Saturday, July 7, 2012

Notes From ISTE12 - Where to Start?

Sometimes returning home from ISTE is similar to attending ISTE for the first time. It can be a bit overwhelming in regards to adequately disseminating the information gleamed and gained. There was just so much. Time to dive in and start with an overview.

A few minutes after registerring I went upstairs to the SAILS Pavillion in the San Diego Conference Center. This incredible space hosts the learning playgrounds, information booths, the bookstore and various cafes including my favorite, The Blogger's Cafe. Someone later posted on twitter a 360 degree photo from The Blogger's Cafe asking others - "What if your classroom looked like this?". Small area set up around the room for discussion, learning, quiet reflection and celebration. Notice there aren't any desks yet there was a tremendous amount of work being accomplished.

I purposely attended two learning playgrounds during two separate days at ISTE. These sessions were some of my favorite due to the sizes of the groups. The Virtual Reality playground session was small group (more on that later) and the Media Specialist playground was one on one. And though the furniture was probably a bit more upscale than what one would find in a public school, spare couches and chairs might go a long way in part of the transformation. Getting away from the need to have the same number of desks as students would be a start in freeing up valuable floor space.

Stepping outside of the conference center toward the San Diego Bay and Coranado Island provided the opportunity to capture a bit of southern California sunshine, reflect with others about recent sessions and grab a bite to eat. The entire convention center got me in the mood to learn.

Following a quick look around I attended Social EduCon, a free un-conference that is in its fifth year of running on the day before the ISTE Conference officially begins. It's considered an un-conference because sessions aren,t determined in advance. In stead, participants pitch ideas by writing the topics down on chart paper and then vote by placing checkmarks down beside the idea. Quickly a wiki is established to host a schedule and information regarding the discussions. Some discussions are in rooms, others in the hallways all carry the same theme - dialgue and conversation around the topic. Educators are a passionate bunch and the discussions were filled with sincerity and an intensity that made you want to do as much as you could to be a part of the transformation in education. I felt priveldged to be amongst such genius.

The ISTE conference kickoff was Sunday afternoon followed by the Opening Keynote, a panel hosted by Sir Ken Robinson. Years ago, after I had just joined Twitter I read Robinson's book, The Element. Powerful. He was one of my first folllowers on Twitter and I remember being thrilled. At any rate, I've long been a fan of his work and beleive in his message of the need of transforming education. Following the keynote I attended a question and answer session with Sir Ken Robinson, Marc Prensky and Shawn Covell. Below are my notes from these sessions.

  • Marc Prensky, Brain Gain What do we keep in our heads and what so we let our machines outsource?
  • Cellophane kids - teachers look past kids and see test scores and curriculum only.
  • 1/2 the world is under 25 and all the educational decisions come from people over 25
  • Let kids make these decisions
  • Courage - feel the fear and do it anyway
  • Alternative
  • All use a personalized curriculum
  • Allowing students to teach each other and therefore mastering the content
  • Everyone needs to have their own curriculum based upon interest
  • Find your affinity group where you fit in the top 20percent
  • Lots of room for improvisation within our schools
  • More digital devices than people in this world by the end of the year.
  • Our dollars must go to products that work toward s personalizing education
  • Get rid of the word delivery when we talk about education - lets talk about teaching
  • Don't ride yesterday's horse
  • Coaching students to find what is inside of students and encourage them to make it better. A teacher's role is to become more of a coach and less of a deliverer.
  • Affinity grroups not personalized learning groups
  • Teachers must empower themselves
  • There is much more room for innovation in the system then school officials realize..
  • There is more freedom than teachers often recognize
  • School of one. New york city Every kid in the school has a personal time table
  • 20% rule 4 hours a week people can deliver classes basesd on interest and passion. Can either be taught by teachers or 8 year olds
  • Let technology unleash the schedule
  • If you dont know what kids are interested in... You shouldnt only do what kids are interested in because often they don"t know. Part of our jobs is to expose kids to their interests they didn't know existed.
  • You can teach kids creativity by providing processes which allow them to be creative. ( open ended questions)
  • Howbart school teaching shakespeare - create a sense of common purpose and self-fullfillment
  • People who don't know themselves spend too much time in the noise of the world
  • Three kinds of people: Those who are removeable, those who are moveable and people who move. If enough people move you have a movement.

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