I attended a panel session yesterday afternoon and, no offense to anyone on the panel, was struck by how much I got out of everything else going on.
Part of that was the fault of the people on the panel who spoke a little and then asked the members of the audience to offer their thoughts and examples on using web 2.0 tools in school. And they did.
For example, someone brought up the need for an online collaborative space that would be safe for kids to use and a student at the University of Washington told about a project at the school building just such a system for kids.
Several teachers offered examples of student projects, including one who used blogs to track the growth and metamorphosis of tadpoles in her elementary classroom.
Someone else related how his school used changes in their web site to hook parents into the mix and they in turn put pressure on the teachers to use more of the new tools.
One comment that really struck me came from someone who called schools “spirit killers” and declared that we need to have drastic change to make the learning environment freer and more fluid. Without this change, all the tools we’re discussing are going to be shut down at the door.
A man after my own heart. :-)
I have many more little snippets in my notes that need following up but this kind of sharing experience and trading of ideas is more valuable than any lecture. As I noted in an earlier rant, why do we deny this kind of fun to our students?
Then there were a couple of side benefits that had nothing to do with the session content.
It turns out that one of the panelists, Lynne Schrum, just moved to our local university and is working on research in this area. We made the exchange-the-business-cards connection and hopefully we can find some ways to work together down the line.
I used to work with another of the panelists, Tim Magner, so it was nice to reconnect with a former colleague.
And then there was the experience of sitting next to Tim Lauer and watching him in the art of extreme multitasking. I have much to learn. :-)