Day 2 of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century really focussed on the use of Web 2.0 tools. The day featured Will Richardson who started out warning the audience that he was going to challenge their thinking and make them feel uncomfortable.
Then, he proceeded to push people into the deep end.
One of the thoughts that he shared early on should have put everything into perspective for anyone who is a traditional educator. It is so true in this day that “Information is not scarce so we have to go beyond “learning stuff”” and really take advantage of the opportunity to be co-learners. The audience was encouraged to forget for the day about being teachers and instead shift their attention to being learners and take advantage of all that is available in that role. It’s a good shift in thought and I think it does make people think about what the students in their class go through ever day.
If the ballroom was today’s classroom, shouldn’t it be “mobile, networked, local, collaborative, self-directed, inquiry based, on demand, transparent, lifelong, personalized, pull, and unpredictable”? Through anecdotes and his wonderful ability to tell stories, Will put all of this learning into context so nicely. Right up front, a very active backchannel was established that gave us all a chance to chat and share our learning throughout the session.
The group was noticeably engaged and excited to learn and take part.
Our group was missing one person for the learning. But @danikabarker and @reed_man were on their way. We were able to follow their progress to Toronto using the social media tool Glympse. The route had an interesting turn.
Maybe they stopped at the Apple Store?
After lunch, I had the opportunity to chair a panel discussion about the use of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. The goal was to present a balanced, realistic discussion about where and how these technologies could be used effectively. Will Richardson, Johanna Lawler, Danika Barker, Hirad Zafari, Mark Carbone, Joe Pece, Jennifer Mitchell, and Cyndie Jacobs provided their own thoughts about the use of technology from their perspective. I felt that their comments nicely put everything into perspective.
As each panelist was talking, Peter Skillen was managing my computer and we put a related web resource on the big screen as they were talking. The resources are available here.
Then, Will put the group to work. It was hands on time for a quick introduction to some of the popular tools. In the next two hours, he set the stage for today’s Minds on Media event with high level views of Twitter, Delicious, Diigo, and Blogger. This time flew and even though we were in a nicely air conditioned room, he drained the audience. But, it’s a good drain! You have to be all-in if you’re going to use the tools effectively.
His presentation “Learning in a Networked World” was customized for this group with lots of Canadian references that really hit home with those I talked to is available here.
But, kudos to those in attendance. The day was self-documenting with the Today’s Meet channel referenced above and the hashtag #OTF21C. @tk1ng started another shared Google Document for the day and the shared observations here nicely complement the other backchannels.
I can’t help but reflect upon how powerful all of these tools are. I remember going to conferences just hoping that you got a good notebook and pen in your registration bag. Learning was a person thing and you got a glimpse of the conference. Now, going to a conference is a collaborative event with folks that you don’t know put you personalize the takeaways with all of the data that’s generated. It is an intellectual joyride.
Day 3 starts shortly and Minds on Media should serve to consolidate and extend the learning from the past two days.