The ConnectEdCa Conference held in Calgary this past weekend (May 25-27, 2012) was my first Educational Technology confernce, but not my first PD. Out of the expereinces that I have had (which many have been great), the ConnectEdCa conference stood out amongst the rest. It was a chance to share and connect with the other “Lone Nuts” in the field of education. The weekend wasn’t about educators standing up and talking and preaching to the already converted. Instead, it was a collaborative conversation focused on the educators who share the passion for innovative ideas, and discussing emerging trends in education. Above all, educators who are wanting and willing to connect, share, and build relationships with folks from across Canada and the United States.
ConnectEdCa was three-days filled with sessions, networking and conversations with teachers, students, education leaders, and parents. The challenge with offering so many valuable sessions, it was difficult to choose which sessions to attend. To combat this issue and utilize the Twitterverse, we were asked to share in 140 characters or less in a Tweet using specific hashtags (#) to share with the other participants and other Twitter followers outside the conference. It was a great way to quickly process and reflect about what we were doing and still have a glimpse into the other sessions that were offered. From the tweets sent out the conversations continued (face-2-face in many cases) during the breaks. This is what I would like to share about what I took away from this weekend. The session descriptions that are in italic are directly from ConnectEdCa.org
Design-Based Thinking (Mark Szabo): Design Thinking refers to the methods and processes for investigating ill-defined problems, acquiring information, analyzing knowledge, and positing solutions in the design and planning fields. During this session Mark will share some practical classroom-ready strategies as the participants work through a hands-on, design-thinking situation.
The Education of iPads (Dan McWilliam, Lisa Nelson and Jody Pereverzoff): We would like to move the discussion beyond ‘apps’ and address the needs of the students to produce and create on the iPad in new and unique ways. The discussion topics will include: Where do the iPads fit in the classroom? Can the iPad replace the laptop in a 1-to-1 environment? How are we/you using the iPad in classroom? What is the future of mobile technology in the classroom?
Rekindling Curiosity (Michelle Baldwin): “Curiosity killed the cat.” This is a great point to remember for pet owners, but not so great for educators and schools. Children, now more than ever, should be curious explorers and discoverers in their own learning adventures. How are we encouraging curiosity in students?
Augmented Reality (Dan McWilliam): What is Augmented Reality and how can it be used in our schools? An introduction to some simple AR tools that can be used in any school from barcodes and QR codes, to markers, Auras and Layars. Participants will have a chance to use mobile devices to activate and create Augmented Reality content. We will also have a chance to discuss the future potential of AR in our classrooms.
Leadership Matters (Maureen Schlemko): This discussion will center around three guiding questions: What are the skills required to be an effective leader in 21st Century learning environments? What is the knowledge base required to be an effective leader? What supports need to be in place to assist leaders in facilitating effective learning environments?