Monday, February 13, 2006

Another Report from e-Learning 2006

The breakfast speaker at the conference today was Marc Prensky. This is at least the third time I've seen/heard him speak at a conference in the past year. Either he is getting overexposed, or I am. Probably the latter. I always enjoy his topics and agree with much of what he has to say, but I always come away with the feeling that it is all talk and no action. By no action, I mean no movement in higher ed to get any closer to the things that he and others are talking about regarding how to reach the millenials, or digital natives as he calls them. As I said, this is the third time I've heard him speak in the past year. I don't think that there has been any significant change or even any momentum being gathered on this topic during that time. Higher ed typically moves at a glacial pace, but this is ridiculous and we can't afford to move so slowly in today's fast-twitch world.

The best presentation I've seen here (and there are many good ones, and yes, those are shocking words coming out of my critical fingers) was actually a full-day workshop by Will Richardson (his blog). I've never been to a full-day workshop at any conference where I was engaged the whole time and could have or would have stayed longer than the schedule allowed. I've already recommended that he be brought to Duluth for the NorthEast MN faculty duty day in August. He is a user and promoter for all things digital in education....blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, social bookmarking, etc. etc. Really loaded with ideas for valuable educational uses of these tools, plus a great perspective and many examples of what K-12 students are doing right now in many places, and how we need to be prepared for when these kids walk in our front door.

I'm becoming more and more amazed at how a bunch of old fogies thinks that they know all about these new technologies. Right now I'm listening to a guy who must be 55-65 years old. He's speaking (intelligently, I might add) about RSS feeds and peer-to-peer collaboration and other related things. It's a reasonably good presentation, but I can't help but think that I would much rather be listening to a group of his students talking about what they actually do with this stuff. Have the students show me a live demonstration and I'd be paying attention right now rather than writing this blog entry. And I'll bet you $20 that those students wouldn't be using PowerPoint at any time during their demonstration.

Looking forward to a riverboat cruise tonight on the Savannah River. I think they also go out into the Atlantic O for a quick look (in the dark).

And now the truth: I too am an old fogey since I'll turn 50 in a couple of months. I'll be making a presentation this afternoon (about online student mentors with H. E.) and another one tomorrow morning (about satisfaction data from the PSOL), and yes, I have a PowerPoint show with handouts for each of them. Someday, I too, will break out of that box. BD


Will Richardson said...

Hi Barry, Thanks so much for the kind assessment of the workshop. I'm really glad you enjoyed it as I found it extremely fun. I agree, however, that watching and listening to a group of kids using these technologies would probably be much more interesting.



Barry Dahl said...

Hi Will,

Great to hear from you. I hope that we can bring you to Minnesota in August to provide some great learning opportunities for our faculty and staff...and eventually that will pay off for our students.