Two Saturdays ago, I attended and presented at the TDSB Google Camp. The event was very well attended with several hundred teachers and administrators present. I found the event well organized, with plenty of online support for presenters before the event itself and easy-to-find organizers and volunteers in bright t-shirts throughout the day. Many teachers and administrators were buzzing with excitement during the event as they discovered and learned more about the ways in which they can enrich student education using technology.
While I was delighted to see such enthusiasm for tech, I have to admit, I still have a few lingering concerns about the event.
Although both keynote and endnote speakers were engaging and clearly familiar with the tech tools of today, I would have loved to see some more diversity. Using technology is very intimidating for a good number of teachers and I think that the struggle can be eased by seeing people with whom you identify having success with it.
Additionally, teachers are often so keen to be seen as up-to-date that we sometimes use technology without any real purpose. For example, when watching a keynote presentation, I understand that people are inspired by what they see. What I don’t understand is taking snapshots of inspirational quotes from a presentation and posting them on Twitter in the moment with the conference hashtag. What are we adding to the discussion? These tweets might be somewhat useful for those following at home who weren’t able to make it. But are we thinking critically, or just recirculating ideas so that others will see that we’re involved? This doesn’t seem meaningful to me.
Unfortunately, I’ve also done similar things myself. There’s this feeling that sometimes at the end of the week I haven’t been “active” enough on Twitter and I’ll somehow be seen as only intermittently engaged in tech. At the moment, I’m really trying to fight the urge to just regurgitate what I read without careful consideration or additional comment. After all, that’s what the like buttons are for.