This year’s ISTE conference in Denver was quite interesting. Norma and I spent most of our time in the HyperDuino booth showing our new CubeSat using Roger Wagner’s HyperDuino system. This CubeSat was the subject of my recent Instructable that received thousands of visits almost as soon as it was released!
The main activity at the booth, though, involved visitors learning how to use HyperDuino as a tool for student projects. After learning how to do it themselves, they were encouraged to show someone else how to do the same thing, at which point they would received a full HyperDuino kit to take home. Even though the booth location was near the back of the exhibit hall, it was packed three-deep with people most of the time.
A brief tour of the hall showed that there were a few other booths (e.g., Fablevision) that were similarly packed, and a large number of booths with few attendees. The well-attended booths engaged people in learning through the building of artifacts, and the sparsely attended booths focused on telling people about a product or service.
It quickly became obvious that verbs were more important than nouns – that “doing” was more popular than “knowing.” In some ways this is reflected in the popularity of Maker Faires, and ties in with Dewey’s quote that he didn’t care what a child knew, but what he could do with what he knew. Dare I think this means we are finally ready for progressive education? I think so! The Next Generation Science Standards represent a tectonic shift in pedagogy, and – consciously or not – this year’s ISTE attendees seemed ready for it.