Sunday, July 23, 2006

NECC - Preventing Your 1 to 1 Dreams From Becoming Nightmares

This was an excellent session from Gary Stager, a consultant and staff developer. This session was also podcast, so you can get it in iTunes and listen to it as well.

While he certainly talked about laptops and 1:1 programs in this session, it was much more a session about educational philosophy and how technology can support that. He very much supports a constructivist view of education and doesn't have much patience for those who are dragging their feet. I think he would be an excellent person to come in and do staff development in our district because he is so thought provoking - and because he has actually done it with real kids in real classrooms around the world. He had a lot of good quotes that I thought I would share (but listen to the podcast to get them in context).
Quote 1: "The computer is an imagination machine" - Daniel Hillis . . . The computer mediates a conversation with yourself.
I thought that was a very interesting spin on the computer - that it provides you the resources to learn and grow by basically having a learning conversation with yourself.
Quote 2: You have to decide which camp you're in: Instruction versus Construction; Status Quo versus Liberation.
Them's fightin' words - but I think can help generate some good discussion among our staff.
Quote 3: The computer is the primary instrument for intellectual and creative work in our society.
Once again, if this is true (and I believe it is), how could we possibly be attempting to teach students without anytime, anywhere access to computers? As I've said before, they are the utlimate information workers, so they should have the tools that a "professional" would have.
Quote 4: Laptops in schools are inevitable. So those schools that are investigating their uses now are ahead of the curve - it's like having training wheels.
I think most people do think laptops are inevitable, it's just that some folks hope it's after they retire.
Quote 5: If critics are asking about test scores in 1:1 schools, than something is not right. The school should be such a dramatically more interesting place that they never think to ask about test scores. They will be doing real intellectual work.
Again, an interesting take on the situation. I think he's right (mostly), if we're doing things well then people won't really care (much) about whether test scores improve - because the exciting things students will be doing will produce so much "shock and awe."
Quote 6: Web 2.0 is not about information, it's about construction: students as producers, collaborators, composers.
What I wrote in my notes is we do need to be careful when we talk about all the information that's available to students on the web. While that's true, that does limit the scope a little too much of what's available and can shift the conversation too much into reliability of information, amount of information, etc., as opposed to the fundamental transformation of learning and living as we know it.
Quote 7: Grouping kids by similar levels of incompetence doesn't make any sense.
A vestige of the assembly line system of education.
Quote 8: A good prompt is worth 1000 words.
Enough said.

1 comment:

  1. How true is the distinction between construction and instruction. How often do we simply devise more to add and refine it rather than fundamentally change what we are doing?
    Understanding this distinction seems to me to be central to doing more than making ICT's an add-on to classroom programmes.