After I presented at ITEC, I was asked to give that same presentation at the Learning with Technology Conference in Cedar Falls last Friday.
The keynote speaker was Will Richardson who published the book Personal Learning Networks back in 2011. It has received a lot of buzz in the teaching world, and he seems to be ahead of his time. He also has three TED talks linked to his website, if you’re curious in learning more about him. One of my takeaways for the day was the idea that I should not be the smartest person in my classroom. While some of you may have reread that sentence, I’ll explain. Will encouraged educators to use the tech resources at our fingertips to bring the experts into our classrooms. This means Skype, blogs, twitter…etc. Why teach students about the process of getting elected when you can electronically connect with someone who has been elected? Why have students simply discuss the culture of another country when you can have students take a live view of another country while talking with people their own age living in that country?
I nodded in agreement to Will’s suggestions because one of the best resources I have in my classroom is the sports editor for our local newspaper. He is an expert in his field. He and I communicate daily, and he comes into my classroom multiple times a year. During these visits, he helps my students and me on everything from writing leads to designing headlines. I encourage every teacher to find their expert. It will transform your classroom into an authentic learning enviorment.
Another question Will asked was, “Why are schools the only place where we don’t allow students to use their phone to answer a question?” He also made a good point that if your test can be answered by using your cell phone, it might not be a good “test”. This is a great reminder for educators, especially before finals.