Last week I had the privilege of being invited to speak in a couple classrooms to students who are working in technology disciplines. I spent time at Coventry and Chariho’s Technical Centers talking about OSHEAN, the latest trends in IT and networking as well as the diversity of career paths they could envision. It is always a time for me to not only reflect on my own career but also to project the world that awaits these students. I asked them to think about combining passions for technology with other personal pursuits/interests and showed them this video of the Jefferson Project at RPI as an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uARKFSw4ofc. It’s a time when these students are thinking about next steps and I can imagine they are inundated with information overload. I am an optimist by nature and try to convey the vision a dynamic future, for the students who embrace the challenge, filled with never ending learning and excitement.
I also attended the RIDE Technology Conference on Saturday and again was thrilled to be able to talk to the teachers and students who are weaving technology into their learning environments. The best part of the conference for me yet again was listening to the students. It was fun and inspiring to talk with the students from Tiverton High who are developing an electric car http://longsundayrun.wix.com/projectev. I was amazed at the level of technology depth in the Robotics program at North Kingstown High after speaking with the lead software coder and the rest of the team demonstrating their robotic car project. Good luck to NKHS as they head to regional competitions later this year. The conference theme centered on technology as an enabler to personalized learning and the overall blended learning initiative. I have previously stated in this blog that I am an unreserved fan. While and I do realize the requirement for analytics and outcome metrics to prove program efficacy, sometimes you just know when something is working. The students tell you and not necessarily with words but with passion. This is the third year for the conference and for all the naysayers who thought no one would take their Saturday for this, the Convention Center was packed at 8:00am! RI should be proud of our advancements in digital learning.
I can never really know what students get from me when we talk. Did they listen to the old guy? Did they relate? Are they inspired? Who knows but I do know what I get from them; ENERGY!