The final day of these events is always grueling. Usually made the more so because the final day usually follows the conference dinner the night before and ACEC2010 is no exception. Before the final keynote presentation there was lots of auditorium chatter about the excessive exploits of the delegates at the dinner. I did not attend this dinner so can only speculate on the excesses, but there was evidence of plenty of sore heads and a finish line mentality.
Gary Stager gave the last keynote (you can watch it here.) and said in advance that he was going to be controversial, and he was in equal measures both controversial and entertaining. He provided no solutions but posed lots of questions. In one particular salvo he stated that Schools in the form of organization and systems get in the way of what computers can truly do for students and as a result we celebrate the mediocre student outcomes as the work of genius.
Time and again at this conference presenters and delegates alike have all agreed that what is powerful in student use of computers is that content is king. I am not sure that I have heard the word e-learning in any presentation. Students need to create content and produce new material of their own and publish it. This is such and obviously elemental statement it begs the bigger question, why are we not succeeding at this?
Chris Betcher in his presentation said that school should be like Mythbusters, what a great idea, it should, what stops us from creating these kinds of learning environments universally in our classrooms. I know that some do, but these enlightened ones are the rare exceptions.
This has been my first ACEC conference, but it will not be my last, I thoroughly enjoyed the stimulation that the keynotes and breakouts provided. As I have said no answers, no solutions but lots of challenging questions that I am going to convert into solutions and answers for our students in New Zealand. Perth 2012 and the next ACEC conference can not come soon enough. I may even throw my hat in the ring to share back to the community.