Thoughts from ISTE 2

Invent to Learn Book
Invent to Learn book cover with authors Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager.

Yesterday, I went to a session by Sylvia Martinez, co-author with Gary Stager on the book Invent to Learn. I was very energized by her lecture entitled “10 Classroom Tools for the maker movement.” I tweeted several of her quotes including the following with my added commentary in italics that I couldn’t put in a Tweet:

“Going shopping will not change education.” As with most messages at ISTE this year it is about the teaching and the students, not necessarily having all the latest and greatest. Most individuals at the top (or at least in my district) enjoy having on the bells and whistles but they don’t support how they can be used in the classroom and focus the PD on that. Our district has focused on pedagogy (not necessarily the right pedagogy) which is great in the mean time all the technology sits collecting dust. Teachers than have a negative feeling about technology as just one more item to check off on rather simply as an extension of their teaching.

“We try to front load to kids rather than giving them experiences.” If the teacher tries to give them all the information rather than letting the kids discover for themselves, learning is not taking place. The Maker Movement and even Project/Problem Based Learning give the students the means to do this. Engagement of students = Experiences by students. A worksheet is not an experience; a worksheet is a tedious task set to gain compliance not to learn. It is front-loading not discovery. Discovery/experiences/active learning teaches not passive front-loading.

“The things we teach them today will open the doors for them in the future.” We are not teaching them for the here and now or the test they will be taking in the Spring. We are truly teaching them to life-long learners to not view learning as a one time snapshot in time. Many schools have in their mission/vision or purpose/direction that we want students to continue learning (life-long learners seems to be the catch-all phrase for this) beyond the walls of our building so why are we not giving them what they will need. By not letting them experience, by not letting them use technology, by not letting them discover and making meaning for themselves, we are hindering them for the future they will be living.

Many presenters quoted future job statistics and analytics on what educators need to be doing and many of us in the US are not getting it. Maybe it is because we don’t see it in our daily lives so we need to open up to the world. Our gloabal reach is astounding and yet we tend to still be US-centric here although many businesses are advancing many are not. Soon, I believe they will find it difficult to survive if they don’t change and really the change will be a benefit. Two great books to read about this Open by David Price and The Coming Job Wars by Jim Clifton.

Enjoy! 🙂


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