Just wanted to share the promotional video for this year’s event. This year’s conference is titled “Century 21.14: Tomorrow is Here,” and will be held at Seguin High School on June 10th. Registration is available through Eduphoria. We’ve got some serious talent from around the state and within the district coming to share powerful strategies and tools to help you use technology to make teaching and learning better than ever. A full schedule will be available next week. Hope to see you there, SISD staff!
One of a few audio books I’m currently working my way through is Carmine Gallo’s Talk Like Ted: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak at an event or conference now and again. I’m also a big fan of TED talks, big enough to recognize how much room for growth I have in terms of speaking abilities. The author viewed hundreds of TED presentations and identified the traits that made them so powerful. I’m barely started with the book, but I’ve already been challenged.
The first key component Gallo discusses involves knowing what you are passionate about and being able to share that passion with an audience. It involves communicating the idea that “makes your heart sing.” As I listened, I found myself trying to put my passion into words. What gets me going? Why is what I might have to say, particularly about technology, worth hearing? It’s not at easy a task to define this as it sounds, at least for me. Here is what I have come up with so far:
That’s it. I passionately believe if we as educators can teach and can use technology in ways that expose students to new possibilities for their lives and equip them to achieve these possibilities, we’ve hit the mark.
What do you think? What is your passion? Why is what you’re selling worth buying?
Beginning with last Monday’s presentation by David Warlick and proceeding up to an article I just read in eSchool News, the theme of radical, disruptive change has been my constant companion the past several days. Some examples of the theme of change from David’s presentation:
In the article from eSchool News, Clayton Christensen speaks of impending radical changes to the educational system as we know it. Christensen, the author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, asserts that schools have been trying to fit new tools into an old system, which has brought about slow implementation and limited impacts. However, he describes a model of change that can mathematically show that, once an innovation is demonstrated to be effective, affordable, accessible, etc., it takes off, dramatically altering the entire system into which it is implanted. Christensen believes e-learning will soon have such an impact on education, and that the entire system will change as a result of learning becoming individualized, available anytime, anyplace.
A third conversation about change occured between our me and our superintendent, Dr. Stephen Waddell. He is part of a panel on Web 2.0 and it’s impact on education at CoSN this week, and he has been a strong proponent for technology and change in the curriculum in our district. In our conversations, he stated that he, too, believed that a complete system change was needed to make schools more relevant and to make technology take the place that it rightfully should. Dr. Waddell believes this begins at the highest levels, and he further asserts that the schools that are slow to change will be rendered obsolete, as the new system will increase options and accessibility of quality schools for all students.
In my current doctoral course, we had to describe our vision of the 2020 classroom last week. While I see some of the changes described by Warlick, Christensen, and Dr. Waddell looming on the horizon, I also see a struggle against a system that has more inertia built into it than most. Educators are slow to change, for many reasons. Certainly the current emphasis on basic skills as the end-all-be-all form of school assessment is a strong limiting factor. So is the previous history of change in education, where one “reform” after another was hurredly implemented then just as quickly rushed out the door. Of course, the difference here is that the change will be driven not by educational researchers or policy makers, but by the changing world of students, who increasingly expect greater engagement, access to broader information, and the ability to communicate with the global audience, and who are increasingly dissatisfied with “traditional” instruction. Still, I wonder how long it will take before their voices are heard by those in the positions to quickly change the system. One of the biggest advantages they (students) have is that there are so many ways to make their voices heard today. I know some great teachers who are already listening, and some other great teachers who aren’t quite there yet. It can get frustrating, as a technology specialist, waiting on the parade to catch up, particularly at the state and federal levels, which seem to move the slowest, but also at the local level. You want teachers to embrace the change, to lead the way. The reality is, though, they are handcuffed by a system that doesn’t reward innovation and relevance, but rather rewards performance based upon minimum skills and limited knowledge. I know it will happen, but (I can line up many witnesses to verify this.) patience has never been my strong suit.