Wednesday, July 04, 2007

NECC 2007 Didn't Go!

I attended NECC for 7 years and presented at 5 of them. I was an excellent presenter and received "Best of NECC" several times. The people in my workshops always went home with tons of ideas to use in the classroom. I loved to go to sessions where people would show me stuff and I'd go "WOW". I got burned out with presenting and have not been to NECC for several years, even though I use all kinds of technology applications in the classroom. I always like to look at the NECC handouts to see what I've missed--I think I missed Web 2.0 all together in the last 2 years!!

I decided to take a look at blogs and wikis last fall and started using them in the classroom right away. I'm lucky--I teach in a full day gifted program so I don't have to worry about "teaching to the test" and other classroom distractions like kiddos who don't speak English. Along with using blogs and wikis I've started reading tons of blogs over the last 6 months and spent several hours in the last few days reading the follow up NECC 2007 blogs. That's the point of this rant.

All of the "famous" and not so famous educational technology bloggers raved about NECC 2007 and were thrilled with "Twitter", "Blogger Cafe", EdBloggerCon (?), etc. Several said they attended NO sessions and didn't visit the Exhibit Hall (what??). They raved about sitting around blogging f2f--it was oh so stimulating. I'm sure I would have been right there in the midst of all this chatting---but...

Isn't this preaching to the choir? It seems a lot of the educational/ technology blogging is all the same--discussing the same issues but not talking too much about kids and stuff to engage kids in learning. Web 2.0 is cool and has great gadgets and great potential but GET REAL. So much of it is fluff---and many of the gadgets will 1.) be gone in 6 months 2.) start charging a fee or 3.) will be blocked by your district.

We need to teach kids how to read well and do hard math and do real work in a real work environment. I retire in 3 years---somebody needs to figure this whole technology thing out and give teachers real ideas of how to do stuff and what works. Finished ranting.


Barbara Barreda K-8 Administrator, Tech integration advocate, Going 1:1 with netbooks said...

I enjoy your blog and your willingness to ask tough questions or raise issues. I was at Edubloggers and NECC. I spent time in the Bloggers cafe, I presented, I went to sessions and I spent some time in the exhibit.
I have written some about how it will impact our school/students on my blog. The time spent in building personal relationships has broadened my vision and my reading (especially in meeting people from the international community).
As for tools , my objective was to look for those things that would make technology relatively transparent and allow us to focus on changing pedagogy.
If, as I believe, the essential components of learning include connections, global literacy and information literacy then web 2.0 tools do need to be part of the teachers tool box.
I for one can not wait for someone to figure it out...I need to do my part today...

nbosch said...

Barbara-thanks for your comments. I guess what I see when I read the blogs is a community of "true believers" patting each other on the back and saying "wow, this will be so cool...if only we could do this...wouldn't it be neat if" but in reality most teachers are overwhelmed with the day to day task of making sure are prepared for assessments, dealing with parents and staff, dealing with classroom discipline--when are they going to have time to sit down and say..."I wonder how I can integrate technology into this lesson? It seems likes it's worked pretty well the last 20 times I taught it the old way".

I'm as forward thinking as the next guy and use all the technology to engage my students in doing some amazing stuff--but I have to speak for the classroom teachers. I presented for years around the state and district and everyone "oh"ed and "ah"ed, but they went right back to doing things the old way. Maybe I teach in a district that just doesn't get it.

Let me know when you get all of this fidured out--and have a good weekend.

Michael said...

Somewhere between the trailblazers/mapmakers (all the bright bloggers at NECC) and the everyday teacher with a huge pile on his/her plate is a middle ground that can produce REAL change, change that lasts. I totally agree that turning around the "conference-high" into something that sticks is a huge undertaking, and one that is not often addressed. But it is those same conference-highs that help push and prod us and move forward (hopefully). Thanks for straight-ahead talking!

nbosch said...

Michael, thanks for the message--I guess my frustration is this--I've done technology workshops for teachers for years. Everyone "oh"s and "aw"s and is thrilled with all the great stuff that is available on the web for kids. But by September they are entrenched in high stakes testing, kids who don't speak English, curriculum committees not willing to make changes, children not wanting to learn and all the "WOW" activities they have seen at workshops and presentations are put on the back burner.

I know my district is still bogged down with hardware and never really ever gets to the real work of the teacher or student in using or collaborating with available tools. They aren't even embracing Web 1.0 much less Web 2.0.

I decided several years ago that I had enough ideas to keep my students engaged for 100 years--so I'm an NECC dropout. I love my job and love my kids and that's the best I can do.

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