I just returned from eight days of learning, conferences, networking and great conversations! After attending the flipped learning conference, FLIPCON14, in my backyard in Mars, PA - I traveled to Atlanta for FUSE14, a design thinking conference, where I was a coach. Being around other educators as passionate about Design Thinking as me was amazing. I always think to myself... "man, if we could open a school!!!" Three Ellis teachers were there with me and seemed to enjoy the experience. As one of them said, "Lisa, these are your people." I took that as a huge compliment. I learned that many schools are working to create a culture to support inquiry, collaboration and connections to the community. It was also a privilege to coach along-side my #dtk12chat friends, be a part of the "live" #dtk12chat show at MODA, meet so many of my PLN in person for the first time and be inspired and motivated to continue this work by the great folks at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. I am looking forward to seeing several of them again next month at the Stanford d.School k-12 Lab Design Thinking Curriculum Summit. Check out some photos by Colin Lacey on Flickr.
After FUSE I moved to downtown Atlanta for the International Society of Technology Education (ISTE) International annual conference. I presented and helped run the MakerSpace and Agile Learning Environment playground with my friends from the ISTE Independent School Educators Network and MakerEd buddy Nathan Stevens who brought some amazing maker toys with him including littleBits and the 3Doodler. This was the best experience of the conference because of the 1:1 conversations I had and hands-on learning that was taking place. I loved answering the question: "what is the difference between edtech and MakerEd?" I was also an ISTE Conference Blogger where I wrote three posts for the ISTE Connects blog:
The ISTE conference can be overwhelming because it is so large but once you find your way around and the format of sessions that are right for you - it is a great experience. I did find many of the sessions focused on tools and would have liked to see more conversation and formal sessions about the learning.
I like to reframe "edtech" as one of many learning innovations and talk about how its a part of an active or student-centered approach to learning. It's essential that the technology leaders in schools know how to best support edtech as a part of a larger curricular approach where students can be creators and collaborators that can identify and solve problems and be critical thinkers and doers. To do that in the best way possible, "tech" leaders need to know about the "tools" but teachers need support with much more than that. How do you assess project based and flipped learning? Where to get started? Which lessons or portions of class to use with which teaching methodology?
As teachers re-define their roles in the classroom, I challenge edtech leaders to re-define their role as well. My role has certainly shifted from that of instructional & informational technologies to that of learning innovation where maker education, design thinking, community partnerships and technology merge to create active learning. I act as a coach not only about edtech but pedagogy and learning as well. Being a part of the revolution in learning requires evolution! The learning I have done over the last eight days has been tiring. Tiring in a good way that drives me to keep learning from others by gaining empathy, innovating and re-creating approaches to learning that best support kids and sharing my knowledge with others.