Predicting education trends: #BLC13 & #BLC10 compared

Still chewing on my notes from the Building Learning Communities conferences in Boston.

Alan November hosts one of the best education conferences out there. If you can only make one conference, this is the one to go to. It’s big enough to draw fantastic keynoters like Yong Zhao and David Weinberger as well as a terrific slate of presenters–people like Tom Barrett, Ewan McIntosh, Kathy Cassidy, Alec Couros, Darren Kuropatwa. And it’s small enough to allow for some serious professional networking. I go every year for these but also for the way I can get a read on where the conversations in education are going. There’s a whole lot of intellectual horsepower and professional experience in the room and you can be pretty sure what’s being said here will be heard later in classrooms everywhere.

My one big takeaway? You can feel the conversations moving from talking about tech, as it has over the past couple years, to talking about people. Every keynote I saw, every session I attended, every conversation I had, came down to this.

Actually, you could see this coming three years ago, when I drew this graphic at BLC10:

What's hot, what's not at BLC 10


We’ve moved well into the discussion of relationships (people). That’s good news. More interestingly, those things we did not want to talk about back then are now on the table.

If my observation that the curve of adoption in educational technology is about 5 years wide is correct, we can expect to see these in general practice in another three years or so. (When I first drew the graphic below, I thought the movement of ideas was constant. I now think it slows down as you move to the right and that the curve might be a little wider.)

curve 2

Question: What if for every $1 we invested in educational technology we invested $2 on professional development? The time and money are actually not hard to find. The will to do so is. And there’s an awful lot of great teaching you can do with next to no technologyAs everyone scrambles towards 1:1 programs, we need to be extra mindful that good pedagogy trumps technology every time.

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