Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NECC Reflections Thus Far

Going to keep it short and simple. At a conference this large (HUGE, ENORMOUS, OVERWHELMING!) I want to get the most out of each minute. This is my first time at NECC. Also, I tend to be a person who needs some time and space for reflection in order to learn. Yesterday, the first "official" conference day I made the following personal discoveries:

•I am beginning to tire of the famous "conversation." Early in day I found myself sitting at a "session" (not sure if that is the correct word) of NECC Unplugged. The discussion was 21st Century Literacy, a concept in which I have high interest. One of the speakers talked a lot about "the conversation" and how it's not going anywhere, no one is making any changes. I left feeling somewhat discouraged by the generalizations made about teachers. "We" are doing this. "We" are not doing this.
I dislike the generalizing of teaching/education. I always have. "We" are all different and unique. You don't know me and don't know what I'm doing or not doing.

•I obviously have "issues." :) Just want to make sure I clarify that I have the utmost respect for all of the people who are speaking and presenting. I believe wholeheartedly that they speak with nothing but positive intent. It is just that I am finding maybe, at this point, listening to more of this type of talk is not the most productive use of my time.

•I have spent a great deal of time in the Tech4Learning booth listening to the incredible educators they have showing samples and strategies. I could certainly be called biased, as I am extremely humbled and honored to be one of those educators this year. You'll have to trust me, though. It's not bias. These are the kinds of presentations that leave me wanting to run back to the classroom (ok, well, run back as soon as summer break ends) and start playing/learning in fun ways with students.
Again, this is just where I am, personally, right now. I don't want to hear any more people who don't work directly with students telling me what I should do, how I should teach. I get it! I am enjoying hearing real teachers show and tell what they are doing to make learning student centered, engaging, higher-order thinking, meaningful, etc.

If you are a K-5 (or K-8) educator looking to see examples and strategies from people who are doing great things in schools, I recommend the Tech4Learning booth. Here is the schedule.
I saw Liz Allen's presentation "Research without Copying" yesterday and recommend it highly. She will be sharing it again today at 2:30 pm. I am also looking forward to hearing Dr. Henry Olds "Kids, Cameras, Computers, Creativity and Cognition" today at 4 pm.

Just to let you know, I don't work for Tech4Learning !!! Just sharing some of my thoughts. Putting the laptop away now so I can pay attention to Gary Stager!