Monday, March 3, 2014

The Many Faces of PD in Napa include the GAFESUMMIT!

Bio:  Sergio Villegas works as the Educational Technology Coordinator in a joint partnership between the Napa County Office of Education and NapaLearns.  Connect with him on twitter at @coach_sv or join him for a Google Hangout at +sergio villegas. The next California event is the 3rd Annual EdTechTeam Flagship California Summit! July 19th and 20th in Palo Alto, California.


Working in the Napa Valley (the town that I grew up in), I have noticed a curious formula emerge around Professional Development in my region:

Progressive School Districts + Organizations Dedicated to Promoting Progressive Ideas + A Beautiful Place to Visit = LOTS of Educational Conferences.

Educators in Napa can roll out of bed and join the following opportunities to learn and grow:  Buck Institute’s PBL World (summer), The NewTech Network West Coast PBL conference (summer), FallCUE conference (Oct), North Bay CUE miniCUE events (Fall/Spring), Napa Valley Education Exchange (May), CUE Rock Star Napa (Feb), and this does not even include a host of Free EdTech Dinner events (twice monthly) that my own County Office of Education puts on!


So when I meet some folks from EdTechTeam at ISTE this summer, (after begging and pleading with them and maybe a few glasses of wine) I was able to convince them that 50,000 EdTech Fans can’t be wrong and #gafesummit Napa would be a great place to hold a mid-year Bay Area event...and it was! 



The EdTechTeam model for Summits really shined at NewTech High School.  I love the way they schedule in 30 minute break between sessions to allow people to decompress, chat with presenters (which everyone should do more of btw...we all LOVE sharing!), and share with each other the best of the ideas they all just learned.  New Tech High School has one of the most enviable common areas you will ever see at a high school and there was a spot of magic in the room as everyone convened around coffee, snacks, and ideas. You can relive the fun they did at the resources site for the event!


Although friends from around the Bay Area were sharing with me various compliments about the quality of the event, it was the reaction of my local Napa educators that has moved me to beg EdTechTeam (yet again) to be featured on their #gafesummit Blog. I'm joining the likes of Cate Tolnai who featured another California event, the Roseville Festival, just a week later in her own blog.
Educators in Napa are hard to impress since they indeed have seen it all (see opening paragraph) and to see 30+ of them say yes to sacrificing two days of their winter vacation (uncompensated) in order to feel like this for 7 hours a day, learning from/with presenters from the Bay Area and beyond, was a fantastic feeling.  Teachers actually thanking ME for making this happen, as if I had anything significant to do with making the event happen (see wine comment paragraph 2).  
My personal favorite was the promise from two principals (both of which have been realized) that they would be doing #slamsessions (a fun end to Day 1 where presenters come up to show 3-minute slams of cool uses of tools) as a regular part of their faculty meetings.  


#GAFEsummit Napa:  By the Numbers


1504 - miles traveled by a group from Oklahoma traveled that was the greatest distance traveled of the people that I spoke with over the week


478 - attendees at two day general event.


43 - presenters from the Bay Area and beyond


12 - Number of retweets and my favorite, my tweet mentioning this must-read (all of it)  reflection of the event written by Lisa DeLapo, who brought her students to present to teachers (seriously, why doesn’t this happen more?).


6 - Teachers that I personally reached out to and encouraged them to present (for the first time) and share the quality work they are doing with a bigger audience. #sharingmatters


5 - Teacher, Trainers, Leaders that Google generously allowed to come work with all of us for a few days.


3 - Number of Students that shared the “Demo Slam” stage (first ever student slam!)


1 - Thankful EdTech Guy in Napa trying to do his part to help all teachers become their own personal version of great.


Immeasurable:  Number of students/teachers that will be empowered by the simple addition of GAFE concepts like sharing to already existing great teaching.


TY EdTechTeam!

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