California ed tech consultant, Mark Wagner, has an opportunity to help shape a fall conference in his state, The California League of Middle Schools and High Schools. I can say from experience that this is a fantastic conference, because it is a teachers conference, rather than a technologist’s conference. Plus, it’s held in Monterey.
Mark is asking for suggestions (What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?) from his blogging community and since conferences are so much a part of what I do, and because I am currently suffering a bit of conference withdrawal, I thought I would include my response here as well as on Mark’s blog.
First of all, he’s asking for a conference theme.
Although the use of this term, in my opinion, has been stretched almost beyond recognition, I think that transparency might be a useful follow-up to their first conference, Teaching Millennials, and their second, Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. They’ve identified their audience, and explored the boundaries between most teachers and their students. Perhaps it is time now to explore technology as more than a pedagogical tool — to illustrate how the effects of emerging information and communication technologies are serving to make the boundaries that have constrained education transparent. Perhaps “Teaching and Learning in Transparent Schools”, or something like that for the theme.
Next, Mark asks for suggestions for keynote speakers, and I was especially saddened to read that they will not be repeating any of their previous keynoters. It was such a fun conference to be a part of.
A few names come to mind though, considering the theme that I’m suggesting. Susan Patrick’s talks about distance learning point to instruction that is not confined by walls and distance. Ian Jukes is talking, these days, about brain research, making transparent the boundaries between our teaching and their understanding. Debbie Silver would be an absolute hoot for that audience, and she would teach about the transparency between teaching, learning, and humor. David Thornburg could talk about the transparency of expense, talking about open source as an alternative to huge investments in software.
Finally, Wagner asks for what a middle or high school teacher wants from a technology conference.
If I’m coming from a classroom, I’m coming for new ideas. I want new techniques that I can take back to my classroom and use tomorrow. I also want energy and I want validation that my chosen profession is the most important thing on the planet to be doing.
What I need is some new ways of thinking about things. I need some new lenses through which to examine and re-examine my work, to critically question some of my practices, and invent new practices that result in the kind of success that I imagined when I decided to become a teacher.
2Â¢ Worth and great luck to you, Mark.
John. “CLMS Monterey 2006.” Johnpat10’s Photostream. 22 Nov 2006. 11 Jan 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/johnpat10/303711044/>.