This morning I tethered my phone at the Delta hotel intending to write a blog post about Dr. Ross Greene’s presentation about Collaborative Problem Solving with challenging kids, which, by the way…was terrific stuff! His caring, individual concern for students who are having difficulty and his informed criticism of some of the ineffective ways that we deal with their issues and the environments to which we subject them each day at school means that I will read his books Lost At School and The Explosive Child. I will learn some more from him when I leave today, for sure!
However, what I’ve actually ended up with today is some reflection about the experience I had learning today. Learning without my network is just not what I’m used to anymore! I am aware that participation in back channels during large group presentations isn’t always productive for everyone, and some folks even find it downright impolite, but it was a bit like going back in time and for me, and it just didn’t work so well. Today the medium really was the message.
There were 200+ educators in the room and no internet code posted or mentioned. Upon arrival, as per usual, I positioned myself near an outlet and tried to get connected. The only computers I saw in the room were my own laptop and the woman beside me with an ipad. Neither of us could get on the net without a hotel code, so I proceeded to tether my phone so that I could make my notes in a draft blog post.
It was okay with me that Dr. Greene has lots of content on his slides and very few graphics. That would raise lots of criticism from some folks (every been to an ISTE blogger’s cafe??) but I had no problem looking beyond that to what this guy was actually saying, and it was great stuff. He was obviously genuine and really experienced working with challenging kids in school settings, a very credible speaker with lots of expertise to share.
I was okay for about the first 20 minutes, and began taking my notes, but then it was really strange. I found it hard to concentrate. All I had was my own background information, no connections with my colleagues on twitter, no tinychat running in the background, no links coming in about other experts on the subject, no connecting the information I was hearing to make it stick, no turning and talking to relate with my peers. The room was filled with administrators and child and youth workers who I know would have a wealth of information and comments to share on this topic…far more than me. I would have liked to been learning from them as well!
I’ve heard that some students compare their school experiences to getting on an airplane…disconnecting all of their devices for the 6 hour flight and then picking back up when they leave the classroom behind. Today I learned that I’m glad I’m not a frequent flyer and I will continue to advocate for networked learning for our students!