Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Kids are Alright (so give 'em the stage)

No limit on the number of keynote suggestions you can make for the ISTE 2010 keynote, so I made another one. One I've been mulling over in the days since I first heard about the way ISTE was crowdsourcing part of the selection process this year.

Here's the proposal in a nutshell:
'The Kids are Alright (so give 'em the stage)'

Unless you are 15 years old in 2010, you have no idea what it's like to be 15 years old in 2010.

One of the most frustrating things about the education profession is the scant amount of time we spend listening to the ideas and reflections of the students we teach when it comes to the realities of what it feels like to be taught and to learn. We can talk amongst ourselves all we like about 'leadership' and 'educational tools' and 'best practices', but over and over again it's the voice of the students themselves -- the ones with the biggest stake in the debate -- that goes missing from the discussion.

So let's do something different with this keynote: Let's hear from the kids. Let's hear from the real experts: the students. Let's hear from kids who have no nostalgia for an analogue past. Let's hear from the idealists. Let's hear from the ones whose career and profession don't depend on scoring a keynote.

The kids are alright. Let's give 'em the stage.

Reflecting on what it is that I do everyday and what so many of you do everyday, I can't think of a better opportunity to really use the ISTE stage for something worthwhile than to hand it over to the students.

So often at these conferences, I feel like we talk about kids like they are mice in a lab.

Well, I say we shake up the conference scene and let the mice sing.

If you are with me on this, go ahead and vote here on ISTE's site.


  1. This is a great idea. We did this with a group of ARC students (adults changing careers into education) this past summer. Read about it here:

    We had high school students talk to the teacher candidates about what they like, dislike, and what they think works and doesn't work.

    It was very enlightening.

  2. I've just went through an exercise where I had nine of my kids (I'm a teaching Assistant/Learning Mentor) reflect upon and then video there thoughts on how they learn now, what hey like /dislike and and how they would like to learn in the future. We played it back to their classes and one of their teachers today with no prior vetting. Interesting responses :)


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