Today we kicked off The EVSC eRevolution in Evansville, IN. This is my school district's anual technology conference. It started off the year our high schools went 1:1 and has grown over the last 3 years. This is our 4th conference but for the first time we opened it up to others outside our district.
These are just some thoughts from day 1 as I unwind!
I personally checked in over 200 people as they arrived at the conference. I loved the instant energy that I felt as these teachers walked through the doors. It's always exciting to see educators come ready to share and learn!
Being a connected educator:
The first session I presented today was about being a connected educator. Tom Whitby and Kristin Daniels joined us through a Google+ hangout. We had a great discussion with our attendees about what it means to be connected, why we should be connected, and how to become connected. Tom has so much passion about connecting people. I enjoyed watching people immediately sign into the Educators' PLN Ning and sign up while he was talking. Kristen has a great story about how she first joined twitter, tweeted once, and didn't tweet for about two more years. Then she started following a hashtag at a conference and discovered the power of becoming a connected educator.
Sessions like this always help me to see that more and more teachers are no longer the keeper of knowledge but the connector or knowledge.
Keynote with Will Richardson
There is so much I could say here that this probably deserves it's own post at some point and time. First of all, Will is a great person and just a lot of fun to be around. I had the pleasure a few months back of interviewing Will for a blog post and I got to spend some time with him the night before the conference. He is passionate about not just making education better but making it different.
A few thoughts from Will's keynote:
There were technical issues (figures) and we never did get his slides up on the projector. However, he handled it like a pro and gave his presentation flawlessly!
We have to look at what our endgame is for public education. If all we are concerned about is passing test then we need to seriously rethink school.
How do we define learning? Ask 50 people that question and you'll get a wide variety of answers but most of what we define as learning isn't assessed on standardized test.
"If we don't assess what we value, then we'll end up valuing what we assess" - Will Richardson
Educators need to be able to Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn.
Learn: Teachers must be seen as learners. Do our students know how we learn?
Unlearn 3 things: Curriculum delivery, assessments, and competition.
Relearn: Curriculum is everywhere, try an "open network" assessment, and cooperate!
"I want my children to be found by strangers online." - Will Richardson
Will was speaking to the fact that when you get connected you learn from people all over the world.
Brian Bobbitt and I did a session about screencasting. It was fun to discuss with teachers about the many uses of screencasting. It's not just for flipclass and has many application.
I spent the rest of the day in our digital detox station. This is an area of the media center that was inspired by a blog post from John Spencer. It's pretty simple, plug in your devices into one of our charging stations, have a seat a table. The tables had plato, board games, origami, puzzles, and legos. I sat down with three other teachers, played with plato and just connected with these educators. It was the most relaxing part of the day and one of the most enjoyable parts of the day.
This is an exciting time to be an educator!
We have to be more than better, we have to be different.
We must continue to engage people (educators, parents, politicians and the community) in conversations about learning and the value of school.
The change that we need in education is not easy but it's not impossible.