Now about a week after the conference, I began to reflect about some of the overarching themes as well as many of the resources that I was fortunate to collect or observe.
The notion of creativity. Between Sir Ken's (@SirKenRobinson) opening keynote, Yong Zhao's (@YongZhaoUO) keynote on Tuesday of the conference and the great season by Chris Walsh (@fitzwalsh) on creativity, standards and standards based assessments were called into question. In my mind interesting questions are circling. Can you have both, standards and creativity? With the new common core standards and their apparent focus on process and on having students use and apply information can we have both? Standards were the minimum expectation, now they are the end target. Will the assessments measure these higher order thinking skills that the new standards require and will students be rewarded for their creativity and flexibility? Is technology the tool that we haven't had before that will allow and encourage that?
Math instruction. Frank Sobierajski presented a great session on engaging students in real world math problems. He's obviously a lover of math and is able to share that. His unique look at media and use of digital images is engaging and surly would not only captivate most secondary students, but also inspire them. Besides his passion and energy, he showed how technology can be leveraged to bring real world problems and examples to our students thus making math study relevant and highly engaging. While we were waiting for his session to begin, he showed this video - check out all of these videos, they're at least interesting!
BYOD - Bring your own device. There were many talks about how school districts and their governing bodies are moving away from the "cell phone" ban. It is a sign of the times that almost every student has a smart phone, especially in the upper grades, and that with some forethought and communication, teachers are leveraging this resource in their classroom to engage their students. As Marc Prensky said in the opening keynote session, the war is over, they [the digital natives] have won. What an investment parents have made. Why would we not use it?