Monday, October 22, 2012

Future of Education webinar review

I watched a Future of Education webinar production. It was hosted by Steve Hargadon, and the speakers were Gary Stager, Alfie Kohn, Stephen Downes, and Howard Gardner. I was interested because I like Gary's interest in using programming in the classroom. I must admit I was unfamiliar with Alfie Kohn (hey, I'm still just a teacher-in-training), but by the end of the webinar, I was reading his blogs and watching some of his YouTube videos that represent really excellent (and free!) professional development.

The chat log was on fire, and for me, it provided some of the most interesting content of this webinar. There's clearly a lot of skepticism around the current use of technology in education. Alfie Kohn was more interested in how teachers and students work together, and Gary Stager wholeheartedly approved.

If there was a fan of Common Core in the chat room or on the panel, they weren't admitting to it. There were similar feelings around assessments, and Stager mentioned that he led a testing boycott at his kids' high school.

 There was also talk about strengthening the role of community, which I found exciting. People in Somerville, Massachusetts created a community collaboration around education dubbed Oneville. Every community should have a look.

Stager's last comment was "Educators must educate all of the time, 24/7 - kids, parents, colleagues, the jerk on the seat next to you in a diner." From numerous comments in the chatroom about CCSS and standardized testing, I'd say you can add politicians to that list.