It’s quiet at Newark airport, where Brenda and I are waiting for our connection to Buffalo, where we’ll get a cab across the border to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. I’ll be speaking at the Ontario School Boards Association conference tomorrow, and they selected one of my more provocative topics. We’ll see how that goes.
It’s customary for us to post the NECC session(s) we will be presenting. For me, I’ll be doing some work with David Thornburg for SETDA (State Education Technology Directors’ Association) on Sunday. I’m not sure what I’ll be presenting. I know I will not have much time. If Thornburg presents on science, then I may counter with something on the creative arts. Not sure yet. But it will be fun.
Then, on Monday, at 12:30, in the HGCC Lila Cockrell Theatre, I’ll talk about our students and our worlds, describing three disruptive conditions that are converging on every school, classroom, teacher, and learner. It’s a fairly big-picture session that I have not done at NECC before, though it is being increasingly requested by conference planners as a large group general addresses.
I spent some time last night going through the conference program, selecting the sessions I was interested in. After finishing, I had my calendar subscribe to my selected sessions as an iCal file, and my calendar gave an audible groan under the strain.
A couple of things did strike me as I was reading through the sessions. Their attraction may have had more to do with things I’ve been thinking about lately, rather than a count of sessions.
First of all, I saw a lot of sessions about using technology in science instruction. There is certainly a lot of interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics right now, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I also saw a lot of sessions with Web 2.0 in the title or description. What was interesting was the many of them seemed to assume a basic knowledge of the tools. The sessions were geared toward bringing together some meaning to these new tools within the context of teaching, learning, and improving student performance (not one of my favorite phrases).
I also found it interesting that podcasting seems to have fallen in popularity from the past couple of years, but what has risen is ePortfolios. I’ve been sensing a renewed interest in alternative assessment methods, and there may be some logical and valuable connections between collecting artifacts of learning and the increasing interest in blogs, wikis, mashups, and other Web 2.0 applications.