My Interview with Tech Academy

NYC #140 Character Conference Takes a Look at Education

by Andrea Genevieve (Tech Academy) on May 3, 2010

In April 2010, mastermind Jeff Pulver hosted the second annual #140 Character Conference (you can follow on Twitter at #140conf) in New York City and it’s been hailed as “the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and “we” the people.”

More than 140 people spoke out at the event on topics such as Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising, Politics, Music, Television, Comedy, Real Estate, Public Policy and my favorite… Education. Since I couldn’t make it up to NYC to sit in on any of the 6 panels focusing on education, I thought I would reach out and ask an educator who did attend to share their thoughts. Feel free to add your comments if you attended and don’t forget to check out some of the video.

Meet Kyle Pace- #140 Character Conference Presenter

Kyle Pace is known throughout the academic community as a former educator, technology specialist and social media enthusiast. He’s currently working in the Kansas City area as an instructional technology specialist, which means he knows anything and everything about the intersection of technology and K-12 education. His panel, Real-Time Web (with a focus on Twitter) was recapped all over the web and the talented people behind The Innovative Educator blog have been nice enough to share his panel video and more of the education themed presentations. I got a chance to connect with Kyle and pick his brain about what the conference was like and what he would like to see happen with social media and education in 2010.


AGM:
Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you attended the #140conference?

KP: I am an Instructional Technology Specialist for K-12 teachers just outside Kansas City, Missouri and I was very interested in the #140conf after seeing Tom, Eric, Steve, and Shelly participate in the very first educational panel this past October in L.A. Twitter has had an amazing impact on educators all over the world that want to create a PLN (personal learning network).  As I said in NYC, “you can’t buy this kind of professional development that we have in Twitter and the real-time web.” I’m very passionate about what having a PLN can do for teachers and ultimately for students. How could I resist being there with amazing educators that are blazing a trail for social media in education? I was honored when asked to be part of one of two education panels in New York.

AGM: In his presentation speaker Chris Lehmann said “Today we are not teaching students were training them.”  How do you feel about that statement?

KP: Is there core material that we still have to TEACH? Yes of course there is. But think about what we might be TRAINING our students for. Quite frankly, I think most of us would respond to that with, “I don’t know!” We don’t know what careers there will be in another 5, 10, 20 years from now. We don’t know what the newest technology will be. But as teachers it’s our job to also TRAIN them in the skills that are (what I believe) necessary to be a strong contributor to a very global society. Those are skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and effective communication. I think we have to do both. We can’t just teach them to memorize facts and spit them back out though. Students need to produce, not just consume.

AGM: I couldn’t agree more and I think students are starting to learn how to create and not just consume technology and media. Let me ask you, for those of us who couldn’t make the #140 Character Conference, what was the best takeaway from the 6 educational themed presentations?

KP: I’ll answer this question and the next with this statement. If you did not see the presentation that George Haines and his students did about how they used Twitter in conjunction with reading Animal Farm please go check it out. It was awesome. George does some really cool technology projects with the kids at his school and he is definitely not afraid to step out into the world of using social media with students. The creativity from those students was amazing and their excitement for learning was very evident. I think we all wish we had teachers like George.

AGM: As an educator how do you feel social media will change education in 2010? Or what would you like to see happen in 2010?

KP: It seems like schools and school districts are slowly getting on board by communicating via Twitter and Facebook with students and parents. We have to keep getting the word out about the positive things that are happening in classrooms with social media. Parents, students, and especially administrators need to be educated on the benefits of using it. That it’s being used in ways that foster student creativity and critical thinking. We’ve all become too familiar with the scare tactics that the media feeds us. Wouldn’t it be great if the media, who use social media tools probably more than any other industry, actually report on the GOOD things that are happening with SM in education?

AGM: We’re starting to see some turn around in the media’s view of social media use in education, but because its all so new I think it’s going to take some time to get the mainstream media reporting positively. As a journalist I know reporters like numbers and statistics so once those start emerging we should see some more positive opinions. For now how do we, as educators change the world and the way the world views social media?

KP: Connecting and constantly communicating with each other. But we can’t just keep “preachin’ to the choir”. There has to be action. A revolution of sorts.

AGM: Some say the advent of social media and technology tools like Twitter ARE a revolution in itself. I have one more question and it’s just because it’s on everyone’s minds these days, do you think there will be a place for the iPad in education?

KP: Since the announcement of the iPad, I have probably been more excited for its educational use than how it will be used by the average consumer. I can see it taking off first in Higher Ed. settings then trickling down to K-12. I think it will only take one app, or one textbook publisher to really get it in the game.

AGM: Thanks Kyle for your insight and thoughts about the #140 Character Conference. Hopefully you can make it down to Washington, DC for our #140 Character Conference taking place as part of Digital Capital Week (DC Week) on June 17th. As part of Social Media Club Education Connection, I am helping to present two education-specific events for DC Week as well so be sure to check those out and we hope to see you there!

*For more information about Kyle Pace visit his blog or connect with him on Twitter @KylePace

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One Comment on “My Interview with Tech Academy”

  1. ktenkely says:

    Great interview! I agree with your assessment of the iPad, all it will take is one app or one piece of curriculum developed that will make it a necessary tool for k-12 education (and beyond).
    Thanks for being our voice at the #140 conference, you all were fantastic.


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