Sunday, June 29, 2008

NECC 2008 First Day Recap

Well not really day one, but the first day I went to any sessions. After an uneventful trip to San Antonio (except for the shuttle ride to the hotel) just settled down and got some dinner. Today the fun began. I started off at the Constructivist Celebration @ NECC. Gary Stager got the day started off with a philosophy talk about using technology. He shares many of the same views I do about not using technology for the sake of using it, but rather to help students construct new knowledge by using technology. Here my three favorite quick quotes from Gary.
  1. A good prompt is worth 1,000 words. With a good prompt the students should be motivated to produce a high quality product. There does not have to be a lot of instruction "words" to limit the students creative juices used in producing their product.
  2. Monumental vs. Substantial. Assignment for students should not be monumental. Although students can make any task monumental by procrastinating. Assignment should instead be substantial and meaningful. Easier said than done, but if the task is substantial the product will be vastly better and in fact easier and more rewarding to grade. Timed saved, so put the time in before or after, your choice, make the one that is better for the student. This was also referred to as Craft or Crap.
  3. The last is a quick idea for a project, take and run. Give two groups of students the same video clips. say from a presidential candidate. Have on group produce a pro candidate add and the other a negative candidate add. Kids will real learning about propaganda and persuasion, oh and they just happen to use technology to due it.
Next stop was the PA NECC meeting. Thanks to Jim Gates, Kristin Hokanson and Kurt Paccio for putting together a great presentation about getting the most out of NECC. Check out the PANECC2008 wiki and the slides from the presentation. Be sure to join the NECC ning, a great way to more out of NECC. Finally the keynote by James Surowiecki with his perspective and book The Wisdom of Crowds (I used the Wikipedia link). Well apart from saying that Wikipedia is a great source (I agree, but many geeks do not) Jim also mentioned Flickr, and Google as good examples of the wisdom of the crowd. Not all crowds are "wise", in fact there are three conditions that must be met to make a group truly wise. 1. Aggregate the groups judgment. 2. Cognitive diversity. 3. Independence not imitation.