After wandering the halls of the George R. Brown convention center in Houston this past week attending CAST 2013, I thought I would write some quick thoughts that I had. Probably longer blogs to follow, but this is a fast list in no particular order:
There is a huge disconnect between what science teachers think of as technology integration and what instructional technology “21st century Skills” people think.
Science has the SAMR model covered pretty well.
Science does not have the TA TEKS covered at all thus ignoring the NETS-S.
Textbook publishers ignore the TA TEKS and thus the NETS-S.
Science vendors ignore the TA TEKS and thus the NETS-S.
Science is still largely driven by publishers and what publishers produce.
There were quite a few presentations and workshops on technology integration, but they seemed to be scattershot.
STEM was huge.
Project based learning was huge.
Wireless is a big deal with science hardware. Some of these devices actually create their own wireless networks, some use the existing wireless, and some use Bluetooth. Either way, it hits existing networks.
Instructional technology trainers must understand the tools that science teachers use in order to better facilitate tech integration. Science instructional technology is not all about student responders and interactive whiteboards. It is about sensors, models, data loggers, and such.
At a instructional technology conference you would see tons of interactive whiteboard vendors. There was one at this conference that I counted.
There were lots and lots of iPads at the conference, both used by teachers and being used by vendors. This has a lot of implications because:
I did not see ONE Android tablet being used at any vendor booth.
I did not see a single Android tablet, but I did see some Windows tablets. The iPad ruled the tablet use here.
I did not see ONE Chromebook being used at any vendor booth, or for that matter by any teacher in the convention center. For a conference with 7000 teachers and 400 vendors, that says a lot.
Teachers were not aware, for the most part, of the tools that Instructional technology uses. For instance, for a conference that size, there should have been an incredible amount of Twitter traffic with the feed #cast2013. While there was some, it was spotty.
The vast majority of science workshops were paper/pen based. I did not see things we ed tech folks take as givens: Backchannel discussions, for instance, were non existent. Twitter was mainly used to post pictures of sessions.
Even the large national science organization does not think too much about technology integration based on it’s publications.
There was no such thing as a blogger cafe.
There was no “unconference” prior to the larger conference.
They had as good of a conference app as any technology conference I have ever attended.
Many science education vendors who had really good technology tools were unaware of the instructional technology organizations and thus the corresponding conventions. TCEA? ISTE? “Never heard of them” was a common refrain I heard when I asked if they were going to be at any of them.
I was looked upon as more of a curiosity walking around with my camera. At a tech conference, that would have been met with a “eh.”
Those are some thoughts off the top of my head from CAST 2013.