Sunday, August 1, 2010

IWB Conference, Auckland, Day 1: Setting the Scene

Here are my notes from the sessions I attended today.

Keynote 1

Delivered by Peter Kent from Australia. Before a few of Peter's comments, one from the Prinicipal of host school Westlake Girls ... "Remember that we were all there once"... Alison Goernhoffer in reference to new entrants into the tech workplace. Worth remembering - not everyone comes to the classroom with all of the skills they might want to have as far as digital technology is concerned ... To this you can add pedagogy and practise too!

From Peter's talk, I guess the prime message he was giving ... "If you try and teach without technology ... it's a fools errand - you won't be successful."

Do I agree with this? Like everything ... It needs to be taken in context. John Hattie's research doesn't necessarily support this if you take it at just face value, but if you dig deeper ... What Pete is saying (I think) is that there has never been the array of tools for teachers to make teaching such a compelling thing to do as there are now - and of course this is only increasing at a rapid rate. Kids are growing up with this stuff, so we'd better join in.

Pete points to UK Research that struggles to find a relationship between technology spend and use and student outcomes. He cites the BECTA (RIP) research between 2000 & 2007 to support this. But why would we expect otherwise is my question. We have these terrific tools and the web, so called 21st Century tools, but we bring an assessment regime steeped in the industrial model to our classrooms still and to be fair in secondary classrooms we still teach to this assessment regime - so why would we expect anything different?

Hattie says good teaching makes a difference and his research shows that feedback (relationships and opportunity for reflection are included in this I guess) is high on the agenda of good things. But how many of us use the technologies available to us to better facilitate these fundamental things?

"Success is not always strategic" - I can vouch for that I'm sure!

Pete's final words ..."As a teaching professional - what is our responsibility?
We have the tools that no other teacher has had before ...."

So that's the keynote - some food for thought - nothing really new here - but always good to hear that we're on the right track.

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