Keynote-Sir Ken Robinson "Creative Schools"
My personal highlight, and that of many others, was being able to hear Sir Ken Robinson speak about the importance of thinking outside of the box to meet the needs of all learners. His keynote focused on the Creative Schools movement and he shared many ideas from his book Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education. If you haven't watched his TED talk on Changing Education Paradigms, or wish to view it again, please feel free to check it out.
Blended Learning: It's This, Not That
Michigan Virtual University (MVU) sent two of their Instructional Design & Blended Learning coaches to share their experiences of consulting with educators on effectively blending their instruction. Their focus was on moving blended learning from simply putting links and assignments in an online platform (website, Google Classroom, etc) to creating full collaboration and student engagement. bit.ly/blendthis
I spent some time exploring and supporting the Maker Space area hosted by many of my EdTech Integration peers. The Makerspace integrated STEAM, Media, NGSS, coding, problem-solving, design-thinking, writing; so many wonderful layers of awesomeness! Take a video tour from my friend Joe Rommel @jrommel here: https://www.periscope.tv/w/1vAGRgMzOrjJl
METS (MI EdTech Specialists) PLN
Our METS (Michigan EdTech Specialist) PLN held an annual meet-up. Our annual Winter METS VirtuRally was held in February. The agenda and sessions that were held can be found here. bit.ly/metsvirt17 Feedback showed that the 2nd annual METS VirtuRally was hugely successful and furthered the learning of over 70 educators across the state, many who don't have the time nor funds to travel in order to meet their professional development needs. It is Personalized PD at it's finest!
Visual Notetaking "Sketchnotes" with Matt Miller
Matt Miller, educator and author of "Ditch that Textbook," presented the concept of Visual Notetaking focusing on sketching, words and structure. He highlighted different tools to demonstrate the power of this technique and then we practiced. Visual notetaking is a wonderful way to integrate technology in a higher-level manner that is amazingly engaging for students. In my literacy mind, this applies directly to improving comprehension. Many of our students struggle with visualizing for comprehension and this sketchnote strategy could greatly improve that in an engaging way. I have modeled the literacy strategy of Think, Draw, Talk, Write this year in order to improve comprehension, and this technique fits in perfectly across all content areas. One of his samples from the Sir Ken Robinson keynote is below and his presentation can be found here. http://ditchthattextbook.com/sketch/
Keynote-Jane McGonigal "Think Like A Futurist"-Gamification
This session was so entertaining. I had not heard of Jane prior to MACUL but am definitely a fan now. She is a "gamer" girl if ever there was one. She is an American game designer and author who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context. Her presentation has given me so much to think about, specifically on how gaming can impact the brain in a positive way, and that we as human were made to PLAY and explore our world. Her powerful TED Talk "Gaming can make a better world" from 2010 can be found here. https://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world
It was an incredible, innovative and cutting-edge conference as always! The larger themes were MakerSpaces, Media & Library sciences, STEM, Gamification, moving from simply putting devices into classrooms to the upper levels of SAM-R technology integration to the Modification and Redefine levels. Modification and Redefining instructional delivery through tech integration are no longer cutting edge, but rather are becoming the mainstream. My personal follow-up was to update my Inspired Integration website (formerly Everything Edtech) to reflect the literacy integration strategies I have put into place this year, and add a Media K-5 page sharing all of our awesome Media teacher's websites. Media teachers were once again the "rockstars" of MACUL. I think our Media teachers would benefit a great deal in attending along with our STEM teachers. I look forward to seeing how BCPS continues to embrace these innovations as we strive to meet the needs of all learners!