conference

You are the unBlackboard.

I presented this project yesterday, at Drexel University's E-Learning 2.0 Conference. For the 50-minute presentation, I lead off with an Ignite-style intro, moved into the PowerPoint book, and then closed with a series of images (no bullets). Those who attended - mostly in higher-ed, it seemed - were mostly enthusiastic about the whole thing. Afterward, someone approached me to ask how she might incorporate technology into her high school math classroom. I suggested that she check out Dan Meyer's blog for its treatment of math as an exploration of problem-solving and question-asking - not typical of the math instruction I often see in middle school classrooms. I start to get into Papert's distinction between math and mathematics, and how "math" instruction often doesn't inspire curiosity about numbers in any kind of way, and she said something about how yes, that's what higher ed is for.

Related: The conference sessions I attended were all about Magical Tools (a handful of websites, or online classes with chat! and forums! and video-uploading!), and not about philosophy at all. I mean, using textbook-publisher content - via CD or otherwise - is deeply problematic to me, and that's a position that's more complex (and with more implications) than URL-harvesting.

I'm beginning to wonder if this project would benefit from a dose of aggression, from a measure of provocation that moves beyond this physical book that simply makes visual what many educators are already thinking. It seems an easy kind of project to agree with (indeed, most who have seen it do), but then these same educators really just want websites. Or, Blackboard by a different name.