Monday, May 3, 2010

IT Summit starts with Porter

I am IT Summit again this year, and am looking forward to the key notes in particular. I am presenting tomorrow on the subject of creating powerful presentations - yup, no stress with that topic. It is probably Jay's fault that we picked that topic. Some resources for the presentation include the Prezi, some Sharetabs and a handout, but I am hoping the talking is the interesting part.

The first keynote today in Bernajean Porter, who is speaking which technology practices are high-yielding. Porter starts with the back channel link, gives us the wiki link, and then moves on the examples. Her first is a sample of high school Science, and we are supposed to score it low, medium or high for its rigour (boy, I hate that word. It sounds like the idea has died). The room is pretty equally divided. I thought there was no really content and was worried that I missed something. Turns out no - Porter's point is that how we use technology is much more important than what technologies we are using.

Porter talks about the headware, which is the deep and enduring learning we want for students. She notes that the hardware changes but the headware stays the same.

Porter goes on to provide a series of examples to prove that technology, especially hardware and software, does not impact achievement just because you have it. She says certain focal points(she doesn't name them yet) actually impact life long learning. Porter notes that the biggest deficit in student understanding around technology is the ability to find credible and reliable sources. To applause of a TL in the audience, she comments that teacher-librarians are one of the 3 key indicators of student competence.

I think I would have appreciated more examples about how powerful instructional strategies are leveraging the tools. She gave one example of writing, which is one I am familiar with. Porter talks about how integration is just re-framing traditional teaching. A pod cast is an on-line lecture, an old story reframed. She argues we need new stories.

I first encountered Porter's HEAT spectrum last year, and it fits well with ISTE standards and the Technology Infusion Matrix I have been using with the technology grants this year. Ultimately, all of them require constructivist pedagogy and that is the place where I keep struggling. Helping teachers change pedagogy is the most challenging thing I have ever done in my career (check out Peggy Ertmer's writing on second order barriers) and using new technologies just makes it more complicated.

I really enjoyed the Flashlight activity where we categorized our things happening in classrooms. It was good because we were all engaged in thinking and interacting, and it helped us move to deeper understanding. I think I made be able to build on our SITLs and TLs hearing this in our session in May on Planning and Instructional support.

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