FETC is without question the “If We Don’t Start Teaching Our Kids 21st Century Learning Skills We’re All In A Boatload of Trouble” Conference. Just about everywhere you look you see a reminder that this is indeed the 21st Century and that we’re teaching to 20th Century standards with 20th Century techniques. It’s almost the message from a lot of the featured speakers is like, “ok…you had six years to figure out that the Century actually did change…why haven’t you changed anything about how you teach?” I’ve heard Friedman’s name dropped three times already, and, the underlying current from many of those speaking is F E A R, or as Willard Daggett said more than once (maybe more than thrice) “They are going to eat our lunch.” Or this photo of the slide that was on screen prior to the start of Ken Kay’s presentation. It’s almost creepy.

Don’t get me wrong, there are bright spots. David Warlick tells somewhat the same story but with a much more hopeful tone. There must be at least 134 sessions on podcasting that, as far as I can see, haven’t resorted to the “Record or Die” meme. And a couple of the bloggy sessions I ducked in on looked quite happy (though I could give you some quotes from the audience that would make you think we were in the 19th Century.)

But I’m feeling kind of…I don’t know…bummed in some ways. I mean if you really want something to get scared about, listen to this podcast from Mark Lynas on Global Warming that I put on during the plane ride down here. If he’s right, we really are all dead, and none of this stuff will mean a hill of spaghetti.

David’s been talking about a new story, and I’ve been putting a post together with my thoughts. But I can tell you this: whatever the new story is, it’s not the one I’m hearing here…