Sunday, October 19, 2014

What's in a Name? ICE was Right to Change Theirs. Day Two Review

After the second and final day of the ICE Conference, I've taken some time to reflect on the overall experience.  It was an outstanding event! What really struck me is that the most moving, inspiring sessions really had little to do with computers or technology.  The keynotes from Dave Burgess (AKA Talk Like a Pirate) and Kevin Honeycutt truly were more about relationships than technology. Thus, the name change from 'Indiana Computer Educators' to 'Indiana Connected Educators' seems to make a lot of sense.

Yes, there were great ideas to be gained from the speeches and sessions, but things have moved more from the "things" to the 'why'.  It's not how you get there, it's just that you get there. And, students should share in some of the decisions on the path to take... even the destination.

Danielle Darnell &Amy Schmidt from MSD Wabash County shared their successes in coding with all students. 
Here we practiced with moving cups to simulate the moves of a robot.
We heard quite a bit about coding, and the session I attended was great at giving some of the nuts and bolts, as well as resources,  In addition to their emaze presentation, and a Pinterest page, they shared specific ideas for different grade levels and answered many questions. I really liked the fact that their entire district participated in an hour of code last December. Could my district do this?  Even just the two schools in the same building? 

Any time Leslie Fisher is presenting, I have to go to at least one of her sessions.  From the clever videos she plays as you wait for a session, to her content and comments, she is always entertaining. This time I attended her gadget presentation, although I heard that the twitter session was very illuminating, too.  And then there was evernote and others.... too hard to choose!

Whenever I hear Kevin Honeycutt speak, I have to tell people about the stories he relates. Even though I had been to two sessions of his before, he had lots of new material. As I mentioned on my twitter stream, he has so much that is "quotable and tweetworthy" that it's hard to keep up. Listening to him makes you feel empowered, important, and inspired; now for the follow-through.

At a later session (wisely moved to the auditorium to accommodate a larger crowd and keep his equipment intact), he gave some rapid-fire ideas for incorporating digital literacy into research. By using us as a class, he showed how he would have students answer the question, "What was the first submarine to sink a ship?" Then he asked many, many follow-up questions, asked us what websites we were using, alerted us to false information, and told us we always had to cite sources.  Have 15 minutes left at the end of a period/day?  Divide a class in two; half the room researches to support     A: Black widow spiders are the worst  OR B. Brown recluse spiders are the worst.  Put your links and citations into a shared google doc (which can even be shared with parents)  Or choose things such as dogs/cats, standard/automatic, text/email/chat. He encouraged us to use one of his ready-made PBL lessons dealing with an asteroid hurtling toward earth. He has worked with many students to find ways to turn their talents into money, even careers.  

Our great Indiana DOE Office of eLearning has several events for October, Connected Educator Month.  One of these is the #INeLearn Challenge, designed for you to use with your staff.  You can even earn PGP's for completing it, all as you learn about different aspects of the Google Online Communities of Practice. There are communities by discipline and grade level.

Sherry Gick &Addie Matteson demonstrate their enthusiasm in the Maker Space photo booth.
And, I would be remiss without another mention of the extensive Maker Space available to us.  A lot of effort went into affording us the opportunity to experience several possibilities. All in all, the conference was an ideal experience, and will definitely go on my calendar for next year!

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