Promethean sponsored a great keynote address by Dr. Marzano on Tuesday. While this keynote address was not without some controversy his overall message and the majority of the details he presented were spot on. Even though Promethean's funding of his research and their sponsorship of his address at the conference infuses this research and message with a loaded bias the general message was sensible. What I came away with from his talk was that any teaching strategy done right will produce positive results and that technology can aide us in implementing these strategies and enhance positive outcomes. What matters is training and proper implementation.
Much of what Dr. Marzano said in this keynote validated what I already suspected and believed. However, nothing in his presentation indicated that a his findings would have been different had the teachers in his study only had a projector, nor did they compare results with 1:1 programs. The only mention he had of 1:1 was at the end when he said, "When asked whether we should spend money on Interactive Whiteboards or 1:1 laptops I say why not both?" This clearly indicates that he has no data yet that answers the question of what is better. The problem with this is for the price of an IWB a school could outfit at least five or six classrooms with projectors, set of netbooks, or iPod Touches. Presenting only the research on IWBs and not the others gives Promethean and SMART an advantage plus it may reinforce the teacher-centric model of instruction.
The most interesting thing that happened during this session was what was not happening in the session but on Twitter. Many of us at the conference were tweeting our notes. This gave people like @garystager and @jonbecker an opportunity for push-back even though they were not with us in Minneapolis. Their tweets certainly influenced the Q&A session that followed.
The following are some highlights from the twitter stream, it is full of tasty nuggets and juicy tidbits:
If you missed this keynote speech, here is the same speech given at CUE 2009: