The problem of talking about the new web: you have to do it, too
1) An important international expert arrives from overseas to tell us that local knowledge is the most important thing;
2) We sit in lecture mode hearing that the lecture is no longer important;
3) The limitations of web2.0 apps are not mentioned. There was no context either historical (computer science) or historical, about all the knowledge discovered before computers were invented.
When I'm giving a talk I'm nearly always within the constraints of the organiser: "can you please come and give us a talk at this time slot", they ask. I then go on to lecture on how important it is to collaborate, but hope, at least, that collaboration will take place after the initial lecture.
The extended conference experience - not just a lecture
In my classroom I would start with 2-5 minutes 'lecture', setting the context, before the carousel of collaboration would begin for the rest of the 50 minute period. On the same scale, if I'm giving a one hour lecture you can expect the collaboration to go on for at least ten weeks thereafter (one hour a week responding to the concerns of locals who attended the talk). An essential part and package of my offer is the blog, and that people have the courage to at least email or leave comments on the 'lecture post'.
This both shows that local knowledge and skills are indeed the most important element but within the context of a global communications space, hence my professional relationships with teachers in New Zealand and the States being, arguably, more in-depth than my professional relationships with non-blogging teachers in Scotland.
The final point, about historical and cultural positioning of new technologies, is vital. That's why one of the talks I enjoy giving the most is Why Scotland's Been Blogging For 5 Million Years, applicable to most countries in showing that this is less a revolution, as a reformation. It's not so much new, as reminding people of what it means to be a human being, what makes us tick, and bringing that back into learning. These things include connecting to others, conversing, asking questions and giving answers. None of that, of course, is achievable in a traditional lecture format, but possible in my 'extended lecture' notion. If only more keynoters picked up discussions on their blog (if they had one of them, if... ;-)
If you haven't seen or heard Stephen speak you can catch him at the Scottish Learning Festival video website, in one of many videos captured for the Learning about Learning series or in the new Journey For Excellencedownload him onto your iPod for the trip home tonight.
site (search for 'Heppell'). You can even
Enjoy - it's good stuff - but you may have to do some of your own thinking to work out how it applies to you. And I can't think of anything good teachers would enjoy more than thinking about how to do their stuff better.