The following is the program description and proposal for my upcoming “conversation” at Educon 2.5 in Philadelphia, January 26th.

You Say You Want Tech Standards?
Here Come the NITS!

Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.
Brian C. Smith
Martin Levins

Program description

The ISTE Nets (tech standards) are approximately a decade old. They’ve produced endless meetings, cliché-laden documents and breathless rhetoric, but no perceptible increase in student computer fluency or teacher competence. Rather than standardizing, it’s time to amplify human potential with computers. A new diet of computing is required for learners.


There are a lot of computers in schools, but not a lot of computing. The ISTE Nets and their state and local spawn offer an imagination-free vision of school technology use that hardly justifies the investment let alone realizes the potential of computers as intellectual laboratories or vehicles for self-expression. The current crop of technology standards form the basis, at best, for a form of “computer appreciation” being taught in school.

If school leaders demand them, we should offer tech standards worthy of our students based on powerful ideas and a commitment to teacher renewal. We must move beyond the trivial and use computers in a fashion consistent with modern knowledge construction. These new “standards” elevate school computing and challenge traditional notions of top-down schooling.

Let’s call them N.I.T.S. – New Intergalactic Technology Standards.

Gary and his virtual friends, Brian Smith in Hong Kong and Martin Levins in Australia, will share their recommendations for raising our standards to the level kids deserve. Educon participants can argue the merits of these goals and add their own. You should have a lot fewer meetings to attend when your superiors are afraid of our new standards.

Everybody wins! Standards, up yours!

Feel free to add your standards suggestions as comments below…

Lessons for K-12 from the Best Preschools in the World

When: Session One: Saturday 10:00am–11:30am
Where: Room 208
Who: Gary S. Stager Ph.D.
Affiliation: The Constructivist Consortium
The Reggio Emilia Approach represents some of the deepest richest thinking on the establishment of learning environments, the role of the teacher as a researcher charged with uncovering the thinking of learners and authentic problem solving over the past fifty years. The presenter has studied the approach here and in Italy, will discuss how elements that make the Reggio Emilia Approach so special, share gorgeous books and videos from Italy and discuss how this approach needs to be culturally sensitive, but may inform the teaching of any discipline at any age.

The session will also share examples from American popular culture, including the DIY movement and how accomplished experts “teach” in a similar fashion as an invitation for discussion about our own teaching and learning.

Conversational Practice:

The presenter will share the subtle, beautiful, powerful ideas behind the Reggio Emilia Approach; discuss how it is not a formula; share videos, artifacts and books from and about Reggio Emilia; and present examples of Reggio-like teaching and learning from our popular culture. Participants will explore the materials and discuss how powerful ideas of deliberate materials, teacher are researcher, beauty, children with special rights, the 100 languages of children, classrooms as 1,000 laboratories and meaningful project-based learning could be applied to make their teaching context more productive for learning.

Register for Educon 2.3 – January 28-30, 2011 – Philadelphia, PA

corporatesce200 This weekend, January 29-31, I will be in America’s winter vacationland, Philadelphia, to participate in a timeless tradition, the annual running of the bull at Educon.

Here are the two “conversations” I’ll be leading at this year’s Educon:

20x20pixelStager Certified Educators Executive Programgirlsce200

Play your cards right and you can leave this intensive, immersive, engaging and transformative session a Stager Certified Educator, complete with I.D. card, certificate of awesomeness (suitable for framing) and web badge for use on your blog or web site. Some educators don’t achieve this much over a lifetime, but you may in less than 90 minutes! You will also gain a greater sense of the issues, ideas and expertise a 21st Century educator needs in order to create more productive contexts for learning. Resources for post-certification learning will be shared.

Session One– Room 204  (10:00 – 11:30 AM)20x20pixel


Papert Matters: Thinking About Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas

Seymour Papert’s work has defined the frontiers of education for 40+ years. Gary will share what Papert’s ideas mean for the future of learning through personal anecdotes, Papert’s words and video clips.

Session Four – Room 204 (10:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

20x20pixelCheck the Educon web site to find out how you can participate in these sessions virtually from your parent’s basement via Eluminate.