Take a Risk- Tales from ECOO

The thing about technology in the classroom is…

From the morning keynote by John Seely Brown, through teacher-centred workshops on using web tools and iPads, and back to the final panel, ECOO topics are centred around risk taking.

I’m presently listening to Nora Young, Michael Fullan, John Seely Brown, Jaime Casap and Donna Fry discuss the use of technology in our schools in a session called Discussing the Role of the teacher in the NOW Century.

Nora: Is there consistency across the board that connects curriculum and technology?
Michael: We learn a new way, and it creates community…. There is lateral learning… It spreads.
John: The bottom fixes itself, and what we’re missing is the top-down.

Couldn’t agree with you more!

The thing about the technology in the classroom is, we are teachers making change. Around this room (700 participants using over 1000 devices…) there appears to be a LOT of teachers. Educators. It’s should make Mr. Fullan happy, as all throughout the workshops today the focus was on PEDAGOGY. All good!

The message over and over… Take a risk.
It’s motivating. It’s challenging. There is a sense that we understand the WHY and are in agreement. It’s all good!

But.

We also heard repeatedly about barriers. Barriers to access. Barriers in mindset. Barriers exist in each and every classroom, every school in every school board on Ontario. So, for some, the discussion stops there.

So what next?

“We are building digital leaders. We ask, what value did you add?” -Jaime

And as Nora concludes… “I know I’m sitting here between these folks and a glass of wine”… There is so much more to discuss, to share, to grow. And maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s okay. GREAT LEARNING MEANS THERE ARE MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS.

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2 thoughts on “Take a Risk- Tales from ECOO

  1. I agree that we need to take a risk, but we also need to support educators in doing that. Too often we simple expect educators to “figure it out” and try and do it on the cheap with educational technology. We put devices in classrooms without appropriate tech support so that when they’re used they fail and teachers give up. And we don’t give teachers enough training on how best to use educational technology and the shifts they have to make in their pedagogy to take advantage of it. The National Staff Development Council found that it took 49 hours of training to make a 21% difference in student achievement. I agree that teachers need to take risks but we have to support them in doing that.

  2. Oh, I SO agree with you Andrew. A little quote from Fullan and Hargreaves from “Professional Capital” p. 5: “People can only teach like pros when they want and know how to do so – when they have the right knowledge and background, the colleagues around them who will keep them performing at their peak, and the time and experience that underpin the ability to make wise judgments and decisions that are at the heart of all professionals’ actions.” We have focussed, in this province, so extensively on student achievement, forgetting at times that developing professional capital is a key to succeeding with students.

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