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Alan November

>Alan November, for your event<

Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor. He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant, and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology.

Audiences enjoy Alan’s humor and wit as he pushes the boundaries of how to improve teaching and learning. His areas of expertise include planning across curriculum, staff development, new school design, community building and leadership development. He has delivered keynotes and workshops in all fifty states, across Canada, and throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and Central America.

Alan was named one of the nation’s fifteen most influential thinkers of the decade by Tech and Learning magazine. His writing includes numerous articles and best-selling books.   Alan’s most recent book “Who Owns the Learning?” is on the New York Times education best sellers list for 2013.   Alan was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.

Each summer Alan leads the Building Learning Communities summer conference with world-class presenters and educators from more than 25 countries.


“You were absolutely great as a presenter! Three hours passed and everyone was still listening intensely to and learning from your very important message. And we are still thinking about your message and talking to other educators, family members and friends-whoever will listen.”

-Georgia Department of Education



Teaching Zack to Think: Developing Critical Thinking Skills

Too many students are not sure how to separate fact from fiction on the Internet. The Internet can provide any version of the truth to support almost any belief. We can teach students how to read the “grammar” of the Internet and to apply strategies to validate information on a website. This popular workshop provides step-by-step teaching tips that help students and teachers think critically about Internet information.

Web Literacy for Elementary Students (an elementary focused version of Teaching Zack to Think)

As the web becomes the dominant media for children it will be essential to teach young children the grammar and literacy skills to be safe and to be excellent “web detectives.” This workshop will provide teachers with an overview of how to teach elementary students to choose the right search engine, understand how to find who controls the information, and to develop early cross referencing strategies. Teachers will also learn how to incorporate age appropriate bogus websites into the curriculum to prepare children to question web based content.

Who Owns the Learning

Placing easy-to-use digital tools in the hands of our students can result in creative solutions that help classmates learn. We know that many children prefer to learn from their peers, yet this technique is often underestimated and underused in today’s classrooms. Encouraging students to contribute to their learning community is a powerful and effective way to improve achievement. We’ll show you how.

Empathy: The 21st Century Skill

From West Point to HSBC (biggest bank in the world), one of the most valued skills is to understand different cultural perspectives and points of view. If we want our students to be competitive in the global economy, we must challenge them to co-create and present to a worldwide authentic audience. Any classroom can be organized to be a global communications center, and we can design more rigorous and motivating assignments that engage our students to communicate globally with purpose. Expand boundaries of potential and give your students courage to engage with the world.

Creating a New Culture of Teaching and Learning

A powerful new culture of empowered teaching and fearless learning is emerging. Access to more timely information and communication tools can empower educators to focus on the individual learning needs of their students. These same tools can lead to more collegiality, build stronger community relationships and empower students to be more self-directed. This workshop presents clear examples of how this new culture has been achieved.

Main points include:

  • Increased Collegiality: Shared Best Practices
  • Increase Student ownership of learning
  • Technology aligned to curriculum
  • Authentic work
  • More rigorous and motivating assignments
  • Classroom to learning community

Building Learning Communities

We now have tools to build and strengthen our learning communities. We have the opportunity to provide our students with authentic assessment relationships over the web that can help dramatically improve student motivation. We can take advantage of the communication tools the Internet provides, such as Twitter, Skype, blogs, Instant Messenger, video conference or email. Explore ways to motivate your students and connect them to the global community.

Leadership: Managing the Transition

Our schools are at the beginning of a historic transition from paper as the dominant storage and retrieval media to the web. The initial response of bolting technology on top of the current design of school is a short-term process that will only yield marginal improvement. Contrast this “$1,000 pencil” approach with how society is transforming how, where, when, with whom and even why people work. Being self directed, managing global communications and overwhelming amounts of information have become critical job skills. The workshop will include response to the following critical

leadership questions, such as:

  • How do we retain our educational and social values during this transition?
  • How do we redesign the culture of learning from a classroom with walls to every classroom expanding to global boundaries?
  • How do we build capacity within our schools for massive opportunities for professional development?
  • How do we engage our parent community, board and alumni as strategic partners in this transformation?
  • What should every student know to be prepared to make meaningful contributions to society?
  • What is the emerging definition of life-long learning?
  • How can we design more motivating and rigorous student work?
  • What is the balance of online learning with face-to-face learning?
  • How can school leaders provide the role models needed to set the tone and expectation of this transition?

Cultivating a World-Class Work Ethic

In an economy where global outsourcing is commonplace, students must be prepared to participate in an increasingly competitive job market. In many ways they are in competition with bright energetic, hardworking students from all over the world. In this workshop, some of the ways we can empower our students, help them build a strong work ethic and develop self-directed learning skills are discussed. We should not underestimate what our students are capable of achieving.

Preparing Teachers for Today

Designed for colleges of education, this workshop targets the challenges beginning teachers and teacher educators often face. It explores critical skills teachers should know, such as information literacy. Practical ideas of moving curriculum and assessment to the web are reviewed, along with suggestions on how to link students to primary sources, create authentic assessments and strengthen community support.

Aligning Technology to the Standards

Data driven technologies can be a powerful tool to help manage and support standards. Technology can provide online-assessment, links to content-specific resources and activities, simulations, real time reporting to families, extensive portfolios of student work and much more. This workshop is designed to show how technologies can be aligned to support standards and how we can move beyond them.

Smart School Design

School design can have a significant impact on the culture of learning in your school. New models of school design are emerging that support a wide range of learning styles and take full advantage of global communications. Access to powerful technologies can free designers to build smaller, more intimate schools. In this session, we examine school models from around the US and UK to illustrate powerful new ways of creating learning spaces.

Motivating Zack

From Alan’s work as an educator on an island reform school to directing an alternative high school, much of his experience has focused on motivating at-risk students. Online communication can be a powerful tool for engaging students to be active learners. For example, students who never raise their hand in class can become eager to participate online. Many at-risk students are also more willing to accept criticism from an anonymous reviewer over the Internet. This workshop presents some creative ideas for using technological tools to help improve student motivation and focus on learning.

From Smart Toilets to Smart Schools

This popular workshop provides a provocative and humorous look at ways to use technology to improve learning. Alan challenges participants to examine basic assumptions about how to move beyond flushing curriculum faster, to creating visions that provide students and communities with survival skills for a global economy. This workshop leads to a shift in thinking from technology to a focus on the quality of information and communication technology can offer.

First 5 Days: Building a Culture for Year Long Success

There is a significant opportunity in the first five days of school to set the tone concerning powerful, engaging and self-directed learning. By giving students ownership of their learning and having them develop tools and networks that will support them throughout the school year, we better prepare them for the global economy. In this session, participants will consider the broad opportunities that await in the first five days of school, including information literacy, student roles, global collaboration and more.

This session will focus on the ideas behind the contributions your students will make in the classroom and will introduce participants to a toolset that will get their students moving in the direction of empowered, purposeful learning. Examples include tutorial creators, student scribes, curriculum reviewers and more.

The Common Core Meets Digital Literacy

Now that the Common Core is moving assessment to a digital device, our students will be faced with much more complex items than with a paper and pencil test. In a addition, the Common Core requires that our students learn more about the application of knowledge and there will be more focus on informational texts and how to communicate with a wide range of media. In this workshop educators will learn how to:

  • Help students to make meaning of a range of media sources
  • Learn how to validate digital content
  • Help students develop their capacity to question, discover, connect, collaborate and contribute on a global scale.

A teacher’s guidance in the complex and overwhelming world of digital media and the Common Core is more important than ever.

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