TechForum Grow to Texas

Tech ForumPerhaps one of the best small conferences around is Technology & Learning’s TechForums. They evolved out of the old T&L Expos that use to be held in New York and Chicago each year. The TechForum, which offers a balance of administrative/tech issues with curriculum, will grow to Austin, Texas this year (Nov 10), and additional cities next year, as well as NY (Last Week) and Chicago (Apr 28, ’06).

I attended the NY conference and presented on Blogging and other Web 2.0 topics. One of the most important benefits of these conferences is their size. I feel like I got to meet a majority of the people who were there. The Texas event will feature a keynote address by Hall Davidson (Thinking as Big as the World is Small), now of the Discovery Educator Network. Morning panels will include:

The afternoon will feature more presentations:

  • Digital Story Telling, Visual Literacy & 21st Century Skills — Joe Brennan & David Jakes
  • Blogs & RSS: Tapping into the Global Conversatioin — David Warlick
  • Classrooms, Content, and Kids — Pete Reilly
  • Copyright, the Constitution, and Schools: The Colonials Got it Right! — Hall Davidson

There’ll also be lots of opportunities to network through receptions and roundtables.

Unfortunately, the sessions on video games will not be following TechForum to Texas. New York’s keynote address, by Bernie Trilling of Oracle, touched on gaming, and there was also a panel with Eric Klopfer of MIT, Ben Sawyer of Digitalmill, and Bill MacKenty, a teacher from Martha’s Vineyard, who uses off the shelf video games with his elementary students.

We tried to use a community Wiki for a collaborative notebook in New York, but my hosting company periodically does something that prevents meta tag redirects from working, and it failed. I’ve since started using a Java based redirect routine, and it seems to work very well. People will be able to go to a web page, type their name and the name of the event, and it will create a wiki page for them that they can use to take notes. All of the notes pages will be linked together so that all attendees will have access to each others notes.

In addition, and at the suggestion of Texans Miguel Guhlin and Wesley Fryer, this forum will be blogged and much of it may be podcasted. Both Miguel and Wesley have suggested strategies where all blogs posted about the event, will be aggregated to the Technology & Learning web site. Podcast recordings will also be available there, as well as iTunes Music store. This is a bit of an experiment, but like all things loosely joined, the winds of uncertainty must do battle with the winds of innovation.

Attendees, blogging the event, should place the following code within the text of their articles.

<a href=”” rel=”tag”>techforumtx</a>

It is also helpful to register your blog on Technorati.

You can see all blogs that have already been posted about the even here.

Innovation Learning for a Flat World

The following is moblogged, so there may be some misspellings or awkward wordings.

I’m sitting in the keynote address at the New York TechForum, from Technology & Learning Magazine. The speaker is Bernie Trilling. Mr. Trilling is in charge of and ThinkQuest. It was interesting to watch their current Thinkquest promotional video. What is exciting about this project is was was so exciting about it in 1996, when I was traveling around the eastern part of the U.S. promoting the project as a strategy for integrating Internet technology into the curriculum.

He mentioned one thing that was true even then. In many cases, the student team members are from different parts of the country or different countries. The kids say, when they meet at the conference, that they don’t have accents when they collaborate online. They have to get use to their accents when they meet for the first time face-to-face.

It’s an interesting concept, that people don’t have accents online.


He lists the incremental innovation process from IDEO, an innovations firm.

  1. Understand
  2. Observe and question
  3. Visuali and prototype
  4. Evaluate and refine
  5. Implement

Do we teach this?

The history of educational technology in three little words
From — learning from technology
About — learning about technology
With — learning with technology

So what does change mean in an information environment?

  • top-down — with top down change, things still look pretty much the same.
  • Bottom-up — they change, but it may go back down.
  • Mixed-mode — Same as above
  • Transformational Change — The Changes changes how things are done (he does a great little demo here with an expanding globe toy)
  • transformational inside-out — Same as above — things pop.

“Change is a nother word for growth and an synonym for learning.”

ICT means Information & Communication Technologies

ICT should mean Innovation, Collaboration and Transformation

Bill MacKenty, a public elementary school teacher in Martha’s Vineyard (OK, it’s Martha’s Vineyard), is presenting as the third of a panel on games in education. He read to us a phrase from a gaming types short-cuts sheet that was totally incomprehensible to me — and most of the other attendees, I dare say. Then he asked the question…

Why do students who have been labeled as learning disabled, seem to intuitively be able to read and use this kind of information?


I asked a question during the Q&A session, “What are the big cool things about video games that draw our students’ attention”. I recorded their answers, so this may be in a future podcast. But one of the panelists said that in video games, the rules are real. This is very cool to me. As we teaching in our classrooms, rules tend to be very abstract. They are, much of the time, the objective of instruction. In a video game, rules are something that you actually bump up against. They provide real limits and real opportunities for accomplishing your goal.

The District Conference

The District Conference

It’s the second day of the Technology Leadership Conference in Davidson County, NC. By accounts, it’s a success. There are three board members here today who heard about yesterday’s success at a school meeting last night.

The presenters appear to be about 2/3 venders and 1/3 local educators, with a couple of very talented departmen of ed people, John Brim and Acacia Dixon. The sessions by venders seem to be very curriculum-based. I’ll be sitting in on one this morning.

I want to say again how important this is. Teachers must leave the classroom every once in a while, to get out side their box. How else will we remain relevant to our student.

The District Conference

Originally uploaded by David Warlick.