So, I had meant to write this post a week ago when I returned from Redmond, WA, USA after the Microsoft Educator Exchange (E2) conference, but some personal commitments got in the way. Apologies for the delay.
For those who don’t know, the E2 conference was a collection of Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEs) who came together on the Microsoft mothership campus in Redmond, WA to share curriculum and learning about new technologies. Though the conference is focused on Microsoft and their tools, it was at its heart an EdTech conference focused on teaching and learning. I must applaud for MS for that.
One thing this conference did showcase strongly was the diversity of its participants. Usually, when I go to EdTech conferences there a showing from people around the world, but they are quite regionally focused. Even ISTE, where last year in Atlanta we had a vast majority of participants from the South in the USA. I think there were less than 10 of us from Singapore. At E2, however, you did have a fully diverse and representative mix of people.
This is where EdTech really has power for connection and transformation. In an environment that hosted people that were so linguistically and culturally diverse, they were able to communicate and share given the common discourse of technology enhanced teaching and learning. Microsoft literally put teams together of educators from various countries together in a competition to create curriculum and they all performed amazingly.
So, what is it about EdTech that transcends? This really is not a rhetorical question…I am interested to know.
What struck me about the diversity of these attendees was more than the standard identifiers, but that of exposure and experience. There were some educators that had access to the tools, resources, and networks that I enjoy (sorry for the shameless egotism) while others had never been exposed to even half of these technologies. Again, this was not a limiter, but rather something that drew them together and allowed for common discussion on learning with tools and technology. And to reiterate, they created and showcased curriculum units that were transformative, impactful, creative, and focused on real world scenarios that would have authentic learning for students on any continent.
I refuse to believe the technology (or Microsoft…or Apple…or whomever) is responsible for that.
I now becoming a believer that discourse of learning and doing best for our students and our teachers in a way that is meaningful is the universal connector that technology draws upon. It just has the symbiotic relationship where the technology would have no value without the learning and the learning can’t thrive without the technology.
Hmmm…I’ll chew on that some more.