Working Toward Independence

I’ve been on the go pretty solidly since I left the Educon 2.0 conference in Philadelphia yesterday.  I have to confess that I felt a bit odd, after engaging in idea building conversational sessions over the weekend, and then standing in front of several hundred classroom teachers in Long Island, and presenting about literacy.  It’s not that I am now convinced that lecturing has no value.  Quite the contrary.  But the experience of pushing and pulling at ideas with really smart people, well it’s a different experience and potent.

Talking and learning about social networking with the attendees of Glenn Moses’ session was eyeopening, though the conversations were mostly not new.  But I think that mulling over things with others who are struggling with this stuff helps to congeal our thoughts.  I’ll just say again, as I hope that I made it clear yesterday, that Konrad Glogowski rocked, with his personal conversation about blogging in his classrooms.

I was letting my computer charge-up for the train ride to Long Island during Gary Stager’s session on the importance of teaching programming.   So I didn’t blog it.  He started off with presentation, and basically reminded us of a lot of the conversations that were going on in the middle 80s with Mindstorm and other explorations into programming as an intellectually beneficial endeavor.  Several of the attendees were programmers or have been programmers, so there was much attesting to how the practice has helped us to be better thinkers and even better writers.  Unfortunately, I had to leave to catch the train before Gary’s session was over.  I’d really like to have stayed and engaged more.  I know that Gary doesn’t agree with much of what I say and write.  But I like watching him present.  He whips you around with his passion and his ironclad logic and forces you to think different.

I’d have to say that the biggest “A Ha!” moment that I had was while having a casual conversation with Karen Janowski (I think it was Karen Janowski).  We’ve met a couple of times before, but never had a chance to just talk, and doing so yesterday, I learned that she is a trained Occupational Therapist, and I revealed that I majored in OT.  It was only for a short time.  Physiology kicked my butt!  But I told here that if there is a parrallel David, somewhere, who continued with Occupational Therapy, that he would have been seduced by the potentials of “technology” to help people adapt from their various physical challenges.

Karen said that the occupational therapists job is to help people become independent.  I think that it’s our job as well, to make people independent learners.  It’s probably always been our job to do that, but we haven’t always worked that way, as classrooms sometimes seem designed to make students dependent on the textbook and on us.  It seems like a good working goal for us, as we learn and invent ways of including new information and communication technologies into our classrooms, to explicitly aim toward learning independence.  It’s to instill in our children a learning lifestyle.

Image Citation:
Richardson, Will. “EduCon TV.” Willrich’s Photostream. 26 Jan 2008. 29 Jan 2008 <>.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.