“Educators Who Care, Share” is my favorite quote from the ISTE conference in Atlanta. Thinking back on 7 years since we first had the idea for edWeb, that is one of the common traits that defines the educators, the partners, and the sponsors who get the most and give the most in this new connected educator world. It’s common to talk about how education lags behind other industries, but more than any other industry, education moves forward faster, especially for our students, when we all work together to share new ideas about what works.
One of our primary goals with edWeb is to make it easier for all stakeholders in education to collaborate to support educators and have a measurable impact on student learning. We must all work together as colleagues to help teachers, librarians, administrators, and students to integrate appropriate technology and digital media that engages and inspires learning in ways previously unimaginable.
There were so many events, sessions, meetings, and parties packed into #ISTE2014 that it’s impossible to sum it up, but two events, one at the beginning and one at the end, both about apps, stood in stark contrast to me. At the beginning, I attended HackEd, the educator-led “unconference” where I heard the comment, “educators who care, share.” One of the most popular activities was the SmackDown when, one by one, educators presented their favorite apps to the crowd in rapid-fire succession. There was such excitement as educators highlighted how one app after another had helped them energize learning for themselves and their students.
Near the end of ISTE, I attended a roundtable of Directors of Technology on the same subject – apps. This session was the flipside of the Smackdown with many concerns raised about the explosion of apps, interoperability, protecting student data, inappropriate advertising, reliability, digital citizenship, here today/gone tomorrow. There were a variety of points of view representing large and small districts, but the overall tone was one of needing to review, vet, control the apps that teachers can use. There was some acknowledgement that the teacher is often in the best position to understand how an app might help a particular student. One of the most constructive suggestions was to provide more training on digital citizenship for teachers. Teacher training and support is a much better approach to the adoption of new technology rather than a big brother approach to vetting and control.
The Education Division of SIIA issued the 2014 Vision K-20 Survey Results at ISTE. This annual survey benchmarks educators’ self-assessment on a range to technology markers. The survey results show that teacher training and support is the area where there is the biggest gap between the support educators need, and the support that they get. Our mission at edWeb is to help all members of the education industry work together to fill that gap.
Here is a recent edWeb webinar on 50 apps that can help make a difference in teaching and learning, presented by Michelle Luhtala, Head Librarian at New Canaan High School. We had over 700 educators attend this interview live. There IS an explosion in the use of apps.
Let’s support teachers and librarians as they explore and share how to use apps to make learning more creative, collaborative, and fun for themselves and their students. They share because they care.
This post is from edWeb.net Founder and CEO, Lisa Schmucki.