This summer, I got to attend three amazing professional development opportunities.
- iPadpalooza in Austin, TX - June 17-19, 2014
- Podstock in Wichita, KS (& LaunchMe as a preconference in Hutchinson, KS) - July 14-18, 2014
- EdTechTeacher's ETTSummit in Chicago, IL - July 28-30, 2014
Why were they amazing? Simply because of the incredible keynote speakers, presenters, and attendees who were at each one. What they all had in common was a true passion for their profession. These educators were hungry for ideas, tools, inspiration, and anything else that might enrich the valuable time their students spend in their classrooms.
Notice I did not say "make their lives easier!" On the contrary, Will Richardson, author of Why School?, reminded us during his inspirational #ettsummit keynote that us educators must be "more confused than ever," and that we should be uncomfortable, yet inspired. After all, how much do we change while feeling comfortable right where we are? He sounded a loud alarm I wish all teachers could have heard.
During Todd Nesloney and Jennie Magiera's keynotes (Podstock & ETTSummit respectively), I heard heart-warming, tear-jerking, and throat-lumping story after story about the incredibly rich lives of their students. These academic leaders are making huge differences in each life they touch. Their students and their students' families are extremely fortunate to have them in their daily lives.
Stopping by Apollo 13 to pose with Kevin Honeycutt at the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center in "Hutch," Kansas
Kevin Honeycutt and I became buddies. At least I'd like to think so ; ) Not only did I learn a great deal of pointers, suggestions, and ideas during LaunchMe, I also got to just hang out, shoot the breeze, have the BEST BBQ in KS, and even meet his family & oh-so-fabulous keeper, Brenda. I'll be forever grateful for the kindness he showed me from the moment he unexpectedly picked me up at the airport close to midnight, to letting me drive his FAST & furious Camaro, and, of course, co-presenting A Year Through Google Glass with me at Podstock!
Kevin's awesomeness did not stop there. He was the closing keynote speaker at iPadpalooza which I attended with four of my colleagues from St. Stephen's. At the end of his engaging, fun, and emotional close to an amazing conference, I turned to my co-workers and asked, "So, did I make the right decision in asking Kevin to keynote Miami Device?" I received speechless and enthusiastic nods from the four seats next to me.
The opening keynote speaker for iPadpalooza was none other than TED speaker and award winner, Sugata Mitra. Again, although there were close to 2,000 educators and administrators in the auditorium, I couldn't help but think about all the ones who were not there to hear his insightful words and see his inspirational works.
If I had to condense the messages shared by these keynote speakers and the other great session presenters it would be this:
- How we educate our children MUST change... NOW!
- Technology and all it brings to the table (good and bad) cannot be ignored. It's here and it's only the beginning.
- Rather than asking, "What did you learn today?" parents should be asking, "What did you make today?"
- It's every teacher's responsibility as a professional to be involved in this #EdReform dialogue.
- If the hashtag above made you uncomfortable, good! Now get over it and open a Twitter account & learn how to use it with this app.
- The above points cannot happen fast enough.
Every one of these conferences was unique and extremely valuable. I took notes at each one keeping Miami Device in mind so that it too will meet the high standards set by Carl Hooker, Kevin Honeycutt, Tom Daccord and their respective teams! Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen, on three jobs very well done!
The last but probably most important sentiment I want to express is gratitude. I thank my amazing Head of School, Silvia Larrauri, for being a visionary leader who believes in the value of great professional development. Our teachers at St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School are extremely fortunate to not only have her support, but also the that of our entire administrative team and Board of Trustees. Thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts!
Below is a word cloud with many (but not all) of the phenomenal educators I listened to, exchanged ideas with, learned from, and even literally walked in their shoes.
@web20classroom, @SAtechnoChic, @thomasdaccord, @RafranzDavis, @wfryer, @classroom-tech, @joangore, @sjgorman, @techgirljenny, @kevinhoneycutt, @mrhooker, @TechChef4U, @timlauer, @Sugatam, @active4learning, @shareski, @MathyCathy,
@mryenca, @andrewtwallace, @GingerLewman, @edventures, @TechNinjaTodd, @shirky17, @gregoconnor, Barbara~Landsberg, @BDruecker, @AnibalPachecoIT, @TechMinock, @Techbradwaid, @akbusybee, @HollyClarkEdu, @TheTechRabbi, @brholland, @msmagiera, @ShawnMcCusker, @GregKulowiec, @sammorra, @MathletePearce, @askMsQ, @bjfr, @willrich45, @ShannonSoger, @MaineSchoolTech, @gephillip, @ipadqueen2012, @otuspete