.
>> GROVER: Oh, is a talk about getting better abs in 30 days?
>> KNELL: No, no. >> GROVER: Oh, that is too bad because as
you can see by my amazing physique, I really know a lot about rock-hard abs. Go on check
out my one-pack. >> KNELL: Yeah, it's really nice, Grover,
but this speech actually has nothing to do with rock-hard abs. Nothing.
>> GROVER: Is it about gorgeous glutes because I have gorgeous glutes too, Gary.
>> KNELL: No. Grover, it's not about any body parts.
>> GROVER: Oh, well, then tell me what is this talk about?
>> KNELL: Well, it's about really teaching kids using digital technologies and new media.
>> GROVER: Teaching kids using new technology? Oh-hohoho, Gary, this is your lucky day because
I know a lot about new technology, uh-hmm. >> KNELL: Are you sure?
>> GROVER: Am I sure? Gary, do you see that bench right there?
>> KNELL: Yup, I do, yup. >> GROVER: I cut right through it, Gary! I
cut right through it because I am on the cutting edge of new technologies.
>> KNELL: Well, I didn't know that. >> GROVER: Oh, it is very true and I can help
teach the children of the world using my new technologies.
>> KNELL: Okay. I hate to ask questions but could you tell me one new technology that
you used to help teach children? >> GROVER: Well, Gary, I think we could teach
the children using iPhone Apps. >> KNELL: Well, it's true, Grover. In fact
there's some apps that, you know, everybody uses to teach children.
>> GROVER: No, no, no, no. Not Apps, everyone is doing the Apps. No, I am talking about
iPhone naps. >> KNELL: Naps? Okay, you're going to have
to explain that one. >> GROVER: Well, it is easy, you can put lots
of information on your iPhone, right? >> KNELL: Right.
>> GROVER: Well, then you just have to take a nap with the iPhone next to your head and
all that information in the phone will import directly into your sleepy little noggin.
>> KNELL: I don't think that's going to work either, Grover.
>> GROVER: Well... >> KNELL: No.
>> GROVER: Not yet, but once I develop a USB port for the forehead, it will work like gangbusters.
Would you like to volunteer your forehead? >> KNELL: No.
>> GROVER: But, Gary, it is for the children. >> KNELL: Connie, I have to do this for a
living, you know. Look, let's just move on, Grover, can you tell us one more, you know,
application that you can use in helping teach kids new technology?
>> GROVER: Twitting. >> KNELL: Really, you think Twitter can be
use to help kids? >> GROVER: What Twitter, I am talking about
the bird tweets. >> KNELL: Okay. The bird tweets.
>> GROVER: Of course birds are very smart creatures, Gary. For kids, have you ever heard
of a cute little American Goldfinch say, "tweet tweet, tweet tweet."
>> KNELL: What's your point about all this? >> GROVER: She's actually tweeting Schroedinger's
equation of quantum mechanics... >> KNELL: Aha.
>> GROVER: But, if you do not speak bird tweets, probably you did not understand that, yeah.
>> KNELL: Well, perhaps--listen, Grover, you know, in this room you've got some of the
great technological minds of our country right here.
>> GROVER: In this room? >> KNELL: Yeah.
>> GROVER: Where? >> KNELL: Yeah, yeah, right--right out there.
>> GROVER: Are you sure it is this group? >> KNELL: Absolutely.
>> GROVER: Well, then, do you think they could help me set up my Wi-Fi?
>> KNELL: You know, I think they actually have a few more important things to do than
to help you setting up your Wi-Fi. I think they're here to think about big new ideas
about the education challenges that our kids are facing and, you know, in today's digital
age and contexts. >> GROVER: Wow! That does sound like a tough
challenge, Gary. Should I stay around and help them brainstorm?
>> KNELL: I don't think, you know, I actually think they're going to be fine without you,
Grover. >> GROVER: All right, all right, but if you
need me just use the old blueberries. >> KNELL: You mean, BlackBerries.
>> GROVER: No, blueberries, they are my favorite snack treat. If you bring out the blueberries,
I will come a running, Gary. >> KNELL: Thanks, Grover.
>> GROVER: Yeah, well, goodbye, everybody. Goodbye to the new technologies.
>> KNELL: Grover, everybody. >> GROVER: Bye.
>> KNELL: You know, when they hired me to be CEO of Sesame Workshop, they didn't tell
me I had to be Ed McMahon, you know. So, we followed that along. Let me tell you about
the straight portion of the presentation now. Going back to the roots of Sesame Workshop,
the workshop was actually founded, as I mentioned yesterday briefly, in the 1960s, a time of
turbulence, controversial war, riots in our inner cities, assassinations, President Johnson
started the war on poverty, out of that came Head Start, the Job Corps, and PBS and NPR
came out of that era as well. And it was really at that time when people really dreamed about
ways indeed to change the world. I think we're at that inflection moment again today. And
Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrissette came together and created this unique model which
is known as the--used to be known as the CTW model, now known as the Sesame Workshop model
connecting content production and research to indeed embed a curriculum onto plotlines.
And, the magic that was brought together with the creative community of writers and artists
and people like Chris Surf who's out here today, who were there at the beginning connecting
them to Graduate Schools of Education and forcing them like Joel Klein had asked yesterday
to apply their skills to the real world. Well, that's exactly what happened here, and they
created a magical Television program called Sesame Street which within 10 months was on
the cover of Time Magazine when it was first aired, and it was really a national phenomenon.
Today, 122 Emmy's later, but who's counting? It's, we just got the Lifetime Achievement
Award by the Emmys a couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles. And the show now is in 140 countries
around the world. So, it's truly become the longest street in the world as we'd like to
call it. Engaging content which makes kids want to engage and want to learn. And also,
part of the secret sauce here has been about co-viewing. So, we've been able to engage
parents to have a shared experience around Sesame Street which is why we put in plotlines
like "Desperate Houseplants" which we had a couple of years ago. Promoting an environmental
theme or why we have this year "Mad Men," where the man are truly mad as opposed to
being sad or happy. So, but we're able to show emotions that way and of course the kids
don't really watch "Mad Men," I don't think, but the parents get the humor and in that
shared way are able to reinforce the messages from the program. Now, today's world, of course,
as we've been talking about is, is completely different. The vast majority of preschoolers
are not at home today in the United States. They are not sitting at home watching television.
They are mostly in some sort of formal daycare program. That could be a head start program,
that could be a more informal family childcare situation, a universal pre-K four-year old
program and two working parents very often, or one working parent who is the sole breadwinner
in the family. That has created the need for on demand portability which has, which can
promote displayable skills, and we've been trying to move much more in that direction
recently. As we look at the world and we think about this a lot, you know, my grandmother
thought a lot about the refrigerator as an amazing invention. I'd never thought about
the refrigerator, and I thought about it as a utility. And we look at things like the
BlackBberry or the iPhone as amazing inventions. Our children do not and will not, they view
them as utilities, and I think that that's the frame in which the workshop is now approaching
its work which is a tough transition for people who grew up in the world of one way television.
It's a total rethink of the way that we've had to look at our work. We launched,
which has grown in the last 18 months in astronomical ways in terms of viewership. People are spending
online about half an hour on average in which parents are engaging with their kids. And
I've talked to somebody yesterday in the audience whose niece does not, is not allowed to watch
television, but when her aunt is on the--on her laptop, she wants to sit down and her
aunt's knee and engage with Elmo for 10 or 15 minutes. That's sort of the new reality
that we've got to look at. We have a growing roster of partners. These are some of them
building off our long history with PBS which has taken the show in so many places. But
this was the first year ever in which more people are having a Sesame Street experience
not on traditional television, but on all of these other on-demand platforms, on podcasts,
through Hulu and through these other ways of engaging with our work. We're also focusing
a lot at the workshop on this enormous issue about making kids literate in time for the
third or fourth grade. And the six to nine-year old gap, we believe is really a lot of the
major issue for the country in terms of an educational challenge that we have to take
on. This is a world where we have created something called "The Electric Company" which
many of you may know the original version. This is not your parents' electric company,
it is a new show in which a cast of neighborhood kids duel with what are called the pranksters,
and they are able to teach in a way without kids realizing they are just being dictated
to, like those oracles that were discussed before by Connie. Using phonemic awareness,
vocabulary, word endings, all in motivational content, we have Sean Kingston, the rap star
doing a wonderful song about the "Silent E," and I can tell you anybody who listens to
that song will never forget the rule about the "Silent E." So, it's a way in which we
can use media to engage kids around learning so we can get these kids to the point where
they are at a reading level which will help them go from learning to read, to reading
to learn so that they can keep up and they can graduate High School and they can stay
out of poverty, and that's what really at the end of the day this is all about. We've
got to use all of the means necessary to keep these kids out of poverty, and we have an
obligation as professionals in the world of media and technology to give back to our country,
you know, this profile as we move forward. A couple of last things I want to show you.
We are trying to work in a world of mobile technology and a couple of years ago with
help from the Department of Education and the PBS Ready To Learn program and CPB, we're
able to create a program here where a mom would take a video phone which they were given
by Sprint, and the condition was that you had to get a download each and everyday. A
call from Maria, from Sesame Street who would ask your, ask you to walk with your child
today about the "Letter C." And when you go home talk about the couch, talk about the
chair, talk about ways in which you engage, and then the child would be handle the phone
and watch a video of Cookie Monster singing "C" is for Cookie. So, in one month time,
a child will have learned the alphabet. And we found that 80% of these moms who went through
the protocol founded an amazing way in which to teach the alphabet which is of course one
big part of becoming literate at a very early building block stage. These are the kinds
of simple applications that we could think about going forward. And now we are delighted
to be working with the Nokia Research Center here in Palo Alto, around a new reading experiment
called "Story Play" which will encourage active children, child participation in book reading
through a multi-generational experience with their grandparents. To be able to use a removable
paper book, a page ID magnet, and a reading tip under the paper flap in which this can
be connected through video conferencing. It's actually a simpler technology than a Majer
[PH], I know that the Nokia people are here today with a couple of this book prototype,
you should take a look at them. So far so good, and this is an important way again of
reinforcing an adult-child interaction which Miss Connie pointed that has to be done outside
of school in an additional within school. And finally, we are thinking long and hard
about the 4,000 hours of Sesame Street content that had been created over the last 40 years.
About nearly every preschool curricular topic one can imagine. This is a vault that needs
to be opened up. And how do we figure out a way to digitize this and embed it into bitable
chunks that can be in a formal child care situation to get Cookie Monster, and Grover,
and Bert and Ernie, to help a child care provider, provide those important life lessons going
forward. We are so thrilled that we can have this ability. Right now, we are trying to
figure out how we'll all come together and we would love to look for partners in this
room and other people who are engaged in this common goal of using media content, connected
with new technologies in informal and formal educational settings, as those positions merged
now in the second decade of the 21st century. I think I'll stop now and thank you for your
attention. >> Ladies and gentlemen, would you now please
welcome from the University of California Irvine, Dr. Mimi Ito.
>> ITO: Thank you. If I could get a
clicker for... >> It's coming, Dr. Ito. Thank you.
>> ITO: Okay. Thank you. Okay. So, last year we did a press release on the findings of
a three-year study of Youth Online funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and our message
in our press release was pretty simple. It was that young people were encountering a
whole host of diverse and interesting learning experiences online. What we found though that
was interesting about the public uptake of our work was that the focus tended to be not
so much on learning opportunities but on intergenerational tension. So here's the headline from the local
paper here in Silicon Valley. On the adult side of the equation, we're often worried
that social network sites, online peer interactions are creating, escalating and negative peer
pressure for kids. As parents, we often think of video games as mind-numbing addictions.
But on the kids' side of the equation, the online world more and more is where they go
to first for information, for social connection, and for learning. I think that there is a
generational divide on how we are viewing the online world. A lot of us give lip service
to the fact that young people are the digital innovators, but when it really comes down
to it, are we taking seriously the kind of learning that they're pursuing online when
they're going by their own learning agendas and when they're able to use technologies
with freedom in the ways that they want to use it. A lot of times, as adults, what we're
worried about and what we think about is how we limit and monitor kids' access to online
worlds and we think about how technology can reinforce our existing adult-centered learning
agendas and institutions rather than thinking of it from the kids' point of view. So I think
it's very important that we bridge this generation gap and that we start reframing these issues.
So what I want to argue is that kids' online peer spaces have tremendous potential as drivers
of learning in a digital and networked age. In fact, I would go so far as to say that
peer-based social exchange is the key to unlocking the full potential of learning in a digital
age. Now, what do I mean by this? So, let me give you an example. As parents, we may
read an occasional expert parenting book, but where do we go to when we really want
advice feedback? When we want tips about parenting we usually go to our peers, to our fellow
parents. As adult professionals, the place we go first is our peer networks of fellow
professionals for advice feedback and information. I think kids are no different. Look at how
kids engage with a game like Pokemon in their peer networks; the kind of engagement they
bring to Yogi-Oh! to team sports. This is peer-based engagement that drives learning
and it's just how we learn as adult professionals in our every daylives. This is really what
I mean by the power of peer-based learning. So I think we can do much more to leverage
digital and network media in support of accessible learner-centered forms of public education,
but it really means reframing the conversation. So in the next eight minutes I have, I'm going
try to convince you of this by giving you a few examples, just two examples from our
research and suggesting where we might go from there. So I want to start with Clarissa.
Clarissa is a teen who one of the researchers of our study, in our study, CJ Paskow [ph],
wrote about, and she comes from a working-class home here in the Bay Area and she's aspiring
to be a writer. And she participates in an online role-playing board called "Faraway
Lands" with a few of her friends from school. So to join the site, the participant has to
write a lengthy character application that they submit to the moderator for approval.
And these character applications describe the character, the backstory, their race,
where they come from, and Clarissa stayed up all night to write her first character
application. She submitted it to the site and she got glowing reviews from the moderator
and started to participate. So, what she does on the site is really, you know, do role-playing
with peers and she receives ongoing feedback, recognition, and she gives feedback and critique
to other participants as well. So "Faraway Lands" has become a place where she can hang
out with some of her friends from school, but it also extends her networks quite dramatically
because she she's participating with kids from all over the country and she even has
a collaborator in Spain that she's working on a role-playing scenario with. So, this
is some text that I excerpted from another role-playing board, and what I want to highlight
here is the ethic of reciprocity that you see in these peer-based learning environments.
Participants are both writers and critics of each other's work, and they take their
writing very seriously. There's really a sort of ethic of constant critique and feedback
that they give to each other and the site administrators have developed a set of policies,
standards, and assessments that are keyed to this peer-based ecology. Now, Clarissa
sees that the writing that she does here is very different from the writing that she does
in school. At the same time, the skills that she picked up in online role-playing is, have
served her very well in school. From one of her school assignments, she chose to write
a hundred-page screenplay based on one of her characters on "Faraway Lands." And in
her college application she wrote about her role-playing experiences as preparation for
her aspiration to be a screenwriter. And she actually submitted creative writing samples
from her online role-playing in her college applications. She was admitted to both Emerson
and Chapman and she feels that those writing samples were huge part of why she got admitted.
Okay, the second example I want to give is of Gepetto. He's a Brazilian fan of Japanese
animation or anime, and I interviewed him when he was 18. Like other media fans, anime
fans create a wide range of creative productions that are about remixing and remaking the media
that they love and commenting on it. In Gepetto's case, he's a creator of anime music videos
or AMVs which are basically remixes where fans take the professional anime content,
strip out the soundtrack and remix it to a soundtrack of the editors' choosing, usually
that's your own American popular music. So Gepetto first learned about AMVs from a fellow
fan and he was immediately taken by them. So in my interview with him, he says, "I was
amazed by the idea that such a pretty little video clip was made by a fan just like me.
I was really affected by the video. I put it on a loop and I watched it several times
in a row." And then soon after, he went on to make his own AMV. Now, the key here, and
I think the way he talks about it is very important. He sees AMVs when he first encountered
them as inspiring and impressive, but also, and this is the important part, he saw them
as something he could immediately aspire to. And this is very different from kids' relationships
to professional media like anime, or to the kind of expert information that they might
find in a textbook. This sort of amateur, peer-based culture that kids are finding online
is really one that kids can identify as potential creators and contributors, not just consumers
and this is important. So Gepetto made his first AMV on his own with looking at manuals
with the software that's shipped with his PC. But then as he got more expert, he started
reaching out online to the online community of AMV creators. And a few years later, we
see him as an avid participant in this transnational network of AMV creators, and he is really
looking to that online community as a source for expertise and information and he's also
become an expert himself. So he says, "I love the forums, I love the chats, I love answering
questions and having mine answered in turn. I could spend 24 hours straight discussing
AMVs without so much as a coffee break." So he's a passionate participant. So, he did
manage to interest a few of his local friends in school in AMVs but nobody really took to
it to the extent that he did. He realized heavily on the network community as a way
of improving his craft and gaining more knowledge and for role models. So in his local community
now, he is considered a video expert and in fact, he showed some of his AMVs to one of
his teachers in high school and his teachers asked him to teach an ongoing video editing
workshop to the younger students in his school, so again, another instance of translating
the knowledge and learning outside of school back into the school context. But the other
crucial factor is that the development of his skills and ability as a video creator
would never have been supported within the local context of his school or his local community;
the expertise wasn't available to him. So it was the fact that he was able to reach
out to this broader network through online communication that enabled him to develop
expertise and specialization in this space. So, both of these kids found online communities
online that they wouldn't have had access to otherwise, but most kids are not like Clarissa
and Gepetto, and this is crucial. We found that it was only a minority of kids who are
really taking advantage of these kinds of learning opportunities. We know that kids
today have a wealth of information at their fingertips, that they can find all kinds of
online instructional materials and tutorials if they cared to seek them out. They have
simulations and games that provide more interactive and customized learning opportunities, and
of course, they have online search aggregator social media that gives so much context. And
finally, they can connect to specialist communities online whether it is for robotics, crafting,
chess, or gaming; communities of expertise that would have been nearly impossible for
most kids to have access in a prior era. So we're living through a fundamental shift in
how we traffic in culture and knowledge, but our view of learning and the programs we design
to support learning have not caught up with these shifts. We know the resources are out
there. It isn't a question of supply nor is it a question of simple technology access.
It's a question of demand and what drives demand, our social context that reward participation.
It's about kids identifying as contributors, eventually as experts, who have voice and
agency in defining their own learning agendas. It shouldn't be up to the initiative of exceptional,
highly-motivated, and usually privileged kids to chart these networks on their own. As Geoff
has argued so persuasively last night, these technologies have the potential to widen the
gap between those kids who have the support and resources in the home to fully exploit
what the digital world has to offer and those who don't. We need a proactive agenda that
extends and expands on the more peer-to-peer, non-institutionalized kinds of learning that
kids are developing in the informal space. And without a public agenda along the lines,
it's just--and if we leave it up to the resources and initiative of private individuals, there's
absolutely no doubt that the gap will widen. So, I'll close here and I look forward to
working with you on developing this shared agenda.
>> Ladies and gentlemen, would you now please welcome Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media,
James Steyer. >> STEYER: Thanks. First of all, thanks to
everybody for joining us today and last night. This is a pretty remarkable group of people
who we've assembled here and actually, that's what I wanted to direct the first set of my
points to. This room has got an amazing group of people in here and quite frankly, it really
does. We have the leaders of the industry, the education sector, philanthropy and the
public sector. You don't get the people who run the FCC and the people around the Department
of Education in the same room very often. So, I wanted to say thank you guys who were
not here last night remind of something that I think it's very important which is this
is really our moment, period. If we cannot change it now, if we cannot as a group in
this room deal with the issues Geoff was talking about last night and that we're going to talk
about today then we all ought to quit. If we have this conference in five years and
we have not fundamentally "Revolutionized Learning" that's the title of this panel in
a very serious way, not just for my kids who I know will be digital literate, but for every
kid in America, then we are really failed in what we should do, period. You will not
see a better group of people than you see in this room very often. But the issue is
do we have the resources, but more importantly the political will to actually make this happen?
I spent most of yesterday with Geoff Canada and Joel Klein talking about what they deal
with in New York or were going to go put our common sense to Digital Literacy Program over
the coming years. In what we really talk about was the fact that as you heard Geoff speak
through last night and you heard Joel speak through repeatedly in the panel yesterday;
30, 50% of the kids in New York will not be digitally literate unless we focus on those
kids' education and those kids to school. So this really is our moment to truly integrate
technology in an extraordinary way and revolutionized that classroom to the 21st century. But if
it's only for my kids, for my four kids, who got to Marin Country Day School and University
High School, then you know what, that it wasn't worth it because we will have failed our kids,
period. So I think that all we talk about today ought to be thought about in that context.
And also, that we have an opportunity to change this. When will you ever have a president
who has a 7-year old and a 10-year old, who's kids are participating in this revolution,
who uses Common Sense Media to choose movies and video games right now for his kids. When
will you have a school's chief like Arne Duncan, who understands what the problems are in Chicago
who can translate that in a national policy? Where the Chairman of FCC like Julius Genachowski's
a founding Board Member of Common Sense Media, who understands his own kid, but also that
all kids need this. So, if we cannot take what we talk about here today and through
it, break, take to a broader platform. And not just change it for a small group of kids,
but for all kids in this country then I would say all the extraordinary work and research
we do, will be half baked at best. So, that's the first point I want to make. The second
point that is something that I want to take off on it what Connie talked about how learning
is not just in schools today; that is totally true and Mimi's research makes this clear.
Learning today happens everywhere. It happens 24/7, it happens in the car including people
who use their cell phones and BlackBerries in their car driving here today. It happens,
it happens in the coffee shop, it happens all over at all times in all places. So we
have to understand that this learning digital revolution is occurring everywhere. It is
not just happening for our kids as Connie mentioned, it also has to happen for parents.
That's why we focus at Common Sense so much on educating parents and teachers because
they have to be involved in this. And we have to give them a basic level of understanding,
so that they can parent properly. I am not nearly as digitally literate as my children
are, quite frankly. Everyone in Common Sense knows that very well. I can barely get my
computer on sometimes. However, I need to be able to educate my kids. My five-year-old
can program my BlackBerry and my kids when we gets up here and talks about Netflix next,
my kids have to do all of our Netflix stuff for us. But, I have to have a basic understanding
of how to do that and so does every parent, that's why we talked it about yesterday. I've
made some opening remark about the fact that every child needs to be digitally literate
by the time they graduate from 8th grade, every child. But every parent in every community
needs to basically understand what's going on. And yes, Connie, we do the massive public
awareness campaign if we're going to do that because right now people are not. And that
has to not just reach into the people who live in Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto, but
also the kids--the parents who live in East Palo Alto and work with the folks like Rey
Ramsey and the folks who [INDISTINCT] do in public housing projects across the country,
et cetera. So, we have to do that kind of parent education everywhere. The research
that we've done with support of [INDISTINCT] MacArthur Foundation makes it clear that there
is still a major disconnect between the young people and their parents in understanding
this digital learning revolution. Parents know instinctively that this can change their
kids' lives, they know it's as important as reading a Math, that's what our data shows
three-quarters of parents know that. But three-quarters also don't believe it can really help their
kids do better stuff in the community. They don't have a full understanding of what it
is. It's one of the reasons why I believe and why we at Common Sense believe that we
have to have a focus on what we called, Digital Citizenship, which is sort of basic ethical
behavior. Howard Gardner at Harvard is doing an extraordinary research, but to me, the
fact that Howard, one of the premier educators of our time, of any time, is focusing on ethical
behavior by young people in a digital world ought to put a light bulb off for some of
us, all of us, which is--there are important ethical norms that need kids and all of us
need to understand when we use a CrackBerry or an iPhone or on a computer. We have to
have a set of sort of ethical norms and rules of the road that all of us need to live by.
Though there's an element of digital learning, it isn't just about classroom learning. It's
also about what's the proper way to behave, what's the proper way to treat other people
on these new anonymous platforms. So, we called that broader context, Digital Citizenship.
In some of the panels later we'll talk about it. But we can't ignore the element of sort
of ethics and proper behavior and norms as we viewed these extraordinary opportunities
in learning. At the end of the day, it is an--I really mean this. When we're here yesterday,
I said to Gary, "Just look at who we have in the room. It's such a great group of people.
It really spans all the sectors that matter, and true leaders." And we have--we are sitting
in the home of "the major technology player in the world," who by the way, needs to do
a whole lot more about education than Google has done to date. Every child in the world
knows what the word Google is. And this company should be "the number one leader" on issues
of education as well, because they are the most important technology company in the world
today and you cannot separate technology from learning. But at the end of the day, I just
want to bring it back to what Geoff said last night, which is, "This has to be a revolution
for all kids." So, I don't, unfortunately, have the benefits of Grover, or even a great
slide show. But I do have a prayer that Geoff gave to me 15 years ago when we were working
on the very same issues that we all ought to be putting in this today's discussion and
context today. It was written by a journalist friend of ours from Nashville. And when I
was talking to Geoff last night on the way home, I said, you know, "I won't--I don't
have your eloquence. I don't have Grover. But I do have this prayer that a friend of
ours wrote 15 years ago." So, I want to end with that and put it in a context of what
we all ought to think about when we really think about Digital Learning and a revolution
for our kids. "We pray for our children who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes
in Math workbooks, who'd throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick up their food,
who like ghost stories and who you can never find their shoes. And we pray for those who
stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can't bound down the street in a
new pair of sneakers, who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead end, who never
go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world. We pray for children who sleep with a dog
and bury the goldfish, who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who get
visits from the Tooth Fairy, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money. And
we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die, who can't find any bread to steal, who don't have
any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser, whose monsters are real.
We pray for children who spend all of their allowance before Tuesday, who shove dirty
clothes under the bed, never rinse out the bath tub, who don't like to be kissed in front
of the carpool, who squirm in church or temple and scream into the cell phone, whose tears
we sometimes laughed at, and whose smiles can make us cry. And we pray for those whose
nightmares come in the day time, who will eat anything, who've never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live
and move but have no being. We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must,
to those we never give up on and for those who never get a second chance, for those whom
we smother and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it."
Well, we are the people who need to offer the hand to every kid if there's going to
be a true Digital Learning Revolution. And the people in this room have the ability,
the smarts, and the resources to make it happen. The issue is do we have the will to make it
happen and I hope we do. Thank you very much. >> Ladies and gentlemen, would you, please,
now welcome Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer of Netflix.
>> HASTINGS: Thank you. Panels are always more interesting when you mix it up and argue
a little bit. So, I'll pick a fight with Jim. And I think most of what he said was wrong,
that when you focus on five-year revolutions, you probably fail to create 50-year evolutions.
I mean that I don't believe that it's true in 5 years we will have changed everything.
And I believe that if you set up your goal structures and energy loops around the expectation
that within five years, we're going to make a phenomenal difference. It's just not what
happens in the world. I'll give you many examples. In the early 1960s, there was a lot of conferences
like this about the incredible advent of the new technology that was going to transform
education, television, and television was going to open things up in this country. We're
going to have learning all the time, families by the TV in this whole period of 1960 to
1965. And do you know--well, some stuff came out, Sesame Street, that's a great one. But,
you know, it's like a small waves of things. And so, you know, when we're in the middle
of the iPhone and that everything is changing very fast, it's easy to get caught up in it.
And some of the aspects are harder to deliver than others. It takes a lot of time. Think
about it as there's really two big segments. There is the parent pay segment and there's
the government pay segment, meaning our K12 schools, okay? And they're really very different
properties. In the parent pay segment, you know, you got a lot of innovation. You get
things like the Disney's Baby Einstein. I've seen a bit in the press, lately. And, you
know, and you get a little toy learning and you got--and then what happens is we find
higher socio-economic families adopt to a lot of those things more quickly and, in fact,
the gap is widened and that is true. And then, in some conferences, we spend a lot of time
thinking about, "We got to close the gap. We got to close the gap." Well, it ain't going
to happen. I mean, these are economics that are driving it, you know, who are the cutting
edge which is--I think we need to shift our expectations around, you know, families that
on the parent pay segment, are the first adopters of these technologies. And then, what happens
is the prices come down and they become widespread, okay? And they are the audience that can pay
the high margins to get some of the stuff developed. Let me give you another example.
When cars were first coming out, there was the transportation gap, okay, because only
high-end people had cars. And then, you know, more and more people had them and then, you
know, now, everybody has a car, okay, in America. Another one is computers. I mean 10 or 15
years ago, it's computer gap, the digital gap, you know. And now we got netbooks that,
you know, 2 and $300.00, you know, Verizon has one at $99.00 or, you know, the price
has come down and the gap lessens. So, think of the gap in this con is real, okay? And
it's because you need an early audience that can pay more because it's a less efficient
system and it's at less scale. Then these things get to a very large scale and the benefits
go out to a very wide group of people. And it's not that they're may not be a role for
government at various times, but the gap is a natural part of the evolution of technology.
Technology has a beachhead in which it works well, then it gets a little broader, little
broader. Cell phone is another one. You know what, probably some of you remember 1986 and
Michael Douglas on the beach with this, you know, big brick cell phone and, you know,
and 10 years later, it's a Star Tack and, you know, it's still pretty big. And then,
you know, then in 10 years after that in '06, you know, it's a pearly little punk to fit
in your pocket, and now it's an iPhone. So it's, you know, really just tremendous progress
and technology does continue to deliver those benefits. Now, that's in the parent pay sector,
okay? In that sector you should think of is going to be more and more of learning, because
it's deregulated. It's up to all kinds of entrepreneurs to come up with, you know, what
is Sesame Street on the web crossed with Facebook. And all kinds of people will try all kinds
of things. Some of it will be for pay, some of it be free, some of it will be Wikipedia.
And I think that sector will flourish an innovation even if this room does little, okay, because
there's just so much energy around it. I think it's a great place to put in, philanthropic
dollars. I think it's a great place to put in venture capital dollars of this whole informal
out of the grammar of K12. Personally, most of my focus is still in K12. Not because it's
the high efficacy way to address this problem, because I think it may turn out to be the
low efficacy way. But, you know, you got this huge, again, parent pay market. On the government
pay market the problem is it's so highly regulated, so highly controlled that many of us spend
lots of time trying to figure out how to help districts. And the normal cycle is this, "Oh
my gosh, Joel Klein is so amazing. Look at the progress he is doing. Let's pair up with
him. Let's build this up. And it feels so good that we can turn around and you see school
districts can work in a millions of kids, and look at the results?" And then, 10 or
15 years later, Post Bloomberg, Post Klein you come back and it's like, "Wow, it's regressed
to the mean." Okay. So, in this State in California, Roy Romer in L.A., we did a lot of work with
him, had a tremendous run. Most of it is falling apart since then. I mean 10 or 15 years ago,
Seattle was a really hot district. You know, they were making all this change and budgeting
and none ever met. You know, now, it's--so what happens? Why does it, like, regress to
the mean? What is that? Why is it happening? I think the fundamental problem is the difference
between self-perpetuating governance and elected governance. So you are all in for profits
or non-profits and your board selects other board members, that's self-perpetuating governance.
And what it leads to is reasonable continuity in vision. On the other hand, in a public
school district you have elected school board, or elected mayor and sometimes there's good
people there organized on the same vision and sometimes not. And my theory is if Microsoft
or Google or GE or Netflix had publicly elected boards, then the companies like Google would
operate as poorly as school districts, because the leadership every 10 years very different
directions. And conversely, if school districts didn't have that, they could execute well.
So, I think a lot of the time that we spend improving school districts, we're really pushing
our rubber bands because, you know, if there's a thousand school districts of large school
districts, you know, at some point in time, you know, at any point in time, a dozen or
two of them are going to have great incredible leaders like Michelle Reed and Joel Klein
and God bless them. They're making, you know, doing great work. But the problem is there's
no way in the elected system to keep a consistent evolution. If you look at GE, consistently
good leaders over, you know, a hundred years and that's how they work. Look at P&G. You
don't get any of that because you don't have self-perpetuating governance. So the fundamental
problem--it's like--it's not the same issue as communism and capitalism, but you would
probably easy to understand that if there's a Communist country, it's really hard to improve
agricultural productivity. I mean, you can teach them fertilizer practices. That's not
going make much difference, okay? Now, our school districts are not Communist, okay?
But they have a fundamental governance problem which is the equivalent of communism, capitalism.
The governance problem is elected school boards. And when you get elected school boards, you
get no consistent vision in every 10 years. And you know what, if you work in a system
where every 10 years the direction kept moving back and forth or every other superintendent
was good, every other superintendent was adult, then, you know, you'd probably want a thick
union contract, too. You know, and you wouldn't be such a fan in merit pay. So, you know,
all of these responses the teachers have, I think, are very legitimate responses to
the management world in which they live in, which is, you know, sometimes they have good
superintendent and sometimes--and often not. And then, from that not good superintendent
comes all kinds of other problems. So, that ultimately comes back to the self-perpetuating
governance. Now, the problem was saying, "Oh, that's interesting, Reed. Okay. Let's take
the Mountain View School District and make it self-perpetuating governance." Well, now
the problem is it's a monopoly. You know, it owns the whole Mountain View area. And
the self-perpetuating and suppose it gets broken, or there's no, you know, it's going
to run the schools forever even horribly. But that doesn't sound good. In fact, what
you have with self-perpetuating is that you need some competition. You need multiple providers.
We have multiple foundations in this room and in the U.S. And sometimes a foundation
gets pretty broken, the board, you know, the average momentum on the board is not good.
I'm out of time here. So, but then there's other foundations that stepped in, military
branches that always used to bother me that we have--and why do we have so many military
branches? And then, I realized, "Oh, because they're self-perpetuating, you got to have
a mechanism where if the Army gets really, you know, in a mess, you know, the other guys
can pick up a lot of the mission." And then, in fact, having multiple providers with each
one being self-perpetuating is the recipe in the military. It's the recipe of the non-profit
side. It's the recipe in politics, the Democrats and Republicans pick their own, and a lot
of things. And that's what we don't have in schools. And I think this issue as saddle
as it is, is as deep as capitalism versus communism. And then, if you get the fundamental
model wrong at the top, then, you know, helping with better fertilizer for agricultural productivity
is, you know, not very productive. And so, one of the reasons I believe that then is
I'm working on Charter Management Organizations as lot of people in this room are, which are
self-perpetuating organizations that compete. So, what I hope to see happen over the next
20 years is that CMOs will grow rapidly. Now, for a CMO to go rapidly it must be a technology
leader, and this is where it comes together. The way if some CMO breaks out at rapid pace,
that's because it's going to use technology so aggressively that it gets twice the learning
at half the price, and then can use the margins to put up new buildings and new buildings
and new buildings. Because if they do it like that kept us, which I'm on the board of, it's
God's work but it's unbelievably labor intensive. And going to a thousand schools, you know,
was very hard. Where as if you can use technology to do--to get the same benefits that kept
us now, but at much lower cost then the CMOs, I believe, will be able to really expand.
So, that would be my idea of what will happen over the next 10 or 20 years. And I'm out
of time, so I'll hand this over. >> STONE: Okay. Well, it looks like we have
a lot to discuss. Reed has raised some very interesting points. I want to put the questions
from Google Moderator on hold for now and ask our panelist. So Reed, essentially, raised
two major points. In the parental sector, in the home, he basically said that there
is a false urgency that there's a natural progression in how media and technology moves
throughout the society and there's no reason to rush that. And in the schools he argued
that there are serious limitations in the governance in our schools and even our well-intention
efforts may end up being ineffective because of that. And I want to--he started of, but
addressing what Jimmy had said, so I'd like Jim to address those two points.
>> STEYER: This is the last time I want to invite you on a panel, Reed, you know. By
the way, I will say this in defense of my friend, Reed, here. Reed has been one of the
great educators here in California for a very long time, which is why we had him come. And
he's been working on these issues for many, many years and he's one of the few industry
leaders who had spent much of his time and not just his spare time working on education.
So, I would take two things. First of all, I don't agree with Reed that there isn't--it
doesn't need to be a sense of urgency and I wish you've come last night, actually, because
I think--that's number one. So I do think there need to be a sense of urgency and I
do worry that there is a very big--very big possibility that you'll see a growing divide
between a have and the have not periods. And part of that has to do with parent's knowledge
and adoption of new technology as part of this broader learning process. I completely
agree with you about your analysis of the self-perpetuating governance versus a public
governance. And a lot of the discussions we're actually having was--were about how you blow
up the system of the current public education system and reform it, which I have talked
to you about previous [INDISTINCT] which I would agree with. So, I would say--first of
all, this is the one of the smartest guys I know who can understand--who understands
both the tech world and the education world. So, I agree in part and I disagree, but I
really disagree about that there's not a sense of urgency because I feel there really needs
to be. And I have known you in your--in other lives being very urgent about what needs to
be done for charter management organizations and the kids who you car about. So, he is
right about the management structure and he knows a ton about technology, but I think
there's need of the assessment. >> STONE: Yeah, the assessment of the public
school system sort of depressing for a parent. I mean, Gary, is, you know, is there, you
know, kind of hope in your mind? >> KNELL: Yeah, I think there is hope. I think
technology gives that opportunity. I just also want to respond to Reed. Your comments
are terrific. I think the difference, Reed, from my point of view is and why there is
some urgency? It's not just the gap. America is slipping. Okay. So, we--what technology
is brought us is a global economy. It has brought us connectivity that didn't exist
after World War II when we had America century, when we had universal education, when we had
the greatest higher education system in the world that everyone in the world wanted to
come to. Not so much the case anymore. And we are--we did not have India and China whose
kids are hungrier in many ways than our kids as each of you know when you visit those countries.
So, I think the difference now and why there is some sense of urgency is that--and opportunity
is that technology gives us all an ability to connect the dots between so-called informal
education outside the classroom and formal education through the public schools in a
way where we can raise the sea level for everyone. And I think that's what this is all about.
You know, Sesame Street was not just designed for disadvantaged kids and closing an achievement
gap, but it was about inclusion. It was about not ignoring those kids and making sure that
they were included as the sea level rose. And I think that's what we need to look at
as a nation. >> HASTINGS: The Sesame Street is...
>> STONE: Go, for it. >> HASTINGS: Sesame Street never do anything
on that crying wolf and the dangers of crying wolf.
>> KNELL: Undoubtedly. >> HASTINGS: Okay. So, in 1957 Sputnik went,
you know, the little red thing was going over. And this, you know, really scared American.
This was a fundamental crisis of, this must be solved. Our Math and Science teachers were
letting us down. We were losing the Cold War against the Russian and we had to change everything
in America public education and it was a crisis. You know, and then a couple years later, we're
worried about other things and not much really changed. We got the WestEd, you know, get
some federal education labs out of it and, you know, by in large, things went long and,
you know, eventually the Russians became less of a threat, it actually, you know, it was
because of Sputnik. Then you go along and, you know, you're in the 1980s and Germany
and Japan their economies are really strong. They've got these very state investment policies
and we're wandering if this is no longer the American Century and Ronald Reagan puts out
this incredibly well-written, "A nation at risk, rising tide of mediocrity. We have a
crisis among parallel dimensions and education system you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy."
Lots of talk, boy, a lot of conferences like this. Nothing really changed since then. Okay.
So, what happens here is in society when there are fears of something, politicians project
that on education, okay? It becomes the weeping boy. So, what happen Sputnik is there was
real fear. I mean, you know, "Here, that's a satellite. Maybe next it's a missile." So,
if someone to blame, so you demagogue, it's the education system. When there was great
economic fear in the early '80s, right, very high unemployment. This was, you know, we
were just coming out of the stagflation. And who are we going to blame, but the education
system letting us down, it becomes the weeping boy. In the modern age, what are we really
feared of globalization? You know, all the jobs were losing behind our, you know, and
then that and that. I'm not saying these things are bad, but, basically, you know, you got
a repeated crisis. And so, what happens is most educators learn to check out, because,
you know, every two decades there is some crisis but, basically, schools just keep going.
So, I don't actually think that the language of crisis actually serves our purpose. This
is going to be a marathon. It's not going to be a sprint. I work really hard on education
reform. I definitely agree in the sense of urgency, but it's a sense of urgency and a
commitment to make a difference over 30 years. It's the, you know, it's the framing of the
five-year timeframe that I think is the mistake. >> STONE: Well, what's with Dr. Ito way, and
because her research does seem to suggest that kids find the socializing tools organically
and maybe we can kind of let the process take hold by itself.
>> ITO: Yeah, I mean, I would agree that the [INDISTINCT] of crisis and fears isn't necessarily
productive driver, but I think that maybe a little bit of a red haring in the sense
that, I think, what we're talking about here is not so much fear and crisis, but opportunity.
And that I agree with Reed that the goal is the marathon and that we need to recognize
this as a space of potentially an inflection point where technology could be working in
different directions. And as a scholar of technology studies and technological change,
there are definitely moments when technologies are more open to shaping before they get stabilized
in certain kinds of hardened genres and forms. And we are in a moment of openness and destabilization
around certain things. So, I see it as a moment of opportunity that like Reed will play out
over a very long time. And it's important to--I think the cautionary note to stress
the longer term impact is incredibly important, but that isn't a reason to sit back now and
just watch it happen. And I think the thing that I would take issue with Reed's separation
of the private and public is because we've always known that the private lives of individuals,
what parents do in their homes with kids is a huge driver of the learning that happens
in school. We know that. That's a sort of historically resilient fact. Now, that is
being reproduced with new technologies in new ways. That dynamic is the same but it's
being reproduced, so the middle-class families that many of us probably identify with, who
have our kids going to the violin lesson, who are having customized chess clubs, all
of that, you know, more and more of our education is actually being privatized. And we need
to recognize that in a way that's much more front and center in the public discussion
about what education means. The new technology is the fact that there is this--not about
technology access, but there's a participation gap in how kids are using the technology.
This needs to be part of the agenda because it's widening that gap that has been around,
historically, for quite some time. So, I think looking across these two sectors of public
and private and thinking of solutions is extremely important. A really simple example, schools
not allowing kids to access Web 2.0. Okay. What does this do to the kids who don't have
pervasive Internet access in the home? Think about it. It's a public policy agenda that
is about kids' access to certain forms of private communication. Can you separate that
when so much learning is happening in the private arena?
>> STONE: Let me quickly, I think we're rapidly running out of time, so let me quickly ask
my own parental question. Reed mentioned the baby Einstein videos. I know controversial,
many interpretations, one possible interpretation is that corporate interest got ahead of the
science. And as well, no me... >> HASTINGS: Possible?
>> STONE: On the Internet, there are great sites and there are not great sites. How as
we try to instigate a revolution in learning and make our kids be digitally literate, how
do we protect them from the corporate interest? And maybe Gary wants to start them out.
>> KNELL: Well, I think we're just beginning to scratch the surface and understanding the
implications of these technologies on small children especially, everybody but certainly
small children. And making claims the way some of these videos did, we always thought
was a really dangerous thing to do, because there is really no research that proves any
of that. So, you know, I think we need to come together in the academic community as
many of you in this room are doing, me, me and others, to try to have a much greater
understanding of the education implications and the way kids are processing information
now. And, Reed, this is a long longitudinal way. This is not a five-year project, but
we've really got to light a fire and I would urge the federal government, actually, to
put some real resources into these issues, because these have profound suicidal implications.
They get tested in the private sector the way Disney, and not just Disney by the way,
but many others did. But it can be pretty dangerous when we're dealing with the youngest
children in the next generation of Americans. >> STONE: Jimmy had brought that out, because
this is not just a video of DVDs or baby's problem, this is the Internet. This is what
kids are... >> STEYER: I agree, and I would say this.
I would add, yes, it is a marathon. It is not five years but it's a very urgent marathon
and seriously. And I don't think we are and you're not, but I don't think anybody ought
to be cynical about it either. I'm very serious. Here's what I would tell you. It's why I do
not believe. We went out at Common Sense and we've been hammering on baby Einstein, the
guys who really let it also hammered Gary at one point, for doing anything which I thought
was wrong. But I will say this is I do not believe that the private sector left to its
own devices. We'll try to further the best interest of kids in educations. I think they
will try to maximize profit, not in every case. And, occasionally, I've been liking
folks like Reed run companies, who do a lot of other stuff. Although, I would imagine
that Netflix only they try to do is make money on selling me and everybody else DVDs, and
whatever the next generation you're going to sell at. So, I don't believe that will
happen. I think there is--this is not about the role of the public education, this is
the role of government. I mean, it's why Julia says an incredibly important job that the
chairman of the FFC. If he does not really sit on the major media and tech players, look
at the structure of that industry as well as the behavior that is why you do. There's
an extremely important public role. There's also an extraordinarily important public role
for NGOs, for the public interest community, and for philanthropists to support that. You
know, because, there is a characteristic approach. On the one hand, you have to compliment industry
when they really take the best interest of kids and education to heart. See you, Reed.
But at the same, you got to hold them accountable when they market, when they constantly market
this or that in order to try to make money at the expense of children. So, I think you
have the economy there. You have to congratulate industry when they do well, encourage them
to participate in this Digital Learning Revolution, and you also have to hammer them when they
do false efforts to just make money on the backs of our kids. Often times as Geoff said
last night, the ones who are most targeted are the poorest kids with the least parental
intermediation. >> STONE: Okay. So, we're out of time. Let's
have a round of applause for current and departed panels. Thank you.