Constructivist Celebration

CC LogoOver 100 educators came to the Atlanta Botanical Garden the Sunday before NECC to play, construct, and share at the First (dare we say Annual?) Constructvist Celebration!

Peter Reynolds and Gary Stager kicked off the day with inspirational words about children’s ability to use computers to “reach their North Star” and “BE mathematicians, poets, artists, and programmers, not just learn ABOUT mathematicians, poets, artists or programmers”. Shooting photos in the gardenEvery member of the Constructivist Consortium introduced themselves and a few project ideas that the participants could jump into. And jump everyone did! There were photographers taking close-ups of the garden’s amazing array of flowers, trees, orchids, and sculptures. People were painting, thinking, and talking. Suddenly movies, animations, videogames, mind-maps and more were taking shape on everyone’s laptops.

Everyone ran around, and shared ideas, files, and solutions. The noise level was “joyful” as one wise teacher put it!

TechYES students from nearby Barber Middle School and their teacher were there to lend a hand, and soon were immersed in making their own projects–at the same time as helping out, running a “sneaker-net” with thumbdrives, and pouring lemonade.

Constructivist Celebration sharingAfter lunch, everyone wrapped up their projects and we walked around the room in an impromptu exhibition. Amazingly enough, in just a few hours, a group of 100 educators had created an wonderful variety of projects using multiple pieces of software without one minute of instruction from the front of the room.

In the sharing session that wrapped up the day, educators shared their feelings of being “nourished” and of finding instant friends and collegues who understood their passion for putting the power of technology into student’s hands.

This was the first event of the Constructivist Consortium, a group of educational technology companies who have passion to support progressive educators using technology in the classroom in student-centered, project-based ways. The six founding members–Generation YES, Fablevision, Inspiration, Logo Computer Systems International (LCSI), SchoolKit, and Tech4Learning all hope that the spirit of the day gives these educators collegial support and ideas–who doesn’t need that!

5 Replies to “Constructivist Celebration”

  1. Curious? Did you enjoy your day as much as it sounds? And it was sponsored by a vendor? Who would have organized the day, paid for the artists, and so forth if it wasn’t for the Constructivist Consortium – a group of educational technology COMPANIES? Hmm – maybe Miguel did misread your blog a bit, but I think you double talked yourself. Attendee beware -they want you to buy into their software and services for spending the day with them – or probably already do since you were invited.

    I appreciate, as a first time NECC attendee, the warning below and I did use that warning when choosing sessions. I enjoy Kathy Shrock and could not get into her session. But since she’s so closely related to Discovery (heavily profiting from their support I’m sure!), should i be wary of her sessions as well? Isn’t she ultimately a vendor?

  2. Hi Trish,
    I’m glad you are thinking about who puts on sessions and events. You should always ask questions and expect full disclosure.

    I did mention in my post that this event was put on by six companies (and they are all named in the last paragraph.) The company I work for, Generationi YES, is one of the six founding members.

    By the way, we did not pay for any artists or outside people to come to present. The goal was to have the time and materials to find the creative educator in everyone, and I do think people had a good time doing just that. I certainly did!

    The goal is transparency and full disclosure, so people can make up their own minds.

  3. The Sunday Constructivist Celebration was tremendous. I learned very valuable skills and information which I am passing on to the teachers with whom I work. I would like to personally thank the presenters and participants for a very enjoyable day. I hope this type of event will be repeated in the future.

  4. Trish,
    you are right on. This group is very self serving. In fact- they are not allowing any other companies to join. And I can think of quite a few that that fit the constructivist philosophy. I know of one in fact that was told out right that this so called consortium is closed to new members. Is this for the good of education? For the good of the whole? I think not.
    Shame on NECC for supporting this without further investigation.
    Buyer beware!

  5. Hi MJH,
    As I said in the blog post, this is a group of companies who decided to form this organization. We are not sponsored or affliated with ISTE or NECC.

    I always think it’s a good idea to investigate the origins and intentions of any group so I would encourage you to continue to ask questions.

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