I went to a conference two weeks ago, and I am still sitting on my “what I learned at (insert conference name here)” post. It’s not that I didn’t take anything away that is worth squawking about, nor that I haven’t the time to write about it, because, let’s face it, so few of us do anymore. It’s rather that I’ve been trying to find the way to say it without ruffling the feathers of those who put on conferences all over.
There shouldn’t be any educational technology conferences anymore.
Oh great. Now it’s out there. There goes any chance I ever had at presenting at ISTE (or NECC, or whatever it’s next iteration will be).
While I truly love the conference I am speaking of, being that the first time I attended was one of the biggest eye-opening events of my career a few years back, something has changed around the world of education and educational conferences. What’s changed is not the technology–that’s a given. What’s changed is that we now ask different questions than we did before. The more “Ed Tech” conferences I attend, the more I see people there who don’t need to be there. If we are talking about real change in education, the kind that makes nervous people of those with big jobs in big companies that depend on education as a market, than we’ve got to get different people here.
Instead of the word technology or educational technology being mentioned anywhere in the nomenclature of the conference, why don’t we focus on student learning.
If you can’t show me (preferably with live students) how what you are talking about is credible, gets kids excited to learn, and allows them to share their learning with whomever wants to be a part of it, I don’t know if I am interested.
I know this has been said before, and many times here in this space, but it’s not teaching with technology, or learning with technology, or educational technology. It’s just teaching, just learning, and just education. It’s here, it’s your computer connected to the world, and it makes your job easier. And if the educational technologist in your district would just let you know about these conferences, it might just become very clear to you.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that these conferences need to recognize the fact that we moved beyond just inviting directors of technology, technology coordinators, or higher-level administrators, but rather classroom teachers, students, and even community stakeholders.