At today's Western RCAC Symposium, educators from across southwestern Ontario were called to engage with emerging tools in order to ensure learning is relevant to 21st Century learners. The audience was energized by keynote presentations by David Warlick and Amber MacArthur, but many left wondering: "Where do we begin?"
My personal suspicions are that most attendees will fail to make effective use of any of the many tools introduced today. Even with everyone recognizing that we have a long way to go: A significant knowing-doing gap will remain!
The conversations I overheard, tended to focus on problems:
"Our IT department won't let us!"
"My superintendent doesn't get it."
"We don't have enough money."
"Our computers are too old."
"The school networks are out of date."
"We still ban cell phones in school!"
"I've never even heard of RSS."
"The kids know more than we do."
"I don't have the time!"
Many discussions on the drive home, will no doubt focus on the need for change to come from the grass roots. Grass roots on their own, are just baby blades of grass; but get enough of them together, and we'll have a rich, think lawn.
My hope is that conversation will soon turn in this direction:
"Let me show you the great blog post I found!"
"I found a Canadian was nominated for an EduBlog Award!
"Have you seen David Warlick's conference handouts?"
"Look what I found when I Googled the 'wrcac08'!"
"I joined Twitter... and started following RCAC attendees like: redfearn, qdsouza, rdelorenzo, dougpete, and thecleversheep."
"I explored a wiki... and after reading, I even added a hyperlink!"
"I'm exchanging emails with a colleague I met at the symposium."
"Amber Mac's interview was a good reminder about the 3 C's"
If instead of filing our notes from the day, we perform some independent learning as a followup, we may find ourselves participating as members of a collaborative community that will bring much needed change to schools across southwestern Ontario.