If you have not yet been to an EdTechTeam Summit in or near your area, quite simply you do not know what you are missing. I have now been to three Summits and I have enjoyed each of them in their own way and brought so many ideas, tips, tricks, tools, apps, and so many other things back with me for my own use as well as to share with other educators. I attended the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Summit on June 15-16 at Sioux Falls Christian Schools. My friend, Kristin Mulder who is the Technology Integration Director for the school, worked with the EdTechTeam to plan an amazing conference for about 205 attendees. We were honored with some excellent speakers from the EdTechTeam and other local presenters to provide us some tremendous summer tech training.
Our Spotlight Speaker was Dominique Dynes and the other great EdTechTeam speakers were Sandra Chow, Mark Hammons, and Jay Atwood. Mark, Sandra, and Dominique gave the keynotes, each with a wonderful message. While Mark had us rethinking the ‘noise’ of learning in our classroom and why we can’t be so quick to quiet our students, Sandra helped us think about our Solla Sollew and who our JoJo’s are in supporting us in our career and what we do as well as help us with ideas that we want to try in our classrooms. The closing keynote from Dominique Dynes encouraged us to think about our story and the risks we take. Don’t be afraid to take risks and not be afraid to fail. I’m sure many of us have heard the acronym, F.A.I.L. But in case you haven’t yet, it stands for First Attempt In Learning. Dominique asked us to share our stories and risks with the people at our table and tweet them out; it seemed like many people were courageous enough to share their stories and risks.
I attended some great sessions from the presenters. I picked up some great ideas from each presenter, but some of the great ones came from Mark Hammons with some excellent ideas for importing data into Google MyMaps and the additional things students can do. I knew I had to attend the Google CS First session that Sandra facilitated and I walked away with a strong foundation as I prepare my own coding class this coming school year.
At this year’s Sioux Falls Summit, I decided to submit two session proposals, Makerspace Madness and Google Expeditions. I had the honor and privilege to present those sessions to full rooms and some great attendees. I shared some ideas and resources about the makerspace concept and brought a bunch of tech resources to give the attendees plenty of time to play. And play they did! It was quite interesting to see people’s reactions and how they just dove into learning. In my Google Expeditions session, again I shared some ideas and resources as well as went through my own Google Cardboard site (New Google Sites). I brought with me about 32 VR headsets and we had some fun going through the Grand Canyon expedition. People had to share VR headsets so everyone could experience the great thing that is Google Expeditions. Hopefully, in the near future I can present at another Summit.
Attending tech conferences is so much fun! We get to meet other educators who want to learn more, we get to meet up with friends we may only see from time to time, and we get to learn new things and share things with others. What’s not to like about going to them? I often realize there’s a balance I have to find when I attend them. I want to look and listen during a keynote and a session. I also want to crack open my laptop and take some notes or even get my hands on the tool or site that’s being presented. I find that having my phone out with me and toggling back and forth between my camera (to take pics of the projected material) and Google Keep to help me easily and quickly take some good notes, which I can easily go through and import in Google Docs.
If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you can take to Twitter and post your ideas on how you find the right balance to follow along, take notes, and get your hands in the tool you’re learning. If you’re so inclined, let’s use the #geekynotes to share ideas. Be sure to include #edtechteam in there too so we can catch as many people as possible. Thank you for reading!
Hinton Community School
Technology Instructor | Technology Coach
GFE Certified Trainer
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