Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RRISD shines at SXSWEdu

The focus around the majority of the panel discussions and keynotes at SXSWEdu have evolved from anti-standard and anti-state testing to outsmarting the policy makers. This new generation that touts innovation, creativity, and the maker-movement know better than to take on the man face to face. These 20-somethings know that as much as a teacher thinks the idea of BYOD, students and teachers using social media for blending learning, or problem based learning, if their district decision makers don't also see how these innovations will benefit all students their vision will only reach individual classrooms. I am proud of them for couching their argument against excess testing in the veil of technology.

However, after spending several days here with educators and entrepreneurs of all types from around the world, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be working in RRISD. Visiting with those from other areas, they were jealous of not just our access to cool hardware, but the flexibility we are given. I'm never going to complain about bandwidth again after hearing from so many who said their district blocks YouTube from both teachers and students. When I visited with representatives from Google about how Walsh Middle School has been piloting Google+ for collaboration and video conferencing, they were floored at our innovation and couldn't even think of other districts who were allowing teachers that access using their district Google accounts - they are going to get back to me.

My point is that we have it better than most. So what. More speed, more access, more creativity, more innovation, more flexibility, will help one more student learn - right? We are thankful for what we have, but there is always more. Is any school ever successful enough? Is anyone ever smart enough? Are we ever good enough? Sorry for the rant, I forgot to mention that also here at SXSWEdu I've spent all week being lectured to by 20-year-olds about how us "old" people could do everything better. They might have a point, but still.

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