#4 Notes from ISTE, 2014

It’ a Matter of Perspective

I mentioned in my last post that things would get a little nerdy. With that in mind I will make a concerted effort not to disappoint…

It’s funny how people have different opinions about the concept of celebrity. I guess in our culture there are certain individuals that most people would agree have obtained celebrity status. Michael Jordan comes to mind, along with Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, and Albert Einstein. These are individuals who have transcended what originally put them in the spotlight. They have become recognizable by almost everyone – they have become celebrity. Other people manage to scrape the lower altitudes of the celebrity stratosphere when they become recognizable to subgroups within the larger society. If I mentioned the name Ian MacKaye to my 5th grade students they would undoubtedly give me the same blank stare I get sometimes during math instruction. But for me, and others who had similar teen angst, Ian represented something pretty profound. Of course, if my 5th graders pointed out Iggy Azalea to me I wouldn’t have any idea why she was of any significance (I had to ask my son for the name of this currently popular singer).

In that same line of thought we all have different reasons for choosing certain people that we would consider ourselves to be “fans” of. For me, fan status has fluctuated somewhat over the years. Having the chance to meet an NFL player would have been the greatest thing to ever happen to me as a boy, but today I tend to view professional athletes as grotesquely overpaid entertainers who are seldom worthy of praise. Nowadays I am deeply moved by the bravery of people like Bradley D. Conner and Malala Yousafzai, while I am turned off by people like Gucci Mane or Miley Cyrus.

Prior to ISTE I was involved in developing an online course for my school system. As part of our research on blended learning we were introduced to Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura’s SAMR model. This model describes technology integration through four phases: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. I found this video of Dr. Puentedura describing his model: video. I must confess I really enjoyed watching this video. I appreciated his description of the model, and I also enjoyed listening to Dr. Peuntedura’s accent and the meter of his speech.

When I was selecting events to attend at the conference I saw one was being offered on the SAMR model. Since this was something I had just studied I thought it would be a good session to attend. To my surprise and delight Dr. Puentedura was the session’s presenter. I won’t go so far as to say I was star struck, but I must confess I was thrilled to have the chance to see and hear him in person. After a very informative and well-presented session I thought it might be nice to speak with him and possibly get a picture (how’s that for being a fan?). To my surprise and amusement however, it turned out that I was not the only one with that idea. A line quickly formed of attendees who wished to speak to and have their picture taken with the good doctor. I waited for a minute or two trying to decide if I would get in line. I couldn’t help laughing to myself about the situation I was finding myself in. Here I was, a guy who used to be the lead singer in a rock band that performed with groups such as Crowbar, Nuclear Assault, Soilent Green, and even 2 Live Crew, and now I was debating whether or not to wait in line to meet the brilliant professor who developed the SAMR model. Like I said, my fan status has fluctuated over the years. I wonder if Dr. Ruben will be selling T-shirts at the next convention?

-JPG

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