Some Mid-TCEA Conference Reflections

I have been enjoying TCEA but some of it has just been a blur trying to rush from one presentation to the next. I’ve been to some that were specific tutorials for Flash, iMovie, iPhoto and tomorrow I’m looking forward to iDVD and GarageBand.

It has been wonderful to learn some new tricks and also to drool over the lab set up for the tutorials – 25 bright, shiny iMacs.

The highlights for me have been listening to the new vocabulary that permeates the discussions on technology integration and the changes that education is going to have to address if we are going to give our kids the skills they will need for tomorrow. I hear the terms web 2.0, read/write web, conversation versus static webpage, community building, collaborating, social networks, and mash-ups.

Over all it would seem that while we are working hard to integrate technology, students are already way ahead of us. Computers, cell phones, mp3 players are as much a part of their daily environment as the microwave, dishwasher, and tv remote have become part of ours. They already ARE integrated. We are the ones running along behind.

But educators are catching up. The debates are all over the web and while many districts still block blogs as a matter of course, others are doing the blogging themselves. More and more districts are moving into the 1:1 computing venue.

I went to hear Dr. Mary Ann Bell speak on Fun and Free Internet tools and the links that were shared were mostly Web 2.0. She also touched on the subject of how many of these sites may be blocked at the district level.

When I was in school I never really thought of teachers as rebels but these days it seems that more and more are trying to help bring about the changes that we all know will have to come eventually. I was encouraged to hear all who spoke of teaching “literacy” included ethics. So many adults are confused about what is permissible and valid on the web. It’s easier for us to blanket block things than it is to learn to utilize them properly but at what cost? Our kids are already collaborating on MySpace, communicating with Instant Messaging, playing games online connected to multiple players in different geographic locations, recording audio and pictures on their phones and accessing the internet to share those files from the same phones. They think we just don’t get it, and maybe we don’t – but we’re working on it.

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2 thoughts on “Some Mid-TCEA Conference Reflections

  1. Denise

    Great post, Dee. I particularly agree with the last paragraph, and that’s something I have thought about all week. Kids are using technologies that we could never imagine when we were their age. It seems that the technology in use in our schools is falling further and further behind what the kids are doing in their everyday lives. We can’t continue to educate them in the way that we were educated. Lots of food for thought, huh?

  2. Dee Post author

    Exciting and scary times! I think our saving grace will be the diverse personalities, ages, backgrounds, and passions of all the people in education. While one group runs towards the future, another will give reasons to slow down and the very things that we fault as being the barriers for change will paradoxically help us make the changes in a thoughtful way and allow us to do what is best for the kids.
    Being forewarned is fore-armed and we need to be educated about our students world or what we teach is not relevant and what a sad waste of time and work for everyone involved.

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