January 26, 2009
Last week, I chronicled an academic discussion on the subject of where school reform should go under President Obama. Over the weekend, a bunch of tech geeks had a conference on the same subject — and their ideas will probably end up being just as important to the future of schooling.
The conference, called Educon, attracted members of the increasingly large but sorely underlooked education movement called Learning 2.0, the MySpace/Twitter-inspired approach to school, in which technology facilitates extra interaction between students and teachers (and students and students and teachers and teachers). Among the people gathered in Philadelphia was at least one group from New York City: 20 staff members at CIS 339 in the Bronx, a middle school whose approach to technology I profiled in the Village Voice a few months ago.
You can read 339 Principal Jason Levy’s takeaways from the conference at his Principal 2.0 blog, here, including notes from the panel he ran, on what to do if your principal says no to a new idea. (One apparently good consideration is “The ‘Media’ Test: Where in the NY Post will this story end up?”)
David Warlick also provides good notes from a panel discussion on the direction President Obama should take education. The conference’s convener, Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, made the case that “accountability has to be a richer more complex conversation.” Another person talked about making accountability more “intelligent” with tests that assess for deeper learning, not just memorization.
Naturally, Warlick communicated his own takeaway via Twitter:
I just twittered: “The point of ed reform is having classrooms where it just doesn’t matter if kids are getting tested — to them or the teachers.”