Being back in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) during winter for the first time in seven years has been refreshing. Although the 50 degree temps are half of what my body is use to. 🙂 The clean fresh air of Seattle and Portland (yes…that is clean compared to Shanghai and Bangkok) is good on the lungs.
I gave a three hour workshop yesterday to educators from around the PNW the first presentation that I’ve actually given in the States…which is odd to think about. One thing that I found was that I do not give International Schools or International Educators enough credit when it comes to understanding the Internet and the social web that it has become.
Answer: 2 (17%)
My experience internationally would have been 80% have a Facebook account.
When asking about Skype….only two people had used it. Internationally again would have been closer to 80%.
What’s the difference? International Educators are forced to learn the tools to stay in contact with people they care about back home. They are forced to use the tools, learn the skills, and be connected….and that’s your everyday international educator. What really worries me is that the 12 people that were in my workshop yesterday represent educators in the region who want to learn technology or are the gurus in their schools….and for that I applaud them.
Now this isn’t to say that having a Facebook account or using Skype has anything to do with understanding the use of technology in education. But I think it is an indication of your understanding of what is happening on the web today.
Here are some more stats from yesterday:
- 1 out of 12 had using YouTube with students
- 1 out of 12 had using a Wiki with students (the same 1 person)
- 1 out of 12 had a class blog that they used to communicate with parents
- 1 out of 12 had heard of and/or used iTunes U
- 2 out of 12 did not own a cell phone
Again..what I think worries me is that this conference is made up of 1400 educators who are at least interested enough in technology to be here. What worries me is that from what I’ve seen so far, most are looking for the silver bullet. The application that can do it all, or the program you can buy, install and cover your standards. There are a few sessions on social-networking that I plan to go to today so we’ll see how well those are attended.
I guess I really shouldn’t be that surprised. At the pass NECC conferences a group of Edubloggers have tried to guess what percentage of educators at that conference truly understand the changes that are occurring. Our estimates: 250 out of 10,000…..or about 2.5%. OUCH! Not sure why I expected this conference to be any different….just hoping I guess.
What has really depressed me so far is a lack of “geekiness” I feel at this conference. I hope that changes today….but don’t worry I’m prepared to take matters into my own hands! Be looking for Twitter updates as I find a way to bring some geekiness to this conference!