This is a review/ summary of the linked event from the perspective of a non-academic. I do some work in education, interact with students and educators frequently but do not hold a degree or a job in education nor in academia: I thought it was a great event!
This conference initially sounded like something “someone else” might be interested in, and was actually a full-on discussion of educational reform. Unfortunately, instead of it being held in Foellinger auditorium and open to the community (with educators even recruited to come), the room had forty-odd speech-language professionals (it was sponsored by SHS) and some technology people among other interested observers. Not that there is anything wrong with the audience members, just wish it could have been a larger, wider group.
Mary Kalantzis spoke to open the day and was very interesting. It was a recap of sorts on “The New London Group” which began theorizing about education and technology 19 years ago. They are published in the Harvard Education Review and have several books as well. Though I’m not sure it was designed to be, it served as an interesting introduction to communicating in multi-modalities and away from traditional conceptions of text. She also spoke of diversity in a re-imagined way, doing away with gross demographics and reconceptualising student (human) diversity as less rigid in category and more individualistic than statistical, e.g. diversity of life experience. Interestingly, given the conversation about Central High School, she mentioned architecture as many as five times by my count. In private conversation with her afterwards, I spoke of Central High School and architecture and her reference to buildings. She critiqued the brand new business building on campus with seats that are nailed down and is amazed that they build more lecture space with amphitheater seating. Certainly she should be tapped to talk about what the new school should look like, sooner rather than later, but I don’t have a strong connection to her to “make that happen”. She has obvious and informed views that are based on her research, theorizing and experience (that from what I can tell) are well respected in the field. (That said, there are lots of buildings built based on new theories and cutting edge ideas that don’t stand the test of time, so I’m at least aware of that, though I don’t know what to do with it.)
When James Gee spoke, Read the rest of this entry »