Thursday, July 30, 2015

E3Technology Conference: My Reflections (Day 2)

After a wonderful first day of learning about incorporating technology in education, I was looking incredibly forward to Day 2!

We began by listening to our keynote speaker, Shannon Miller.  As a teacher librarian, Shannon has had so many interactions with so many different students...and in one way or another she has equipped each of them to go after even their craziest dreams.  She had branded their school library "The Voice" because she kept reiterating how important it was for students to share their stories with their own personal voice.  I loved that the students in her building truly embraced that motto!  She showed us countless pictures, videos and news articles of students taking ownership of their education and making something unbelievable happen. One of my favorite stories she told was of a a student who showed great promise as a writer.  Shannon reached out to friends on social media and asked how to get this young lady in touch with a publisher.  Now, this girl spends lunch time skyping with her editor and publisher in New York City to discuss her four novels-in-progress. Thanks to Shannon I desired to dream bigger.

I then headed to what I knew would be a wonderful session by a Andy Streit.  He has earned the reputation in our district for his work with reinventing his curriculum in his 20th year of teaching to incorporate the corporation's move to 1:1 and becoming nearly entirely paperless in that time.  Obviously, he would be an ideal person to lead a session on Essential Apps for the 1:1 Classroom!  And, we were not disappointed.  Check out everything he taught us about here.  My favorite apps he demonstrated were Nearpod & Reflector (more to come on their uses later!).  Andy used the perfect blend of TONS of information but at a pace that allowed questions, real examples from the classroom and even some experimentation time.  Thanks to Andy I desired to dive in with less trepidation.

At lunch I had the pleasure of becoming more acquainted with two of the new teachers hired at my beloved Lakeview.  It was so encouraging to see experienced teachers already mentoring them, and also to see brand new teachers with the desire to learn, try new things and ask questions.  Lakeview is undergoing a ton of huge changes this year (new principal, 1:1 for the first time, over 10 new teachers hired, etc) but I am so confident that our students are in great hands!

After lunch, I learned how to make Excel my BFF with Amy Mencarelli.  Amy is the perfect person to teach me something intimidating like Excel.  She is upbeat, she is relaxed and informal, and she is incredibly knowledgeable.  That, mixed with a group of teachers who asked great questions, lent itself to a lot of applicable tips and shortcuts that I had never known before when using Excel. She showed me things like how to format multiple sheets at the same time (hello MUCH faster Cross Country Season Records!) and also how to concatenate (WHAT?! Excel is a genius robot!).  My mind also really benefited from big picture things ("Think of Excel as a much smarter calculator").  Thanks to Amy, I desired to be more efficient in the little things. 

The last session of Day 2 was my last presentation.  I had the honor of teaching 12 educators about the "Vast World of Twitter Chats."  You can read about the first Twitter Chat I helped to create, or some helpful resources I have found on Twitter as a teacher, as well as what my presentation description was at E3tech. We worked under the assumption that these educators were already on Twitter and knew the basics, but didn't feel like they were truly tapping into the resources others spoke of.  So, I taught them the basic "how-tos" of Twitter chatting as well as some of the best education chats out there to date.  But the last half of my presentation tried to focus on how student directed education Twitter chats are still few and far between.  I challenged them to think of how student learning in their content could be amplified with regular Twitter chats like #spanstuchat or #scistuchat.  I really hope that some of the teachers in that room experiment with reaching students via Twitter chats...I think they have huge potential! The Haiku Deck I used is here, as well as the Smore flyer I sent around with additional notes and links if you would like to look over exactly what we discussed.  Below, I included the mock Twitter chat we participated in during our session. You'll definitely want to follow these new "Tweachers"!

And once again, no prizes won for this Maestra :( BUT I left with a huge smile on my face due to all the transforming conversations that were had and the electric encouragement that is spread when so many inspiring educators are in the same place.

(This professional development opportunity brought to you by the Indiana Department of Education's Summer of eLearning.) *Applause*

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