Nerd Alert! Just spent an amazing two and a half days in Monterey at the California League of Schools 2018 Teaching with Technology Conference. #clstech2018 It was a first for me and did NOT disappoint!
It all began with the keynote by Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook, and amazing blogger, author, and a great advocate for change in the world of education. Matt’s message was packed with inspiration and motivation! I left with hands-on, practical ways to support students and teachers in their quest to become more innovative with technology in their classrooms.
Next on the agenda was Amplify ELD Students’ Voices with Flipgrid Video by Lisa Bieler. This session was packed full of fantastic ways to reach our ELD populations, which of course work just as amazing for ALL students! Flipgrid, if you haven’t already heard, is an incredible video discussion platform which provides students’ a voice and offers them a way to safely share ideas and experiences. If you haven’t heard it or tried it, be sure to check out Lisa’s resources for a free trial!
First session down and it was already SO good! Next it was my turn! My first session of two was The Flipped Classroom. I had serious #fangirl nerves from running into some of my FAV edtech superheroes and now I was setting up to present to a room full of amazing educators, but I was ready and excited! The Flipped Classroom is many things. The simplest definition is that student lessons are provided outside of the classroom so that they have time with their teachers to work on the more difficult, thought-provoking, problem solving, etc. type activities. This model is a HUGE time-saver in the classroom giving teachers the ability to move away from the front of the class allowing for a more student centered environment.
Lunch happened and then it was time for yet another amazing session, Get Your Jamboard On with Ryan Johnson a tech coordinator from Redding, California. Jamboard is the new interactive collaboration tool from Google. In Ryan’s words, “The Google Jamboard is an interactive whiteboard that brings collaboration to a new level. The Jamboard App is the newest Google Core Service that you can use in your classroom, and the first to be Android. Jamboard gives your students an interactive canvas to brainstorm, research, collaborate, design, or work together – the possibilities are endless!” Though there were MANY exciting features shared with our group, I am very excited about the possibility that this will work with our (Lodi Unified) latest tech purchases; the Promethean Panel with Active-G Box (Android device).
Time to present again! Next up, HyperDocs Homerun! I LOVE anything Google and HyperDocs offer SO much in the way of delivering innovative and engaging activities packaged with G Suite tools. In the HyperDocs Homerun I share why this method of delivery is so powerful with students, provide many incredible take-away examples ready for use right now in your classroom, and offer sound pedagogical reasoning for this style of lesson delivery. Please know you are welcome to open this resource, make a copy and use it any time you wish. Day 1 down! My bucket was already so filled with a combination of great session deliveries AND amazing attendees and I still had another day and a half! Now it was time for dinner and some much appreciated rest.
Saturday began with another powerful keynote by Monica Martinez, Creating Culture by Design. Monica is an incredible speaker who travels the world sharing her message on the importance of creating a “culture that embraces the life skills needed to be self-directed life-long learners”. Monica’s demeanor and message was moving and empowering and left me encouraged to practice the ideas she shared. Creating culture is an important part of learning! Community, school, and home are all important players!
Next on the list was none other than Ben Cogswell! (One of my fan girl moments.) Ben shared Close Reading the Internet: Developing Critical Thinkers. There were SO MANY nuggets in this session. With tech being ubiquitous our students have access to online resources 24/7. Do they have the skills to effectively “evaluate the sources in front of them” and at what age do we begin teaching them how to discern real from fake? In this day and age, it is important that students become responsible consumers of media. Ben offers user friendly, easy to teach methods to help us teach our students to be just that.
30+ Forgotten Buckets of Googlicious Awesomeness was up next with Michael Wacker. Seeings I LOVE everything Google, this session was simply perfection. Michael delivered above and beyond what we know Google can do with all the hidden gems and strategies for using them.
Needing a brain-break, my team and I headed to the App Lab. The 10th floor of the Monterey Convention Center that offered hands-on experience with the session materials we had been learning about. Here we played with Augmented Reality, 3-D printers, podcast equipment, drones, and more. It is so incredible how far technology has come and the impact it is now having in our classrooms.
Rested we were ready for the last session, Google on Tour: Empower Your Students with Tour Builder! by Natalie Valles. This session delivered! Though it was not the first time I had heard of Tour Builder, Natalie did an amazing job of sharing not just the “How?” of this tool, but also great examples of the different uses this tool will have in a classroom. I absolutely LOVE the idea of this tool as an engaging way to create a research report, but there are so many more! This was a perfect ending to our second day.
Tired for sure, but my bucket was full and overflowing by this Sunday morning. We had a dilemma. Unlike the other mornings, this one we chose to start slower. Our choice? A relaxed breakfast at the Wild Plum Cafe & Bistro; enjoying an incredibly tasty organic scramble and fresh brewed coffee served with real cream. Amazing food and exceptionally friendly staff… this one’s a keeper.
Last, but certainly not least, a Pear Deck session by Nick Park: Reaching 100% Engagement with Pear Deck. WOW! So again, this was not the first time I had heard of Pear Deck, but I had not really delved into its capacity in the past. Nick did a great job of sharing just how powerful Pear Deck is. In his words, “Pear Deck lets you bring presentations to life with formative assessments and interactive questions. Designed for 1:1 classrooms, Pear Deck takes presentations to the next level, letting you see, in real time, how each student in your class is doing. In this hands-on session we will let you experience the power of Pear Deck as both a student and a teacher. We’ll walk through how easy it is to 1) Add formative assessment questions right from Google Slides, 2) Manage your class and view student answers with the teacher dashboard, and 3) Capture student responses with our Google Classroom integration and Takeaways.” The best part? We walked away with a Free Pear Deck Premium Account! I can’t wait to get started.
#clstech2018 Definitely did NOT disappoint! Not only did I walk away with MANY resources aimed at “Creating Lifelong Learners” that I can now share, but left satiated and satisfied. My team and I had made new friends and connections for growing our PLN which we will take with us and continue to cultivate. Initially, I was nervous about attending and presenting at such a great conference, but loved the experience and for sure will return next year!