Monday, May 12, 2014

Learning and Sharing in Spain and Canada

Repost from my contribution to Mindshare Learning Report, May 2014 edition:

In the past two months I’ve had access to some amazing professional learning. Here are some highlights from my travels around Canada and the world!

March started off with a bang when I flew to Barcelona, Spain, with my colleague and best friend Leah Obach, to attend Microsoft in Education Global Forum. This 4-day event brought together 1100 teachers, school leaders, and education leaders from 75 countries. Leah and I were there to share our collaborative project, Little Hands Extended. We attended fantastic keynote sessions, participated in a 24 hour Learn-a-thon where we developed innovative projects with teachers from all over the world, and celebrated at a gala evening. To learn more, view my video and check out the Microsoft Educator Network! 

 I was home for two weeks, then it was off to National Congress on Rural Education in Saskatoon, SK. My school principal, Brenda Masson, and I presented on our Smart Start Kindergarten program, and took in some terrific professional learning sessions. Highlights included: Jade Ballek and Terry Epp’s session on 21st century learning competencies clearly detailed how their school division is putting pedagogy first. They shared some terrific resources on 21st learning and innovation, connecting through Skype in the Classroom, and using infographics in education.

Kimberly Schonert Reichl’s keynote presentation on educating the heart and mind to develop emotional intelligence shared important connections to academic and interpersonal success. She encouraged teachers to access video resources from the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, teach mindfulness with the Mind Up! Program from the Hawn Foundation, and infuse social-emotional learning throughout curricula with resources from CASEL.

April brought a fantastic ed tech conference in my home province of Manitoba. Manitoba Teachers’ Society’s Awakening Possibilities gave Leah Obach and I the opportunity to share about project-based learning and the tech tools that support it, while taking in some inspiring sessions. Steve Dembo set the tone for the conference with his keynote message that encouraged teachers and schools to take pride in being first. Dembo stated that cutting edge, innovative teachers and schools are often regarded as crazy but we should wear that crazy label like a badge of honour—the rest will come around soon enough! Dembo also shared some fun and useful tech tools, such as 1 Second Everyday app.
Attending Kathy Cassidy’s session Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades was an excellent reminder of how ICT tools coupled with strong pedagogy create and support digital learners. Blogs, Twitter, and Skype are Kathy’s go-to tools, and digital citizenship is interwoven throughout learning experiences. Mystery Number Skype, blogging to create digital portfolios, movie-making, and shared reading of blog comments/tweets develop important numeracy and literacy skills in Kathy’s Grade 1 classroom. Kathy suggested Edublogs and Kidblog as two great tools for early years teachers interested in blogging with their students.

Other great takeaways from Awakening Possibilities:
* Nadia Nevieri explained how her school has revitalized morning announcements with engaging video announcements. Learn more here!
* Erin Clarke presented on the many uses of Instagram in early years classrooms 
* Raman Job shared iPhone photo tips and tools: Haiku Deck for presentations, Snapseed and Tangled FX for editing pics, Touch Blur to protect student privacy, and Quipio and Phonto for creating and sharing text over images (memes/quotations).

Chris Lehmann, founding principal of the Scientific Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, ended two incredible days of learning with a riveting closing keynote. His most important points that I felt compelled to tweet:
* Collaboration means doing things differently because we are doing them together.
* Technology should be like oxygen. Ubiquitous, invisible, and everywhere.
* A vision without a plan is nothing more than a hallucination.

And now comes the challenging part—sifting through all these wonderful ideas and tools and deciding how I will use them to affect change in my classroom and school community! Off to Riding the Wave of Change in Gimli, Manitoba, this week, so stay tuned as I tweet from that conference.

No comments:

Post a Comment