It may be important to go into a conference with a lot of questions and some objections, but it is equally important to realize that anything can happen.
I did not find the snapshot of my life and career in 10 years that I was looking for, but I was challenged and encouraged in ways that I could not have expected.
I learned that a lot of schools struggle with curriculum because of high teacher and administrater turnover. This was an important thing for me to know, because while I understand that curriculum is a living document, I’ve felt like it was my responsibility to engender one. Instead, I realize that the most valuable thing that I can accomplish as an individual teacher (and with the individual teachers in my department) is something like a reflective curriculum map. So even though we are starting late, next year’s teachers will know what we did when, why, how and with what resources.
After curriculum, my focus at the conference was technology. I learned that some schools have computer labs and media specialists. How exciting for them! How can a school make technology a part of curriculum, if we rely almost exclusively on students’ access to personal technology? Students are not required to take a course in technology, and we assume that they know how to create a one inch margin when we require that for a document uploaded to a wiki. (This goes back to the curriculum problem.)
We talked about all kinds of Web 2.0 tools. I still don’t have a favorite, and there are new ones all the time. I think part of my genius as a teacher is to read about and visualize how to incorporate these tools (2.0 consulting), my ungeniusis seeing these tools from the perspective of my untrained but savvy students. How much do they know? What is the best way to write or give instructions?
Now it is my turn to create a presentation on integrating technology for colleagues and other Honduran teachers at the T3 conference next week. Time to learn about teaching by teaching. Although this is something I was expecting, I feel (as I often do about education) like there are so many variables to consider and no best way to sort through them. Of course I would reject the notion that their is one right way, but I do want to want to present something useful.
“Platinados” is the word used by people in the Dominican Republic that means locals. I don’t feel like a local in the Dominican Republic, but the conference did make me feel like a local in education. This conference showed me that the things that I read, think about, question and anticipate in education are the same things that were highlighted at a conference called “Preparing for the Future.” Despite the fact that I’m in a less developed country, I am preparing students for the more developed countries where they will study.
I am lucky to have the friends, mentors and colleagues who constantly feed articles, questions and observations into my curiosities.