Today’s theme for me was connecting, conversation and inspiration!
I started my day with an #EduMatch meetup. #EduMatch is a great group of folks with a goal of connecting educators! Getting together for a meetup lunch today was nothing short of incredible. First, we were in a very cool place – Spaghetti Warehouse – that had a train car inside the restaurant. Secondly, educators from around the world joined together to celebrate book releases and the work so many have been doing for the group.
After that, a quick walk back while dodging raindrops brought me to the #Ignite sessions. These are short, focused, often inspirational sessions with a specially timed deck of slides. The ballroom was beautiful and packed! The audience filled every seat and space on the floor.
I love that ISTE included students in the ignites this year. One student, Pablo talked about how he wanted to join his schools stem club, but it was only for 5th and 6th graders…and he was in 2nd. So he started his own club at his house. Another, Curran, talked about how much he wanted to be a connected kid in a connected classroom….but he wasn’t. So he attended conferences with his mom, built a community of #digcitkids and advocates for student voice.
The theme of all of these student speakers (and there were more) was that they were all students who wanted more than their schools were giving them. These kids had connections – their moms and dad are educators so they have opportunities that their school is not providing. How many of our kids are in the same boat but don’t have that chance. We can’t keep doing this to students – they are ready for more and we havE a responsibility to them.
Finally, my friend Sarah Thomas (founder of EduMatch) had the opening keynote ignite – Are We Learning to Teach or Teaching to Learn? Of course she rocked it. She talked about how we are connected to our PLN (or PLF … Personal Learning Family) and that sustains and grows us!
We ended the day with a keynote by RadioLab’s Jad Abumrad. What a great message about how we can push through discomfort, sit with the discomfort, keep working and producing… to find the new possibilities that exist beyond. What an important idea to help our students understand and practice, too!
Before I made it back to my hotel, I jumped on a shuttle bus and ended up sharing a seat with a principal from NV who has been on a similar journey in her middle school as we’ve been on in our pyramid. Doing the work of a real shift in teaching and learning with a computer for every child is hard. Knowing others in the same boat that you can talk with and ask advice from and problem solve and celebrate is critical to success! It was fabulous to connect with Paula Naegle and I look forward to more great conversation!