TEDxNYED: Examining the Role of New Media and Technology in Shaping the Future of Education


TEDxNYED: Independently organized TED event via kwout

Today is the day of TEDxNYED; if you miss the livestream of the outstanding lineup of speakers, be of good cheer:  all video will be available on the TEDxNYED website and their YouTube Channel.

What is TEDxNYED?

TEDxNYED, an all-day conference examining the role of new media and technology in shaping the future of education, will take place in New York City on Saturday, March 6, 2010 and will be webcast live here at tedxnyed.com, allowing viewers around the world to join and engage in these ideas worth spreading.

TEDxNYED is operating under license from TED, organizers of the immensely popular TED Conference, an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx, a program of local, organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. ted.com/tedx.

TEDxNYED is independently organized by New York educators. At TEDxNYED, TED Talk videos and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connections. TEDxNYED presenters have been invited to share their insights and inspire conversations about the future of education. Attendees of the conference will participate via networking sessions where they will educate one another and, in the spirit of TED, help spread these ideas.

TEDxNYED is an all-day event designed to bring leading educators, innovators, and idealists together to share their vision of education. This event will provide a platform for administrators, teachers, and those passionate about education to connect, learn from these extraordinary speakers, and spread their ideas on how new media and technology are shaping the future of education. There will be live speakers, two recorded TED Talks, and a number of networking sessions both during and after the event

The lineup of speakers features some of the most innovative and forward-thinking minds in a broad range of fields that are impacting current thought in education as well as librarianship!  Henry Jenkins, Michael Wesch, Andy Carvin, Chris Lehmann, and Lawrence Lessig are just a few of the stellar speakers.

Here are a few helpful links:


Disagreeing with Doug

This blog post originally began as a “brief” response to Doug Johnson’s post, “It’s not just AASL…”, but as I began writing this afternoon, it morphed and took on a life of its own.  I have cross posted my response here in case you may not follow Doug’s Blue Skunk blog.  This post was difficult to write as I normally agree with Doug!  Many thanks for my friends in my PLN for helping me think this one through.

July 22 Response to “It’s not just AASL…”

I must respectfully disagree with Doug’s position and with the comment from Debbie Stafford.

My Response to Doug

Doug, you state in your post, “It’s OK for my professional organizations to [be] fiscally prudent as well as cuttin’ edge and socially responsible.”

Are we developing standards merely for profit?  Should standards not be developed first and foremost with the purpose of improving education for students and not as a vehicle for making money?   How are we exemplifying cutting edge practices if an organization, whether it be AASL, ISTE, or any of the organizations you identified above, is not modeling 21st century practices by licensing content for use under one of the Creative Commons licenses?

The original wording on the permissions page for use of the standards (which apparently has changed since my blog post on July 15 at http://bit.ly/fQGj8 ) implied  room for interpretation by using verbiage indicating permissions were needed to even link to the PDF document.  Seriously—telling people (AASL members or not) they need permission to drive people to your document and your organization’s website? Standards that are the very heart of what we try to teach?   How is that cutting edge?  Instead, the appearance is given that control is the driving concern, not innovation.

The original permissions (as well as the examples you have quoted above) are not a “cutting edge” way of providing liberal and unencumbered use of the standards.  Instead, that kind of wording is 1.0; it is the old model of protecting one’s content.   Yes, we can claim “fair use”, but I think everyone knows there are always shades of gray and debate as to whether or not something falls under fair use.   In addition, fair use rules typically are limited to face to face interaction, not public presentations or other means of public sharing via print or digital medium.

The argument, “Everyone else is doing it this way” and “nobody, nobody, puts their work into the public domain, free of any restrictions” also holds no weight with me—at a time in which I see the clout of  our profession declining in the testing and standards driven climate of NCLB, I care about being able to put those standards in as many places as possible with as few restrictions as possible to show the value of what I do every day as a school library professional.  At least with a share alike non-commercial CC license, users would have more confidence that they were not violating copyright or have to wonder if their use fell under fair use.

AASL of course has every right to protect its intellectual property, which no one disputes, but the original permissions wording, which as I noted, has seemingly quietly changed to some extent to be “kinder and gentler” (see July 14 cache of the same page at http://bit.ly/z4DZM ) sometime in recent days, was overly restrictive.  The original wording included several references to “could be”, “must be”, and “may be charged a fee.”   Let organizations market conferences, journals, membership fees, and other services as a means for making profit, but let us not pin our financial hopes on the marketing of ideas and standards that should be produced and shared in the spirit of educational progress.

My Response to Debbie Stafford

Ms. Stafford, if you go back and reference the posts from Chris Harris and Joyce Valenza that I link to in my blog post, I think you will see that no one “went off…without thinking it through.”  On July 18, even Doug himself had this to say about the situation:

“Judging by the tenor of the discussion on various library lists, the ill-will being generated by the controversy is costing AASL a lot in lost membership and good will. A quick (oh, I forgot that that quick is not in AASL’s vocabulary) policy reversal, placing a share-alike, non-commercial use Creative Commons license on the standards would show it listens to its membership. (#FreeTheStandards ) AASL and ALA will need to move into the 21st Century someday, whether they want to or not.”

As for the “one person” you reference in your response, Chris Harris merely pointed out some of the legitimate problems with the original permissions wording and shared those concerns with the school library community.  Not only did he point out some of the problems, but he also provided a reasonable solution that met the interests of AASL and practitioners.  Joyce’s concern in her July 13 post, “I get the need for profit, but I wonder if we are looking at profit in a very small picture way in these times.  I wonder if our field is seriously misrepresented by our especially conservative approach to dissemination” reflects a serious and very real philosophical question about the purpose and mission of our library organizations.  In Joyce’s July 14 post, the esteemed David Loertscher shared a thoughtful analysis of the model “Return on Investment” and concluded with these thoughts:

How can our voice get heard? Are we insular or promotional? Are we a business or a professional organization? A reminder, the intellectual content of the standards was given freely by volunteers. What is our intent?”

Obviously, more than one blog post shared similar concerns, and I don’t classify other library professionals debating and exploring those concerns in a methodical manner as going off “without thinking it through.”  Clearly, a great deal of thought was put into these posts if you read them in their entirety.

What can be learned from the #freethestandards debate and dialogue?

In her June 29, 2009 review and analysis of David Lee King’s book, Designing the Digital Experience, Valeria Maltoni (http://bit.ly/ecLAW) breaks down the three steps for “mapping a customer’s journey.”  Maltoni identifies the first step:

“Connect the dots between internal preparedness and external needs – the moment of truth in this step is literally overcoming communications barriers, internal bureaucracy, disbelief, and misconception stalls. When you do that, you’re taking your business from a position of unattractiveness, to one of interest in figuring out the points of interaction and staying focused on customer needs.”

If we posit ourselves as “customers” of AASL (or substitute any of the organizations mentioned by Doug above), then perhaps this situation with standards is an opportunity for AASL and other organizations to be “cutting edge” and “socially responsible” by focusing on the needs of its “customers”, the people who want to embrace and integrate these standards as seamlessly and as pervasively as possible.  While it appears the wording for acceptable use has been clarified on the permission page in recent days, why not go a step further and add the Creative Commons license?  Let us draw inspiration from George Bernard Shaw who said, “Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”  Why NOT free the content?  What does AASL have to lose except the confidence of its members?

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, it seems fitting that our organization could blaze trails for others by taking the bold leap of licensing this important content with the CC license and setting a precedent for idea sharing.   Should we really let how everyone else has approached the marketing and sharing of standards dictate our approach?  By doing so, AASL would be modeling Maltoni’s second step in mapping the customer’s journey, “Integrate what you say with what you do.”  Let us, AASL, be an organization that practices and incorporates the very principles of 21st century digital citizenship.

Finally, Maltoni identifies the third step of mapping the customer experience:

Innovate at each touch point – whenever you offer a customer something, do you think through the implications of delivering it to them, or them getting it however they find it easiest? What process or tool have you not updated for a long time and needs revisiting, for example? The moment of truth in this one is if your innovation is you-centered, in other words easy for you, or customer-centric, something that will make their experience better.”

This #freethestandards issue is the perfect opportunity for AASL to “innovate at each touch point” by rethinking how content may be “delivered” to its members and those who will want to use its intellectual property.  Is having to email or make a phone call to get written permission to use the standards the easiest way to share that content?  Absolutely not!  Why not “update the process”? Had the CC license been initially applied rather than the original permission wording, confusion and discontent could have been avoided on the part of those who want to reference and integrate the standards on a regular basis.  The experience of the AASL member at this particular “touch point” could have been better had intellectual profit been a priority over monetary profit.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I call upon AASL to be a leader in the educational realm by being innovative and offering the CC license that users can easily embed when they are using the standards in print or digital medium.  As we practitioners in the field attempt to redefine ourselves and bring innovation to the ways that school libraries can make a difference in schools, so too should our organization strive to practice the three steps of mapping the AASL member’s journey to build membership, support, and growth through creative customer service rather than business models that are becoming increasingly irrelevant in today’s culture.


Free the AASL Standards

If you didn’t either attend ALA in Chicago in person or follow it from afar through assorted social media backchannels, then you may be blissfully unaware of an imperfect storm brewing called “Free the Standards.”

In the course of teaching a workshop on using the standards, Chris Harris discovered that our standards, the very ones that are to be our compass in our efforts to infuse information literacy as an integral and seamless part of all curricular areas, are subject to some rather restrictive copyright limitations.   In a nutshell, Harris learned that:

Under the new permissions for use, I actually had to tell librarians that they can no longer quote the standards that they are using within their lesson plan documents! Given the push to spread the standards and the whole Learning4Life initiative, this is surely in unintended outcome of AASL’s attempts to secure the standards. And yet, an over zealous locking down of the standards is unfortunately preventing most use.

As stated on the permissions page: “Permission must be requested for publishing or posting a portion of the text or the original document in a print or online publication or on a Web site as well as linking to the PDF.” [AASL] A lesson plan is a print or electronic document, therefore permission must be requested for quoting the standards as is usually done in a standard lesson plan format. Additionally, a lesson plan could be considered a derivative work under the current wording: “The learning standards document is considered the core content if the publication cannot be written without the use of the content of the learning standards document. Such usage requires a license agreement and may include a fee.”[AASL]

A fee for including the standards in each lesson plan?

Most librarians in the workshop assumed that the permission for educational use granted in the standards document covered use in lesson plans. I did as well…until I read the new permissions page. The permissions page limits educational use to only the pdf document itself. “The PDF versions available on the AASL Web site are intended for personal and educational use. Printing or forwarding copies for your own private use or to share with others for purely informational or educational purposes is acceptable.”[AASL] Any quoting of the document (i.e. listing standards on a lesson plan) would fall under the “Publishing or Posting Excerpts” section and would therefore require permission (and maybe a fee) for each lesson plan. ( July 10, 2009 post)

On July 11, Chris followed up with additional information on just how severely restricted we as school librarians are from even linking to the PDF document:

Under AASL’s current permissions for use, you CANNOT use the language. CANNOT put the standards into Rubicon Atlas (or another curriculum mapping program). CANNOT even link to the pdf document on your website or in an e-mail. I know that Alison Cline wrote back yesterday saying this could be “easily taken care of” but it cannot. We need to change the policy that guides use of the standards.

Your participation in this dialogue is critical in our efforts to freeing the standards for liberal non-commercial use.  Suggestions for a Creative Commons License have been made via various blogs, Twitter, and the AASL Forum discussion list.    I urge you to make your voice heard via one or more of these vehicles for conversation—how can we hope to integrate the standards into district and state curriculum if we are not allowed to even identify the standards in a lesson plan or link to the PDF document?

Here are some resources for getting up to speed and being an active part of the conversation for #freethestandards .

This is a serious issue that is of concern to all school librarians.  What good does it do our profession and organization if everyone is too afraid to reference the standards for fear of violating copyright or being assessed a fee?

As school librarians, we face enough obstacles in trying to go above and beyond our mission of creating lifelong learners and infusing information literacy as an essential literacy for K-12. The current restrictions only make our task even more challenging—should it really be this difficult and worrisome to use our own standards?

Adding a Creative Commons licensing or some kind of compromise that allows more liberal use/referencing of the standards is a “do or die” in my opinion—if the current restrictions stay in place, our standards are sure to go absolutely nowhere in a hurry.   Whether or not you belong to AASL, the use of the standards is of concern to all—please take time to share concerns and possible solutions you may have in a professional and proactive manner.

Buffy Hamilton,
School Library Media Specialist
Creekview High School