McKenzie Speeches

Laptop Writing and Thinking

Laptops could make a huge difference in the quality of student writing, but it takes some cleverness and strategy to realize that promise. Schools with laptops will see a major improvement in student writing when they teach students how idea processing and word processing can combine thanks to exciting software. This will strengthen the power of their persuasive essays and writing of all kinds. In a daylong, hands-on workshop, Jamie involves the group in a process that takes advantage of mind mapping software, idea generators and synthesis strategies along with concept attainment, enrichment of vocabulary and the Traits of Effective Writing — all tailored to exploit the potential of the laptops. Experience first hand writing techniques that turn a laptop into a powerful tool for expression.

Steering Clear of Wreckage, Waste and Folly

"Not all that glitters is gold," may be a trite expression, but the past three decades have seen dozens of technology marvels come and go, promising much but ending up being "full of sound and fury signifying nothing." In this session, Jamie argues for a more discerning approach that can protect a school and its students from waste and folly — its staff from embarrassment. He outlines a dozen strategies to optimize technology investments and student results.

Addressing Tech A.D.D. (Technology Attention Deficit Disorder)

Some students (and adults) suffer from what Jamie calls Tech A.D.D. (Technology Attention Deficit Disorder - defined in the Urban Dictionary) but many argue that the young are a special breed — digital natives who are supposedly superior to their elders because they grew up immersed in things digital. In this session, challenges this notion, arguing that it masks serious issues and challenges teachers, schools and families should be addressing. He differentiates between facile, glib and sure-fingered on the one hand and deep, thoughtful and proficient on the other hand. He introduces his Tech A.D.D. Quiz and suggests a half dozen strategies to counter the drift toward Tech A.D.D.

Wordless is Clueless: Using New Technologies to Build Vocabulary and Strengthen Comprehension

Deep thinking about complex ideas is impossible without a strong vocabulary. The same is true for comprehension. Grasping elusive meanings and interpreting difficult passages requires a command of the language. Many comprehension items are directly pointed at word meanings, while others do so obliquely. In this session, Jamie identifies Web resources that are perfect for addressing this goal — resources that make the acquisition of a rich lexicon a delight.