Disclaimer – I voted for Chris Lehmann and was disappointed that he didn’t get it. I had (just like a lot of people) no idea who Jeff Piontek was. I sincerely hope that ISTE retains and expands the format of the voting for the keynote and makes the whole thing more transparent.
First, let’s be fair, this keynote had a lot of baggage going in; the opening keynote was an awful execution and everyone knows it, so you know the pressure was on this guy to deliver. Second, this was by far the greatest stage this man has ever been on, he isn’t a professional speaker, so if you put yourself in his shoes; think of the challenge before him.
I thought his keynote was effective and well-presented. I didn’t agree with everything he said nor do I share his particular vision, but he did an effective job of summarizing our collective experience and sending us away motivated to continue in our professional roles. At the same time, he was honest about the challenges facing us.
His style is very New York and he didn’t do what too many New Yorkers try to do; lose their accent. He is what he is and he is comfortable with that which makes him more authentic. His statement about understanding that the students’ culture is not the teacher’s culture was excellent; too often we think we know when in reality we have no idea. Approaching teaching and learning in this way can really improve education. For me, this aside was the best takeaway from this keynote.
His videos are too commercial, he needs to watch some Marco Torres videos to learn how to put kids, not his message front and center. He is trying to show the kids at his school learning, so why not do just that, instead of a commercial for his school.
He mentioned important themes; legos, STEM, and problem-based learning. The problem with his vision is that while he says “we don’t need to rock the boat, we need to flip it over”. I’m wondering if he is really flipping his boat over? He talks about content and curriculum too much. If he wants revolution then what are his means toward that revolution? It was really difficult to understand exactly what excellent teaching and learning is to Jeff Piontek.
The fact that he quoted Presky didn’t surprise me but his thing on the watches was unnecessary and calls further attention to the superficial behaviors which Presky seems to base his theory. As long as we focus on what makes today’s learners different we waste time rather than seizing on what technology has done for all of our circumstances (young and old, rich and poor); technology empowers all of us to solve problems.
Thanks, Jeff for not flipping the keynote over, for summarizing our collective experience, and for bringing ISTE 2010 to port safely.
PS – Jeff, get a twitter account and tweet twice a day. It isn’t that hard and would give you a better perspective (and credibility) in social media.