#ISTE17 – 5 Key Trends Transforming Teaching Today

If I’m being honest, I’m mostly in this session because Vicki Davis is hosting. She is a full time teacher who has a DAILY podcast called the 10-Minute Teacher podcast. It’s a hosted panel discussion, hosted by PowerSchool, and Vicki is moderating.

On the panel are:

They identify these five trends and discuss them. My commentary is in italics.

  1. Identifying effective edtech (including teacher PD)
    • The focus here was on finding the tools that were best going to support your staff and region, but more importantly, giving the appropriate time to make those decisions and provide PD.
    • They also covered involving the stakeholders, including students and parents, in that decision making process.
  2. Supporting the student-teacher relationship
    • The agreement is that we need this to happen, and that we also need to bring the parents into that relationship consideration.
    • Very critical that we follow regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Districts need a plan to prevent teachers from coming up with their own tool and “going rogue”.
  3. Incorporating adaptive, blended, and personalized learning
    • A lot of focus here was placed on adaptive learning. Scott McLeod basically states that adaptive learning is using the tools we have available to recognize what each individual students’ needs are and adjusting instruction for that need.
    • A great quote came from Scott, stating that Adaptive Learning is like assuming that existing education is a factory, and instead of running students through the process, we give each student their own assembly line. The problem is that many people feel like we need to blow up the factory entirely. Not positive on what to take away from this other than the fun metaphor. Realistically, education has never been a factory, or at least not one that produced a high-quality product.
  4. Interoperability and data privacy issues,
    • Single-Sign-On is a big focus here.
    • Privacy is the other issue though. Marlo Gaddis says that “there is a storm brewing” in terms of privacy and student data.
    • Vicki says if one of these edtech sites were hacked, we would have a major issue.
    • Paul Ritter says that single-sign-on is a good start but has its limitations. Every service wants data in different ways, and if the new software vendor doesn’t integrate properly with whatever data management system your district uses, could be a problem.
    • For me personally, I think the privacy argument is irrelevant. All that information is already out there and public. The kids put boat-loads of their own information online every day. Most parents don’t have a clue anyways. Even if a school got hacked, it likely won’t release information that isn’t already known. Besides, every teacher on a school campus is a weak point for a hacker, so even if you had the best possible systems, when 70% or more of your teachers use the password “password” or their dog’s name, it is all fruitless.
  5. Evolution of assessment
    • Scott McLeod spent a lot of time here giving examples students in one school did for projects. His point was that Project Based Learning and authentic tasks are a more valuable way to teach students and assess their learning. Don’t know that I feel like it is real applicable here.
    • Richard covered evidence-based assessment. This is critical in my opinion. We need to look at what students need to know and ways for them to prove it. Multiple choice is not the solution.
    • Marlo talked about portfolios as assessment, showing growth over time, instead of taking a snapshot and judging the student off of only that. Now the task is to find a balance between portfolios and more standard assessment.

After these 5 points, they moved into Q&A from the Today’s Meet Backchannel.

In talking about the contradiction between the drives of transforming ed, especially in terms of assessment, and the constant flux of state assessment, Marlo discussed her own work. She said that in piloting her programs for her district with digital portfolios, they got involved with local legislators to try to push the state plans for education. The point here is to try to reach out to those people. Don’t just assume is all fruitless.

Overall, this was an interesting session. They covered a lot of topics, but they gave informed opinions about all of them. Also, and maybe most importantly, this is probably my best sketchnote, so there’s that.