NCCE Day 2

Yesterday I spend the day listening and Ustreaming (archives on the site) sessions throughout the conference as well as visiting the “pit” (vendor area).

Here are my take aways:

  • In the Pit there was a Interactive Whiteboard company set up down almost every aisle. Classroom clicker systems (like this one) were running a close second. In a down economy with budgets getting slashed…this is what is hot? To me these are add on devices for the classroom and what I feel we need to be focusing on at this time is changing the teaching in the classroom…not adding “stuff” to the classroom. There is so much good free stuff out there…but you can see where the momentum is.
  • A rough count of the conference schedule brings up Google 13 times. Everything from Earth, to e-mail to iGoogle you name it….if Google created it, it was probably covered. The only thing I didn’t see was how to search better with Google. I could have over looked it but didn’t see a session on actually using and teaching the use of Google to kids, just using the tools that Google has to offer. 
  • An interesting discussion by IT Administrators talking about the types of things that are holding them back within their districts. One recurring theme was a lack of policy. Not so much that the policies that are in place are bad, just that many schools do not have a policy for what should be blocked or unblocked, or what is deemed “Educational”. Not many educators are pushing the boundaries because they do not know where the boundaries lie.

Do Schools Kill Teacher Creativity?

I’ve been thinking about the TED Sir Ken Robinson video today and wondering if what he talks about not only applies to students but to educators as well.

This was a conversation that came up while having dinner with Tim Lauer last night. This notion that teachers do not feel they can be creative. The conversations in the conference rooms is one that sounds discouraging and lacking the energy to make change.

In every session at some point a presenter will say “Now, I know this is blocked at your school, but….”

The feeling I’m getting from this conference is that it’s more about the tools rather than the conversation. In one session a presenter mentioned Twitter and then told the audience he wasn’t going to go there and motioned like it was over their heads. Isn’t this the exact place that conversation need to be happening? If an educational technology conference is not the place for these conversations where is?

I’ve also heard a lot about PD funds being cut in different districts here in the Northwest but can’t find any sessions on creating a Professional Learning Network or using the power of connections and the Internet for true authentic professional learning.

So….what I’m hearing is a conversation that centers around tools and not learning. A conversation that is about doing stuff instead of being creative with stuff. A conversation that is not pushing but rather “show and telling”. Don’t get me wrong I love to show and tell as much as the next educator but I also want to be pushed, to have convesations that make me think, that are deeper than setting up an iGoogle page or using Moodle in a blended classroom enviornment. I want to be pushed to be creative….

Do Schools Kill Teacher Creativity?