It’s All Good (Virtual and Real)
Every once in a while someone says to me, why go to a conference if you can access most people and resources on line? Face to face vs online the arguments rage back and forth. This conference combines tools and the face -to -face experience.
I am attending an extraordinary conference. It is the SITE.org Conference in New Orleans. We combine virtual and face to face. The president of SITE, Mike Searson, of Kean University, said this in the SITE Blog.
“The 2013 international SITE Conference is a truly “glocal” experience. In other words, SITE will demonstrate a presence in both local and global communities.”
The organization reached out to local educators. We know that New Orleans was international lon before the US was established. Education was also important in the early days of New Orleans.
The nation has its eyes on New Orleans since Katrina.
NEW ORLEANS AND THE STATE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION REPORT
The 2011-12 school year was, in many ways, the beginning of a new era in New Orleans’ public education landscape. The year was marked by momentous changes in leadership and strategy at both the state and local levels. Nonetheless, state and district leaders remain committed to a school reform model that espouses the central principles of school autonomy, choice, and accountability. At the same time, school and district leadership, particularly the RSD, have intensified efforts to address some of the unintended consequences of reform, to increase transparency and community engagement, and to improve academic performance. While the current system of public schools still faces many challenges, it is moving in a positive direction to improve public education opportunities in New Orleans
SITE OUTREACH TO LOCAL EDUCATORS
In recent years, SITE has attempted to work with local educational technology leaders, representing the P-12 community, from the city and state where it is hosted. These efforts have met mixed results. This year, however, I am happy to report that we have engaged in a highly visible and productive relationship with the Governor’s Office and the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators (LACUE). The 2013 SITE conference commences with a video welcome from the First Lady of Louisiana, Supriya Jindal. The work we do at SITE resonates with Mrs. Jindal, in part, because the Foundation she has established seeks “to harness the power of technology in Louisiana classrooms.”
Perhaps the most productive relationship that SITE has established to sustain the work it represents even after it departs from the Pelican State is with the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators. SITE and LACUE leaders have had a number of productive discussions that led to a high-caliber daylong pre-conference workshop on Monday, March 25. Not only did educational leaders from Louisiana attend this workshop, but also they were complemented by SITE’s broad international membership.
The end result? A combination of Louisiana state leaders and SITE members hosting an international audience as they explore the topics of mobile learning assessment, and global education.
COST IS OFTEN CITED AS A REASON NOT TO ATTEND A CONFERENCE
Despite a continued troubling economy for many, the 2013 conference features healthy attendance from across the world—over 1300 attendees, from about 65 countries. http://academicexperts.org/conf/site/2013/attendees/map/
The conference offers resources that are invaluable and networking opportunities.
Digital Citizenship ( A Facebook Grant Initiative)
“Digital Citizenship” is an umbrella term that covers a whole host of important issues. Broadly, it’s the guidelines for responsible, appropriate behavior when one is using technology. But specifically, it can cover anything from “netiquette” to cyberbullying; technology access and the digital divide; online safety and privacy; copyright, plagiarism, and digital law, and more. In fact, some programs that teach digital citizenship have outlined no less than nine elements that intersect to inform a well-equipped digital citizen. It’s an overwhelming array of skills to be taught and topics to explore. While there is much talk about the importance of teaching digital citizenship in this information society, not many are sure what that really looks like. What tools are out there for teaching it? And how in the world can teachers make time in an already overcrowded curriculum? A team of SITE Leaders showcased this initiative and a resultant curriculum.
Citizenship concepts in a curriculum for an online course in digital citizenship for pre-service and in-service teachers were presented to frame a next generation and global view of digital citizenship. Topics include traditional concepts of citizenship, research on how digital life and other social developments are affecting beliefs and practices of teachers and students as citizens, and how extensions to a global, digitally facilitated view of enlightened digital citizenship is emerging. Taken together, the concepts form the basis for an online course introducing the next generation of digitally facilitated citizenship.
TEI which SITE members participated in the development of was shared in international context.
The Microsoft Teacher Education Initiative is helping to prepare future educators with knowledge to use technology effectively.
TEI: Providing technology preparedness
Given today’s extensive use of information and communication technologies across most modern economies, teachers are being asked to accelerate the integration of technology in order to better prepare their students. At the same time, the need to improve teacher knowledge about how to use technology in instructional practices with students has also become evident. The most common form of technology training for teachers is the delivery of technology workshops centered on how to use a tool.[i] This is an approach described as “technocentric.” But research indicates that teacher proficiency with technology has not appeared to impact teacher use in daily instructional practices with their students.[ii]
Knowing about these resources is a gift.
With an interest in the developing world it was a pleasure to see that these global educators are investigating topics to enhance their abilities to work on line. We at SITE know that Mike Searson and other educators have made treks to Africa, China and other countries in international outreach. The information , exchange of ideas and case studies, that are a part of the literature of SITE become a resource to people. There are virtual tools for sharing information on site, and ways of sharing with colleagues at home. I have worked in Africa in ICT and it was a pleasure to meet and greet people who have made great progress in transforming education again in person.
FACE TO FACE WITH EXPERTS/ BUT USING THE TOOLS TO DISSEMINATE IDEAS AND INFORMATION
DR. MILTON CHEN , from Edutopia, was one of the featured keynotes. Not only was he a great keynoter, but he shared Google’s captioning tool.
We learned that there are 110 languages that are captioned , in video use. That was amazing to many.
Dr. Milton Chen, senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), discussed how school systems are reinventing themselves, focusing on their growing edges of innovation in districts, states, and nations. These Edges are redefining the nature of “school” as it was known in the 20th Century and include 1) the Thinking Edge, 2) the Curriculum Edge, 3) the Technology Edge, 4) the Time/Place Edge, 5) the Co-Teaching Edge, and 6) the Youth Edge. The Six Edges form the framework of his 2010 book, selected as one of the 10 best books of 2010 by the American School Board Journal. The Edges address fundamental shifts to our thinking about schooling; ways in which technology is transforming when, where, and how students learn; and roles of teachers and students as teachers form teaching teams with other experts and students take on more responsibility for their own learning. All of these trends call for new leadership from colleges of education for teacher preparation and educator development. Dr. Chen will show examples of these practices from Edutopia.org, the Lucas Foundationâ€™s multimedia Web site and its archive of documentaries, available for free download and embedding, with foreign language captions by Google Translate..
Below see the tool that we can used to disseminate, share or preserve information we have at our fingertips.
Some people were sharing with faculty back home using these tools.
In addition to the two sessions, Dr. Chen interacted with people who were attending the conference.
MOOC’s are of interest to lots of people.
Talking about them on line is one thing but working with innovators who started the movement is another thing.
I just wanted to share some of the reasons one may want to attend the SITE Conference.
We did have fun too , its New Orleans.. right?