Reflections on Day Two at NECC 2009


The Great Debate

Video: NECC 2009 Tuesday Keynote: Debate and Dialog | ISTE Connects – Educational Technology

Live Blog I participated in

RESOLVED: Brick and mortar schools are detrimental to learning.

This was not much of a “debate” since one of the guys who argued the affirmative didn’t find much to like about virtual alternatives, and the lady for the opposing point of view thought that schools couldn’t go on as they are either, and should have more technology.

I started the debate favoring the negative. Cheryl Lemke had a strong, well-reasoned delivery (ex, “…distance learning has the word “distance” in it”).

Gary Stager one of those who argued the affirmative, has often left me scratching my head. I like to think of him as an ed tech Thomas Paine, leading the clarion call for change. Unfortunately, Paine was unable to participate in the “new order” when change finally came. I mean this as no disrespect, to Dr. Stager. All revolutions need their agitators, and he is marvelous in this role. He has also obviously done some fantastic work with students both young and old.  In this instance though, Gary stole the show, and made me change my “vote”.  Here are some “favorite” quotes…

Coup de grace: the blame is in bankruptcy of our imagination

Pedagogical emphasis is on PRODUCT vs PROCESS

Online is taking worst of bricks and mortar

Whiteboards? Focus is still on the front of the room

Gary’s argument was against schools as they are, and Cheryl’s was for schools as they could be (Gary definitely had that too, but he made the strongest anti-status quo argument). They’re both right.

Metaphor for Instruction

metaphorswithtechnology – wiki
Presenters: Vivian Johnson, Hamline University with Cara Hagen

This was one of my FAVORITE sessions. I’ve been doing my own explorations using visual metaphor with my students. It’s a really great way to teach concepts to language learners. The presenters had a different and more structured approach than I was learning, so it was a good session for me to attend. They had a wiki setup for the session, and sent out an email alerting us of this in advance of the session. They were doing a team presentation, and quickly and seamlessly handled approving all of us having access on the wiki, so the technical aspects were very smooth. They modeled what they do, finding an image/visual to show a concept, and how to embed pic in wiki. They showed using mind maps, and other organizers, and suggested having HS students work on which type (linear vs. free-form) works best for them. They had us go to the discussion tab, and share what concepts our students have the most trouble understanding. We then picked one out from the concepts, and worked on finding an image to explain it. I chose someone else’s suggestion of Main Idea, which language learners have a hard time with. They tend towards a complete recount, rather than summarizing. Here is what I came up with, which suggests that it’s an outline. They then provided a rubric since the idea is for students to do this activity. I would highly recommend this session for educators working with language learners, and special education students who need visual support.

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