Left to right, author and tech expert Alan November is pictured with Superintendent Dr. Peter Righi, Avon School District Chief School Administrator Christopher Albrizio, and Fair Haven School District Superintendent Nelson Ribon.
Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
Alan November, world-renowned education technology expert and author of the best-seller Who Owns the Learning, wasted no time setting the tone for his keynote presentation on September 3 at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.
“I would rather have good information than good technology,” November noted in his opening remarks at Staff Professional Day, the official “kickoff” to the new school year. “The real revolution taking place in teaching right now is not about technology, it is about information.”
The RFH sending districts of Fair Haven and Rumson were in attendance, as the three districts (known as the Tri-District) have collaborated for the past four years on Staff Professional Day. Faculty from the Avon school district also attended. After making his presentation, November attended “breakout sessions” of smaller groups to promote further discussion and answer additional questions.
November, who is noted for his wit, entertained his audience with a live ‘Google’ search that went terribly awry. But his humor had a point –it is all too easy to retrieve and apply faulty information from the World Wide Web without realizing it.
“If you ask students if they know how to ‘Google’, they may laugh at you,” he said. “In reality, they ‘don’t know when they don’t know’ and will too often resort to guesswork.”
November predicted that the next big idea in education will involve a shift of control from the teacher to the learner, as the use of technology for the independent gathering of information continues to grow. He also stressed that this shift will require more, not fewer, teachers in the classroom.
“The role of the educator is more important than ever, as learners need to be taught how to ask the right questions and interpret information”’ he said. “The most interesting work for teachers is not to learn technology but to ask interesting questions.”
Mike Emmich, who teaches history at RFH, found November’s approach to be refreshing and highly practical.
“I was excited that the presentation was not overly theoretical, and I left with ideas that I could easily transfer to my classroom and implement immediately,” said Emmich. “Alan November had me taking notes and formulating new ideas throughout…it was incredibly helpful.”
“We were extremely excited to welcome Dr. November to our tri-district kickoff,” said Fair Haven Superintendent of Schools Nelson Ribon. “He has presented to New Jersey school leaders multiple times, and we agreed that his vision for student learning and teaching is cutting-edge and supports the work we are doing.”
“As he stated in his presentation, ‘it’s a cool time to be alive’ because of the opportunities and resources available to our students and staff – his energy and passion can be contagious, and he certainly is a driving force toward inspiring students and preparing them for future success.”
November, who is in the midst of his latest project entitled The First Five Days of School, began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston harbor. He has delivered keynote presentations across the U.S. and throughout the world and has said that he is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.
He was named one of the nation’s fifteen most influential thinkers of the decade by Classroom Computer Learning Magazine, and has been honored as one of eight educators providing leadership into the future by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse. His areas of expertise include information and education technology, planning across the curriculum, staff development, long-range planning, building learning communities, and leadership development.