Sunday, March 7, 2010

Preaching to the Choir

One of the criticisms of educational technology events, like EduCon, TEDxNYED, ISTE, etc. is that Keynote speakers and session presenters are "preaching to the choir" of like-minded people.

Is this necessarily a bad thing?

Away from the heady atmosphere of conferences, with their innovations and energy, many digitally-comfortable educators find themselves back in their home school districts, a lonely minority. Sometimes it is the encouragement received, and the connections made, at tech-infused gatherings that inspires teachers to keep working towards the changes they believe are key to students' success in learning.

Knowing that there are other members of the Choir is a comfort and an inspiration.

"Musically, of course, what better way to learn than to perform something at the very highest possible level...if these students the typical choir concert, that's not the same as being onstage in one of the world's most important halls and seeing how it works." -Patrick Gardner

"choir boys" by Leo Reynolds


elizabethtweets said...

I had never thought of the performing for peers at the "highest level" approach when considering things that "preach to the choir". It's a compelling idea.

That being said, I guess the choir *was* in the room at TEDxNYED, but with social media the message is certainly spreading far beyond that, and lots of conversations are happening in blogs, twitter, etc.

I was really excited to see some of these conversations and hope that it will lead to change.

diane said...


I liked your posting on TEDxNYED. The idea of such a conference as a gateway rather than a destination is a compelling one.

Heidi Pence said...

There are different reasons to attend conferences. Preaching to the choir is one way to think of it. Obviously participants have an interest in the topic or why else would they be there? If divergent ways to think about the focus are presented then the conference has made attendees think about the topic. Most people that attend conferences want to connect with others that are like minded. No matter what the conference is, they then go back to their the job, feel a sense of renewal and less alone in the work environment. Connection is what it is often about. Education is an isolating profession by its nature.