"We are nothing more than the stories we tell," says cultural anthropologist Jennifer James.
"It's our questions, rather than the answers, which shape our future," adds Ferdi Serim.
People have followed the questions and stories Ferdi Serim provides in a variety of media, around the world, since the earliest days when educators ventured into the then new world of online communications. The cross section of his audience is the link between surprisingly diverse, and often otherwise not-connected groups of people. Whether with words (spoken or written), sounds, images, people connect in ways that help reinforce a purpose: to help people choose among the options for learning, (for their children, for themselves, for others they care about), and that they have options to choose from which effectively assist them in reaching their goals.
The five questions most recently on the minds of the people who share experiences and suggestions are:
- What is the nature of literacy in the 21st century, and how do we provide all learners with the foundations they need in order to thrive?
- "It seems we should be spending more time adjusting the curriculum and retooling our classrooms for 21st century education rather than testing 20th century knowledge and skills".
- - David Warlick (on wwwedu), The Landmark Project, Raleigh, NC USA firstname.lastname@example.org. http://landmark-project.com
- How do we bridge the disconnects between standards, assessment and instruction?
- Where will we get qualified people to replace the 2.2 million teachers soon to leave the profession?
- When will we apply what we've learned about how people learn (and how people work) to what happens in classrooms?
- Why have the best efforts to improve education had so little results to date?
Ferdi's five most recent stories are:
- Spinning Gold into Straw: Alliance for Childhood's Misses the Mark (from the CoSN Website)
- Twin Towers, Of Mind, Of Heart
- Technology Across the Curriculum (From the MultiMedia Schools Website)
- Miracle Watching (the Leonids)
- Why I Fly
In his presentations, workshops and consultations, Ferdi cuts through the jargon and mystique with common sense, clarity and metaphors that cogently help clients transform vision into strategy.
Futurists tell us that everyone now working can expect to have five careers over the course of a lifetime. Already the posterchild for such a life, Ferdi Serim now enjoys career number six, moving from visionary to strategist. Following successful seasons as an educator, artist, arts administrator, systems analyst and author, he's dedicated the next phase of his work to helping people (public, decisionmakers and practitioners) take command of their choices for learning in a networked world, in the digital age. His experiences working in education, government, business and media allow him to build bridges of understanding between diverse groups whose collaboration is required for systems based solutions.
Ferdi finds positive, exciting, motivating ways to help people see that improving systems is less about improving the quality of the parts, and more about improving how well the parts work together. His presentations, writings and partnerships with clients help people see the systems they work within, and clarify the contributions their roles can provide. He places content in context, and supplies practical examples that inform action for growth.
Ferdi's talents and insights have been tapped by an impressive array of national and international groups, including the US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, Carnegie Hall's Education Program, Los Alamos National Labs, WNET/PBS, Singapore and Malaysia Ministries of Education, and others.
His current project, "Contemporary Literacy through Digital Storytelling" combines fresh experiences derived from his work as editor of MultiMedia Schools magazine, whose high quality practical information is unsurpassed, modeling the application of leading research in real world, classroom situations. Ferdi's presentations "Practical Magic: Teaching to Reach Beyond the Standards" and "If Only We'd Known Then, What We Know Now" have found an international audience, assisting education leaders in the US, Singapore and Malaysia in weathering the turbulent seas of accountability, assessment on the way to providing all learners with 21st Century skills.
What the Education Community Says about Ferdi Serim
Perhaps the most telling endorsement is the high regard Ferdi's work enjoys among education leaders, who've relied upon his insights and team building approach for years:
"Ferdi Serim outlines a clear vision of the empowering benefits that technology can bring to our schools - and an equally clear path on how to implement and lead the team to achieve these goals. His understanding of the impact of communications on true collaboration and empowerment brings a much-needed clarity to educators AND to the business communities that understand the need for true life-long learning skills." Joan Fenwick, National Director, AT&T Learning Network
"Few voices are more articulate about the leadership skills that educators need in our increasingly networked world than Ferdi Serim. His work is a "must read/ must hear" for all those who want to transform the education enterprise. We stand on the threshold of a reinvention of education if we have the vision and leadership. Serim starts the conversation." Keith R. Krueger, Executive Director, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
"The explosive emergence of computer-based interactive technologies means that the successful schools of tomorrow will bear little resemblance to the schools of today. Ferdi Serim points the way to that future by combining ground-breaking educational vision with intensely practical application in establishing powerful new technology-centered learning communities." Odvard Egil Dyrli, Senior Editor, District Administrator magazine, and Emeritus Professor of Education, the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
"Ferdi Serim, visionary educator, gets right to the core of what makes online technology worthwhile and even essential -- the basic human need for communication and community that it can help us fulfill. For the last four years, Thirteen/WNET New York's Internet in Action K-12 professional development telecourse has benefited from Ferdi's keen observations and reflections from years as a teacher and staff developer about how technology can help educators tap into and run with the natural curiosity of learners of all ages." Naomi Edelson, Segment Producer, Thirteen/WNET New York