12 December 2008

It's About Time

Dan Meyer recently posted about the various sessions he attended at a conference. In the last one, he reveals a comment about why this recent learning experience was better:

As educators, the stakes are too high and the time constraints too stringent to settle for anything less than our best efforts, even if hearing that we shouldn’t lecture from bulleted slides for an hour is painful.

Oddly enough, I had just been preaching this message to a group of staff developers. First of all, time is too precious to waste either on bad classroom lessons for kids or poor professional development for educators. As teacher leaders, we must know best practices for all of these areas and be able to walk our talk. There is no time to waste with hit-and-miss ideas about what you think will work. Know what works and do it.

In addition to Dan's observations, I found that I had starred a post from the Principal's Page about poor presentations at conventions: You Can't Just Hand a Microphone to Anybody.
It’s just that they presented the same information I have heard over and over for the last few years.

Our students are farther advanced in technology than adults. Educators should allow cell phones in schools because they are mini-computers. We should use Skype because it is free (we do and yes it is). Schools need to be proactive, not reactive to changes in technology.

I get it.

Enough already.

I need tips or strategies to implement technology and not the same old rehashed PowerPoint presentation with 187 slides (by the way… I can read, so you don’t have to pronounce every word on every single slide for me).

If I seem angry that is because I am (see: not sleeping in own bed and haven’t had a decent cookie in days not to mention the dodging of so many PowerPoint bullets).

I know we are falling behind with technology in schools, but now I am convinced we may be falling behind in presenters.

Just because someone is willing to talk into a microphone doesn’t mean we should allow them (see: President George Bush… let the emails from North Dakota Republicans commence…).

Not everyone talking into a microphone is an expert.
And there was an interesting conversation on Twitter yesterday, too, about how presenters need to be more than just spewing rah-rah ideas. Schools have real problems. We need people up there who have real solutions. I don't care what Mick Jagger thinks. Time is not on our side.


Lightly Seasoned said...

Ha! I wrote about this last month: http://lightlyseasonedteacher.blogspot.com/2008/11/bad-poetry-and-self-immolation.html

I'd love to see a really good demo of technology in the English classroom. I just got a SmartBoard and am messing with it, but am resisting the impulse to just turn my lectures into PPTs. That doesn't seem too productive. It is WONDERFUL for teaching revision and annotation strategies.

The Science Goddess said...

I think this issue is finally starting to reach critical mass. IMHO, teachers have put up with bad PD and poor presenters for far too long---as if we just accepted this as part of the job. We should have stood up against this a long time ago.