Friday, July 18, 2008

First Posting...

I am currently sitting in a the 21st Century Learning presentation by Promethean at the BLC08. I've had a blast at this conference and while some of the workshops have been frustrating (more on this in a second), they also truly inspired me for this next year.

OK, the frustrating part. For a conference predicated on the idea of "constructing knowledge" and have a "bottom-up" organization of classrooms, these lectures tend to be, well, just that, a dude with a pen gesturing at a screen while they...talk. And talk. And talk.

I think I would have personally learned about these concepts and tools better if there was time provided during each lecture to practice what they are teaching. That said this current lecture is doing just that. There has been dialogue, and with the nifty Promethean gadget, we've been able to enter a little input.

Actually, our lecturer, Sonny Magana, the National Manager, is talking about the "old" style of teaching. The behaviorist model. Input, output, ringing, salivation. Now we have a comparison with another researcher into pedagogy, Lev Vygotsky who came up with the idea of constructivist teaching in the first place.

Our school has a similar device to the interactive board Sonny is using, the SMART Board. There are differences between the two. SMART Board has four pens, Promethean's device has a single pen with a toolbox of different colors, devices on the side of the board. SMART Boards, at least the ones in our classroom are usually a mounted board and a separate projector, while this board is self-contained and top-heavy in appearance. Honestly, other than the remote responder device, there's little here that's different. Both seem to work equally well and similar challenges.

One things one of my colleagues mentioned at the beginning of the conferences was the realization that the SMART Board does act a ball and chain. She was forced to teach at the board. In some ways this was a step backwards from the traditional white board in that she was restricted to an even smaller space. We agreed that the SMART Board needs to be incorporated into other collaborative teaching methods.

Anyway these are my unformed thoughts so far, I will update later...
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