If yesterday was about the possibilities this whole Web 2.0 thing can open up to us, today we focused on the nuts and bolts of how it should function as we bring IT and Education closer together.
The Korean delegation presented a fun "Digital Textbook" they're developing for Elementary English. It was fully interactive and incorporated lots of multimedia surprises including sound and video clips and animations. Kids could self-check their progress, communicate in real-time with each other and with seonseng, and post work to be graded all entirely online. If I put a user-defined spin on this idea, with the proper instruction and the tools available, my 16-17 year-olds could customize their own GP textbooks, couldn't they? Let's let that idea percolate for a while...
Many speakers today talked about making learning contextual. Bernie Trilling said that "questions and problems drive learning," not content in isolation of everything else. Cheryl Lemke made a point that learning should take place at the community level so that there is an interconnectedness between the learning and its application to society. The individual needs of the learner, the skills they need to become facile in, and the talents they can develop all play a role in this new landscape. If we haven't been playing at this level before as teachers, we either will, or we have to, depending on how we choose.
Yesterday, we talked about transforming the world with technology. Today, we put people back into the equasion. Technology has only given us a means to shake more hands than our ancestors may have ever dreamed possible. But it's still going to be the needs of the people and our sense of responsibility towards each other and to the world that will determine what we do next after we say, "hello." Technology can transform and keep transforming, making us all uncertain and insecure about where we're at any point in time, but it's still going to have to be people teaching people or there's no longer any point to our learning.
I had a fabulous time at this conference. Lots of ideas to steal from an array of inspiring, sensible, practical people keeping an eye on the future, yet working to realize it in the here and now.
Hope John Connell doesn't mind my links to his blog, but he's got such succinct notes from the keynote speakers:
iCTLT '08: "Mind_shift, Culture_shift" by Cheryl Lemke