Friday, March 02, 2007

CUE 2007: Keynote - Fun, Games and a Message

Well, we just finished up the 2007 Computer Using Educators (CUE) Keynote. I have to be 100% honest, I really wasn't expecting much, since I didn't know the speaker and was going into the unknown. Boy, was I in for a surprize...

Deneen Frasier Bowen, was the Keynote speaker and she entertained us through her several alter egos and drilled down to some of the critical issues facing education today. The first of the psersonalities she introduced us to was the curmudgeonly school marm who was resistant to any introduction of technology into the educational process. "These kids are too wired.... we need to get rid of all of these wires," she stated as she showed a "Time Magazine" cover with a student covered in all of the technological periperals they have in their life. This reminded me of the presentation David Warlick gave in Monterey in November about "cutting the tentacles" off of the students as they walk in the classroom. Deneen did all of this with a huge brace on her knee, and hobbled around from place to place, but did her cruising though the crowd on a Segway scooter that the CUE organizers arranged for her to use.

The second character Deneen introduced us to was Edy, an 8th grader who has discovered blogging and her personal voice and power as a citizen journalist through blogging. Her pseudonym on her blog was 'Saran Rapper,' which I thought was prophetic in several ways, only one in which she explored through her presentation. She mentioned that she was 'transparent,' like Saran Wrap, as a student prior to blogging, but the experience gave her an outlet for the personal feelings she had inside. The transparency issue with the Administrator Edy has a difference of opinion with, is something as educators we need to be much more sensitive to as more students use the technology to publish their ideas and views. Students do not shed their First Amendment rights as they enter the school house gate. Edy's blog is eventually seen by a teacher in Chile, which validates her reach and personal voice.

Deneen transitioned to Edy's 5th grade mentee, Maria who became involved in the use of technology through 'Digital Storytelling.' Maria's first story was about her family's move to another town to get medical care for Maria's younger sister. Through this process, Maria become more and more engaged in the use of technology in education that she becomes a mentor to her peers and eventually to her teachers. Maria expands her circle of influence by bringing in other technologies, like podcasting and digital recorders to keep track of her expanding imagination.

The final charater is a video of a teacher and a dog.... the idea of reciprocal teaching and learning more from the process than the actual content was designed to teach.

All in all... I was WOWed by this session... If you missed it, find a place where Deneen is speaking and get into see her presentation! Deneen! Great Job and keep the message going!

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