The third really cool thing happened today at St George’s college. There was an IB heads conference which I helped kick off via ‘The Sound of Music’ backdrop and so I got a peek at what goes on behind the curtain. I was markedly impressed. Never one to favour conferences relating to education or technology I expected a boorish collective of ego driven maniacs all trying to outdo each other with one-upmanship and very little of actual modern pedagogy to be explored. Shows how little I know to be so utterly incorrect.
I’ll have to admit that the tablets and iPads being used did look fresh out of their packaging and were being toyed with timidly by their users – but – they were being used with relishing gusto and paired with the speakers they have it might seem that technology will be filtering into the classroom via the top as well as at the grassroots level. It’s not cutting edge dynamic speakers they’ve got who’ll intimidate conventions such as Guillermo Rauch of Learnboost or Luis von Ahn but sober, level headed people with a strong command of education and management – exactly what heads need to empathise with.
I still think that children will lead the way with which technologies we’ll implement in education but seeing just short of 400 heads of school at the IB level eager to utilise modern tools means that teachers will forced to become more literate with technology as a rule and I see that as a win-win for everyone. Now if only the IB could have its facilitators know how to use the wikis they use for their online learning programs and provide explanatory videos outlining what’s expected of those on its CPD programs we’d have a level playing field for teachers to compete on.
One thing I did note and felt rather bad about though was that I didn’t see any black or Asian people at the conference. Women were well represented and so the hegemonic elite of yore is no more, but it was overly Caucasian for me to think that it was truly International. Perhaps the very long flight to Argentina put some people off, the furthest East I heard of was from Kuwait and that took him 50 hours, the furthest West was Hawaii and that took them 39 hours. No mean feat visiting Buenos Aires.