John Seely Brown argues that we are moving from a model where knowledge is seen as an object one person gives to another, to a model where knowledge is socially constructed. If he’s right, and I think he is, then we must bring the students into the discussion; no discussion, no knowledge!
Likewise with teachers at conferences. As attendees, they ought to have a hand in making knowledge. I’ve enjoyed the conferences I’ve been to in the past, but I think we can do more that just listen and talk–or consume knowledge. Indeed, I think we–as a profession–are at a point where we have an obligation to produce something coming out of a meeting where we put lots of brainpower and money in one room.
I’m at the Apple Distinguished Educator 2013 Institute in Austin, Texas. This is the first large conference I’ve been to where the organizers have pulled together the resources to make making possible. Everyone here will go home having created some original content (knowledge) shared with the ADE community. Indeed, that is the purpose of the event.
Apple is doing this right and it’s setting a new benchmark for conferences.