Friday morning picked up right where Thursday afternoon left off.
Instant Professional Development (PD) with iTunes U: 8:30a – 9:30a.
Led by Lisa Johnson (@TechChef4u). Lisa relayed a wealth of knowledge on using iTunes in Education. One of the things I most appreciated about Lisa’s presentation was her willingness to share everything online. Wow! The connected educator world is a very supportive, welcoming and pay-it-forward type community. As Lisa said, “no need to re-invent the wheel or unnecessarily horde useful materials. Share it!” She walked through the basics of building a course on iTunes U, outlined best practices and said, “Just open it up and get started. You are going to learn by doing!” She also left us with a link to her work at Eanes Independent School District (Texas), and highlighted a handful of useful iTunes U courses on PD fundamentals!
Create multimedia eBooks in the iPad Classroom: 9:45a – 10:45a.
Led by Wes Fryer (@wfryer). With over 30k followers on Twitter, Dr. Fryer is one of the key thought leaders in EdTech. Using this presentation as the basis for our session, Dr. Fryer demonstrated the basics of eBook creation (Book Creator and Creative Book Builder), showed examples and answered participant-specific questions. Dr. Fryer also talked about the importance of students demonstrating their understanding with different forms of media, and readily shared this resource as a way to think about and build competency. Even though my students have been building eBooks for the last couple years, I still felt like I walked away from the session having learned something new and novel. For instance, Dr. Fryer introduced the print-on-demand service, Lulu – which I started dreaming about ways to use in the future!
S.A.S.S.Y SAMR: 11a-12p.
Led by Lisa Johnson (@TechChef4u). I was so impressed with Lisa’s wealth of knowledge, thoroughness and willingness to openly share during her earlier presentation on iTunes U, I was pumped to spend another hour learning from her about SAMR. She started off the presentation – once again – sharing her considerable resources! Lisa has done a tremendous amount of work with SAMR – not just in her own classroom, but also teaching other educators how to make their classrooms more student-centric and project-based. She said, “It not about evaluating teachers with this model, but rather deploying it as a structure to have an ongoing conversation about pedagogy.” The resources linked above are broken into “Fancy,” “Cheeky,” and “Sassy” categories – all of which link to teaching materials, images, videos, lesson plans, etc. It is hard to overstate how valuable a maven Lisa truly is in EdTech. Find her on social media and you’ll find a deep rabbit hole of carefully curated content.
Building Blocks for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Success: 1:15p – 2:15p.
Led by Susan Bearden (@s_bearden). This was the smallest (4 people) session that I attended at Miami Device. And while at first it was a little intimidating to have Susan’s direct attention focused on our school-specific challenges, it quickly settled into a phenomenally useful time to share and problem solve. A career educator – and moderator of the the well known #edtechchat – Susan shifted the focus of the presentation from a “sit and get” to a one-on-one conversation focused on the question, “What can I share that will assist you the minute you get back?” She encouraged all of the participants in the session to “go back” to the school’s mission statement as a place to source the “why” for technology in education. How can technology support the overarching direction/reason for the school’s existence? Susan mentioned that the keys to a successful BYOD program are faculty buy-on, professional development, and peer coaching. She said that, “once the lightbulb turns on (how to use technology to increase learning) for teachers, it rarely (if ever) turns off and reverses course!” Well, that’s promising!
Closing Keynote: 2:40-4:00p.
Led by Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent). Similar to Kevin Honeycutt, Wes Fryer, Lisa Johnson and Susan Beardon – Tony Vincent is another one of the rockstars of EdTech. People clambered to squeeze into his full sessions on Thursday and Friday – and if they couldn’t get in, they were sure to take selfies with him and post on Twitter! Passing people in the halls I’d hear, “Oh look…there’s Tony….” As such, his closing Keynote – focused on student ownership – was highly anticipated and well received. I was particularly impressed with his ease, humor and willingness to play and share. One of the main takeaways from the presentation was his discussion of the IKEA effect and it’s implication for student engagement and motivation. Namely, that people (students) place a disproportionately high value on something they create. People fall in love with the things they labor over. In fact, people (students) are five times more committed to ideas/projects/plans that are their own! So…find ways to give them ownership over their own learning!
Three main takeaways (distilled down) from Miami Device:
- An Education Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter is a MUST. Twitter is the place connected educators live and interact. As one of my colleagues said, “It is the best Faculty lounge in the world!” It truly is one of THE friendliest communities that I spend time. People love sharing, connecting and building one another up. If you are new to Twitter, start by following the educators I listed on this blog (and the previous blog, Miami Device: Thursday). Check out their followers. Dip your toes into the waterfall and catch what you can, when you can. Over the course of two days there were 2000+ tweets on #miamidevice – so even if you weren’t physically present at the event, you can still check out the feed and favorite away!
- Short, potent, personal PD is invaluable. As I mentioned in my previous post, I blocked the dates of this conference on my calendar as soon as I found out about it because I was eager to make face-to-face connections. All eight sessions I attended were completely worth my time because I was able to interact with the presenters, listen to other participants’ stories and envision future plans for Proctor Academy. Never mind how phenomenally useful all the content was for my own learning. I repeatedly encountered ideas/tools/methods I didn’t even know existed! Time away from home/work is hard to come by, so it is important to be highly selective in your conference (attendance) choices. But, pick some and go! Get out there and meet people…and if you can’t, follow the conference hashtag!
- The future of education is dynamic, differentiated and totally open-ended. While my time at Miami Device was affirming and inspirational, it completely underscored how rapidly education is evolving and redefining itself. Or said another way, the potential for growth in HOW we teach has never been more open for development. The traditional model isn’t the only way anymore. Hasn’t been for awhile. Increasingly that approach to education is stagnant and underserves our students where their ultimate assignment is – as Kevin Honeycutt said – “to change the world.” Mobile devices certainly play a role, but that is really just the beginning. In many ways the rapid infusion of technology in education has shaken the tree and got us all wondering (again), “what are the best ways kids learn….?”
It is exciting, for sure. But, it’s not about the tool. It’s about TEACHING in ways that transform student understanding and lights them up! Turns compliance into curiosity, and requirement into ownership. It is a dynamic time to be an educator. Join the conversation and contribute.
Thanks Miami Device!