I really don’t want this to come across as snooty, but I have a mini-rant to er, rant. First, let me say that I know I am not even close to being a great presenter, and I’m guilty of some PowerPointlessness from time to time. But I still cannot believe how many technology presenters create PPTs and then do little more than stand behind the lectern and read their slides. Argh. It’s brutal, and it happened in three of the sessions I attended. As far as I’m concerned, if I could have gotten the entire presentation e-mailed to me, then why bother attending? Brutal. That’s another reason I like Lessig so much. He plops one word, maybe two on a slide and develops ideas around them, moving rapid fire at times through the slides. Watch this flash presentation he did. It’s a PowerPoint, but it’s a story. It’s, I think, great teaching to the level of his audience.
Unfortunately, that’s not what I saw today, nor do I see it very often when I go to other conferences. We’re educators. Shouldn’t we do be doing better?
One exception today was a presentation by Jonathan Finkelstein of Learning Times, who actually helped me through the “talk” I did there a couple of months ago on RSS. He showed how New York City schools are using Learning Times to do some awesome professional development.
Another interesting session was given by Milt Dougherty, the superintendent of Little River Schools in Kansas. He gave a pretty empassioned argument for school change…systematic school change. He actually said the phrase “disruptive technology” which, despite the fact that he wasn’t talking about blogs and wikis, makes him ok in my book. He talked about how education has it wrong when it comes to keeping time in class fixed while making achievement variable. The idea that achievement should be fixed and that we should honor the variable time it takes for students to reach those achievement goals is really important. I also liked it when he asked whether or not things would change if we removed the technology from our schools. A lot of schools would hardly miss a beat.
I like it when people make me think.