What a conference. Seriously, it was great to be reminded of how important pedagogy is in any integration opportunity.
The big take away is purposefully create spaces for authentic conversations. Thanks to @paulaguinto for the wonderful moderation and all my fellow discussers for delving deep into this topic.
I get fairly concerned about the "real" world. I mean, what is this? How do we talk about it? After years of a masters program deconstructing myself, I really wonder, what is real?
I think often as educators we dismiss the virtual world as not real. Especially as an environmental educator I wonder how we can have students fully enriched in outdoor education while still using technology. Throughout the discussion I was constantly reminded of purposeful construction of space.
Regardless of how we feel about either the natural world or the virtual world, I think it's safe to say that most of our students travel in both worlds. So, in order to be relevant to their lives, we need to exist in both as well. I'm still struggling to find out how to do this best, but I rest assured that there isn't "one" answer.
Like most of what we do, we have to get to the students' level, and understand their personal needs. Students need a voice, students need to feel empowered to achieve their personal best. This means we need to create these spaces, with intent, to enable them to share their thoughts and ideas.
I want to do this more with environmental education. I've been talking to @rangerridley about sharing class blogs, but first I need to establish them with my students, and get them recording their feelings and emotions regarding the outdoors. I'm really thankful for iPads at times like this. They are easy to take outside, take photos, record thoughts, share their learning visibly (thanks Nicki Hambleton) and then make connections. I want them to use the virtual world to take action for the natural world.
More than that, I want people to realize there is no "real" world and that we have to work as a group to define how we can do the best for our shared world. Using the internet as a tool, means we can collaborate without travelling, meaningfully and with a purpose.
Anyway, I can't wait to go back next year.