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Bonnie Sutton

ISTE REPORT - 4 views

Anne Collier NetFamily News on ISTE horizon report

started by Bonnie Sutton on 01 Jul 11
  • Bonnie Sutton
    Web News Briefs

    1. My ISTE 2011: Takeaways from a conference

    To me, ISTE - with some 13,000 attendees from 68 countries having converged on Philadelphia this week - is like looking out the window from a fast train through a dense urban area: mostly a blur, but your eye freeze-frames what's meaningful to you. So I always come away feeling enriched by the updates and insights I glean and the fresh dose of inspiration I get from connecting with people who love and work with kids and teens. Here are just a few of my freeze frames from the ISTE blur this year:

    * "More and more school administrators are interested in participatory learning," said Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking . CoSN research has found that "over 75% of superintendents and curriculum directors agree that Web 2.0 holds potential value for teaching and learning and 48% said some use of social Web was already in place. This is progress! [See my latest post on U13s in participatory media and ConnectSafely's "Online Safety 3.0" .
    * Almost 2/3 of US high schools have robotics programs, and a lot of those involve LEGO Mindstorms , which is in about 30% of US middle schools, LEGO exhibitors told me, and the WeDo little-kid programming environment that makes it possible to program robots in elementary school!
    * It was standing-room-only in a large double room for a session on "the iPad revolution" by educator Camilla Gagliolo from Arlington, Va., about how iPads are engaging and enabling special-ed students and revolutionizing learning at her school, which so far has 60 iPads (none of which have been broken, she said); her district now has about 1,000 such portable devices now in use. [Accessibility features on the iPad for special-ed and nonverbal students: VoiceOver, Zoom, Display (white on black or black on white), Speak Auto-Text, Tactile Buttons, etc. .]
    * On state tests, Gagliolo said, Arlington, Va., students who had been working with iPads in both special-ed and math classes this past year tested as "Advanced."
    * A teacher came in late and sat down next to me in a spellbinding session about core-curriculum instruction with World of Warcraft by teachers Peggy Sheehy (N.Y.) and Lucas Gillespie and Craig Lawson (N.C.). The latecomer whispered that she had to leave another session where the speaker made a blanket statement that there should be no communication between educators and students in Facebook. I'm thankful to be seeing more and more educators rolling their eyeballs at blanket, top-down policies about youth and social media (see this ).
    * Gillespie and Lawson just released their middle-grades language-arts curriculum, "WoW in School: A Hero's Journey," which can be downloaded for free here and which teaches everything from writing and storytelling to poetry and literature to video editing to media literacy and citizenship (in this class, every student's a hero and teachers are called "lorekeepers"). Sheehy, who co-presented with Gillespie, started out her teaching with World of Warcraft in an after-school program she designed for special-ed students. It was so successful she was asked to bring it into school.
    * Reporting some trends it's seeing, the 2011 Horizon Report found that digital and media and literacy are now key skills in every discipline and profession; that economic pressures are creating unprecedented competition for the traditional model of school; and that "learning is like breathing and can't be contained in school," which is why there aren't yet metrics to measure the way it's happening in today's media environment.
    * "Our schools are designed so that most of our learning is at home," says ISTE keynote speaker John Medina, PhD, author of the best-selling Brain Rules . His ideal model for school, he said, is "a guided aerobic workout all day punctuated with islands of learning - the inverse of what we have now." The molecular biologist also said that every brain learns differently from every other brain (so thank goodness for a very accessible tool, the Internet, that allows for learning customization).
    * In his talk about "The Best Educational Ideas in the World" (including Reggio Emilia schools and Neil Gershenfeld's Fab Lab at MIT), well-known speaker and Gary Stager point to the attitudes of thought that guide those programs: respect for each learner, authentic problems for students to solve using real tools and materials, expanded opportunities, the belief that learning is natural, collegiality, urgency, and a commitment to social justice and democracy.

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