Hope, Positivity, Awe

Throughout this week I’ve been hearing positive comments about Ewan McIntosh’s keynote at the ECIS Tech conference we held last week.

To be honest, I thought the keynote was exceptional as well, but also challenging. He had a strong and detailed set of examples of how students and adults are using social media tools to re-invent how they use media.

In my opinion, his best slide showed a new taxonomy of media spaces: watching space (television or sage on stage), demonstration space, sharing space, group space, publishing space, and private spaces. I don’t have that list correct yet, so I’m hoping I can find the slide again on his site.

In all, for many in the audience, it was a challenging presentation because he pretty much suggested that students learn as much or more outside of school than in school. Relationships with faculty and certain learning experiences are critical, but the “institution” of school itself may be receiving defensive protections that are unwarranted. One of his favorite examples is blocking websites on school networks for no discernible reason (other than, perhaps, protecting the institution at the cost of learning).

Still, his reviews were stellar, even if everyone said there were things they may not have agreed on. They said “he made his think” about things they hadn’t considered before, or took the time to try and understand.

It also crossed my mind, however, that his message as also essentially positive. Kids are learning, in all sorts of new ways. They are doing amazing things. They can be more creative and involve in ways that they care about their communities, friends and even the planet.

Given all the recent gloom and doom about the world economic and ongoing process, it’s hard not to cheer a presentation that suggests the future could be more interesting and exciting and rewarding that market numbers would suggest. Thanks, Ewan!

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