Author and international EdTech leader Alan November will take Palm Springs by storm later this week at this year’s annual Spring CUE Conference. The renowned educator turned author and international presenter will be showcasing his session “Saving Democracy: Educator’s Survival Guide to Fake News Across the Curriculum” on Friday, March 15th.
November, who has presented his passion projects around the globe and speaks frequently on the need for more media and information literacy in school systems, has a long and intimate past with CUE.
November recalled his first experience coming to California for CUE. He stated,
CUE was the first conference I ever attended – I got there because a CUE member (a librarian) walked into my classroom in Lexington, Massachusetts and saw what I was doing with kids and technology and said, ‘You have to present at CUE!’ I had no idea what CUE was – no idea what the conference was. I presented at CUE – I got this standing crowd in my room. And people, you know, seemed grateful for my workshop – this was in the early 80s, ’83 or so. I was stunned. I had never presented…I had no idea. Surely, I was going to fail. But it turned out, I didn’t. CUE basically launched my speaking career – I have this affection for CUE. We’ve been at it since at least the ’80s. That’s how I got associated with CUE.
Glen Warren, director of Literacies, Outreach, and Libraries at Encinitas Union School District – who is also November’s co-presenter and close friend – stated, “Alan found his voice at CUE.”
Warren, who works closely with November, refers to him as a “game changer – leveraging technology for teaching and connecting with students while getting students connected.” Warren likened November to the Beatles, stating, “Teachers adore Alan November. Alan is the freaking Beatles – you’re going to either love him or don’t.”
It’s clear which way most education professionals lean when it comes to Alan November. November’s work on media and information literacy has brought him accolades across the EdTech community and teachers, administrators, and fans alike flock to his sessions.
During our interview, I asked November who his target audience was and what he hoped they gained from coming to his session. He stated,
“Everybody should attend because this is an EdTech problem. This is crazy. This is the biggest unintended consequence, I believe, of technology without the attention it deserves to solve it. Leaders need to come because we need to set this as the number one priority. We’ve got to solve this problem. You can’t have the most powerful medium in the world, ever invented – the web – without teaching kids the architecture of how it’s organized.”
He continued with a powerful analogy, “That’s like not teaching the dewey decimal system when you go into a library – just go find a book. We would never do that – but we do the equivalent of that every day with kids. So, PhD professors need to come. First grade teachers need to come. Superintendents need to come. It’s serious.”
November will also be hosting a CUE Speakeasy session, specifically geared for administrators. I asked him to tell me a little bit more about this session. “Yes, it’s different…it’s basically the $1,000 pencil problem – that a lot of what the most powerful schools are doing is old work. There is a large energy source or another keeping school culture the way it was – and then we have all of this technology. So [the session will be] taking a look at seven design questions I’ve developed over the years – representing unique contributions to technology. One of them is teaching critical thinking skills – making thinking visible. I think it’s one of the most powerful things we can do for teachers – designing the tools like Prism or SeeSaw where teachers gain new insights on how students are thinking. We couldn’t do this prior to technology. I don’t know why schools don’t focus on that as a very strategic opportunity to improve achievement. Then, there is global collaboration – the opportunity to widen ones’ perspectives. Why would you teach anything, including any novel, without teaching kids about the people who live in that place? In fact, of all the countries that I have visited in the past, the United States is the worst, by far, in connecting kids globally.”
For more information on Alan November, make sure to check out his session page on the Sched and on his website, November Learning. November can also be found on Twitter. November is also set to join other authors on Friday’s “Meet the Author” event.