McKenzie Workshops and Speeches

Keynote: Strategic Teaching

Great teaching may be the yeast missing from many technology ventures, McKenzie argues. He explains how inattention to professional development leaves many teachers ill-equipped to make profitable use of the new technologies flooding into schools. In all too many cases, the program is half-baked and falls flat. He outlines elements of successful professional development programs which translate into integrated classroom use. Index

Workshop: Invention = Integration

Districts should spend half of their professional development budgets on time for teacher invention. When teachers are encouraged to build technology-enhanced lessons and units, new technologies find a welcome mat awaiting their arrival and installation. They pass from "intruder" status to "partner" status. McKenzie describes teacher invention programs that convert theory into practice. Index

Workshop: The Dilution Trap

Faced with limited resources, many schools make the mistake of spreading them evenly across each and every classroom regardless of need, readiness or program goals. McKenzie argues that dilution is a serious threat to program quality and that alternative designs can better deliver the "critical mass" needed to achieve meaningful curriculum outcomes. Index

Keynote: Forming the Information Literate School Community

One of the best reasons to network schools, according to McKenzie, is the formation of information literate school communities. Learn the three phases of information literacy: prospecting, translation and creating new ideas. Form a clear notion of the elements required for a school to merit the description "information literate school community." Index

Workshop: Template Art & Template Thinking

One of the most insidious side effects of new technologies is the prevalence of templates and clip art which substitute for invention, design and creation. Easy to use and superficially appealing, they are this decade's version of "paint by numbers." Failing huge personal or district collections of clip art, we find ourselves condemned to a gray flannel gallery of images and formats which is often sterile, artless and unappealing. McKenzie asks schools and teachers to replace the seductive appeal of clip art and templates with an emphasis upon originality and art. Index

Workshop: MultiMediocracy

Not all that glitters is gold. Despite the popularity of multimedia presentations in many schools, McKenzie argues that content and rigor can actually decline when flash counts more than reasoning, evidence and logic. How do we create standards and criteria for these new reporting formats which will require that students do deep reading, deep thinking and synthesis rather than pleasing plagiarism? McKenzie offers strategies for schools to maintain quality in the face of powerful packaging. Index

Workshop: Matters of Life or Death

The relationship between doctor and patient is shifting as treatment decisions become more complicated, information is more widely available to patients and many newly diagnosed individuals seek second, third and fourth opinions. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the importance of "Information Power" to staff is to offer professional development opportunities which engage them in exploring some of the medical issues emerging in their own lives - whether it be their own disease or a parent's or a child's. McKenzie describes how teachers learn to value "essential questions" when they have a chance to explore them as part of their professional growth program. Index

Keynote: Scoring High

Despite an abysmal lack of assessment data to prove the case, McKenzie shows how a technology program focused on literacy can dramatically improve the reading, writing and reasoning powers of students. He demonstrates the high proportion of state test items now requiring independent thought, inferential reasoning and problem-solving. He then shows how new information technologies combined with strategic teaching can be the "proving ground" leading to enhanced performance. Make research and strategic reading a daily event in your students' lives and see how their thinking skills and test performance can improve. Index

Workshop: Web-Based Professional Development

Cost effective and highly effective, many school districts and some states are learning to put many of their adult learning opportunities online. McKenzie demonstrates the advantages of Web-based professional development as a way to deliver high quality learning without heroics or huge expenditures. Index

Keynote: Avoid the Screensaver's Disease (like the Plague)

In all too many schools, brand new monitors glow in swirling colors while students still try to grasp pencils, notebooks (paper) and dry lectures. According to several recent studies, technology frequently remains down the hall - a separate, segregated subject. Too many schools with brand new networks suffer from the Screen Savers' Disease. That's the equivalent of educational Red Ink - a waste of money and powerful tools.

In this presentation, learn how to avoid the pitfalls which often block full use of new technologies by teachers and students. McKenzie outlines the key ingredients necessary to launch a technology program which reaches all the way into regular classrooms. Discover how to end the siege. Index

Keynote: The Age of Glib

If students always skate (or surf) along the surface, will they ever learn to think for themselves? Will they settle for the sound bites, the mind bytes, the eye candy and the mind candy which is offered up by the media like sticks of chewing gum? Or will they develop a healthy skepticism about the information (and noise) streaming past them? In this speech, McKenzie provides examples of modern rant, bombast, blather, poppycock, humbug, malarkey, bunk, and babble and then shows how we can equip students with the tools and the spirit to look deeply at Life and its essential questions, probing beyond the information packages aimed their way. Index

Keynote: Beyond Plagiarism

Cut and paste technologies make it all too easy to "lift" the words and thoughts of others without giving them credit and without attributing the source. Many schools are finding electronic text a decidedly mixed blessing as these new information technologies make intellectual dishonesty as easy as falling out of bed. Between Web-based report mills and vast databases of articles and information, the school report which emphasizes information gathering is proving obsolete.

As the access to electronic text becomes universal we are likely to see plagiarism take on entirely new forms much like a virulent new strain of an old disease. Unless schools and teachers made major changes in the way they formulate research projects, we are apt to see intellectual dishonesty expand and multiply like an academic plague. Worse still, this new electronic form of plagiarism may be virtually undetectable because it is electronic.

McKenzie suggests a half dozen strategies to shift school research to focus upon the generation of fresh ideas, thereby disabling the plagiarism virus and forcing students to do their own thinking.Index

The Great Questioning Toolkit

A strong commitment to questioning is the best antidote to the screensavers' disease. Each district should create a Questioning Toolkit which contains several dozen kinds of questions and questioning tools. This Questioning Toolkit should be printed in large type on posters which reside on classroom walls close by networked, information-rich computers.

Portions of the Questioning Toolkit should be introduced as early as Kindergarten so that students can bring powerful questioning technologies and techniques with them as they arrive in high school. McKenzie outlines and defines 17 types of questions which students need to learn:

Essential Questions - Subsidiary Questions - Hypothetical Questions - Telling Questions - Planning Questions - Organizing Questions - Probing Questions - Sorting & Sifting Questions - Clarification Questions - Strategic Questions - Elaborating Questions - Unanswerable Questions - Inventive Questions - Provocative Questions - Irrelevant Questions - Divergent Questions - Irreverent Questions Index

Keynote: Educational Technology: Boon or Boondoggle?

Schools are spending billions on networking. The President calls for an Internet computer in every classroom. For what purpose? Will this huge investment make a difference in student learning? Is this the wisest way to spend our educational dollars?

In this speech, McKenzie examines the claims and counter claims, reports the scant (and often flawed) evidence gathered thus far and suggests an approach to information and technology which might justify the investment. Index

Keynote: The New Classroom and The Information Literate School: Creating Technology Enhanced Student-Centered Learning Environments

In the new classroom, questioning and information literacy become fundamental. They transform wires, cables and hardware into powerful channels for learning.

Student questions and questioning become a major focus of classroom activity as teachers demonstrate and then require effective searching, prospecting, gathering and interpretation techniques while students use the tools and information to explore solutions to contemporary issues.

This session outlines how "information literacy" becomes the primary focus of networked schools. Take a careful look at best practices regarding these questions . . .

    1) How are classrooms equipped?

    2) How are classrooms arranged?

    3) How are the students engaged?

    4) How does the teacher act?

    5) What structures are needed?

    6) What assessments work best?


Keynote: No Free Lunch! With Networked Information You Get What You Pay For

Those who attempt building a school research program on the information available on the "Free Internet" soon discover that there are huge, gaping holes in the array of resources, with major categories such as biography and history which are inadequately treated. In this speech, McKenzie explains why the so-called "free" resources are not really "free" and shows how an investment in networking must be balanced by increased spending for reliable, accurate, efficient and comprehensive information resources to place upon the network. He also argues the need for Internet 3 - a high quality, high speed network devoted to K-12 education. Index

Keynote: Secrets of Success: The Ten Most Important Staff Development Lessons

After two decades of attempting to win teachers' support and enthusiastic endorsement of new technologies, we still have a long way to go before we see broad acceptance and daily use. This speech outlines the ten most important lessons we have learned about creating adult learning experiences for teachers which will break down the barriers and the resistance. McKenzie provides a clear picture of what works and what does not work, offering the basis for a successful program. Index

Speech: Cancer: Finding Medical Insight along the Information Highway

The newly diagnosed cancer patient has dozens of questions pressing for answers, many of which are personal and emotional rather than strictly medical. The Internet proves to be a mixed blessing for both patient and doctors as new information, while abundant, is often unreliable or biased. Learn how medical professionals and cancer patients can team to make the most of this new resource.
This presentation was designed with a medical or community audience in mind. Index

Fighting Data Smog:
A Dozen Skills to Help Cut Through the Haze

David Shenk's book, Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut, provides a clear warning that information abundance may cloud meaning and interfere with understanding. Learn how "too much noise" can be a problem for any modern learner. Explore a dozen skills which will help make sense out of nonsense and meaning from glut. Index

Searching for the Grail?
Making Effective Use of Search Engines and Search Logic

Search engines are deceptively easy . . . until you try to find anything efficiently and swiftly. This session outlines the strategies which will make it much easier to locate "diamonds in the rust" as well as "needles in the haystack" and other treasured items. Learn how to eliminate irrelevant items and narrow your search to the most valuable items. This session can be presented either as a demonstration or as a hands-on workshop. Index

Keynote: The Mind Candy Kafe:
Replacing Truth with Placebo

Even as information becomes more abundant, Truth may become ever more elusive. Schools are being invaded by new information sources, many of which are driven more by marketing and entertainment than sound educational philosophy. Throughout the society, reading of books and newspapers is declining as viewership and listenership is falling for news on TV and radio. Learn how can schools act as guardians of the culture and protectors of sound learning when information conglomerates overwhelm us with infomercials and disneyfied versions of history and reality. Index

Measuring Return on Investment:
Using Technology Assessment
to Steer and Improve Program Results

Too few districts create an effective technology assessment program to determine what is working, what is not working and how the program must be changed to optimize results. Learn how to design and implement a technology assessment model with a clear focus upon student learning outcomes that will help staff direct their energies where they may do the most good. Index

Keynote: Deep Thinking and Deep Reading
in an Age of Info-Glut, Info-Garbage
and Info-Tactics

According to Birkerts (Gutenberg Elegies, 1994), the search for truth requires deep reading and deep thinking. While the arrival of new electronic information technologies threatens to overwhelm us with info-glut and info-garbage, the post-modem school will raise a generation of highly skilled "free range students" capable of simultaneously grazing the Net and reading deeply. To achieve this goal, McKenzie argues the need for a dramatically expanded commitment to questioning, research, information literacy and student-centered classrooms. In this presentation, he outlines the skills array students will need to negotiate the new information landscape. Index

Launching Student Investigations

This is a hands-on experience with teams of teachers investigating authentic and essential questions over one or more days, employing the new information technologies while proceeding through the steps and stages of the Research Cycle. The workshop provides first hand experience with the kinds of research we should be asking students to conduct. Index

Information is Everywhere!
The School as Library, Librarian as Infotect

New technologies make it possible to distribute great electronic resources throughout every classroom. The long tentacles of the library media center reach to every corner of every classroom. Who is in charge of designing and administrating these new systems? The library media specialist, of course! Learn how the library and the media specialist are together becoming ever more important in the student-centered, technology-rich school. Index

The Technology Rich
Student-Centered Classroom:
Growing the Hybrid

When questioning, problem-solving and investigation become the priority classroom activities, the teacher becomes "guide on the side" rather than "sage on the stage" and the front of the room disappears as 5-8 networked computers support these explorations and excursions from every nook and cranny of the room. Connected to an exciting new world of hot and lively, current information, students make meaning and develop insight while the teacher shows them how to navigate and reason through the labyrinth of new sources. Learn how teachers can make the journey from the front of the stage to a technology rich, student-centered classroom.Index

When the Book?
When the Net?

Publishing is undergoing a major transformation as electronic media offer new ways to explore ideas and information. Our students need to learn when their time will be spend most productively exploring concepts through hard copy books, when a CD-ROM product may excel and when the WWW will prove most valuable. This session offers a snapshot of the information landscape in 2002, provides a glimpse of the near future and explores the implications for schools. Index

Staff Development
for an Age of Information:
What Works Best?

Time honored approaches to staff development must be laid aside as schools move forward into the new world of information. A focus upon skills and applications has failed to engender successful integration of the new tools into the daily life of classrooms. We need adult learning experiences which will enable teachers to move beyond the Survival and Mastery stages (where the task is learning the equipment and the software) through the Impact and Innovation stages (where the task is employing such tools to restructure the learning environment to support student investigation, problem-solving and decision-making.) This session offers a dozen strategies such as peer coaching, real time training, Teflon lessons and problems-based exploration. Index

Professional Development as Adult Learning: Creating Just-in-Time Support and Learning Cultures

Too much attention is devoted to courses and training,not enough to the informal structures which deliver the most growth. Presentation outlines more than a dozen ways to create these structures such as peer coaches, technology mentors, study groups, student aides, etc. Index

Creating the Vanguard: Identifying Grooming and Rewarding the Champions

In times of rapid change, districts can avoid unhealthy dependency upon vendors and outside consultants by developing internal expertise. This presentation suggests ways to cultivate such internal talent to guide technology decision-making within the district and make sure staff development is matched to curriculum goals while taking advantage of breaking edge developments. Index

Gauging Return on Investment: Assessing Professional Growth in Skill and Use

Too few districts develop and apply assessment instruments to determine whether and how the staff is making use of the new technologies and network. Too few districts employ such instruments to gather data to guide development of staff development offerings. This presentation shows how to keep track of what is happening and use the data to steer the program forward. Index

Keynote: Virtual Truth

Mountains of information and thousands of pages of text do not amount to truth. In an Age of Information, students must learn that length does not necessarily equate with quality. How do we teach them to build insight from info-glut and info-garbage while struggling with info-tactics? Index

Keynote: Libraries of the Future

New technologies and new information systems provide library media specialists with new opportunities at the same time they present a threat to traditional roles. Learn how library media specialists may act as pilots, information mediators, infotects, and curators to put themselves in an indispensable leadership role at their schools. Index

Developing a Research Program
for an Age of Information

How can schools make the most productive use of the new information technologies and resources coming our way with the advent of the Electronic Highway and networked classrooms? In this presentation, Jamie McKenzie outlines effective strategies to promote "Engaged Learning" by emphasizing student investigations based on the "Research Cycle." He also shows how schools can combine resources from the "free Internet" with "pay-for-service" information such as periodical collections utilizing online learning modules to structure learning events. Basic to all of these efforts is a fully articulated (and funded) staff development commitment designed to equip staff with the tools to blend the new technologies into their classroom work. Index

Grazing the Net:
Raising a Generation
of Free Range Students

Prepare for the sweeping classroom changes afforded by the Information Highway. This workshop defines and demonstrates a toolkit of essential thinking and information problem-solving skills. Outlines steps to integrate the Internet with the rest of the school curriculum. Index

Power Learning:
The Student as Thinker,
Researcher and Inventor

Based on Dr. McKenzie's book, Power Learning, this workshop outlines
strategies to integrate the use of new technologies across the disciplines stressing higher level thinking and problem-solving. Witness examples of technology as tool in the hands of student thinkers.

Creating Dynamic Technology Plans

Drawing upon his book and his experience in Bellingham, Dr. McKenzie outlines steps to develop a technology plan for a district or school which guards against premature obsolescence and costly mistakes. Learn how to provide flexibility while optimizing technology use across the disciplines. Center the plan on student learning and measurable outcomes. Index

Site-Based Decision-Making
to Support Technology Planning

Learn to realize the promises of site-based decision-making, providing the
organizational culture which will support an innovative thrust. Avoid the perils such as "group think" and "grid lock." Participants will leave this session knowing how to create what Peter Senge would call "learning organizations.

Keynote: The Question is the Answer:
Making Up Your Mind with Questioning Technologies

Questions may be the most powerful technology ever invented.
Without strong questioning skills, reasoning, exploration and investigation are virtually impossible. Schools which rush onto the Electronic Highway without attention to questioning skills may suffer from the "Screensaver Disease."
In an age of Information, questioning becomes even more important as students learn to "make up their own minds" and manage Info-Glut. Learn how questioning technologies may be employed to enhance the reasoning and research capabilities of all students. Consider the value of introducing questioning as an explicit and central part of your school's commitment to Information Literacy. Index