Tech Expo 3.0

Awhile ago we had Tech Expo 3.0 (the 3.0 meaning we're three times as good as we were with 1.0). Tech Expo, to me, is a great way to connect with parents and co-workers across the district both in my guise as an aide at a k-2 school and my assorted webmastering.

As a webmaster in the district I man the website help table in the lobby. This is the second Tech Expo since we've been using the Edline CMS for our school websites and although turnout for the Expo was good, traffic at my table was 0, nil, zilch. I am not sure whether or not I should be happy or not. I don't know if it is because everyone is doing ok with the sites or if no one wants to admit that either they still have not activated or are just not using it. Either way it was just a night of touching base and I am ok with that part.

This was the first Tech Expo to include demos by students of work they do outside of the educational system. Although I didn't get to walk around and see any of them I did get to talk to the ones I know as they came in and I can't tell you how I am both impressed and worried about what their demos represent.

We have kids building apps, writing digital music, shooting digital video and modding hardware. Many of these kids are in middle school (grades 6-8). They are truly digital natives and look at most technology as I once looked at carburetors, 395/50R15's and exhaust headers. For them, and I know this is well documented by people a lot smarter than I, technology is an appliance. They think new technology is cool but it is not magic like it is for us. I am a self-proclaimed techie and I still find the fact that I can watch TopGear on something smaller than an issue of Car and Driver amazing.

This is the population we are teaching and guiding. We can't do that without embracing tech ourselves. Is it the end-all be-all, no. It is a tool just like paper and pencil but to make them use paper and pencil all of the time and not allow them to create work with the tools they use everywhere else in life would be like our teachers saying we had to use a slate and a rock to write with.

There are great models for this

If we as educators want to remain relevant we must model what we are teaching. Learning never stops and you have to be willing to embrace and help guide change.