Friday began with a keynote from Ron Canuel of the Canadian Education Association. He reminded us that technology is an important portal for the imagination of teachers and that our students are on the other side of that portal. He also reminded us that students are the constant (age, neurological development) and that teachers are the variable. We need to be courageous for without courage, there can be no change.
I loved how the focus of Bring IT Together 2 was on pedagogy - how can we be better teachers? - and that the technology is there as a tool. As a result, the workshops were, for the most part, about improving our teaching by reaching their students where they are at and through their interests. I also loved how there was a workshop offered in French during each session. Not all of the French-language workshops were useful for me as a teacher in an English school but the opportunity to connect with other French-speaking teachers and to have workshops that were geared to the different needs of a French-language classroom were invaluable.
Lisa Noble presented some Web 2.0 tools that can be useful in the FSL classroom. In particular, I think I am going to give Padlet.com a try. I like that it allows for students to contribute to a class discussion and then to be able to reorganize those ideas.
I really appreciated Lisa Unger's presentation on Twitter as a tool to practice historical perspective. I think of all the workshops I attended the last few days, this is the one that I am most likely to implement in my class this semester. Lisa has her students take on the role of a Canadian teenager and then tweet about their experiences during the different time periods studied in the Grade 10 Canada since World War I course. It's too late for me to implement as a semester-long project, but I'm thinking that as a project for the post-war years, it has a lot of potential. You can check out her students' work here.
Rodrigue St-Jean & Josée Hébert presented a "Matrice d'intégration des technologies" to help French-speaking teachers integrate technology using the SAMR model. Lots of great examples for different types of learning situations (e.g. communicate, collaborate, etc.).
George Couros closed out the conference with an inspiring keynote on Leading Innovative Change. I've followed George on Twitter for years so it was a highlight for me to get to hear him speak.
A few highlights from his presentation:
- The smartest person in the room is the room.
- If you don't understand what a hashtag is / does, you are becoming illiterate.
- Seth Godin: Transformational leaders don't start by denying the world around them. Instead, they describe a future they'd like to create instead.
- Change is the opportunity to do something amazing.
- General Eric Shinseki: If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less.
- Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of great teachers can be transformational.
- To innovate, disrupt your routine.
- Take risks.
- Be uncomfortable.
- Share your ideas.
- Learning first, Technology second.
If you attended the conference, what is your takeaway from Bring IT Together 2?
|One last view of the Falls|