it’s about the learner


at the new york times’ schools for tomorrow conference, one of the recorded questions from a student at the harvard graduate school of education asked what technology was doing to change the way teachers are trained. it struck me as a sad commentary on GSEs that the technology might be seen as more of a topic to be discussed than teaching teachers how to be more open to technology, to — as will richardson tweeted during one panel session — encourage teachers to be learners with technology. heck, for the students to shape their own education and not let the “thing” of technology be something that might change the bigger ideas of learning.

we were in the middle of our presentation, apparently, when the professor typed “group 3, speed it up” into the chat window. i didn’t see it, but i certainly heard the professor when she interrupted the question and answer we planned to tell us why we were all wrong about our presentation topic. she then proceeded to speed through her own slides to make sure we had gotten through all of her material.

the other two groups got to do their full presentations and enjoyed full question and answer sessions. we were treated like we did something wrong from the start, mostly becuase time was running out. maybe it was the twenty minutes of AV check that began the class. maybe it was the other groups going over their allotted time (which is not to say that we didn’t go a smidge over our ten minutes). 

i’m not even going to get into why i think that forcing group presentations — powerpoint saved as PDF, specifically — in an online class is a bad idea. but i think that a teacher not willing to lose “their” content to their students’ topical explorations is just a horrible thing to model.

especially in an instructional design course.

it’s funnier when the other class i’m taking this semester is about equity and ethics.

i’d never do that to my classes of high school students. i would want to hear what my students had to say. if they ran long while doing the presentations i asked them to do, i’d make time at the beginning of the next class to go over my planned material. or i would publish my slides so that they could review them before a discussion the next class. i’d do something that wouldn’t cut off my students.

at that schools for tomorrow conference, panel moderator david brooks asked whether technology was changing the idea of teaching as the “sage on the stage.” there are better ways to do what my professor tried to do, but i don’t see there ever being a reason or an excuse to cut a student off to get on your own soapbox. the sage should be getting off that stage with or without technology.

it’s about the learners.

photo by benwurd.