The good news is...I don't feel terrible. I don't feel stressed, sick, or overwhelmed. In fact, I feel pretty good about myself. After two full days, I haven't seen anything that has made me say "woah, I need to start doing that ASAP!" There's been some apps I haven't seen, and some projects that I haven't done, but that's either because I already knew about them, but they didn't fit my course, or because I already use something comparable and redundant. My confidence is high.
But that's not why I came here. I like feeling confident, but I'm not going to get any better that way. What this means...is that in the past year (or really two or three), there's been no real change in teaching in educational technology. I still sat through sessions on "how to flip your classroom", "how to use your iPads", and even "did you hear about Gamification; it might be cool someday?!" None of it is bad or wrong but certainly not revolutionary. I haven't seen a teacher walk in and show me a solid twist on Gamification. I haven't seen anyone pull off flipped learning so that its perfect and engages all students. In fact, I feel like all I'm seeing are the late-adopters...the people who just found out about all these methods and have now decided to turn around share them with others. I find myself feigning surprise at each of these sessions and thinking "you don't say...tell me more". In fact, many of the presenters this years aren't even teachers, but rather they're curators who have read other peoples' work and are now presenting it has if they're experts in the field. I've got nothing against this in theory...but surely there's more local experts before we need to start turning to regurgitators.
Is it because ISTE is coming in Philadelphia this year and the heavy-hitters are all holding out until June? Is it just that things don't change quite as much as we think they do? Is it because these current ideas need more time to mature? Did I start teaching in a time of incredible change, and I'm now spoiled to thinking the changes in my first three years would be repeated in my second three?
I'm not really sure...but I do know there's little to see here. When you start seeing presenters play four-year-old YouTube videos you watched dozens of times, multiple summers ago, you know that people are officially out of ideas. I can only hope my new take on Gamification that I present tomorrow morning will be new to some people. Perhaps I'm part of the problem too. Like Groucho said "I wouldn't want to be in a club that would have me for a member."