Actually, this post has nothing to do with basketball. I am just thinking ahead and using the elbow to the jaw as a potential scapegoat in case people greatly disagree with me. What I do want to discuss comes from an experience I was part of a few months ago - E-journalism. As I have already mentioned, it was an eye opening experience. Students from different schools working together in a projects based environment with multiple teachers as guides. This, I thought to myself, is what education should feel like all of the time. However, something was "off". Not everything was 100%. We were covering a conference held for teachers about how to use technology to enhace student learning. Although I had an idea of why I had an "off" feeling it wasn't until I watched the video featured in my last blog that I realized what was missing - the students. Well, that's not true. The students were there. They were covering the conference. David Warlick came and talked to the students. He even hosted a panel discussion with the students. So why do I say the students were missing? Read on.
I didn't see any students being part of the other presentations. Our E-journalism team showed videos during lunch, but we had mixed emotions about the response. Overall, we felt like teachers in a disengaged class - many people seemed to not be paying attention. Why do we do this? Why do we as teachers hold conferences that are really about our students, yet not include our students? Shouldn't we be listening to them? Are we the experts? Are they? Do they know what they want? Do we know what they need? I don't know. But we sure have a lot of "experts" and most of them are not students.
Even now I am still having difficulty processing my thoughts. All I know is that our students were covering a conference that was all about them, about teaching them and connecting with them. A lot of people at the conference were our "tech" and "collaboration gurus". You would think that it would be easy for our students to get immersed. And it was. And it wasn't. Like I said, David Warlick came up and talked to our students. He talked to them for quite some time. And it was an interesting conversation. Donna DesRoches was part of our team, and an organizer - but she found time to come up and "visit'. Gary Ball showed up, so did Ryan Hackl. Mark Kowalski came and helped us with our Mac problems. But that was it. Well, not exactly. Students set up intereviews with keynotes...so they spent some time with those people as well. And now I'm no longer sure. Maybe there was more engagement than I thought.
I guess it's kind of like my ideas about blogging. I love blogging, but it's hard. I mean, why do we really blog? To converse with others. To bounce ideas, to collaborate, etc... But I am finding that it is time consuming. I love reading other people's blogs. And commenting. I love when other people read my blogs. And comment. But does it benefit our students? I think so...most of the time. We are sharing ideas, and defining them, and redefining them.
But I think that there is a blog "bubble" and this is the part that is hard. In this blog bubble are the more prominent bloggers. We know who they are. They are amazing. And all of us secretely want to become part of that blog bubble. But are we running the risk of losing our way? And what I mean by that is: is anyone else worried that it might not always be about the students, and about education - but rather about us? Are we focused too much on being in that bubble?