One of my favorite parts about attending a conference like #ISTE2014 is having the chance to think deeply with brilliant peers.  Every conversation that I had — whether it took place in a diner, outside the Expo hall, in the backchannel of a session, or on a walk back to the condo that I shared with Philip Cummings and John Spencer — was a chance to wrestle with teaching and learning in today’s world.

What I loved the best, though, was working to share those conversations through Twitter.

Because Twitter is an intentionally restricted medium built on short messages, giving others a summary of the learning that I was doing required me to clarify and polish and condense the fundamental notions running through my head.  The results, I think, are clear and simple statements of my core beliefs.

Here are five of those statements that still have me thinking:

One of the things that I liked the LEAST about ISTE was listening to people tell me about their favorite digital tools simply because MOST of those conversations overlooked the simple truth that technology alone isn’t a motivator for kids:


On a similar note, I started thinking a lot about the kinds of people that we look to for leadership in today’s digital world.  Often, we celebrate the Techie, thinking that any person with a backpack full of digital tools HAS to know what matters in today’s classroom.  The simple truth is that I’d take a teaching geek over a tech geek any day:


Walking through the Expo Hall at ISTE is — in many ways — a frightening experience.  You are surrounded by hundreds of companies peddling their products, working to convince you that their features would revolutionize education.  What frustrated me was that 90% of the crap on display did nothing to give kids the chance to learn about, participate in, or improve the world around them:


Early on in my ISTE experience, I spent an hour or so sitting in a Commons Area with 10 or 15 other attendees.  During the entire time, NO ONE had a conversation.  Instead, they stared into screens, Tweeting or texting or Voxing or blogging or Instagramming.  That worried me:


If we aren’t talking about kids first and tech second, we’re wasting our time — and probably our district’s cash.  But I’m still shocked at how easy it is to get wrapped up in conversations about gadgets — especially when we are at a conference where people brag about being techies and gear heads and gadget freaks:


Any of this resonate with you?  What did ISTE leave you wondering about?


Related Radical Reads:

The Gadget Happy Classroom Fail

Change Depends on MORE than Shiny iGadgets

Technology is a Tool, NOT a Learning Outcome

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