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I was honoured today to be in attendance at the GAFE Summit Ontario where I had the opportunity to listen to the final keynote, Michael Wacker. Michael’s keynote focused on us Living Out Loud! Michael fostered the “yes and …” answer to our questions and learning rather than the “yes but …” mindset.
Throughout Michael’s keynote, I really had a chance to think about how I will inspire not only my students but the other teachers at my school, board and PLN. What do we do to inspire our students to engage and have fun in our learning? How can do transfer these ideas to excite those tech-reluctant teachers back at home?
One great idea that came from my PLN on Twitter was the idea of holding a Demo Slam at the end of each staff meeting. This is an interactive and engaging experience for slammers and the audience. This gives the teachers at our school a chance to show off their stuff or learn something quick and new to learn in their classrooms the next day. Having someone tweet or email out all of the great ideas from the slam will allow for the conversation to continue outside of the meeting.
Another take-away from the keynote was the idea of our students collecting or connecting the dots. I feel that as teachers we need to do both. The students need opportunity to collect the stars (another way of saying collecting tools for their toolbox). They need to collect their knowledge and understanding of the methods, concepts or ideas and then connect them; it is when students connect their stars is where their deeper learning takes place. As educators we need to provide the experience of connecting the stars; transferring their learning into new and unseen circumstances.
Finally, Michael spoke about how we should not give up. Google was not created in a day; it was created over a period of time with TONS of iterations, remakes, ideas tried out and scrapped or further developed. As teachers, we need to adapt this model. We need to make our lessons and our own learning as versions. Educators need to be OK with have a lesson 1.0, a lesson 2.0, a lesson 2.5, and lesson 3.0 and allow the development be as long as it needs to to ensure that the students are engaged, empowered, connected, and connecting their dots. We need to be OK with sharing our materials with each other and collaborating with each other like we ask our students to do. I love the saying that goes nicely with this: “Steal with Pride.” If someone is using your idea or commenting/improving/reflecting on your idea that means they think it is worth it! It should be a form of flattery if someone else wants to use your ideas in their classroom!
The ideas flowing from our Learning Out Loud journey are endless; these ideas will shape the world of education today and in the future. Our iterations of our lessons, ideas and strategies will only grow, like Chrome, Drive and Google +, and become those outstanding ideas that are shared at conferences world-wide. All we need to do is take the first steps in sharing, connecting the dots and engaging all who we interact with.
Ontario High School Math, Computer Programming, Resource Teacher; lifelong learner and tech junkie