I'm taking a little time from my day to post from sunny San Diego, CA, where I am attending the International Society for Technology in Education Conference.
What a wonderful place to rub elbows with teachers, administrators, EdTech professionals, vendors, and others who believe strongly in the value of technology for learning. The passion and urgency is palpable! From the pre-conference events where many of these people came together on their own to start collaborating and learning from one another before anything official began, to the opening ceremony for all of us newbies where the MCs dressed up like all sorts of famous duos (Batman and Robin, Capt. Kirk and Spock, Dorothy and the Scarecrow, etc.), to the panel discussion last night led by Sir Ken Robinson and including Marc Prensky, Peggy Johnson, and Mayim Bialik, the need for us to continuously discuss education and "think about where we are going, so we can determine how we are going to get there" is one thing we can all agree on.
Today I saw middle school students proudly share their projects. One group who live very close to the Mexican border chose to interview people and do research about how they or others came to the United States, legally or illegally. The students then synthesized into a podcast that information that would bring a tear to the eyes of many in our own Storm Lake community. I saw third grade students who created computer programming projects using Scratch and middle school students programming with Alice. I've seen groups of teachers from all over the country visiting together about how best to using blogging to increase student learning. The key, according to them is to open things up and allow comments from outside the classroom group. I've seen how schools are working very hard to create global connections in any way possible to make sure that students are accessing all the information, resources, and people available "out there" to increase their own learning. And I've seen the value of using Google Maps in the classroom.
I am struck over and over again at the importance of tying our use of technology in the classroom to the National Educational Technology Standards for students. It isn't enough to say we're going to learn how to use, for example, Symbaloo, a program we use at SLCSD. We must go further than that and determine what it is we really want the students to learn and then determine what EdTech strategies, such as Symbaloo, might increase that learning. Digital Citizenship is a hot topic. Twitter is still really big as a way to connect with others and share resources.
Here's a link to the conference newsletter for today:
It's just so great to have the opportunity to bring all these things back to you. I will be sharing more about the next few days, but for now, back to the conference!