Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Ideas from CMK10

After four full days in Manchester, NH I am still overwhelmed. I have so many notes from James Loewen, Deborah Meier, and Alfie Kohn's sessions that they will need posts of their own for me to process them properly.
Gary Stager began our time together and one of the first things I wrote down has stuck with me, even after four days of amazing, thought-provoking work. He said, "If we want kids to be good at learning it's not a bad idea to have them hang out with great learners."

As teachers we are often (in fact almost always) so focused on our teaching and what we do in front of the class, whether that is the class as a whole, a small group, or an individual student, that we have lost sight of ourselves as learners. How can we truly help students to learn if we don't learn as well.

In addition to the amazing thinkers and learners with whom we spent time, we also had time to work on projects. Brian Silverman took a bit of time to talk to us about computers and their history (he has been involved in aspects of computer programming and educational computing for decades). At one point he was asked, "How do you respond to people who say technology is just a tool?" Brian seemed genuinely perplexed by this question. He responded by saying that technology is a tool, so is writing. He continued, "I'm not sure I understand the use of the word 'just' in that sentence."

That's by far the best response I've ever heard.

Others have written more thoughtful, clear reflections on this experience than I have managed so far. See Chris Lehmann and Brian C. Smith's posts. Also, if you have a ton of free time you can check out the pictures and videos on flickr from the event. There are some great ones!


Tracey said...

I grew up about an hour north of Manchester and my sisters live very close to there!

luckeyfrog said...

This made me think of when we start the school year. I love to talk about what things the students learned, to discuss how learning happens everywhere and not just at school.

I think this year I'll have to make a point to tell them things that I learned, too!

Brian C. Smith said...

Jen, it was such a great experience for me as well. I'm in the same boat, I'm still processing a lot of what was shared and experienced at CMK. I've been processing it many ways including references to conversations, quotes, experiences during this week's NYSCATE Leadership Summit. A post is brewing in my head about Deb Meier's comment on how, historically, collaborators used to be perceived as bad and resistors as good. But I'm sure your husband could shed more light on that.

Thanks for linking my post and I look forward to more from you!