Sunday, March 22, 2015

ASCD 2015 - Day 1

This is my third year coming to ASCD. I love this conference. It's not just tech. It's not just curriculum. It's not just teachers. Of all the conferences I've been too I think ASCD is always the most varied in terms of session topics, featured speakers, and overall coverage of education. It's always a great few days.

I started the conference by listening to Joe Mazza. He had amazing insights on social media in education. Not just from the perspective of a higher education administrator, which he is, but from the perspective of someone who started in a 3rd grade classroom, became a Principal, and the transitioned to higher education. Which he did. It was great to hear from someone who has intimate knowledge of all levels of the educational spectrum.
What I'm stealing from Joe:
  • Display a live Twitter chat during teacher lunch (or faculty meeting). It allows those unsure of the benefits, and power, of Twitter to literally watch it in action.
  • Use an app like Storify to create a transcript of a chat, or your hashtag, to be able to print a copy for people still unsure of the value (or print for community members without access, so the conversation is still accessible to them)
Joe had lots of great ideas and example. Those are two things I'm going to focus on implementing immediately.

Overall his message was "Lead by example." Use social media to connect, use it to bring the community together. Use it to be transparent. But also use it to show students digital citizenship isn't a single lesson or unit, but an integral part of life. Echoes of how I try to teach and the ideas I aim to instill in my students and where I hope to guide colleagues.

Joe's session was a great way to kick off the conference.

Sarah Lewis was the opening keynote. If you ever have the opportunity to see her speak, do. She was amazing. She spoke of the gift of failure and how we need to strive for mastery but we also need to fail. Masters realize there is no end. Masters live in beta. Mastery isn't about the achievement or the end, it's about the reach.
Martin Luther King Jr. got Cs in public speaking. Robert Redford was unfocused and a prolific doodler in school. It's not always about school, but it is always about the person. We need to push ourselves to find those outlets. We need to allow the opportunity for students to explore, experiment, and focus on the reach, not the "end."

Both Joe Mazza and Sarah Lewis reinforced for me what I try to put forth in my lab. Iterate. Try, fail, try again. Always be pushing. Always be striving. Never be finished. Share. Be open. Always put the best of you out there but always be ok with acknowledging fault and working to improve. Where Joe and Sarah intersected for me is the idea that we can leverage technology, and more to the point social media, to share what we're doing, share our explorations, share our journeys. Share our reach. We as teachers, we as learners, we as role models, we as members of communities. And our students, the most important part of that "we." We are reaching and sharing and showing them the possibilities. And they are reaching and sharing along with us.

We need to reach. Always.

The afternoon kicked off with the Ignite session. I wish it was recorded and streamed. I would love to rewatch them all, I would love to show them to my students and colleagues. It was a great collection of ideas. It was 10 presentations, including students. Erin Klein and Jason Flom were awesome. Erin's classroom looks like an amazing environment. She used the edcamp model to create "Class Con" where her 2nd graders created and led workshops for the day. I'm stealing that idea. Jason's "Night of the Living Accountability" Ignite was a very humorous take on the very serious topic of the assumptions surrounding testing and accountability. As he put it "a mosaic of metaphors."

And that was only part of the day...

The first day was packed. It was a great way to kick off the conference. Day 2 kicks off with a panel I am a part of with Elana Leoni and Joe Manko. Looking forward to that...

And here we go Day 2...

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