#VSTE15 Reflections

Last weekend I attended the Annual Conference of the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) in Roanoke, VA.  I joined hundreds of my colleagues from around the state at the beautiful Hotel Roanoke for 3 days of incredible connections and learning.

I love the format of a rolling start on Sunday – some attendees headed down Saturday evening, others (like me, afraid to miss a session!) drove in early Sunday morning, and still others joined later in the day.  We jumped right in with great sessions, conversations & networking, and lunch!

These conferences feed my need for professional learning and relationship building.

I was able to meet educators I’ve been working with over Twitter and Voxer – we are friends already after the collaboration on these platforms but it’s great to meet with a hug!  We had a space in the #makerspace area with a giant whiteboard where we added our Twitter handles and blog addresses.  How powerful to build & strengthen these connections around our great state!

Monday morning’s keynote, delivered by Dean Shareski was so important!  We talked about JOY! What happened to joy in our schools and how can we be purposeful in returning it to our students.  Some of the big takeaways for me were the need for laughter and the need to wonder.  You can watch Dean’s keynote here.

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Sessions that I attended were overwhelmingly positive and helpful! I LOVED our #HourOfCode kickoff party and the time I spent in the makerspace (google cardboard, more robots than you can imagine, a silhouette, 3d printers, light sabers and more!)!  These were some of my favorite times working (and LAUGHING) with other educators!

We were learning more than I could take in in each and every session. I tweeted, followed the presenters and then looked through my notes to create some sketchnotes when I returned home.  Spending time talking with colleagues, sharing what we learned in sessions we attended (we used the divide and conquer method to learn as much as we could). I attended several sessions about #FutureReadySchools and 1:1 initiatives since I’m now on a team working on this concept within our district.

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Additionally I presented with my buddy, Sam Wightman!  We led a (standing room only) session about taking control of your own PD with social media. The participants in our session were so engaged, asking fabulous questions and tweeting out incredible notes and questions, engaging with each other and the folks we suggested.  It shows that there is a need for professional development that meets the needs of teachers.  Want to know more?  Check out our resources here!

I hope that all educators can get to at least one professional conference to build and strengthen these connections! This is what makes our craft stronger!

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