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Education vs Learning at TCEA

One of the sessions I attended at the TCEA conference today was about education, leadership and technology.  I knew it was going to be worthwhile when I walked in and found the following up on the big screen:

“It begins with trust.  Digital leaders must give up control and trust students and teachers to use real-world tools to unleash creativity and a passion for learning.” – Eric Sheninger

This was a three hour session, with many good activities and points, but I will focus on just a few for this post.

Education vs. Learning
We know what education means, and what learning means, but we started the session discussing the definitions of each, and how the two words were different.  It was a lively discussion, and worthwhile as it set the stage for the rest of the afternoon.  An important result of the conversation was agreement that what we want students to be doing in school, and out of school, is learning.  We want students to be active, engaged, creating, analyzing, producing, DOING. Learning is an experiential process, and not a specific group of facts.

Teaching and Learning, not Technology
The presenters for this session, Rory Peacock and Karla Burkholder, both work at the Northwest Independent School District, in the area of instructional technology.  They are responsible for helping teachers and students make effective use of technology for learning.  They stressed that the focus is always on good teaching, and good teachers, never the technology.  The technology is simply one of types of the resources with which their teachers and students are becoming more active learners.

Taking Risks and Rewarding the Struggle
Rory and Karla spoke at length about how they are creating a Culture of Learning in their schools.  A significant component of this effort is to celebrate students who take risks in their learning, and to reward the, “struggle.”  They spoke at some length about how schools have always been good at celebrating success, but that in order to help foster innovation, creativity, and analytical problem solving, we also need to recognize the courage of students willing to take a risk to look at a problem in a new way.  They also spoke of how important it to to reward students for their effort, the struggle to find the answer or to complete the task.

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