Journalist Claudio Sanchez, a National Public Radio education reporter as well as a former middle school teacher, offered a presentation, The Three P’s of Education Reform: Politics, Policy, Pedagogy, at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) 2013 conference. If you are like me, you turn up the radio every time Sanchez begins a report or a commentary, and I was eager to hear what he had to say about the world of educational reform.
In his presentation he asked whether education in itself — even a really good opportunity – can compensate for the heavy burdens of poverty such as poverty, access to poor health care (or no access), and violence. He wondered how much a school can really do for a child, and by extension, a family, mired in the cycle of poverty, though he looked at the audience and recognized that many schools are working hard to hasten change.
You do not always expect the first workshop, on the first day of a conference to be a slam-dunk, but my 8:00 A.M. Thursday morning session was awesome.
Every bit of information that I collected at the Garrison Forest School workshop on electronic portfolios, presented at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference in Philadelphia, will help me start an e-portfolio project at my school. As the four presenters shared their many resources and described their electronic portfolio research, my mind zoomed ahead to my return to school — all this before the end of the first hour of the conference.
I’ve been thinking about helping teachers and students create e-portfolios for some time, but with so many factors to consider and so much to figure out, I’m always a bit stumped when I think about the extensive collaboration that needs to take place. The benefits for teachers, students, and parents are clear, but the process takes an enormous amount of time to plan and carry out, and time is always at a premium. Yet we all know that twenty-first Century learners need to be able to think about, examine, evaluate, and extend their work if they are to be, well — better 21st Century learners. E-portfolios support this learning process.
Interestingly, about two weeks before this conference, two teaching teams that I support indicated – out of the blue — their interest in developing some sort of electronic portfolio project, so I am fortunate to have a small group of educators who want to get started. This workshop has essentially handed me the knowledge as well as a map to lead me.
As an educational technology faculty member attending the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference, I enjoy the opportunity to meet with lots of colleagues and friends. More interestingly, at these events I always come face-to-face, for the first time, with a number of people with whom I’ve previously connected via personal learning networks, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and even via old-fashioned listservs.
While it’s always a joy to meet and greet these people, I am always aware that dozens more connected friends and colleagues are probably attending any given conference — I just haven’t met them yet. Today, in fact, I sat down at a table to eat lunch, looked at the woman across the table, noticed how familiar she looked, and realized that she and I are Twitter followers.
It wasn’t always like this! More than 20 years ago, when I received my first email account, I desperately wanted to meet other teachers who were online.
I will also look forward to hearing how he believes schools should expand their visions on education.
Dr. John Medina, the author of Brain Rules, will also be speaking. Dr. Medina speaks fast and animatedly, and I’ve heard him speak two times. Here’s a MediaTechParenting post, Multitasking is a Myth, that I wrote some time ago after hearing Medina deliver a lecture and reading his book, Brain Rules.