Four (not so) easy pieces – 21CLHK Debrief


I have had an amazing time over the last couple of days at the 21st Century Learning conference in Hong Kong. It’s easy for a technology conference to dip into the red zone of using technology for its own sake. The presenters and attendees here though remained really focused on creating meaningful experiences for students through the tools as a fundamental principle, not an afterthought.

I’m tired, but I think it’s important to note down a few important points that I want to remember to put into action when I return to school. These points, likely by design by the organizers, are framed nicely by the keynote speakers and their messages.

Teach students how to manage device anxiety. (Dr. Larry Rosen)

This needs to be done explicitly and modeled by teachers. This will not get better by accident – instead, we must make an effort to show students how to avoid losing focus through deliberate practice.

Help students form identities as producers of media. (Dr. Nichole Pinkard)

Hoping that students will produce excellent work in a context that does not extend beyond the classroom doors is a sure way to expect less from them. We must expect students to define their place in the digital media world through work that they find meaningful.

Connect students to the rest of the world. (Dr. Jennifer Lane)

With all of the expertise available through the internet, there is no excuse for limiting students to finding out information in isolation from people that use that information to do their jobs. I want to find feasible ways to put my students in contact with people that are solving interesting problems and doing real world work.

Share what I find perplexing with students, and help them do the same. (Dan Meyer)

Though it might feel good to say that I want my students to find things that interesting, I need to model this process if I want students to adopt it for themselves. Curating my own list of perplexing ideas and helping students maintain their own list is a perfect way to make this more than a pipe dream.

Here’s to meeting you all again soon. Safe travels!

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