Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Take-Aways from ITSCO Symposium

I attended and presented at the ITSCO Leadership Symposium on October 15 in Worthington, OH. The theme was, “Today’s student relies on mobile technology to access information in real time, in any environment, without situational constraints. How do educators harness this new Education Everywhere environment to build critical thinkers ready for the demands of a new and constantly shifting job market?”

I would like to share a few key things that I took away from the conference.  First, students need to be literate and not just in the simple sense of being able to read and write. Will Richardson’s Huffington post article (
mo_b_750177.html) says it far better than I could.  Second, technology can not just be looked at as nice to have in the classroom; it has to be engrained in lessons and leveraged to push rigor, creativity, collaboration, personalization, and intervention.  Lastly, in the information age (information is at the tip of everyone’s finger), education has to be more than just learning and comprehending facts/information.

Outside of these three-take aways, I was able to attend four breakout sessions after the keynote by George Couros.  The round-table sessions promoted a dialogue and interaction of colleagues, instead of sit-and-get.  Kudos to ITSCO for planning a great day of collaborative learning.  The first session was by Dwight Carter on the Connected Leader.  This discussion focused on the importance of connecting and communicating with peers and stakeholders using Twitter and blogging.  It was interesting to hear how various administrators sitting around the table were using these sites and where they were at with implementation.  The second session was a discussion with George Couros, which focused on questions we had such as implementation, connection to standards, rigor, etc. The third session I attended was Blended Learning with Marcy Raymond.  She shared a lot of great things about her district and the direction they are going with STEM and Blended learning. The fourth session I attended was Creativity in the Cloud with Tracy Cindric.  She provided a bunch of web 2.0 tools (with time to play) that we could immediately start using and take back to our schools/district.

Overall, a great day of professional development.  It was great to connect with a lot of fellow educators and to actually meet and discuss with some of the people from my PLN.  However, I am left thinking about the following:

  • What should the role of the teacher be?  
  • How do we effectively implement these tools?
  • What should teaching, learning and overall education look like?  
  • How do we facilitate and make change happen?
Would love to hear your thoughts.



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