The Big Topics

After four days of running around the conference,1 I only have the mental space for a few quick thoughts.

One of the great things about being with a group of educators, in-person, at one of these events is that you quickly discover what are the important issues when it comes to teaching, learning, and technology. And which ones can be ignored.

I still have plenty of doubts about whether computer science deserves the hype that it’s getting, but it’s certainly a hot topic, driven in large part by Virginia’s adoption of CS standards for all grade levels a few years ago. We had lots of coding sessions, especially aimed at elementary-level students, in the schedule.

VR and AR still seems to be of interest but not to the degree it was a year or two ago. The declining attention is probably because the technology is still a long way from “classroom-ready”. Too clunky, too expensive, not nearly enough applications. Meta, Apple, Google, among others, keep promising the future is coming soon, but it never seems to get here.

There were lots of presentations about the Canvas LMS, which is completely due to the system being used by many districts here in Virginia. Ten years ago, Blackboard was all over the place. But then as now, I wonder if all of the presentations might be a sign that this platform isn’t as easy to use as the vendor claims it is. Just an observation.

Finally, missing from our program was anything about TikTok. This despite the fact that just about every week I see an article (like this one) about using that social media platform in schools. Or others. While most teachers are familiar with these services, and know that their kids are using them, they probably don’t see value for their classroom.

Ok, I’m done and going for a long night’s sleep.

The photo is from a presentation at the VSTE Conference about virtual worlds. 

1. As mentioned in the previous post, I’m on the volunteer team that plans and executes the annual conference for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.

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