Unconference Questions, Please?

I am thinking of handling Friday’s TechForum new web session in a modified unconference style, facilitating conversations in the room, rather than just teach — in the Web 1.0 fashion.  If I should decide to do this, and if there is a lull in the conversation, what are some questions that you would ask a group of very bright web savvy educators, tech directors, and school administrators? 

What would you want to talk about?

Waiting for change!

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10 thoughts on “Unconference Questions, Please?”

  1. It would be interesting to see how much they are using open content approaches for creating learning objects or other learning content. Is this something that’s happening much at the grassroots level? Do their schools have any policy on this? How much do they share resources with other schools?

  2. I would love to hear how other folks handle naysayers. At some point, attempting to convince folks the world is flattening, etc falls on deaf ears from folks that just don’t want to accept the reality of the twenty-first century. One idea would simply be to relinquish them to the tragic downfalls of not waking up to the change, but that maligns students. How can we reach kids trapped in classes with teachers who refuse to embrace this changing world? Can we offer them something they can connect to after hours? Can we open our classes to other students without undermining the authority of that teacher? We want to be respectful, but it’s our kids’ future at stake? How do we navigate this tumultous situation?

    Submitted from the back hills of South Carolina…

    Chris Craft

  3. I would love for you to ask them to showcase their own work for everyone to see. Give them a chance to brag. (That will let you truly see who is using and who is just boasting that they do.)

    I would like for you to ask about administration expectations — does it drive them to use the tools more?? Or would they use tools regardless.

    I would love for you to ask them — what can WE do to make your job easier. And what tools they are using to train themselves or (could it be) is there money in the budget to bring in trainers for more than a 1 day segment!

    I would like for you to ask them — WHY?? Why do they think we should be teaching the tools? And ask about benefits (pros and cons)

    I would like for you to ask them to dream of the future — to give feedback on where they think there kids will be in 15 years if THEY are the teacher with the greatest impact on that student.

    OOOhhh — can’t wait to hear more.


  4. I would be interested in hearing what their ideas are when resources are limited (what can people do to cope . . .) – whether it be computer access, read/write web access, projector access, etc. What can they offer in the way of advice for teachers who might be interested in using these tools but are hesitant to commit themselves to them b/c they can’t count on their being available for use? Their answers could help many of us as we spread the word and meet resistance.

  5. That’s a very good idea, and a gutsy one…I’m wondering if they are up for it, or have specifically come to hear you and what you have to say. I’d like to try it as well with my professional growth session-perhaps a discussion when you get to Austin about structure?

  6. I would want to talk about issues where the rubber meets the road. I am so tired of hypothetical, theoretical, what ifs and shoulds…. What can we do to be better teachers? Better administrators? And, what keeps them from this? One major obstacle is the need for time… time to think, time to brainstorm and collaborate… time to explore… on the clock time. Educators don’t have very much time (unless they tap into their own personal reserves). How can we reclaim time to grow? I mean, creative ways during the school day…not the 60 minute sit and listen session or the once a year paid conference to attend. How can administrators nurture a culture of professional inquiry in their schools? How can administrators inspire their staff? And, how can technology tools facilitate all of this? Tool use should stem from the desire to be better…

  7. Hey, stop talking about me like I’m not in the room!

    These are great questions, but the problem is, I’m looking for answers – and I’ll be sitting there. I don’t know HOW to get administrators more motivated, to get teachers to try all of this, to convince them that it’s worth the time and won’t take the effort they assume it will.

    I have a blog for my teachers where I post ideas for their classrooms, for their labs. I have a podcast with how-tos. I have a site for them to download everything. I visit their grade level planning times. When I see things displayed in the halls, I offer other ways of doing things they didn’t know about. I model teaching in their classrooms and the labs. But I still can’t reach some of these teachers. And I still have teachers that say things like, “I don’t think first graders need computers – they should be learning to read and write.” Excuse me while I sit down and hold my hand against my heart. These teachers think my own first grader is just not the norm because she does most of her work on the computer (her mother is the campus tech, of COURSE she knows computers), not realizing that I’ve barely taught her any of that. All I’ve done is provide the opportunity.

    You can ask all these great questions, but they’re MY questions, too, so you won’t be getting many answers from ME.

    See you Friday!

  8. Anna, I didn’t even know you were in the room! But, after reading your post, I would love to read your blog. I am also in a position in a school district where I can help teachers integrate technology (ie:..information, I know… I am learning). Since my position is new, I haven’t yet advanced to the level of experience you mentioned. However, you mentioned many ides that I would like to implement.
    How can I get a hold of your blog? My newly formed blog is…

  9. Okay, I’m sitting here right now and this is awesome. David is about to run out of breath going from participant to participant holding the mic for questions and answers. This is what Web 2.0 is all about – the interaction. Oh dear… here he comes to ME. I better close.

  10. It sounds exciting there! Hope to hear lots of the answers to the above questions. I think there are some people that it’s impossible to convince. I’d like to know how people get regular support from more tech-friendly peers. Do you ever do support groups, or online boards? I’d like to see some kind of online support group – real-time meetings, so people can share both the frustrations and the excitement.

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