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Monday, June 3, 2019

Value of Conference Themes: Part II

In the last blog, I discussed the relevance of the arts and humanities theme and the leadership theme to members in both their professional and DKG lives. Clearly, the next two conferences in the five-event lineup accomplish the same goals.

To say that technology has woven rapidly and irreversibly into the fabric of education is to understate its vast impact on how we teach and learn in the 21st century. No modern professional can be ignorant of technology if she hopes to meet the needs and interests of young people today, who are immersed in social media, interact with information (and disinformation) on the Internet of all things, and are comfortable transacting with the world via multiple devices and apps. Whether one believes the current technological path is a positive one or not, the fact remains that students and teachers alike have come to embrace technology tools to expand teaching and learning opportunities. On the more personal level, of course, members also increasingly understand the power of technology to open avenues of growth, to assist in organizing complex information for daily living, and to extend relationships beyond traditional boundaries. Whether one is on the cusp of understanding the power of technology or on the cutting edge of using technology, the international conference on technology will provide a powerful setting for growth.

At least part of the wonder of technology has been the increased ability of educators to share professional research and practice, the focus of the fourth international conference. Although many educators rely on experiential “data” derived from many years in the classroom, ultimately any profession is defined by its ability to identify a coherent knowledge base derived from both practice and research. This conference’s focus on enhancing the learning community and the 6Cs—character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking—not only emphasizes the importance of a coherent knowledge base in these areas but also defines key issues in education today. Any professional will benefit from expanded understanding of these topics and of what colleagues in the field do and discover as they work to expand the knowledge base of the profession in general.

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