It’s a WRAP!
It’s been over two weeks since I visited Shanghai for the Learning 2.011 ed tech conference and I though I’d give a few details about what I saw and experienced and what I learned. To be fair, I was only at the conference for about two days as I had to leave early to make it back to school but overall it was a good time. Read on past the break to see what I gleaned and hopefully convey that back to you.
Overall a theme that seemed to come through loud and clear in just about everyone’s keynote was to make technology personal and meaningful. If you’re just using technology to use it and there is no real connection happening with the student, then it is time to move on and try something different. However, there is another theme too. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on connection with your students, parents and other colleagues. This personal connection is essential and without, you might as well be giving them worksheets with no guidance.
I also attended a cohort about project based learning (PBL for short) and it was a little scary . . . but in a good way. It was led by Rodd Lucier who challenged the cohort from the first moment. Within 4 sessions Rodd was able to guide, encourage, and motivate us to create a short two minute movie that compares a world with PBL to a world without PBL. There were about twenty of us and we all grouped together with roles. It was awesome to see how interdependent each group was. Rodd’s approach was not to talk about PBL but to actually experience it. There were times when he discussed what we were doing and how organic and meaningful this was to us. It was clear that our students would love it, but it involves something (myself included) has trouble with. Letting go of some power and taking a leap with our students into the great unknown to create something meaningful not just for others but for ourselves. It was great and you can check out a lot of our hardwork here.
Overall it was a fun conference. There were a lot of workshops I wish I could of attended (a lot of video, middle, and some cool integration ones as well), but alas time was fleeting. For next year, even if you’re not a tech head like myself, this conference was definitely friendly to the non-techy as well. It was a great place to ask some good questions, bounce ideas of others, share experiences, and be excited about what we do. It is pretty cool after all.