Monday, June 25, 2012

ISTE 2012 Monday Highlight

The metaphor:
Today was a salad with dressing on the side kind of day: healthy dose of affirmation, not too heavy on the sales pitches, not too saturated with bells and whistles, and a little bit of crunch to balance the dish.

The facts:
The highlight session for me was session #1 with Dr. Michael Fullan talking about "Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy, and Change Knowledge."

In short:
The session talked about the ineffective role of technology in change knowledge when it was not paired up with pedagogy.

My takeaways:

  • student motivation decreases the older they get (the above graph charts enthusiasm by grade level. At 9th grade, the enthusiasm rate drops to a low of 37)
  • teacher satisfaction also decreases - "55% of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years" - Michael Fullan
  • the necessary breakthrough to combat the downward trends  comes with new knowledge created with the partnering of technology, pedagogy and change knowledge
  • the criteria for new learning needs to include the following four things:
    • irresistably engaging for student and teachers
    • elegant, efficient ease of use
    • technologically ubiquitous
    • steeped in real life problem solving
  • digital saavy is not pedagogy - just because students are fabulous at technology doesn't mean that they are learning

  • goals and success criteria:
    • does the technology in question enable:
      • students to meet the success criteria
      • get there faster
      • achieve higher levels of learning
    • compared to previous similar students not using the particular technology
  • practice impressive empathy - empathy for people who get in your way
  • disruptive innovation in the early stages is not necessarily better than status quo. May not work in the beginning, but get over the innovation dip, and forge ahead.

ISTE 2012 Sunday Highlight

ISTE 2012 (International Society for Technology in Education) is in San Diego this summer at the convention center. The conference started off with the usual business affairs, then moved on to a much hyped keynote by Sir Ken Robinson, an advocate for creativity in education.

The ISTE volunteers and hosts valiantly tried to control the seating in the room by cordoning off rows of seats in order to force educators into the sides of the room first. They did not realize that we are teachers who have traveled from across the country on our summer break to attend this conference. Not only that, but we breathe democracy and social justice. If we show up one hour before the talk and respectfully stand in front of the door, it's not fair to push us toward the nether regions of the room instead of the prime seats at the center. Controlling us was impossible as people started breaking the ribbons.

Robinson talked about the need to personalize education, "The problem is the whole process of education is being based on an impersonal approach and a suffocating culture of standardization." The blame went directly to No Child Left Behind, which in true Sir Ken humor he said should be called a Million Children Left Behind.

The rest of the 45 minutes consisted of Sir Ken introducing the other speakers and moderating a panel on technology and education. It was quite disappointing and the keynote to open up the conference definitely did not live up to the hype.

The other speakers were Shawn Corvell, vice president of Qualcomm's Wireless Reach program, Marc Prensky of "Digital Natives" fame and actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory. Mayim was quite engaging, "the heart of education is one teacher and one student making a connection," however, what was sadly missing from the panel was one teacher and one student.