Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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ITSC11

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Just wrapping up from ITSC11 in Portland and a previous conference send me a link to a survey from participants. This one frustrated me a bit:

Here’s the thing…first of all I’m never going to run a session that goes “Click here, now click here, now type here” I’m sorry, that’s not my style and if that is the reason your coming to a session at a conference then you’re telling me you are not an active motivated learner. That’s as bad as kids coming into our classrooms and saying “I don’t want to think, just tell me what to do, what to learn so I can learn it.”

Learners take responsibility for their learning and me telling you to click here, then click here isn’t going to help you learn it because the learning is out of context anyway. How many times have you had previous show you how to do something only to go to do it a couple days later and not remember? Learning does not happen if there is no context for the learning to take place.

I think the other thing that bothers me about these comments (this isn’t the first, and I’m sure not the last) is in every presentation I start by giving everyone permission to be off task and do what they need to do as a learner. If you want to click, go click, go learn. I never expect you to listen, or be active with what I’m saying. If what I’m saying isn’t motivating you, isn’t pushing you, isn’t what you need as a learner then that’s my fault not yours and go be off task. 

On the other end of the spectrum of course you have educators like intrepidteacher in this reflective blog post about a resent conference who is frustrated that many sessions are still doing the click here, then click here type workshops.

So here it is:

If you are looking for a presentation that is all about the tool and has nothing to do with the pedagogy or how and why you would use it…I’m not your man.

If you want a presentation where people just sit and get and don’t want to take responsibility for their own learning….I’m not your man.

That doesn’t mean we won’t “play” or “dabble” with technology. At ITSC we played with blogs for 2 hours, but people were free to click where they wanted to and taught themselves the software. I answered questions, led discussions, supported people 1-on-1, but other than pointing people in the right direction they had to learn it on their own.

What is the role of a conference? As conferences try and redefine themselves, try to stay relavent in a world where content is free and open. They become places of connections, discussions, and motivation. We still need conferences, not for the “stuff” but for the ability to come together with others and learn with them through conversations. 

I’m waiting for the conference that has no sessions, has no structure. But instead is just a specific time and place for people to come together and connect, discuss and learn.

The problem: Try to sell that conference to the powers-that-be. 🙂

seattle
SunSet from Condo in seattle

Yawn…..stretch…..and slowly pulling myself back into the real world after almost three weeks of vacation that included little time on the computer and a lot of time with friends and family. The way holidays should be.

The big technology gift this year actually went to my wife. Her sister bought her the new Kindle which is perfect for her. She lugged 5 books home for vacation…now all of those will fit in this tiny little device. 

So the new year is off to a great start. Flight back to Bangkok was uneventful (which is a good thing when flying) and I’m all set for the next two weeks and my reverse instruction experiment that I blogged about here. I actually have 6 teachers that I’ll be working with over the next two weeks. You’ll be seeing a lot of blog posts reflecting on how this is going.

If you haven’t actually been to the site in awhile you might want to stop by and check out the new look. The home page is my favorite pulling in the lasted Tweeted articles from the blog. Thanks to Alec and the team at Folliovision for helping to design the new site. Have a look around and see what you think. Still working on a few sidebar and menu options but for the most part, this will be the look for 2011.

Free Stuff

The real reason why you clicked on this post. 🙂

RunKeeper Pro free through January 

runkeeper
 

My wife and I have been into running these past few months and I have to say that this iPhone / Android App has gone a long way in keeping us motivated. RunKeeper uses the GPS on your smartphone to plot how far, fast and the pace of your run. It then uploads the data to the RunKeeper website where you can keep track of how you’re doing. My wife loves the cute little e-mails she gets when she has hit a new goal such as “Longest Distance”, or “Best Time”, or “Best Month”. She also loves the fact she can see right away how far she ran and view the route on her phone (HTC Desire, OS Android).

Of course I like the geekier site of the app. The ability to share your run on Facebook or Twitter as soon as you finish, and with the Pro version (Free through January) you can connect to a playlist on your iPhone and have it give you verbal cues when you’ve ran a certain distance or time. On the website you can create a “Street Team” or running partners to keep you motivated…..a great social-networking feature!

I know a lot of people set new workout goals for themselves in the new year (me included) and thought I’d throw this out there as a way to make running, walking, or whatever your activity a little more fun!

Link to Android App
Link to iTunes iPhone App  

Win a Free iPad

itsc 2011 logo 300x64

In February I’ll be flying to Portland and presenting at the ISTC 2011 conference in Portland, OR. One of the best education technology conferences in the Northwest and I am always grateful for the opportunity to go back to the Pacific Northwest to talk with educators in my “homeland”.

This year the conference is giving away 5 iPads! The crazy part is you don’t even have to register for the conference to be in the running to get one. They’ve already given away two so you have a chance to win one of the final three. The game is pretty simple. Enter to win an iPad by following these directions:

  1. Follow @itscpdx on Twitter
  2. Tweet the “message of the day” each day to enter that week’s drawing
  3. One (1) tweet, each day, gets you one entry into that week’s contest.
  4. Enter up to five (5) times for each week’s drawing by tweeting each message of the day, Monday through Friday.
  5. Tweeting more than once a day does not increase your chances of winning.

Complete Rules Here

It’s going to be a great conference so if you’re in the area join us!  

$25 Off BLC 11

blc11 150x53OK….so not free but a discount on my favorite conference of the summer. I don’t know how Alan November and his team do it but every year they have by far the best keynote presenters of any conference I’ve gone to….and the Keynoters are just the start. I love everything about this conference. The location, the size (right around 1000 people), the passion of the participants. I’m excited that I’ve been invited back for a third year to this conference and as a token for reading this blog you can save $25 when you register. Just enter the discount code JUBLC11 and you’ll be credited the discount. 

If you’re looking for one conference to go to this summer…this is the one!

Looking forward to a great 2011 and we’ll see where education takes us this year!