Day 173 (of 184) reflections after a techie conference
Notice the difference between a Tech Conference and a TechIE Conference?
I sure did!
There was still a strong educational component to the recent conference I attended, but the focus was much more on the backbone (very vital to any tech intervention in education) that the Technicians within a school district work on and support, and much less on the ‘front lines’ where teachers are making daily use of tech (it was there, but not nearly as clear as at other conferences), or as I call it: technologization.
But I have a better understanding of the two worlds:
Classroom and school leaders go to workshops where we encourage each other to ‘do different’. To be disruptive. To do what has not been done before to see if it helps students learn.
At the conference I saw: sessions and vendor stations focusing on “standardization”. To be common and non-disruptive. To do what has been tried and tested again and again with proven results.
So 3 key ‘misalignments’
1. Teachers are encouraging each other to be different – to personalize and differentiate for each learner. To seek out devices and methodologies that meet the learning and presentation needs of each student. Techies are getting information and presentations about the best ways to get every learner (and teacher) “on a common/base level of tech”. Where the ‘front line’ looks to find ‘the right size’ of tech for each learner, the ‘backbone’ is encouraged to find ‘the best fit overall’.
2. Be disruptive – as teachers that means #geniushour. It means Self Organized Learning Environments. It means Flipped Classrooms. etc etc etc. For techies, disruption is what they are being shown software and hardware supports to prevent – to be safe and secure. BYOD may be a disruption, but the workshops look for ways to ‘standardize’ the connection; to find one common fit for all classrooms – to save the printer from viruses…(sorry, bias showing)
3. Where teachers are willing to try something new and innovative (albeit sometimes the latest & greatest idea from a conference) at the techie conference I saw many ideas and methodologies that were tried and true (a good thing) but not able/ready/wanting to support something new and possibly corruptive…the problem with having
And to be truthful – both sides are right (Coming back to a Right vs Right argument discussion I had thanks to Rushworth M. Kidder and his book “How Good People Make Tough Choices”). A book that has led to discussions that didn’t make me any happier, but allowed me to take a step back and see ‘more’ (I won’t go so far as to say “all”) sides of a discussion/debate/philosophical rambling…
I have been hearing ‘more and more’ that it is good for educational professionals to get out and explore conferences where they wouldn’t normally tred; I did this – I explored a conference that was heavy on the techie, and light on the classroom – but I still got some ideas to take to my classroom, my school and my district. But most importantly I have a better understanding of what my techies are being exposed to (and significantly, what they are not being exposed to) which enables me to have a bigger view of the tech-education blending: technologization.