Opening Keynote at eMINTS Winter Conference — Bernie Dodge

Bernie DodgeI’m sitting in the back of the room for the keynote.  Bernie Dodge, who is apparently a regular at the eMINTS Winter Conference, will take us all on a journey, starting in about thirty minutes.  My workshop went well yesterday, though the backchannel was a lot more interesting.  I transfered it over to a wiki for participants view again and even continue to flesh out.

After Bernie’s keynote, I’ll do a presentation on video games and then one on Web 2.0, although the term doesn’t show up anywhere in the title or the description.  I’m planning to concentrate on what we can do with community constructed content that is new.

This appears to be one of the small but truly rich conferences.  A lot of the folks here know each other.  There are eMINTS trainers, who all work together.  I think they might be entering the Twitterverse very soon.  Then there are eMINTS teachers, who are also forming a community.  I haven’t looked at the program yet, but the young man next to me is signed up for digital photography, working magic on the new web, teaching with Google Earth, and what appears to be a share a site session.

Bernies standing against the wall, about a hundred feet away, arms folded, observing his domain.  The opening slide is up, “KIDS AS DECIDERS.”  Hmmm!

The keynote has begun, and Bernie’s talking about Twitter, the evolution of his conversion.  He’s showing his aggregator, and how he’s set up a Twitter search feed so that if anyone uses the word webquest in a Twitter post, it comes to him.  (How does he do that?) He says that personal networks are about listening, knowing how to put your ear to the network.

So how do we teach things that we know students should be learning, such as decision making.  Bernie recalls Micheangelo, who said that the scupture is already in the stone.  His job is to uncover it.  Dodge suggests that finding opportunities to help students learn decision making are inside the curriculum we’re teaching today.  It’s a matter of uncovering them.  He suggests that we look for or create disequilibrium, so something has to happen, and leave it to the kids to make it happen.  There are three ways to do this.

  1. Identify (or makeup) an oportunity for action that requires choosing from among alternatives.
  2. Identify a real problem over which there is strong disagreement and decided on what to recommend
  3. Change the situation to create new problems that someone needs to decide how to respond to.

He’s suggested a Webquest that he recently found on the Net, and asked the audience how they might change the situation (1,2,or3) of the activity to provoke decision making.

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.