Gary Stager Makes Me Think…

After listening to Gary Stager at the MACUL 08 Conference, I went up to ask him about the handouts from his session yesterday that I missed.  In the course of the conversation, he said to me,

“Why do people identify themselves with just one technology?”

He was referring to some of the ideas in the Web 2.0 session he did yesterday that I had missed. He didn’t mean to, but he challenged my own practice.

It made me think! (Which I think is the point of listening to Gary Stager.)

I like to refer to myself as a “one technology girl”, referring to videoconferencing. I try to keep my blog focused on videoconferencing. Every time I go somewhere or see something or learn something, I’m trying to see how it ties to videoconferencing.

I want to say, how can we make our videoconferences more constructive? But I feel like I’m coming at it from the wrong angle, by starting with the technology. On the other hand, it seems that videoconferencing is a perfect fit for social constructivist learning because it’s a communication technology. I need to keep thinking about this….

One of Gary’s points was “less us, more them.”

Some beginning thoughts are:

  • what if the kids picked who they wanted to connect to instead of the teacher?
  • what if the kids researched to find and request an expert to connect with them via videoconferencing?
  • how often do we have the kids generate the activities and interaction?
  • with the KC3 programs, do the kids decide how to represent the topic? do they decide the topic?
  • what structures like MysteryQuest or Holiday Challenges could we create that are based on even more constructivist principles?

Gary also emphasized the importance of good prompts. We need more good prompts for teachers and students using videoconferencing. What tough questions could help them head down to a path of interaction with experts and/or peers?

These are just a few beginning random thoughts stirred up after listening to Gary today.  Off to the next session, but these ideas will keep simmering….

0 replies on “Gary Stager Makes Me Think…”

  1. Interesting. I too am guilty of being videoconferencentric. A new word not found in the dictionary. I also look at the other technologies as to how they can enhance and broaden the videoconferencing program at my schools. There was a time where anywhere I went I would think “this would make a great videoconference”. My enthusiasm is a little tempered by the reality of what is needed to have a videoconference. After the technical aspects are met, you then have to deal with the logistics. Scheduling can be a nightmare if not a full time job. More student involvement in the process is an interesting idea. Empowering students to develop their own programs and find partners could strengthen the learning experience. What videoconferencing needs most is a champion. A tech person, a teacher or a student can all fit the bill. Combining the experience with other technologies probably is the most realistic and constructive approach.

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