Several weeks ago, Karl Fisch of Did You Know fame announced a new release with a media convergence feel to it.

The Economist Magazine is hosting their third annual Media Convergence Forum in New York City on October 20th and 21st. Earlier this year they asked if they could remix Did You Know?/Shift Happens with a media convergence theme and use it for their conference.

Fisch takes very little credit for what is being called Did You Know 4.0 and says that while the focus is not necessarily on education:

I certainly think the media convergence ideas discussed in the video have great relevance for education.

I’m a bit torn.

Videos like this are great when used to generate actual conversations that lead to change. But too often, it seems, these types of things are thrown up on a screen for the simple purpose of making us feel good about all of the gadgets we can bring into schools. Or to justify some short-lived staff development project that does little good in the long run.

The video does provide some interesting information about how information and media is changing in the 21st century – and does it with a beautiful design and feel. So go ahead and use the video.

But use it to help start the conversation, not be the conversation.

Better yet . . . watch the video and then read Convergence Culture: Where Old & New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins of MIT. Use the information to start making actual changes that will impact student learning long-term.

I got an email this morning from a colleague asking for advice. He’s working with a teacher who’s wanting to get her students into Google Docs for collaborative work. The kids need email addresses. The school apparently won’t provide them.

An obvious solution would be for the school district to issue email addresses to all of its students. I can hear the admin and tech types from way over here . . . “but we can’t do that. Kids would misuse email.”

Hopefully videos like Did You Know 4.0 can start conversations within those districts and buildings that still believe kids can learn 21st century skills without 21st century tools.

I’ve embedded the video below in the hope that we’ll use it for real change.

[wpvideo wcLNQCGq]