Two events last month reinforced
my belief that the debate over students
creating versus consuming through technology
is overblown (see our online discussions at
techlearning.com regarding IWBs and iPads).
What’s so bad about doing both?
The first occurred during Tech & Learning’s inaugural Tech Forum
Boston. Breakfast keynote speaker Mitch Resnick started the day
with a stirring presentation on the Media Lab’s transformative
Scratch software. If you or your students haven’t played with this
yet, go there now. This is the software most “creationists” argue
for: 1,723,443 projects and counting programmed by students
from around the world. “This is what should be happening in
classrooms,” I hear, “not just sages onstage using whiteboards as
projectors!” Here’s the rub, though: What good are those games
if no one else plays, i.e., consumes them?
The second happened after a long day of intense discussion at
the 10th annual Intel Visionary conference in Washington, D.C.
Presentations by some of the country’s most innovative school
leaders, including Dan Liebert, principal of Tech Valley High
School in Rensselaer, New York; Max McGee, president of the
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora; and Diana
Laufenberg from Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia.
Each school is doing mind-blowing work. Their presentations also
showed students using “consumption” devices to: collaborate
with students in China to design aeronautical blueprints; monitor
the safety of the water of the Hudson River; make inspiring
videos on the importance of voting and democracy.
I say it’s time to move past the consume-versus-create argument
and instead focus on what works best for whom. What do you
say? Please share your thoughts with us.