ITEC Thoughts & Reflections

After a long day of tweeting at #ITECia (Iowa Technology Education Connection), I decided I needed some time away from my screen. However, I still wanted to reflect on the day’s learning. So, I took the pen and notepad from my hotel room room, grabbed a refreshing beverage, and sate down with my thoughts.

My main takeaway from the two days of learning, thinking, and networking was how important perspective is in education. We all have different perspectives of technology and how it should be used in the classroom, but really only one perspective matters; THE STUDENT’S. Everything we do in the classroom should be prepared from the perspective of the student. It is far too easy to be focused on what we need the students to get done, in reality we just need to focus on what the students need.

I came to the conference hoping to leave with some great formative assessment tools and strategies, and I have. Except now, I have a larger question: are we formatively assessing the right thing? We talk about using formative assessment to measure student learning so we can make adjustments to our teaching. I am wondering if instead it would be better to use formative assessment to student engagement. Then, adjust our teaching to make sure they are engaged and having fun. Would the students still learn? Would they learn more?

Another thing that made an impact on me was a statement from George Couros, “Isolation is now a choice educators make.” The craziest thing about that statement is how many people are completely oblivious to it. It brings up all sorts of other questions. Why someone would choose to teach and learn in isolation. Is it because they are scared? Iliterate in today’s world? Self-conscious about their teaching practice?

In the end, all of the learning and questions I experienced in my two days at ITEC led me to one main question:

What would the education system look like if we completely threw out the whole thing; no history of what was done before, and we started fresh in 2016?

What does it mean to be an educator in 2016? What does it mean to be a learner in 2016? I think it is time to hit the reset button. It’s time for an educational mass extinction; one that leaves only the strongest ideas to live on and evolve. In this scenario, who is responsible for the selection process that will drive ideas to change and adapt? College? Careers? Students? Teachers? Administration? Standardized Testing? Selection would have to be based on the strongest factors for impacting student learning. Which would be…

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