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RIDE Tech Conference

Posted By David Marble, Thursday, October 10, 2013
As I think about last weekend’s RIDE Technology Conference I am struck by a number of things.  People who know me well understand that I am an optimist by nature but it would be hard not to have that outlook after being there.  First of all, the place was packed with over 700 people on a Saturday dispelling the myth that no one will come on their "day off”.  There were teachers, administrators, students and yes, tech geeks enthusiastically participating in a conversation about the field of digital learning technologies.  The interesting thing is that the goal isn't about technology, it is about learning and I believe everyone gets that.  Travis Allen, the 21 year old keynote speaker who founded iSchool was infectious.  He certainly reminded me of the early Gates and Jobs type…. out front, articulate, passionate and driven.  His work started a couple years back when his smartphone was taken away by and administrator at his high school.  His complete circle had culminated the week before the RI visit when he took his Digital Learning Tour, which had already presented to 120,000 people across the country this year alone, back to his old high school where they now had a one-to-one program where every student was equipped with an iPad.  The kicker is that his brother is a freshman this year at that same school.  But my best experience at the conference was the presentations and discussions with the students and their teachers.  The Student Showcase had a number of schools displaying how they were using digital learning technology in and out of the classroom.  I talked to high school students using a 3D house building program to learn geometry.  I also met an elementary student using creative surface program to work through problems which captured the student’s work and audio description which was immediately posted to the web so the teacher could see it and comment back.  That teacher was also using the program to create her own little version of the Khan Academy for her class.  The common thread was the excitement in the experiential learning concept where the learning can be fun!

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