Let’s see now…it’s been almost a year since I decided to take the plunge and do this speaking/consulting thing full time. And in that time I’ve done 71 events of various types a number which, in itself, boggles my mind. But what’s really mind boggling is the number of students I’ve seen at those sessions throughout the year.

I started thinking about this because of the students who have been commenting on this blog of late. George Mayo’s students have been chiming in on their experiences with self-publishing at Lulu, and Diane Albanese’s kids have been commenting on their work with wikis in her classroom. (Btw, I love what IanE says: “The kids that work on this page take this like it’s their life. You see them taking the pictures and writing comments and pages during classes just because they care about it so much.”) Personally, I love hearing their voices.

But here’s the thing. In the past year, I’ve maybe seen a total of 25 students who were attending the events I’ve been at to be a part of the conversation, not just to showcase the work they are doing in the classroom. I think those showcases are great, mind you, but I wonder why we aren’t inviting kids to these conferences or workshops as a way to keep the presenters (myself included) honest, number one, but also to help teachers understand the realities of their worlds. Alan November has been saying this for years, btw…

One of the moments in my presentations that always amazes me is when I point out that upwards of 55% of kids are using social networking sites, and then I ask how many teachers in the room have one. It’s rare to get over 5%. That’s just one sign of the disconnect, one that I think having students in the room could really help to assuage.

(Photo “final exam” by dcJohn)

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