Topic: Entertainment vs. Engagement: Why it's Imperative
Educators Know the Difference
Description: When asked a defining characteristic of the "Net" Generation, teachers often cite the need for today's students to be constantly entertained. This talk will argue that there are significant differences between activities that are entertaining and those that are engaging, and what today's student demands is engagement.
Topic: Are Schools Dangerously Irrelevant?
Description: Educational research consistently finds that the vast majority of students’ day-to-day classroom work occurs in relative isolation, is primarily paper-based, and focuses on factual recall and low‑level procedural knowledge. This industrial model of schooling is increasingly in tension with the needs of a hyperconnected knowledge economy. As school leaders, we must ask ourselves what our moral and professional obligations are to create school environments that prepare our graduates for a technology-suffused, globally-interconnected world.
Topic: Social Networks and Interactive Portfolios: Blurring the Boundaries
Description: Electronic Portfolios have been with us for more almost two decades, used primarily in education to store documents and reflect on learning, provide feedback for improvement, and showcase achievement for accountability or employment. Social networks have emerged over the last five years, used by individuals and groups to store documents and share experiences, showcase accomplishments, communicate and collaborate with friends and family, and, in some cases, facilitate employment searches. The boundaries between these two processes are gradually blurring. As we consider the potential of lifelong e-portfolios, will they resemble the structured accountability systems that are currently being implemented in many higher education institutions? Or are we beginning to see lifelong interactive portfolios emerging as mash-ups in the cloud?
Topic: A School for Everyone
Description: For all that we know about school transformation, and innovation in education so little seems to have been realized; at least on any scale. While we are incrementally exploring new possibilities for what school could be through the use of technology in schools around the developed world, we seem comfortable with our progress…even though a rapidly increasing amount of evidence suggests we are failing to meet the needs of too many young people within our existing institutions.
What if, for a moment we thought, not just what school could be, but rather what it should be? What if we decided that our priority in exploring the opportunity afforded to us by technology would be directed at those areas of most need; what if we decided that rather than trying to tinker, we would truly transform. What would school look like then?
In this talk, Bruce explores the possibility that what we already know about learning combined with emerging technologies might allow us to truly create A School for Everyone; that what has limited this possibility has not been a lack of capacity or funding, but our legacy perspective, and that what might be possible, might indeed allow us to meet one of society’s most challenging goals…education for all.
Topic: Did God Invent the Internet?
Description: Many people today are discussing the ultimate impact of technology on the human race. They often don’t state it just that way, but they do talk about how technology is impacting our kids, and how it has changed their own lives – for better and for worse. So the seminal question is whether technology will ultimately help or cripple humanity. In some ways, this thought might be too big and unpredictable to even consider in 2010, yet if we can project out what the answer might be, the changes in behavior we could make now might really be helpful. The reality is that technology may be the largest catalyst for change since we became conscious. No other influence in our lives is so integrated into who we are, and how we operate. It is also important to note, that we have barely scratched the surface with how we use technology because we have only had it for a relatively short time. At the current rate of progression with invention and innovation, our lives will barely be recognizable 100 years from now. By the way, our kids and grandkids will still be alive at that time in most cases, so it is imperative that we form our beliefs on what this powerful catalyst might inevitably do for us and make any adjustments necessary now…
Inari Kolu, a Finnish singer-songwriter and student at ASB, performs her own “Hourglass”, a lovely song specially commissioned for this TEDxASB event. The poetic lyrics of “Hourglass” encourage us to remember the human side of radical change, and to face our struggle for the future with optimism, open-mindedness, and compassion. Inari’s creativity promotes reflection on the key themes touched upon by the other presenters… but in the end, it’s just great music to listen to!