ISTE Truths

Posted on June 29, 2011 in General | 5 comments

After numerous formal and informal conversations during the Edubloggers Con, on the way to conference sessions, sitting the fringe of the Blogger's Cafe, and doing a pub crawl around Philadelphia, I've come to a few conclusions. There is great agreement amongst ed techy types about the need for change and the type of change necessary in the American educational system. I'd like to propose an set of Educational Technology / ISTE Truths. We need to start with the big one:

  • First and foremost, the current classroom model was devised for an industrial society in the 1890s. We are different now, we must teach and provide learning opportunities differently.
  • Here are some others.

  • Our brains aren't made to function in a classroom
  • Classrooms need to be student-centered
  • Hands on projects that allow students to do stuff to gain real understanding
  • Projects should be authentic, not just to get a grade
  • Teachers need to facilitate, guide, and partner up with students
  • Students need to collaborate with their classmates and with people in other places
  • So called "21st Century Skills" or the new literacies are just as important as content
  • Mobile Devices are the future, stop telling the students to put them away
  • Bring Your Own Device programs are the future, IT people – stop freaking out (a recent addition)

I'm sure I missed a couple, but you get the point. We are all on the same page. Or at least, ISTE or someone needs to send out a list of these ISTE Truths so people know that these are the educational, philosophical, and pedagogical foundation of the conference. Then we can move on and take the collective conversation about HOW get around the barriers and HOW we can make these changes happen in our schools. What upgrades to our curriculum can we make this year? Maybe some more specifics on WHAT it looks like in real classrooms (you know the ones with 35-40 kids packed into the them). There were some like that, I know. But, I sat in on too many sessions and conversations that ended with me wanting to say Amen without details. I enjoyed watching a couple of the Google booth sessions that showed me how to do something specific in a classroom setting. With all that said, the last four days were amazing. I have so many ideas to ponder and my classroom and the professional development I do will be transformed even more. Thanks ISTE and all the contributors to the #ISTE11 conversation.

5 Comments

  1. Great foundational points! There’s been much ‘talk’ over the last few years, but action is definitely harder to come by. That’s why we just need to ‘do it’ ourselves, I believe. The most beneficial part of ISTE for me is meeting people who want to collaborate with me on a creative project that goes beyond ‘standards’. Instead of spending time and energy trying to convince leaders of the need for change, I’m hoping for a grassroots movement (operative word obviously movement!).

  2. Mind if I steal the whole post?

    Today in class I pulled out an old NY Times article on the evils of texting — great, passionate discussion in first period, good discussion in third and fourth. Why can’t kids use phones in class? Equity issues don’t wash with them, value of thinking for yourself not a potent one (though some liked it).

    Constant drone of “what if there’s an emergency?” They want to be connected more than knowledgeable, and they fear the loneliness of being left with nothing to do but talk to the person next to them.

    Am I missing something?

  3. The only problem is we can’t monitor if they’re using their gadgets to make learning easier or it they are distractions that can hinder it. I guess there should be specific rules so that it can be beneficial. With iPads and tablets, they are really great tools in the classroom setting.

  4. re your comment, marie:

    “Instead of spending time and energy trying to convince leaders of the need for change, I’m hoping for a grassroots movement (operative word obviously movement!).”

    i am totally with you!!

    roger dennis
    itistime.nyc@gmail.com

  5. btw, dan, outstanding list of needed changes!

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