The Maine state ACTEM conference is always one of the highlights of autumn. I get to re-connect with old friends, learn from new ones and overall have a great time.
This year I had the privilege of watching one of my students present on his own. His session was, Students as Tech Support and he had about 40 educators from around the state join him to discuss the benefits of having students provide technical support to teachers and the school.
I was particularly glad that the audience took him seriously. I've been in situations before where the adults in the room couldn't bring themselves to challenge the students presenters or ask them hard questions, but this crowd was invested in learning from him. They wanted to know specifics of how they could implement something similar.
One questioner was Ed Brazee who wanted to know how students supported each other as well as working with their teachers. I think one of the most notable exchanges came from Markus Ford who asked Kris, "What about those students who use this as an opportunity to abuse the situation?" (I'm paraphrasing) Kris responded with something that I think encompasses a lot of how I feel about technology in education, "You have to trust the kids." I know there are times when that trust will be broken, and you deal with those situations accordingly, but if you start from a place of mistrust - you're going to get what you give. If the assumption is that we're all going to work on this together, students and teachers, than it's ultimately a matter of trust.