Coleman's expressions

Saturday, March 25, 2006

8,000 educators & technology

Just returning from Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) and sifting through the variety of presentations, vendor products, and networking opportunities – these events are invigorating and simultaneously tiring, both positive and frightening, and the contradictions don’t stop there – such is our way of life!

With 8,000 attendees, the variety was representative of levels, subject areas and technologies. Due to my diverse interests, I tried to sample a bit of everything. Podcasts presentations were probably the most popular from individual classroom applications to Apple’s sales pitch. After exploring this concept in 5405 last term, I was already “hooked” on the technology, but wanted to further my exploration. Unfortunately, the sessions were all SRO and spilling out into the hallways upon my arrival. Thus, I moved along…

Interestingly, some of the sessions I attended were podcasted (to be posted at
http://web.mac.com/fetc2006 so be on the lookout, if you’re interested), including David Thornburgh’s Visual Learning and Generation M. Among other things, he talked about the need for doing different things versus doing things differently, i.e., the need for metamorphic, rather than incremental, change. There was definitely an atmosphere of reform in the air…unfortunately, I feel like I’ve been hearing that for two decades and have seen little evidence of the metamorphic transformation. He reminded me of a wonderful website, Visual Thesaurus and shared a new one Grokker (once you submit, use the zoomable map) for visual representation. Before I leave this visual learning train of thought, David Warlick also shared an interesting website, Buzztracker, depicting a map of the daily news.

John Kuglin based much of his transformative thoughts on the 21st Century Skills (high school reform) to include core subjects, 21st century content (global awareness, financial/entrepreneurial literacy, wellness awareness, etc.), learning and thinking skills, ICT literacy, life skills, and 21st Century assessments (i.e., more than standardized tests). He encouraged us to “change the way we think.” I enjoyed his examples of integrating digital technology in the learning environment with the use of search engines (a new and free search portal is Answers, which includes citation references at the bottom) and Google Earth with various overlays.

One more…at least for now!
Chris Dede’s NeoMillenial Learning Styles focused not on the typical view of learning styles (i.e, sensory-based, personality-based, aptitude-based), but on what he calls: media-based. He describes this as either mindlessly accumulating information or seeking, sieving, and synthesizing information; as either superficial, easily distracted data gathering or a sophisticated form of synthesizing new insights. This is interesting to ponder as we think about learner’s needs for curriculum models – often so different from the digital immigrants’ view.

5 Comments:

  • Hi,

    I have a fellow teacher from my school that presented, Thomas Allison. He seems to know a great deal about using technology and has previously planned curriculum for institutionalized kids.

    I haven't been in education very long being a third year teacher but I already heard too many administrators and county curriculum people mouthing the word "reform" and doing little to support it.

    I am going to take a look at the podcasts. Thanks for the link!

    By Blogger jcmesa, at 3/26/2006 5:32 PM  

  • Thanks for posting about your some of your experiences from the convention. I hope to go next year (for the first time).

    I might be the only person in the class who has never listened to a podcast, but I plan to check out the link you provided.

    By Blogger J. Harmon, at 3/28/2006 5:29 PM  

  • Marie-

    We had two people go this year as well, and hopefully I'll be one of them next year.
    The Buzztracker is cool, and I've used GoogleEarth before; I think kids would enjoy that one the most.
    What was your perception about blog knowledge at the conference? My media specialist said the blog workshop waspacked, but very few who were there had actually set up a blog. Is this an accurate representation of what you saw? If so, would it indicate all the current bloggers were in other workshops, or if only a few had them and the idea was popular among non-bloggers?

    By Blogger Ms. Lambard, at 3/30/2006 3:42 AM  

  • Thanks for introducing me to your blog.

    By Blogger fara, at 3/30/2006 7:50 AM  

  • Christina,
    My take on the blog users is that they are still few and far between. David Warlick's session poll indicated the same thing (and there wasn't even "blog" in his session title, but because I'm an avid reader of his blog, I knew better)! I think people are hearing about blogs and want to know more, but don't know where to start or why they might use them. I've already helped a work colleague (who also attended FETC) set up her blog....and will be doing some quick inservices for those interested on blogs, RSS, and podcasts in the next month!

    I hope you get to go next year (Joey, too!) - Every year there are many "first timers" so you certainly won't be alone!

    A note about Google Earth - the presenters did some really nice overlays and mashups with this tool, which indicates there may be some additional blogging/writing about its use in the near future, so will let you know if I hear more!

    By Blogger Marie C, at 3/30/2006 1:23 PM  

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