Recently, I attended my first EdTechTeam Summit in Kitchener, Ontario. To say it was a great experience is an understatement. I was surrounded by passionate educators, amazing, hands-on workshops, and inspiring speakers. I walked away from the weekend feeling mentally exhausted but invigorated, with so many cool ideas percolating in my brain.
Before attending the summit, I had made it a goal to tweet out my real time sketchnotes of the keynote and Spark speakers’ big ideas. Sketchnoting is a newly discovered passion for me. Last summer, I took an AQ course with Brenda Sherry entitled “Integration of Computer and Information Technology in Instruction” and was given the task of following a connected educator. I chose to follow Sylvia Duckworth and discovered sketchnoting. I immediately felt a connection to sketchnoting because I had always taken notes with careful, deliberate fonts and drawings as a way to really digest information. In the sketchnoting community, I felt that I had found my people. A highlight for me at the Summit was meeting Sylvia in real life and letting her know that she had been such an influence on me. It was pretty amazing to have my inspiration look through my sketchbook - #geeking out!
While reflecting on my take away messages from the weekend, an important theme emerged for me: who are today’s learners and what do they need? As an educator, I am constantly challenging myself to think critically about my own experience with education. I think that many of us have the impulse to romanticize the way that we were taught because, after all, it worked for us. However, we have to be cautious not to fall into the “kids these days” trap. There will always be generational differences, but it’s counterproductive to be nostalgic for the days when students weren’t “glued to their phones”. As we were reminded in Holly Clark’s talk, every generation will have their own version of “when I was your age”. Students today have their own set of strengths and challenges that we need to be responsive to as educators without being judgmental. How will we adapt our practice to fit the needs of Generation Z learners? As evidenced throughout the weekend, sound pedagogy will only be enhanced and transformed by our growing bank of digital tools. Kristin Phillips sums it up best with her message, “try something new; no one will die!”
Want to have your own summit experience like Sally? Join us at one near you!