I was unable to attend the NAIS Conference last week but I was able to follow much of the conversation thanks to Chris Bigenho. Chris set up a blog, Twitter, and Diigo accounts to help us follow the action in San Francisco. In the NAIS Conference blog, Chris did a fantastic job summarizes blog posts and twitter posts every day. He was supported by many conference bloggers and tweeters – the coverage was great! Thanks to Jason Ramsden, Demetri Orlando, Jamie Baker, Jonathan Martin, Jenni Vorhees, Peter Gow, and the vast many other bloggers of whose pages I have open in a tab on my browser but haven’t had the time to read yet.
One post I really appreciated was this one on Michael Thompson’s session on teaching boys by Jamie Baker (new to me in the blogger/twitter world). Jamie did a great job summing up the session. I’ve heard Michael speak before but I really enjoyed being reminded of his message (especially because I have to young boys at home). I liked what Michael Thompson had to say about homework – it should be short, meaningful, and, if possible, online so they can get immediate feedback. Homework should not be for show. He also said that school work should be authentic and connected to the real world. Boys are not “future-oriented”. This is so true in my family – my boys are truly about the “here and now” and not motivated by the more abstract. Boys are also great “strategic learners” – they are motivated by getting a decent grade in the shortest amount of time.
I also appreciated what Michael Thompson had to say about video games and technology. Boys like technology because it empowers them. And I think it satisfies them with immediate feedback. We need to understand this appeal and use it in our classrooms. I think Michael Thompson’s message is an important one to be reminded of from time to time. Classrooms need to be differentiated, not only to learning style, but also to gender. I will also keep these points in mind when I am at home at the dinner table wondering why my 4 year old needs to get up and do a little dance between bites.
I encourage you to visit Jamie’s site and read her whole post as well as her other NAIS reflections. I am eager to continue reading more on the happenings at NAIS and will share my favorites here.