Sunday, February 21, 2010

21st Century Learning at Dublin Literacy Conference

As a committee member this year, I had the pleasure of being Dr. Tim Tyson's hostess at the Dublin Literacy Conference. Prior to meeting him, I did my homework...I read his blog, watched his keynote speech from the NECC conference, and read through the his bios. I started to think of him as my little "techno-nerd." I was nervous about meeting him. Although I am fascinated with technology and the possibilities it presents for me as an educator, I have been a slow, cautious "promising" learner when it comes to technology. I started to wonder, what would we talk about? How could I intelligently contribute to our conversations? What would he think when he soon discovered that I am a "techno-neonate?"

On Friday night, when I picked him up at the airport, my fears were quickly put to rest. He was a kind, thoughtful, reflective man who easily chatted a variety of subject ranging from our "lovely" Columbus weather to what scientific research has shown what motivates human beings...and that was just on the way to the restaurant. Over a delicious meal with other authors and committee members, I quickly realized that we, the "techno-nerd" and "techno-neonate" had a lot in common.

On Saturday morning, Dr. Tyson delivered an amazing keynote speech to start the conference off with a "techno-BANG!" As he stood up on stage, he transformed himself from a quiet, humble "techno-nerd," to an entertaining, magical "techno-WIZARD!" He waved his magic wand (ok, it was really his Ipod touch, but work with me...) and showed us numerous number of amazing applications and enticed us by showing with the possible implications for using them in the schools. The "techno-WIZARD" was on a roll! Carefully woven throughout his presentation, he urged us to to think BIG by asking us questions like...How are we, as educators, going to help our students leverage the power they have to create meaning? How are we going empower our students' so they can reach their human potential? How are we going to continue to edit and revise our thinking?

Toward the end of his magic show, I was worried. My "techno-neonate" brain was full and overwhelmed. However, I should have known, that the "techno-WIZARD" is wise to the ways of mere humans... My brain may have been full, but my heart still had room...He waved his magic wand once more, and showed a beautiful short movie created by students who also had been empowered to think BIG by Dr. Tyson. As the session ended, I wiped the tears off my cheeks, and realized that we are living during an amazing time of change. As educators, parents and citizens, it is our responsibility to use the gifts of technology to help us make our world better!

Thank you for visiting Dublin, Dr. Tim Tyson!

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