Some of the really great conversations I and others had at NECC were about educational technology presentations and professional development. If we want to improve education, and teach others that these tools are the way to do that, we need to improve how we communicate with fellow teachers and administrators about these tools.
There were two things that came up, one was that we need to have examples from actual classrooms that are current. Brian Crosby blogs about the need for teachers to see and hear examples from teachers in the classroom. I know that people like, Gail Desler, used my original classroom blog as a powerful example of how blogging could work in the elementary classroom. She commented that it was often the the “aha” moment for teachers in a professional development session. I believe that “professional” edubloggers can talk about these tools in education, but I think using current examples from classroom teachers like Brian, will make them more effective.
The next idea that came up was centered around Chris Lehmann’s fantastic presentation on progressive education. I was not there in person, but the prior link will let you view the UStream archive, which is how I’ve seen it. Stephanie Sandifer has the clearest vision on what this all means, and what it would look like. I will summarize her arguments as, “It’s the pedagogy”. She feels strongly, that we need to be talking about education theory, not just the tools, when we discuss educational technology. Further, we need to be discuss how these tools are part of progressive educational theory at curriculum conferences (like NCTE, and IRA, etc.) and not just content ourselves with talking to other technology educators at ed tech conferences.
The results of this are here: Professional Development Manifesto which Scott McLeod has agreed to host on his Moving Forward wiki. Look at it, if you are doing a presentation that fits the manifesto’s tenets, then let folks know. If you are going to a presentation or training and you want to have more curriculum in that experience, look and see if the presentation has some of the points on the manifesto. In addition, I will note that this is on a wiki, so you can edit and make changes. Drop a note in the discussion area if you have a training that meets the goals and points, so others will know.
Not every presentation will have all of the points, and not every presentation will be about curriculum, but more of them need to for our goal, the learning revolution, to be taken seriously. A revolutionary change is not just based on tools, but how those tools are used, and a big dollop of theory to bring others along with us. Join me in the Learning Revolution, make it happen, “sign on” to the manifesto.