Not including the more informal networking events, there generally are 3 kinds of ISTE sessions:
- Tools, tools, tools! These sessions focus on software, apps, extensions, productivity and efficiency, how-to tips, etc. Little emphasis on learning, heavy emphasis on how to use the tools.
- Technology for school replication. These sessions focus on the use of digital technologies to replicate and perpetuate schools’ historical emphases on factual recall and procedural regurgitation, control and compliance, students as passive learners, etc. Behavior modification apps, teacher content transmission tools, flashcard and multiple choice software, student usage monitoring programs, and the like.
- Technology for school transformation. These sessions focus on deeper learning, greater student agency, and perhaps real-world, authentic work. Learning technologies tend to be divergent rather than convergent, foster cognitive complexity, and facilitate active, creative student-driven learning.
We need more of #3. Lots more. Right now these sessions are still a significant minority of sessions at ISTE (and most other educational technology conferences).
Which kinds of sessions did you attend? What does that mean for your ability to effectuate change back home?
Which kinds of sessions did you facilitate? What does that mean for your responsibility as a presenter to help others effectuate change back home?
We’re wasting opportunities to move our systems…