I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing the podcast presentations of the speakers from the MacWorld Educator’s Symposium that took place on Wed. Jan. 10. Many thanks to Wesley Fryer for recording and posting the sessions (despite being stranded in Denver). I do appreciate the speakers who not only allowed themselves to be recorded, but also posted their presentations so anyone could watch and listen at the same time.
All of the speakers spoke about various aspects of the Read/Write web and its impact on education. Although I have not finished listening to all of the presentations, here are some of the highlights.
Monica Beglau, Director of the emints project in Missouri, among many other things, shared that the emints training and professional development consists of “70% pedagogy and 30% use of technology.” And, indeed, their assessment measures that show growth of students in the emints technology enriched classrooms compared to non-emints classrooms is notable. (Hear her podcast here). I have maintained for awhile, that it really isn’t about the technology, it is about transforming the thinking of teachers to embrace the use of technology for teaching and learning. Others have said this for years, and I think Monica confirms this – professional development, which includes conversations about teaching pedagogy, best causes teachers to transform their teaching with technology.
Also, I appreciated Wesley’s thoughts during his presentation, which you can find here or listen to the presentation here. He said that educators need to be asking the right question. Unfortunately, with transmission based education, which exists throughout most of US education, it is “Read-Only” teaching and learning. The right question is: How do we help students to become more engaged and how do we engage learners to write more? Wesley explained that in education we need to be doing things that “causes students to create intertextual links in their writing” He also talked about how when students can see how their writing connects with others, that this is when great learning occurs. Overall, he says we need to help kids create these intertextual links and “remix” their learning so they get something different and create their own learning. I particularly appreciated his analogy of driver’s training to helping kids learn how to blog in a “walled garden.” My 17 year old daughter just passed her driver’s test. She spent many hours practicing how to drive with me. As with driver’s training, Wesley suggests that learning how to blog and interact online is something students should learn with the guidance of educators.
Overall, after listening to these presentations, I realized how professional development has changed with the Read/Write web and how much I appreciate people willing to share their stories and ideas online (so then I can enhance my knowledge at any hour of any day, whether in the gym, at home or at school). It truly is an exciting time in education. Now, more than ever, it is important for teachers to transform their thinking and utilize more of this type of learning for the students in our classrooms.