Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sound Bytes from CUE 2009

(Cross posted to LeaderTalk)

Last week I attended the Computer Using Educators ( CUE) Conference in Palm Springs California and so I thought I would post a few of the ideas that caught my attention. It is always good to meet with other educators and discuss the needs of today’s students, best practices and unfolding developments, especially in the area of technology integration.

One of the things I noticed at this year’s conference was a subtle shift in the conversation. Most of the sessions I attended which spoke about technology tools did so from the perspective of the pedagogy and learning application instead of being “how to” sessions focused on learning the tool itself. This is a very important shift because it underscores the concept that the technology needs to be transparent and that the Web 2.0 revolution in education is not about the tool it is about learning. As one presenter stated “technology is the way to achieve the learning goal where the kids live.” This year there was also more discussion of data and research. eg. Robert Marzano presented data on the integration of technology and student test scores, and Hal Davidson spoke about a study from BYU on the use of video/media in Math instruction. While there is still need for more researched based data to support the anecdotal evidence on technology integration and best practice it was nice to see this data included in the presentations.

While there were many take always from the conference there are three that I want to focus on here. First is the book Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton Christensen , Curtis W. Johnson and , Michael B. Horn . Perhaps you have already heard about or read this book but I encountered it for the first time at the CUE conference and I believe it is an essential read for all administrators. We know change is needed, we know change is coming but this book pushes the envelope and can be the catalyst for some deep thinking and conversation. It also reminds us that the change that is coming will be anything but business as usual.. I have not finished the book yet but I hope there will be future posts and conversations here about its message. One thing is certain the revolution is not about how much technology we can put into our classrooms but it is about how we meet the needs of our students. in addition to this book you may want to take a look at the authors blog of the same name, Disrupting Class, here.

Next, if you have not already done so, take time to review the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE). current draft of the National Technology Standards for Administrators. While I was at CUE I attended a discussion of the draft for these standards and if they are to be effective it is important that we all take time to read them , reflect on our role as technology leaders and offer our ideas and insights to clarify that role.. If you do not have the opportunity to attend a live session to discuss the draft of the standards there is an online survey which you can fill out to share your ideas and reflections ( or you can offer to organize a discussion in your district).

Finally I would like to share a tool that is new to me and which makes the top ten in my list of technology tools for administrators. It has a very easy learning curve and it has made my work easier. Do you have to transfer files between computers? Do you ever use email files or a flash drive to transfer files from home to work, or from you laptop to your desktop Do you email files to a colleague or work collaboratively on documents? If so, take the time to look at Dropbox . It is free, and it automatically syncs all types of files, from spreadsheets and documents to photos or pdf files between computers. It is a very simple download and now all of my documents are on each of my computers and also stored on the internet. Yesterday a colleague wanted a copy of a lengthy document and with one click of a mouse I shared my folder with him through dropbox. I know I sound like a commercial but I can’t resit a free tool that actually makes me more efficient because both time and money are rare commodities in my world.

*PS For those Kindle folks like me there is a Kindle edition available of Disrupting Class

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