Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ITEC 2008 - Day 2

ITEC 2008 is in the books. Lots of great ideas from day 2...

• Keynote for the day was Alan November. While he is definitely more of a professor than a presenter, he has plenty to chew on.

• Bitingly true comment #1: Students now learn how to be taught, not learn how to learn.

• He used the term "Global Voice", which I'm adding to my lexicon. He may have understated this, but he feels it is mandatory that teachers engage students in developing this voice. To keep learning confined in the walls of the classroom is bad teaching. He even postulates that teachers should be evaluated on the basis of connecting students to the global culture. (Gigantic cringe from ISEA on that one). Go Alan!

• Bitingly true comment #2: Too many exercises in education make computers the equivalent of thousand-dollar pencils.

• A very good explanation of point of view in research. Rather than using the internet to get other points-of-view, people often use the internet to reinforce their own point-of-view. I can find a hundred other things that reinforce the crazy thought that I have; therefore I must be right. He used the example of American students' and British students' differing perspectives on the American Revolution. It's interesting what happens when you search in British domains for sources.

• To go along with the above, he advocates no-holds-barred "deathcage" debates between an American classroom and a British classroom. (I'm elaborating on the wrestling imagery, but he did joke that students would have a lot of motivation to win that debate).

• And biggest biting point, if our response to controversial tools is to "block, baby, block", then we are setting up students for failure in this digital age. We have to teach them to be digital citizens.

• In other topics... if you are a superintendent or high school principal who does not know about the Iowa Learning Online, we need to talk. Pronto. It's not the virtual academy some nuts are calling for, but it is a step in the right direction. And large parts of it are free.

• The Microsoft Settlement saga continues (here's the Power Point from that presentation). Dates have been moved back to April 15 for application (same time as taxes... interestingly enough). Still important for districts to know that this settlement (the "Cy Pres") requires schools to have a plan tied to the Iowa Core with half the purchases being software and 30% being professional development, as well as a matched commitment from the district. More important... do not buy anything before 8/17/09! You will not be reimbursed.

Of course, John O'Connell mentioned this would all change tomorrow, so you should do what others do and not listen to him (his words, not mine).

• I discovered my Power Point presentations suck.

• And finally, heard the vision of Iowa's technology in education future from Dr. Leigh Zeitz, Ann Thompson, and Vic Jaras. Lots of thoughts, lots of uncertainty, lots of work to do. But, universal agreement in Scott McLeod's vision for Iowa. A mobile learning device in each student's hand, a new forward-thinking curriculum, a backbone assuring broadband access for all, P-20 coordination, pre-service and inservice training for all educators, and online education opportunities (yes, another nutball). There were some good minds in that room at the time, but I was hoping the room would be full. We need to pick up the ball and run with this.

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