McKenzie Workshops and Speeches

Beyond Information Power:

Many essential life questions require more than collecting and synthesizing. They involve the creation of new ideas, novel solutions and customized responses. In the case of medicine these may be questions of life and death.

McKenzie outlines strategies to prepare our students to manage such questions skillfully, resourcefully and imaginatively. He shows how to take students beyond the collection of others' best thoughts and beyond the reporting of conventional wisdom. He shows a connection between such thinking and the inferential reasoning required by state standards. Index

What is the Story here?

Our stories can help shape who we are and where we are going. In all too many cases, there is no shared story to inspire a school to make good use of new technologies.

Story telling and writing should be a basic tool of any group trying to build good new futures.

Planning for robust integrated use of new technologies is distinct from planning their installation.

Much network planning for schools ignores the most important (human) aspects and fails to address either the learning or the program issues that should precede the introduction of hardware and cable.

McKenzie shows how to channel the power of stories to enhance success. Index

First Things First - Planning for Student Learning

In too many places, McKenzie argues, district technology planning places the "cart before the horse," emphasizing equipment, cables and networking to the detriment of program values and curriculum content. In this session, he outlines the planning sequence and strategies to place curriculum standards and student learning at the fore front of planning so that program development and professional development shape the design of a network in service to student learning. Index

Beware the Wizard

In our zeal to make powerful use of new technologies in schools, we have sometimes forgotten the classic strategies used by effective teachers for decades to show students the difference between quality work and imitative work. We have sometimes been too quick to embrace and install electronic products that offer gimmicks, wizards, clip art and templates that seem innocent (and neutral) enough when adopted but subtly work to undermine the communicative power of our students.

Fortunately, there are ways to teach students to be critical consumers of wizards, clip art and templates. More importantly, there are strategies to teach our students to be their own wizards and magicians, to shrug off the commercially available gimmicks in favor of their own magic. With the right approach, we can make them proud of their originality and fresh thinking. This speech offers a half dozen ways to raise a generation of students to use what Harry Potter and his friends might call "good magic." Index

Inspired Investigations

McKenzie shows how "mindware" programs such as Inspiration™ can support a radically improved form of student research, employing cluster diagrams to organize essential and subsidiary questions prior to conducting research. He proceeds to show how Inspiration™ can also structure the collection and synthesis of findings ultimately leading to the creation of good new ideas. Index

The New Vertical File: Delivering Great Images and Data to the Desktop

Schools should provide a rich menu of digital resources to all students, according to McKenzie, serving them from local file servers maintained and organized by educators. He outlines the types of resources that should be available and suggests strategies to govern the development of such a vertical file. Concerned that educators have too little hands-on control of this process in some districts, McKenzie offers up The Network Manifesto: Beliefs to Create Vibrant Networks Serving Literacy and Learning. Index