Friday, October 17, 2014

Pirates, Vacation, and Makey Makey

The first day of the Indiana Connected Educators (ICE) conference was a fabulous experience! Several districts and the Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearning have combined to make our state a leader in education technology, with many inexpensive opportunities for teachers and other educators to learn from nationally-renowned tech stars.

Consider the line up for this year's conference:
-Sylvia Martinez
-Leslie Fisher
-Dave Burgess, AKA Talk Like a Pirate
-Kevin Honeycutt

Throw in two breakfasts, two lunches, free wireless and parking--- all for $100? (and presenters attend for free)  No wonder more than 400 people registered. My primary reasons to attend: ICE helps you experience the same joy of learning that you hope students will, and I get to see lots of friends!

Some of my media specialist friends at ICE. AISLE had great representation 
Photo courtesy of Michelle Green
Although I participated in the eLearning book club with Sylvia Martinez's Invent to Learn and have been in webinars where she presented, seeing her in person really helped me realize more of the impetus and reach of the "Maker Movement".

Buzz saw?  Whirlwind?  Psycho?  No-- it's Dave Burgess!
I've read the book, been in multiple chats... but nothing can compare to seeing Dave Burgess in person. My main take away when I read his book was that teachers should not be afraid to be different, to "go out on a limb" to be memorable, and entertaining to students.  The level of engagement in his presentations was phenomenal, and you could sense teachers thinking of ways they could adapt lessons.  I was so excited to see Dr. Nancy Steffel of the University of Indianapolis, who brought all of her junior and senior preservice teachers to this conference, and had them sitting in the front row for Burgess's keynote.  What better way for future teachers to prepare!

One of the best things about attending: the learning and connections continue. There are so many opportunities through ICE and the IDOE Office of eLearning. Whether it's the Thursday night twitter chats or other programs, it is easy to find encouragement and support.  ICE has been during my fall break the past few years, and fits nicely with what I want to experience on a vacation: enjoyment, time with friends, learning new things.  I rarely go anywhere over break, but if I do, I plan around being able to attend ICE.  It's disappointing to me that some educators think of it as "giving up" their vacation.  There's no hassle of lesson plans, having a sub, and I think districts might more easily be able to come up with a mere $100 for this wonderful experience. It could also be that many classroom teachers don't realize this exists, as they are rarely sent outside their districts for PD anymore.

And best yet-- I get to come back today!

This year's ICE includes an extensive Maker Space.
As with students, it seemed like the 3D printers drew the largest crowds.

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