Monday, May 3, 2010

Dean's Debate

After Dean's big ISTE win, it is unsurprising to see that the room is packed for his session. Dean works as a digital learning consultant and his presentation reflects his curriculum focus, and I am a regular reader of his blog.

One of the things I like about Dean's presentations is that he is one of the few presenters I see where I think the slides are powerful. He often has a simple image and a sentence or few words for each of his ideas. Another strength is being responsive to where the audience is going. That will be a challenge for him this time, since this room has twice as many people in it as it really fit. Dean's presentation is about 10 technologies that are often misused. Here is his list:
  1. Smartboards (Dylan Wiliam, Hattie etc. agree with Dean on no educational impact) Smartboards are used because they are easy and support current practice. Dean's question: Is easy a goal of technology?
  2. Powerpoint - Dean's question: Why do we so many bad Powerpoints? What strategies have been effective in eliminating bad PPTs? Answers of the group: People try to read off the presentation and don't think about why they are doing what they are doing. JAIME
  3. Digital Camera - Dean's question: Are they used for more than just taking pictures? Answer: We don't know how to use images to tell a powerful story or as a tool for feedback. Dean notes that lack of standardization around editing and optimizing images is also a barrier.
  4. Walled Gardens - Dean asked when a password protected space is necessary and when it hurts the learning. The group discussed security issues and advantages of safety and the loss of opportunity when connectivism is prevented. We discussed how students are online and need to be taught how to do it well and safely. We also talked about how sharing is important, but people are worried about copyright.
  5. Computer Class - Dean's question: Do we need the special place for computers? Interesting. I love the Hookanson and Hooper article that compares computer class to segregation and Dean asked if we need pencil labs. Ah, shades of Rick Schwier. The group noted that there are some strengths including not looking for wireless, things like video editing that require solid machines etc.
  6. Cell phones - Dean asks if we are not using computing power we could. As schools, we don't know what to do with them. There has to be a mid-point between banning and abuse.
  7. Keyboarding - Dean's question: Do we want to spend our computer instruction time learning to type in a certain way?

The three we didn't get to: Drill and Kill vs Games, Searching (is still bolean as best), and audience choice (they suggested printing and hand editing, texting etc.).

It was interesting to watch the audience want to defend practices. There were strong advocates for each of Dean's 10, and really good discussion. I think it is great for us to do some critical thinking on the subject. My favorite session so far since it was a debate. I am so predictable .

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