I’m sitting at home, after a 2-day adventure at #ECOO13 (The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario‘s 2013 Conference, “Bring IT Together“), trying to process all of the fantastic learning from crazy-good keynotes, an amazing variety of sessions, and fun times with educators who I had the chance to meet “f2f”.
Before going any further, I must take the time to thank Jenni Scott-Marciski, who agreed to present with me. It was such a pleasure to experience #ecoo13 with a great friend and colleague! Our session, “Breaking the Mold: Using Technology to Help Introverts Share Their Thoughts in School“, was our way of helping others to understand the needs of those who think & work differently than the extraverted norm. If you are curious, please follow the link, explore, and feel free to comment.
*An additional thank-you to those who attended our session. You were an incredible audience — your participation and feedback helped to encourage and motivate us. To the lady who we met later that evening & said “Hey! It’s the introverts!”, not only did you make us laugh, but you provided us with a great way to remember our day.
Amber MacArthur provided a fantastic keynote on Thursday morning. Her enthusiasm for using technology and social media was both entertaining and educational — take a look at her tips:
A: Adapt quickly
B: Be Responsive (think about real-time social media)
C: Create Value (it’s one thing to use technology, but think about what you’re *doing* with it)
As Jenni & I began attending a variety of sessions on Thursday, we quickly realized how overwhelming this kind of conference can be. There were simply so many great sessions, and it was difficult to choose just one to attend at a time.
Grant Hutchison provided some helpful tips for educators who wish to experiment with MIT’s App Inventor. I’ll admit, I’m still wrapping my head around this material, but it is my goal to create my own app one day — if only to help my students analyze art works with a bit more ease.
Just after lunch, it was time to absorb some of the thought-provoking ideas presented by Dean Shareski, John Malloy, and Brian Harrison. I truly appreciate some of the points raised, that encouraged educators to extend beyond their comfort zones while keeping web wisdom in mind.
Some points to ponder:
- what have we tried, and it “didn’t take”?
- where did we go wrong, what mistakes have we seen?
- ”Sometimes those who are most skilled, scare me” (John Malloy) How do we provide a culture where we create better conditions within schools & learning environments? How much risk is allowed to be taken?
Thursday night’s Photowalk was so much fun! We bundled up and enjoyed an evening stroll along the falls, learning photography tips from each other and playing with a variety of camera settings and apps.
Take a look at this fabulous falls photo by Peter Beens:
Jaime Casap challenged Friday morning’s crowd to question our use of technology. Is it time to take a step back and get a better sense of that which we may take for granted?
“Education disrupts poverty. It can change a family’s destiny in one generation.” ~ Jaime Casap
Jaime did not focus on technology. He emphasized the importance of education. Technology is a tool to help us educate our students. We’ve been relying on the promises of new technology to revolutionize education. But we have to be the ones to revolutionize education. If we rely on technology to do the hard work, it will be empty, change won’t occur, and we’ll keep hoping someone/something else will do what we need to have done.
Our kids don’t recognize technology in the same way that we don’t recognize electricity. We don’t walk into a room & say “oh wow, look at these lights!”
If we are going to change education, we should change our expectations for ourselves as well. If change is going to occur, we can’t be guaranteed to have success with each step we make. Jaime encouraged us to focus on iteration, which might be more useful than our recent emphasis on the importance of failure to learn. Think of golf: does each shot reflect failure, or a step closer to our goal? (well, my game might reflect a bit more failure than most…)
Peter Skillen, Brenda Sherry, Kim Gill, Euen OConnor and Jeff Pelich prepared a hilarious performance called “The Edu-Apprentice“. Not only did the session serve to entertain, but the actors and actresses helped the audience realize the importance of collaboration as well as the proper use of technology in our classrooms. Bravo!
Friday afternoon’s keynote with Kevin Honeycutt had to be one of the most emotionally-charged presentations I have ever heard. I was so enthralled by his personal stories and the relevance of good teachers that I had to force myself to try to keep the occasional note. More than once, I was moved to tears.
“Stop being secret geniuses. Live out loud.” ~ Kevin Honeycutt
What are we doing to support our students? How do we nurture their creativity? How do we encourage them to realize their strength and potential? Do they know how important they are?
Emotion cements learning. How do your students feel with you?
Share the joy of learning with your students. Open up new worlds for them. Support them on their way there.
Thank you so much to those who organized this fabulous event. #ECOO13 encouraged hundreds of educators to challenge their thinking, to improve their practice and to broaden their horizons, all for the sake of the students who learn from us.
A few extra pics I don’t want to lose: