Educon 2.1: Eye of the Tiger

From January 23-25 I attended the Educon 2.1 conference in Philadelphia, a conference — or better, a series of conversations — focused on reforming education using computing technologies.

I started my first day by enjoying a frosty jog with Caitlin, a newly-minted algebra and geometry teacher who teaches at Science Leadership Academy (SLA), the magnet high school that hosted the conference. As we ran past historic sites (and yes, up and down the steps of the Art Museum a la Rocky) we talked about what we might expect from the pre-conference workshop, “Constructing Modern Math/Science Knowledge.” Dr. Gary Stager, the host of the program, promotes a constructivist approach that has children experiencing computers as learning material, or “mud pies,” as his mentor and colleague Seymour Papert might say. The idea was to think about programming and modeling environments that help kids construct meaning from worlds seen, unseen and barely imagined.

It sounded promising, yet I wonder: How do we crack the hard shell of traditional science, math, and technology instruction to let computing in? I think part of the answer lies in helping educators see how every modern innovation relies to some degree on computational science, and helping them adjust their instruction in order to nurture our next great thinkers and doers.

In my next two posts, I’ll follow up with reflections about the pre-conference workshop, the conference itself, and my “Aha!” moments.
Read my second post, EduCon 2.1: Working Computational Thinking into the Equation.

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