Today was one of those days that it felt like there was a subtle shift in the discussion about the effects the Read/Write Web is having on education. I spent about three hours with around 30 or so technology leaders from the Lower Hudson (NY) region, and my talk and the ensuing discussion felt less about tools and more about learning, our students learning and our own. (The session was live-blogged, btw.) And it felt more like a conversation about systems rather than blogs or wikis or podcasts. How will systems be impacted, and how will systems need to change to support what seems to be coming? Sure, there were questions about safety. But this was more of a “how do we make this happen?” session rather than “here’s about 50 reasons why we can’t” one.
Now this was a pretty heady group to begin with. There were people in the audience whose schools were getting rid of AP courses, and others whose students and teachers were holding classes in Second Life. These are by and large connected schools with connected kids, and many of them have traveled much farther down the road than most. And there was a palpable “can do” feel in the room, despite the concerns that were brought up. It was pretty inspiring, if I do say.
I wonder if maybe, and it’s a big MAYBE, we’re nearing another level in the conversation. It’s one where we talk about how the realities of the ways in which our kids are already starting to learn outside of school need to be leveraged inside of school. One where we really start to take a look at teachers as learners modeling learning first. And it’s one where people start to recognize that this isn’t about technology as much as it’s about assembling a new vision for their own practice and for their students’ education.
One thing I do know, and I feel a longer post coming on about this. We have to carry this conversation to other audiences. We’re doing a great job of talking to each other, but at some point, we have to find ways to bring it to people who have little to do with educational technology, namely parents, businesspeople, etc. I’ve said this before, but I need to blog less and try to write more for print pubs that have nothing to do with tech. Hmmm…maybe there’s an angle here for Good Housekeeping…
(Photo of Mohonk Mountain House where the session was held by WalkingGeek)
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