Last week about this time, we were starting the 1st Annual Wyoming TEC Conference and amazed with the fact that a committee of 10 was able to pull off the conference in less than a years time and have over 200 attendees, vendors, presenters, and volunteers. While being a member of the committee having organizational duties and presenting 4 times that weekend, I didn’t have much time to see all the fabulous presenters or see some of the other activities that took place. However, I heard marvelous comments about these activities from attendees so I wasn’t too concerned about them.
Our closing keynote, Mr. Kevin Honeycutt, made a wonderful ending to the conference and left me with some fabulous quotes to write about:
“We Can’t Laminate Learning”
We’ve all heard the joke about the teacher who has laminated their lesson plans and using the same techniques and ideas year and year, whatever student comes their way, however much society changes. We can’t do that with learning. Learning has to be flexible and open to serendipitous moments. Nor can we make learning a “one size fits all” type. NCLB unfortunately has locked us into this way of thinking, but we have to take a stand. This quote also makes me think of the following Ken Robison YouTube video:
We have taken and locked in our education system into being ready for an industrial society, which we no longer have.
Teachers are like quarterbacks. A quarterback leads the receiver during a pass play throwing the ball to where the receiver is going not where they have been. Teachers need to be the same way, leading to students based on where they are going, not where they have been.
This isn’t a direct quote from Kevin but an idea that he brought up during the course of his keynote. It struck a chord with me as it definitely is another way to view what Sir Ken Robison is saying above. But it also made me think of how much we review at the beginning of the year. If we had the expectation that they were to actually retain this information, why then are we taking a whole month to review things? If students aren’t retaining the information, why not? Could it be that we haven’t forced them to apply the information in a meaningful way for them to see the use behind it, not just the teacher telling them the use.
Technology brings a buffet of ways to learn to our students and they are eating the napkins.
Our students barely scratch the surface when it comes to using technology to learn. They think of technology as a communication tool, a way to stay in contact, but not as the powerful learning system it can be. And there are so many different ways, it gets hard even for adults to decide what to use. Throw apps in with web 2.0 tools and they have an endless to keep learning. Why then are we not using these to teach?
Kids think they are invisible online. We need to surround them with a community even online. Add to this: Parents need to know the technology their kids are on so that they can parent in this environment.
When talking with other parents who may not have a Facebook account or who don’t Twitter, I find it amazing that they laugh that their kids know more than they do about such things. To me, this is sad. If I don’t know an aspect of my kids world, how I can possible do my job as a parent to guide them and help them stay safe? On the same hand, how can I do this with my students? If I’m not in these environments, then how can I let students know how they could use these powerful networks for things other than sharing their thoughts and latest prom pictures. To me, we are have taken the term “digital native” too far, encompassing the idea that students or our kids know the digital world better than we adults. However, what we are forgetting is that they are still kids and while they are bombarded with the world, they aren’t any better at navigating it as we were without the Internet and globalization. Yes, our students have not known a world with technology being ever present, but that does not mean they are wiser at using it then adults. It just means they are more willing to play and figure out the technology to use it for their means. Why not take advantage of this natural curiousity and ability to navigate technology to create those life-long learners all of our mission statements profess, keeping mind in mind that technology is a part of their life here and in the future.