I'm sitting by a fireplace in the beautiful Mills Falls resort in Meredith, NH and reflecting over today's LESCN
conference. In the morning Tony Baldasaro (@baldy7) started us off in his keynote by challenging us to think about many aspects of learning in today's classrooms. Why do we sort and label students? By scores, by age, by predetermined paths? Learning should be personal and individualized he said. He used a visual example from Flicker of Desire Paths (www.flicker.com/groups/desire_paths/) to demonstrate how humans want to follow their own desire path more than the ones we force them to. He also discussed the importance for educators to model building a positive digital footprint for students to follow in creating their own. He showed the example of one fathers digital message to his daughter in the "Google Chrome: Dear Sophie" video at tinyurl.com/3bomjbx. I left his very well spoken keynote full of inspiration and ideas about a connected participatory society that our students are growing up in.
I also attended a session on gaming in education. Here I was presented with some new tools to try and followed some great discussions both in the session and on Twitter before heading on to co-present a session with Jenn Middaugh (@jmiddaugh) on "20 ways an iPad Can Be a Strong Educator Tool". I was happy to find I had learned something in my own session as Jenn modeled the apple TV tool being controlled wirelessly by multiple iPads. Then an educator in the audience shared an app that connects the ipad wirekessly to a projector turning it into a document camera named Board Cam. Neat stuff!
At the end if the day, I had the great honor of introducing Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal) at his end of the day Keynote. Patrick covered many concrete examples relative to current trends in educational technology. He showed how the 1:1 iPad program has impacted his school. He also let us see how his student tech team worked. What a great concept.... Student technology integration teams that earn a class credit. I love it! He played additional examples of 21st century learning to include a student video project on the importance of digital citizenship. All great examples of innovations in learning.
At the end of the day, I sat filled with new ideas, tools and views on technology in education. As I later sat by a warm fire in a quiet part of the Millsfalls.com resort where the conference took place, I reflected on what was the overall biggest thing I took away from the event. Looking back over all of the examples, discussions and ideas I encountered, I believe the biggest impression on me was the importance of educators having opportunities like this one to connect, explore, play and share with one another. There is so much value in the ability to connect and share with fellow educators but add on the ability to explore and play while making these connections and it becomes something powerful. Thank you to Patrick, Tony, Amy Cantone and everyone else that made our LESCN event such a great one and I look forward to connecting, learning, and sharing with each you in the very near future.