I have been spending my time lately presenting, attending and learning at a whole host of conferences. There is a distinct theme bubbling up in all of these conferences regardless of the location or size. Everyone is at a different place in their learning journey.
As I sit through session after session, I am finding less and less that is new to me. One might find this frustrating but I think it is a good sign. As I write this, I am sitting in a session where the speaker is sharing Prezi and Voicethread. Clearly this is not new to me or to a majority of my readers here. Yet, there are folks in the session frantically writing down these tools on their yellow legal pad. Seriously? Are these people living under a rock?
Well, last year I remember being very frustrated at the lack of technology use when I attended these technology conferences. Yet, I have to remind myself that I too, was a legal pad user not too long ago. I truly believe we are all on a journey and at different places along that path. It is disheartening to see some of the negative thoughts in the blogosphere or twitter streams bashing teachers that are not “with it” yet. I don’t know that we need to ridicule these teachers as much as help them on their journey.
Some teachers are at the front end of technology use or education trends due to the resources available to them and other environmental variables. I presented today and mentioned Khan Academy, Hole in the Wall Theory, Daniel Pink and the Flipped Classroom…many of the attendees were unaware of any of these things. This was a good thing for me, because that is more people that I can hopefully open a door for. Rather than chastise those for not being “informed” let’s bring them along.
I would rather have a room full of newbies that know nothing about what I am talking about. First, they won’t know if I am totally of full of it. Also, that just means I have an opportunity to challenge their thinking and potentially open their eyes to something new. We all have an obligation to help people on the journey because we all started somewhere and at some point someone helped us too.