KC TechNet and Benjamin Wilkoff

February 14, 2010

This past Friday I had the honor of being a presenter at the annual KC TechNet conference.  I conducted a morning session over implementing Dan Pink’s 21st Century skills from A Whole New Mind into the classroom.  The session went extremely well, and I think that the participants left with a great framework for implementing technology.  It always amazes me how well the Six Essential Aptitudes adapt themselves to every phase of education.

The keynote speaker at the event was Benjamin Wilkoff, who has an outstanding grasp of technology.  His take on work flow and authentic learning really introduced me to some new ways of approaching technology in education.  You can see his presentation here, and I would highly recommend you read through his blog.

My main observation about TechNet was the continued importance of Symphony in education.  When Dan Pink discusses Symphony in his book, he speaks of taking large amounts of disconnected information and forming new and insightful patterns.

With the vast amount of information supplied at TechNet, I began to feel overwhelmed.  But when I applied the Six Essential Aptitudes from A Whole New Mind, things began to make sense.  I was able to filter the information into an understandable framework.

As an example, I started my session by handing out pieces of technology that were eight to ten years old.  Dial-up modems, serial mice, magnetic backup tapes, and even a floppy drive.  What was the point?

I asked the participants to think about the seniors in college who would be graduating in May and embarking into the global, flat economy.  What skills would they need to be successful and innovative?  What kind of technology would they be expected to be using?

Then I pointed out that the outdated technology that they held in their hands was the predominant technology available when these college seniors were in high school.  No Twitter, I-Phones, Facebook.  Just dial-up modems and floppy disks.

Did we help them by teaching them how to use a modem?  Did we help them by teaching them how to save their work to a floppy disk?

But we could have helped them by developing their right-brain aptitudes.  Would they be more innovative using their right-brain skills, or by using the dip switches on a dial-up modem?  The use of technology does not necessarily lead to innovation.  But technology is usually the result of innovation.

We need a change in our approach: Don’t teach technology, use technology to teach.


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One Response to KC TechNet and Benjamin Wilkoff

  1. February 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Thanks so much for the compliment. I enjoyed meeting you at KC Tech Net, and I look forward to following your work on your blog and through your tweets. Talk to you soon.

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