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”. Every 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.
After 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!