I spent some time with Marc Prensky and some fellow teachers today.
We were there to discuss anything education. The format was a bit hinky as we were arranged in a large circle and were asked to simply, well, ask Marc questions.
We had an hour.
Now, to know me is to know that I can talk – especially about education. I enjoyed our discourse but after an hour’s time was just starting to get warmed up. It’s possible that the meeting could have been organized differently to make an hour feel much longer.
Here’s some feedback:
Roundtable discussion. We sat in a large circle.
I agree with Marc that “circles encourage conversation,” but I would have loved to have been sitting at a round or oval* table. It would have been easier to take notes, doodle, live-tweet, etc. Do they make tables large enough for this group?
* and by oval I truly mean elliptical (hat tip to Karl Fisch)
Coffee talk! Coffee was there somewhere but it would have been brilliant to have it at the tables where we sat… you know, like at a coffee shop. I suppose the words I’m thinking of are ambiance and warmth.
Ask us questions. Encouraging conversations amongst educators is such an important part of professional development and growth. I would have loved it if Marc would have asked us questions and then facilitated our group’s conversations. Instead the format was long-winded and too filibuster-ish. Given a description of our collective expertise, passions and vision I think would have allowed Marc to prepare and facilitate such a discussion.
Lights! Cameras! (No) Action! I certainly value the decision to video our session. Video is a shareable medium that can propagate and go viral. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind as to its importance and impact. I suppose by setting the scene as I described above (table, coffee, etc.) would help here, but there must be a way to make the camera and crew less obvious. People get self-conscious and seemed to either talk too much or not talk enough. It was entirely too composed in there! To borrow a phrase from one of my colleagues, we just weren’t getting “rowdy” enough.
Though I certainly appreciated the invitation and the time to gather with my colleagues (and Marc), I think it could have been more impactful with provided some purposeful planning and execution. The conversations were just getting deep when our time ended, which is why I’m craving a “Round Two” of sorts.
Though this post may seem a tad bit critical, I’m really just reflecting on the time spent with Marc and my colleagues, its overall impact, and how events/meetings like this could be conducted in the future. I’m very thankful to the people who organized today’s meeting. Like I said earlier in this post, creating conversations in educational professional development is fantastically important.
Here are some points that Marc and others made that, for one reason or another, are sticking with me because I either agree, disagree or am still working to figure them out.
Content cannot live in isolation. We must recognize opportunities for multidisciplinary work and design learning with respect to such opportunities.
We are in the midsts of a digital revolution that had no specific beginning, but is truly revolutionizing society.
Nothing, not even reading, writing and math, is immune from this rapid change.
Some current reforms and legislation may be mired in “20th century” and/or “analog” thinking.
Computer science should be introduced early and in an integrated fashion with all content.
Programming languages are world languages, i.e., World Languages are not necessarily defined by physical borders.
The time-tested concept of campus education will change as eLearning technologies continue to evolve and improve. Translation: “Stand by to stand by!” and, “Fasten your seat belts!”
Marc, like others I’ve met this past year, travel the globe having these types of discussions. Globalization.
Again, thank you to the organizers, my colleagues and to Marc for the thoughtful conversations.