For some people a national conference like NECC is an opportunity to get out of town and party.
I’m one of those warped individuals who will be going to Atlanta next week to suck up every bit of information and new ideas I can find (in and out of the sessions).
And, as Tom notes, this huge gathering is also be a good opportunity to discuss the problems we have with instructional technology and possibly start crafting some solutions.
He spotlights three of them.
Utter chaos around privacy, safety and liability.
Out of control web filtering.
The economic model of ed-tech.
Chaos in the area of student safety would actually be an improvement.
Driven by clueless, ratings-juiced media exposes, we are more in a state of paralyzing paranoia when it comes to student communication outside the physical four walls of the classroom.
Which ties directly into the issue of web filtering.
As in many other district, our filtering system is controlled by just about everyone other than teachers. Tom’s right, we need to get a collective spine and challenge this model.
As to the economics of ed-tech, this is an even bigger mess around here than filtering.
Once again the people most directly affected by the use of technology in the classroom – students and teachers – are the ones with the least control over which tools are purchased and how they are used.
There are certainly other issues that need addressing but Tom’s list is a good starting point for many discussions in Atlanta.
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The last point – economics, really resonates with me because I work with “struggling” learners, you know the ones who don’t benefit from the traditional (text-based/lecture) methods of instruction. I’ve put together a list of free tech tools for learners on my blog which I keep updating. Tell me what you think.