Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tech PD at Conference

I was at the the UFT Spring Ed Conference which I signed up for in hopes of getting some interesting Tech PD.  They had a two workshops that sounded great: Digital Tools for Instruction: Engaging All Learners (K-12) and Using Apple Technology to Transform Classroom Learning (K-12). Now before I say anything else two things: 1) I know my use of technology in an elementary school setting is FAR from perfect and criticism is easy, offering solutions HARD; 2) UFT should be applauded for putting on a this very engaging conference: I really enjoyed listening to Randi, Mike, Carmen, and even Mayor Bill talk about how this is the time to take back public education. But I have to say after the workshops my feeling is the presentation of using tech in schools is not at the level that it could / should be in order to help teachers bring their classrooms into the 21st century. Almost Three and a half decades ago Seymour Papert published MindStorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.  The notion that technology could allow students to construct their understanding still seems too difficult for the producers of the hard, soft, and cloud based tools to find their way to. Yes I enjoyed Apple's presentation on iTunesU and course manager resources, iBooks, and iBooks Author as a tool of empowerment, but the tools being put in the hands of teachers are still more presentation based than creation based.  Okay, that's a bit overstated and Apple is absolutely more about making verses feeding and testing but as I watched my fellow educators listening I wondered how many of them would really come away from this ready to turn their use of tech on it's head and have their students using technology to construct their understanding of anything and Everything.

Only last unrelated yet somehow it comes up in my head as being very appropriate for this post, I want to go to workshops that help me take tech use in the schools to the next level.  I want to hear the presenter at my next workshop talk like Jacob Barnett.  I want them to put something in my hand that I will walk into class on the next school day and say to my students, "Here, have fun with this!"

In the 1st clip it says Top Learning Art Thinking.
Top Learning Art Thinking

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