For a variety of reasons, I didn’t blog quite as much as I did last year, or even as much as I expected to this year. This was in large part because I struggled for three days to get quality wifi access, a topic on which I am quite frustrated. But putting that aside, the (very!) good news is that there were many other bloggers at the conference this year, and they contributed many excellent posts. (let me express here a huge appreciation to Chris Bigenho for organizing everything at http://naisac10.wordpress.com/)
I am highlighting here my top ten list of great blog posts about the event (in no particular order).
1. Jamie Baker (shared leadership) on Irshad Manji. I knew nothing of this speaker before this conference, but I would agree she is a very important force in the world today, insisting on freedom of expression, and the independence of conscience in the world today.
2. The NAIS website post on Arianna Huffington‘s speech.”Huffington urged us to let our children know that “changing the world needs to be on their ‘to do’ lists.”
3. NAIS website report on Mimi Ito. “These are still early days in the birth of social media,” Ito concluded. “I firmly believe that the opportunity is out there to support the informal learning it creates and make that knowledge matter in the classroom.”
4. Demetri Orlando’s excellent NAIS “official” blog has many good pieces: I recommend as best his piece called Writing for an Audience Not in Stone. “I attended the Urban School session at the conference today and several students showed how they use various digital tools to outline, publish, peer-edit, and revise their work online. You could easily see how the digital tools were not just adding value to the humanities curriculum, but were transforming what was possible.”
5. Jamie Baker again, on Juan Enriquez. (You can see Enriquez here on Ted) ” The main message for independent schools is to wake up and not miss the new and dramatic change in the dominant code because if we do, we are setting our students us to be proficient in the outdated mode of wealth creation.”
I also like Demetri Orlando’s question about Enriquez’s talk, and that it is already view-able on TED: “if we can view it on TED before coming to the conference, how could we have used this keynote time differently… this is sort of a question for online lectures too… could class time be used differently if all your students saw the lecture before coming to class?”
6. Demetri again, on the Collective Hive. Like Demetri, I find the ability to follow a contemporaneous Twitter feed compelling and fascinating. “The value [to me] of tweeting and tuning into the naisac10 stream is that it makes the event more interactive and therefore more engaging for me. No longer am I just sitting absorbing the lecture of a presenter, I am now reflecting back what I see as key points and occasionally adding value by throwing in some of my own thoughts.”
7. Jason Ramsden on Tony Wagner: I am still learning to love the live-blogging platform, but certainly Jason does a good job with this piece, simultaneously reporting on what Tony says, commenting upon it, and incorporating other people’s viewpoints. Quoting Wagner: “We need to hold ourselves accountable for what matters most, that we need to do new work, and that we need to do new work in new ways.”
8. Ramsden on The Power of Transformation: Disrupting Your Institution to Make it Relevant. “You must use technology to “redefine” education. In short, use it to do something that could not be done before. Do not merely substitute it for an old way of doing things.” “This is a generation of students that want to produce, create, and express their mastery of what they have learned (J. Couch)”
Speaking for myself, my favorite point made in this session was the suggestion we consider inverting the conventional homework mode. Instead of using classtime to teach content and skills, and then send kids home to practice and apply those skills, let’s instead have kids take direct instruction online, using things like khanacademy.org, and then spend classtime applying that learning to new situations, solving complex problems, and collaborating with classmates, while teachers facilitate.
9. Jamie Baker again on Michel Thompson on Boys: “Boys often consider schools irrelevant to their lives right now, so connecting assignments to the real world and to their aspirations of the type of man they want to be is important to create any sort of mental and emotional engagement. Boys typically do not become future-oriented until sometime in college therefore, work should not always appeal to future lives and success but to boys lives now.”
10. Ruth Glass on Reveta Bowers winning the NAIS Diversity Award: “There is no way to give true justice to Reveta and the other superheroes who work along side of her to keep alive the work that remains to be done. Look around NAIS and in our schools. While faces of color are more evident they were 20 years ago, they remain a distinct minority, despite the demographics of our country…Reveta quoted e.e.cummings: It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Reveta has done a lovely job of becoming who she is.”