WITcon17 was an Amazing Experience!
I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the Whatever It Takes conference (WitCon) for the second year in a row. This is an awesome teaching conference that emphasizes technology in the classroom. This time my presentation focused on something I love to discuss, engaging students! I had the opportunity, along with some of my fellow teachers, to talk about the different ways we spice up our lessons to engage our students. We went through each subject and shared our ideas and lessons we are passionate about. We encourage others to do the same. We spend so much time in our classrooms that we often need the summer to re-energize and fill ourselves with new ideas. Our goals were to give and encourage new ideas in the classroom.
Beyond our session, there were so many other sessions that made an impact on me. I had the privilege to attend sessions focused on student choice, creating democratic students, Ditching Homework (this one was led by the amazing Matt Miller himself) and much more.
Student Choice is something I try to incorporate into my classroom as much as possible, but it was great to get ideas from another amazing teacher @Oto_4thGrade.
I enjoyed what I heard I wanted to try out Flexible Seating in my classroom. I created a Donors Choose to help with getting materials. I'm hopeful and excited to create a new environment that allows students the flexibility that they really need.
I also had the opportunity to listen to the 2017 Illinois Teacher of the Year and his philosophy of teaching students to be a part of a democratic society. He does an amazing job of connecting the school with the community. I realize that is something that makes a huge difference, especially in tough neighborhoods. I took a lot of notes and am trying to find ways to bridge the gap between the community and school in my building.
Lastly, I got to participate in several sessions ran by Matt Miller the author of Ditch That Textbook.
These sessions not only opened my eyes to other tech resources for the classroom but reassured me of the crazy things I'm already doing in my classroom. I do agree with Matt in that we need to change how the classroom is run and find more ways for our students to be ready for our ever-growing technological world. There are so many ways to integrate technology and put learning in the hands of students. It is scary to think that we might not be the holders of knowledge anymore especially with the use of Google. People can access information at a moment's notice. However, we are the guides for students and need to grow with them, learn with them, and help them use technology the right way.
|Matt Miller signed my book!|
There are so many different sites and apps I have come across thanks to Matt Miller, Witcon17, and #notatISTE. I'm hoping to be able to utilize some of these in the coming school year. I use to feel like there was not much in the way of free teaching resources online, but now there are more and more being created every day. It takes the time to sort through them all but I realize that there are more than enough for every teacher, their classroom, and their teaching style. You can't use them all, even though I feel like I try to every year. It just isn't possible! The key is to find what works for you and use it. Any technology is better than none, the key is to never get complacent. Instead, build on what you have and improve on what you do not. Be adventurous, take risks and I promise you even if you don't know how to use it right away your students will help you along the way. This year alone I'm going to look into using some of these amazing sites and resources:
|My notes from Ditch That Textbook Session|
Now I will say I'm not an expert on these but I hope to be soon. These seem to be easy implementations to my classroom and what I am already using technology wise. I am super excited to be using more video technology in my room. I want to help students tell their story and share other peoples' stories. I have been fearful for a while of using video in the classroom because I didn't know how, but I can't let my fear get in the way of my students' development. In the words of an amazing teacher @MsMagiera students need a way to tell their story. Just like I took a risk to tell mine with this blog, my students need a way to share theirs. Now I know that there will have to be a lot of pre-teaching and a lot of digital citizenship that will have to be discussed, yet if we don't do that who will? Like I stated earlier, we have to be their guide on their quest through the internet jungle. We can't be afraid of the innovation and the future. We have to embrace it and help them through it the best we can because these students have only lived in a digital age. We might even let them be the teachers and help us along the way. All of these amazing technology conferences have taught me that we have to take the leap. We don't have to reinvent the lessons, but we have to change it up. Embrace the technology that students embrace.
What are you excited to try this coming school year?
Is there any EdTech that you love or are an expert in?
How can you share your passion for EdTech with others?
Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @teaching_power or Facebook.