Dust or Magic Conference 2014 “An idea can become dust or magic depending upon the talent that rubs against it.” (Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉), from the foreword of the book by Bob Hughes with with modifications by Roger Wagner).
Wow! Feel so privileged to have been in the company of so many experts and talented professionals, all involved in promoting educational technology. It was intense, enormously intense – in a good way. The profound insights shared were varied yet all surrounded the same concept. How do we best educate our children to not only read, write and compute, while also fostering morals, values, and citizenship, and in the end prepare them for the new world in which they will live. Most importantly, we need to ensure that they are engaged and having FUN! Tall order? Yes, but this group was not just optimistic, they were passionate.
There was a comment shortly thereafter that grabbed my attention and it came from David Kleeman. He implied that we need to clarify and curate the concept of whether it is a “screen or window” experience, opening space and opportunities, exploring above and beyond and putting children in control, this is what drives the learning. This was one of the common threads we as a group scrutinized in the most incredibly intense two and a half days we spent together. The phrase transformational games was heard often (games that change people for the better) and all names of the great masters of education, Skinner, Piaget, Montessori, and Vtgotsky were referred to again and again. Yes, this was equivalent to a college grad course, it was grueling, but it was an awe-inducing experience, surpassing my expectations ten fold.
My professional renaissance has taken a magical turn, I have a greater understanding of how to create AWE.* I am prepared for the next phase of this journey. Many thanks to all the talented experts whose ideas and outlooks were so passionately shared at this magical conference. My mission: to ensure that children everywhere have access to more of the “fun-factor” and are prepared for the future.
*Awe consists of two qualities: perceived vastness (something we think to be greater than ourselves), and accommodation, a need to assimilate the experience of vastness into one’s current mental structure. (Keltner, of UC Berkely, and Haidt, from NYU)