NECC all over but the flight

My thoughts and feeling about my first NECC are mixed.

Was I expecting too much?

I was expecting to find a new conversation. A conversation that
I feel needs to happen in education. A conversation that isn’t just about
technology, but about the changing nature of our students, our
classrooms, and our society. I found it in likely places with David
and Will Richardson’s presentations, but beyond those I didn’t
feel it. I saw a lot of technology being used and sold in the same way
it has been for the past 20 years. Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right conversations, but the feel of something different wasn’t
there…for me anyway.

Will writes:

There will be much more to come on this topic I’m sure, but thus far,
NECC has turned out to be feeling very much like a pivotal moment for
these tools.

I’ll agree that the tools that can and hopefully will affect change are at a pivotal point here with blogs, podcasting, rss, and others being mentioned in almost every session. But the tools are only half of the formula. The tools are here, we have them, but without a change in how we view education these tools will not affect education the way I believe it needs to be.

In three different sessions I attended the presenters talked about constructivism and the constructivist learning theory. I’m all for the constructivist learning theory, but if we truly want to change education using these tools we need a learning theory that fits them. George Siemens’ Connectivism theory (2004) is much more relevant to what these tools and the new social web allows us as educators to do, and is more in tune with what our students are experiencing.

David Warlick writes:

I’ve been engaged by many conversations here at NECC, and much of it
has led me to believe that technology is not the linchpin for affecting
better and more relevant learning. I believe that the linchpin is to
understand the experience that our children have in the information
landscape that technology provides.

This is what I’m thinking and I’m glad David was able to have these types of conversations at NECC. That makes me feel better. 🙂

NECC was a great experience if for no other reason than the conversations that I had with Tim Lauer, Will Richardson, David Warlick, David Jakes, and others. Those conversations and the others that hopefully took place round the conference is what makes NECC a conference worth attending. Where else can you get together 12,000 educators all talking about technology and looking towards the future.

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