New Tools, Same Conversation.

Will Richardson has written about this a lot, but I can’t help but notice the lack of conversation taking place about the transformative power of connective technologies.  For the past two days I have been attending and presenting at New Hampshire’s largest technology conference, The Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference which is now in its 23rd year and, as has been the case for many years, the conversations here revolve around tools.  Sure, the language has changed from hardware to software to web 2.0 to cloud computing to virtual schools to… to…to…  But the context has not.  Overwhelmingly, people, good hard working teachers and administrators, are talking about tools as a way to do what they already do, but just differently.  Interactive white boards and netbooks are the hot items while twitter is the hot application being talked about.  But, the conversation is not about using these tools to change education.  Instead, its about using tools to do the same things are are already doing.  For example, using interactive white board to deliver notes instead of white or chalk boards.  There is very little conversation about changing what it means to teach and learn in the 21st century and that is what is most upsetting to me.

I’m finding that in my transformation as an educational leader I am craving for more meaningful conversations around teaching and learning.  Conversations that carry me beyond the limits of tools and to the threshold of really changing what school looks like, what school means, and what it means to teach and learn.  I want my thinking to be pushed to a place where interests and passions direct learning, not schedules and policies.  The transformative power of web 2.0 technologies could provide the framework for this shift, but, unfortunately, I’m not finding that the current conversations are fueling that shift.

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2 Responses to New Tools, Same Conversation.

  1. Stephanie says:

    I think you’re spot on Tony and being part of a Virtual Charter School, you may have already harvested the educators who are more focused on passion and interests and thus have the opportunity to shift the conversation in your school community. I hope you’re shouting the message from the rooftop of the Sheraton for all the NH educators to hear, it’s time.

  2. Nina Baillargeon says:


    This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. How do we get conversation started around real change in our schools? Not just doing the same thing another way. How receptive is our community to project based learning? It seems to me, the bottom line is always test scores. I think the fear of not doing well on standardized test stifles the conversations that need to happen first. Are there baby steps we can start taking to put us on the right track? You’ve got me thinking.

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