Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Where's the buzz?

Usually there is a buzz in the air at an international conference.  It is heard in the halls and during lunch. It permeates the sessions and lounges.  Everyone wants it - it is the tool that will finally bring education into the 21st century.

I can remember some buzzes over the last few years - PDAs, interactive whiteboards, and last year it was clickers.  But this year, I have been listened for the buzz in vain. What is the new solution? Has the buzz been lost? It came clear when I overheard a conversation among teachers.

It went like this:
Teacher One: "I'm exhausted. I am collecting fantastic ideas for teaching.  I wish I could attend every session."
Teacher Two: "I took a break and visited the exhibits - did you?"
Teacher Three:  "My district has no funds for purchasing expensive gadgets. I didn't even go down".
Teacher One: "I did, but afterwards, I felt like they were promoting buying things while the sessions are about changing learning?"

What was that? I was hooked and shamelessly jumped into the conversation asking what they felt was their 'aha moment' so far. Their enlightening responses:

1 - using wikis to collaborate and communicate
2 - using twitter to hook up with colleagues around the world. Although she had never used it before arriving in DC, she now was following an admirable group of educators!
3 - digital stories as a teaching tool

These teachers get It! Yes, I think they've actually got it!

Is the buzz word for 2009 learning!
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1 comment:

PNaugle said...

Great observation of NECC. I too kept thinking I was missing it, the buzz, about the newest gadget or app. I think the buzz for me was PLN (personal learning network).

I spent the first day in sessions. Slowly I went to less sessions and hung out with my PLN in the Bloggers' Cafe where powerful conservatons swirled and I could get questions answered in a very personal way.

I came away from NECC09 with better connections to my PLN because of the face-to-face meetings and dialogue we shared.