Tag Archives: future

My Conference Highlights #emints

While back in the office reflecting on this past week, I must admit I was sad to see the eMINTS National Conference come to an end. All of the presentations I attended were really excellent and truly inspiring.  If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year, I highly encourage you make it next year. Conferences always tend to re-spark my love of education — I leave with so many fresh ideas and tools, it would be impossible to share them all in one blog post. We promise to share these great ideas, tools and more with you in this blog over the next few months but, for now, here are my top four moments from the conference:

 

  • PictureThursday Keynote Speaker, Ken Shelton: Ken spoke about “Generation Now”, focusing on three themes: Information Literacy, Digital Citizenship, and Publication and Collaboration. Not only was his presentation informative, his slides were beautifully designed and well thought out. A hot topic of the conference came from this session when Ken brought up “selfies”, sharing a video spoof on Instagram to remind students that, once you post a photo online, it’s out there and there is no going back.  For those who don’t know, a “selfie” is a picture taken of yourself that is usually intended to be uploaded to a social networking site.
  • Friday Keynote Speaker, Howie DiBlasi: Dr. Howie went over the habits of highly effective 21st century classrooms, at one point posing the question of whether we were ready for the next generation of students. His presentation was fast-paced and fun, sharing many inspirational videos and current tools to help us prepare students for the changing world we live in. His presentation inspired some great ideas for future blog posts on building 21st century skills, so keep checking back for this in the next couple weeks.
  •  Falling Falling, Falling (A Model Lesson): This session was discussed in the last post, so I won’t go into too much detail at this time — but this was one of my favorite sessions of the conference. Doug Caldwell and Glen Westbroek presented a model eMINTS lesson with the session attendees as the students. We got to set up tracks of dominos and record how fast they fell, based on various factors. It was super neat to see, from the student perspective, how current online tools can be used in a hands-on lesson that promotes real-world thinking and uses the eMINTS instructional model. A big bonus of this session is that they provided everything you need to implement this lesson in your own classroom via a LiveBinder, which you can access here.
  • QR codes and the Four C’s: One of the last sessions on Friday, I ‘d consider this to be one of the more energetic sessions I attended. Shelly Tarter gave us an interactive presentation on QR codes and how they can be used with the 4 C’s of education:  Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. We got hands-on experience using QR codes, learned the difference between static and dynamic QR codes, and brainstormed possible uses in groups — all while having fun. You could tell this presentation was a favorite by how the conversation continued long after it ended.  Shelly put together a great Weebly site for this presentation, which you can view here.


These were only a few of my favorite moments of the conference, but every attendee had a different schedule with a different experience. Question: What were some the highlights of your own 2013 eMINTS Conference experience?

[This post was provided by Zoe Hyatt, an instructional developer for the eMINTS National Center and eLearning for Educators.]

Looking Toward the Future

xkcd

Last week, I read an interesting post on David Warlick’s 2¢ Worth blog. In “Becoming Future-Ready“, Warlick points out the trouble with predicting the future based on current knowledge through film interpretations of the future. Depictions of mobile computers space travel in 1984’s 2010 (sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey) were fairly inaccurate, almost laughable.

This happens often in film, literature, even in governmental and institutional policy-making. We make predictions based on what we already know. It is impossible to foresee every development or discovery that will change the direction of society and culture in the coming decades.

A good representation of the limitations of a particular time period looking toward future innovation comes in the satirical videos portraying current social media tools in the context of past decades. For example, here’s a look at Google had it been invented in the 1980’s:

Granted, this video is made with hindsight being as perfect as it is, but it is not beyond possibility that such predictions would have occurred 30 years ago. Based on the technology of that time period, it would have been nearly impossible for anyone to have predicted what Google (among many other websites) would look like or function in the future. These predictions would have been limited by the constraints of the times.

Still, as Warlick points out, we insist on predicting what this future will look like for our students. This persistence to predict what students will need after they graduate and enter the workforce is even “arrogant.” How can we accurately predict what students will need to know 10, 15, 20 years from now with only the knowledge we currently possess?

Warlick summarizes what needs to happen perfectly:

How our children learn is critical today, not so much as a point of pedagogy, but for the development of a distinct and most important skill – learning.

Basing what and how we teach on the past is limiting for our students. What needs to be fostered is a love of learning that goes beyond rote memorization. After all, we are preparing them for a future we cannot comprehend. So why not prepare them for something bigger than a standardized test? Why not prepare them for life?

What skills and/or knowledge do you see as necessary for our students’ future? What do you do to prepare students for a future we can’t predict?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Networks in Teaching & Learning

The “Networked” in Networked Teaching & Learning was a purposeful choice. Not only does it represent the “N” in eMINTS (enhancing Missouri”s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies), but the idea of networked teaching and learning is a contemporary one that has many applications outside of education.

Most educators see the networked teacher as one who uses modern technology and Web 2.0 skills. However, to truly be networked, one has to think beyond a Twitter account or a classroom web page. The networked era of education is more than just the tools we use.

Networked Teacher Diagram - Update

Networks or networking are new ways to look at the organization of knowledge. Topics or don”t simply connect or lead to just one other topic or set of topics. Ideas, things, and phenomena connect to multiple topics, creating a complex system more closely resembling a We all remember the moment when justin-bieber-news.info fashion got bobbed his famous bangs, now, hair were not in vain. web than a tree.

For those of you steeped in theory as you take graduate courses, the idea of networks is a familiar one. No longer are things or ideas divided into dichotomous keys. Now we look at our world through a networked lens. Let”s have Manuel Lima explain…

How does this apply to schooling? On a very basic level, we have to look at our traditional structure of dividing disciplines into separate classes. A networked approach would result in interdisciplinary lessons that would incorporate multiple perspectives on one problem or issue instead of continuing to work on individual islands within traditional constraints. The same can be said for exploring the networks between grade levels, genres, schools, sectors, etc.

Recognizing networks allows us to see the real-world applications of what we do in school and to make those connections available for our students to discover. When students discover those networked connections, they begin to see the real world value in what they learn at school. In other words, authentic learning happens in the network.

How do you use a networked approach to better relate content to your students? How does networking knowledge alter your perspective on teaching and learning? How does technology make networked teaching and learning possible?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.