As soon as I heard that Sir Ken was going to be at ISTE12, I was excited to finally have the chance to hear him live! I admire Sir Ken — the way he articulates, the way he speaks so easily, his wisdom, his humor, his sarcasm…… he makes me laugh, he makes me think. So I began to anticipate this evening.
It also said he would be moderating a panel with Marc Prensky, Shawn Covell, and Mayim Bialik – I am not a huge follower of Prensky, don’t know Covell….but Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim) — who incidentally has her PhD in Neuroscience — well, this could be interesting.
It took FOREVER for the keynote to begin — I know that ISTE has many sponsors but I think the prelims of this session were extreme and we sat through many heart-felt (ie: scripted) thoughts from people before the keynote finally began.
Each speaker was given time to introduce themselves and give a few words of thought — and it became apparent very quickly that this was not longer 100% conversation but about 50% commercial. Covell was there to sell wireless connectivity, Prensky his book, Mayim is now a spokesperson for Texas Instruments, and Sir Ken is re-writing The Element.
That being said — there were still some very good comments being shared. And my two biggest take-aways both came from MAYIM.
She shared about being a student and how ONE teacher had made a difference and that difference encouraged her to go into a field she had NEVER thought of pursuing. How important it is that WE truly start working on being that teacher for students! The one that takes the time to care more about the student than the grades the student is receiving. I want to be that kind of teacher.
But the comment that made me want to jump up and yell — “YES, preach it!” was when she was asked about her sons and technology — and in front of 14,000 Tech-ambassadors — she said “my child will have the option to choose or dismiss technology” – and I could not agree more. If we, as educators, willing admit that all students learn differently — we have to give the opportunity for them to accept or dismiss options…even tech. I, personally, thought it was brave of her to say that out loud. And since, many many times she admitted to reading scientific articles regarding children and learning — I believe her comment was not something she just casually said in the moment.
The keynote was okay — not standing ovation — but then it overflowed into a 45 minute smaller room conversation. Mayim had gone home — and Marc and Shawn realized we were NOT there to hear them — and Sir Ken took questions from the audience. And it was grand.
I had two favorite moments –
One was when this one gentleman asked a 3 minute question and Sir Ken’s response was “YES”. It was priceless.
My favorite moment was when a band/music teacher asked a question about getting students engaged and excited about the arts again — and Marc jumped in and pretty much said that all music would be going to devices soon and that this fact needed to be realized.
The audience went silent.
Then Sir Ken began to tel a story about Hans Zimmer — the composer for Batman Begins. Sir Ken shared how Hans Zimmer composes all his work electronically. However, when he is done — he prints out the score and takes it to a live orchestra. Why?? Because nothing can ever take the place of a live orchestra.
And the audience erupted in applause.
This moment especially became poignant at the second keynote when a student played the violin for us for over 1/2 an hour. I wondered if Prensky was there — and if he thought it would have been better on a device?
As a final sum-up, I thought the opening keynote was fair….not a home run but also not a complete dud. I thought the after-keynote was very good – and I appreciate they (ISTE and the panel) took time to extend the conversation.
AND AND AND — I am eagerly awaiting CUE 2013 where Sir Ken will be keynoting WITHOUT a panel. YES!