Monday, June 27, 2011

First day at ISTE

Great conference so far - so inspiring and exciting! We started the day with Will Richardson. I have heard him speak many times, occasionally follow his blog, and have read his book. He is so passionate about allowing students to network and to use communication to learn. He made a good case for encouraging students to learn from strangers, rather than fear them. He talked about students exiting school as "well-googled", with "reputation management" skills, and ready to learn anytime, anywhere, with anyone. (Presentation is here:
http://bit.ly/wriste11 )

I have been struggling with this issue at my school. This year I lost the battle against a group of teachers who were vehemently opposed to these ideas and, as a result, our school blocked all social networking sites at school. Although we have made classroom management easier for some teachers in our one-to-one environment (because students can no longer access Facebook in class), we have not taught our students anything about living in the digital world where they will have to work, play, and learn.

Two teachers are here with me at ISTE and they were very captivated by Will's message. I am slowly building support. How have others dealt with this issue?

We ended the day at the Birds-of-a-Feather session for Jewish Educators. I was blown away by the huge turnout compared to prior years (this is my 11th ISTE conference). I think the message is that Jewish educators are embracing technology full force. It was interesting to see the scope of interests. Technology integration is clearly on the agenda for all of us.

I am looking forward to the rest of the conference and to networking with new colleagues from other schools.

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