Now that the summer doldrums are upon, us several of my favorite bloggers/educators are reflecting on their processing of the superabundance of information and also the importance and use of conference presentations. I think the first post I noticed which started this was Dave Weinberger and his admitance of not following everyone’s weblogs, and later Will Richardson also said that the post "rings true for me," followed by Ken Smith, etc. etc. Their ideas are so important for me that responding to posts is less important to me than processing ideas. Later I was reading what Richard MacManus posted about the bot/automator services that glean information mechanically and post the aggregated feeds. I was reminded of my studies of information/interface design and reading of books by Brenda Laurel, and how she was always putting the needs of a human user first and the importance of the humanistic (value driven) approach to computer software. Is there a need for a human behind the interface and information? What do I expect for the time I put in to reading or (now with podcasts) listening to the posts? I want more than a mechanical reposting of information. I want opinions and honest reflection. To me these posters are like my avatars of the virtual world. I have no contact with them, I know nothing about them as people except for the slow process of gaining a simple understanding what they are like through their words. I don’t expect them to keep track of every scrap of information tagged with "education" and "technology." I do expect them to respond, critique, and evaluate what they are exposed to because as a teacher I won’t be going to all the conferences they attend and be involved in conversation with all the people they meet face to face. I don’t have the time to attend very many conferences during the school year, and I didn’t go to the NECC conference because I couldn’t afford to. But come next year, I look forward to seeing them present in San Diego which is only a 6 or 7 hour drive from Cupertino. And this brings up my last point. When I go to see David Warlick, I think his use of the wiki to present the information/handouts and allow the audience to contribute is an excellent compromise and use of the limited time he has (this reinforces the necessity of wifi, which I’d read was unreliable at NECC). I can also see the benefit as Steve Dembo talked about of having a video/quicktime movie of what will be presented ahead of time. My initial response is that teaching/presenting is a performance and even when I move to the facilitator side of the spectrum in terms of my presence in the classroom I still must hold the attention of the students/audience, and having never been a presenter I wonder whether I could repeat a lesson and make it as interesting the second time around.
So here’s to the humans overwhelmed with information, shining lights, who accept the responsibility and gravity of what they do. The technology I have implamented in my classroom, I have done on my own with the virtual, indirect influence, and enthusiam of those I have mentioned as well as others I need to list on the side of my blog. At my school I couldn’t get anyone else interested in blogging and had no peers or colleagues to bounce ideas off of. So for those educators/bloggers, you don’t have to follow the trail of my thinking nor respond to my ideas, but follow your heart in what is best for teaching children because for that I expect nothing less than the best.