Conference organizers usually strive to have participants leave upbeat and energized at the end of the conference. I violated that rule on the last day of the ASB Unplugged conference in Mumbai, India. 

Each of the February TEDxASB speakers had 3 minutes to speak to the audience. Scott Klososky’s segment with an American School of Bombay student was particularly awesome and I hope someone captured it on video.

In both of my two leadership workshops, I kept hearing variations of the same theme from the international educators in attendance. One participant summed it up:

I'm not sure you appreciate how far along are most of the schools here today. We're far from average in terms of our implementation of technology.

When it came to my 3 minutes, I just couldn’t keep quiet about this. So I said something like the following:

One of the participants in my morning session said that I didn’t appreciate how far along you all are and that you are way above average when it comes to integrating technology into your instruction. And yet, from my conversations with many of you over the past few days, it’s very clear to me that there still are many things you’re not doing.

For example, most of you have yet to put a computer in every kid’s hands; that’s why you’re here at this 1:1 conference. Most of you have yet to incorporate online courses into your curricula in any kind of substantive way. Few of you are teaching students to be empowered – not just responsible – digital citizens in our new information landscape. Few of you have a staff full of educators that are modeling active participation in that landscape. As far as I can tell, none of you has robust student assessments at every grade level that target higher-level, more cognitively-complex thinking and doing and being. None of you has moved to a truly personalized learning environment for every student, one in which students’ progress is facilitated and perhaps assessed by technology and is organized around student competence and completion rather than age and grade level.

So some of you are sitting there in the audience feeling pretty good about yourselves. And you should. You’re blessed with wonderful financial resources, fantastic facilities, and amazing faculty. But for those of you who think I don’t appreciate how far along you are, all I can say is that I'm not sure you appreciate how far you still have to go.

Thank you.

I’m still second-guessing my decision to use my final statement in this manner. Despite tempering my negativity with a fun follow-up Animoto of the conference, I still think I might have violated one of the cardinal rules of conferences…

This likely is my final post about my trip to India. Here are my previous posts: