Gosh. This will be an attempt to capture some of my learning, celebrate and share some the Thursday and Friday BIT sessions that I attended.
I’m going to try and break it down into categories so you can read and tune in to what interests you.
Keynotes Messages that Stayed with me:
Thursday’s Keynote was by Shelley Sanchez Terrell. I think the message from her Keynote that really resonated with me was that we have to humanize our digital experiences and that our students are attempting to do so with their selfies and emoji use. They are creating a seamless online and offline identity for themselves. We need to model online behaviour for our students and guide them in not only “being” online, but also by creating some social movements online and being a positive influence on others. She spoke to a slide that says our digital behaviour influences our rituals, values, learning, routines and communication. I believe this is true. And a few slides later, I did a little celebration when she showed a bunch of hashtags and #fslchat was listed! To me, the #fslchat community is full of wonderful examples of everything that she spoke about.
Friday’s Keynote was by Jesse Brown discussing “The Next Canada”. He predicts that “the Internet of Things” will be the next big thing following the invention of the cell phone. He spoke about some inventions that did not become the next “big” thing and others that might. However, the part of his talk that really stuck with me is how we talk about “Millennials”. I’ll be honest, I have commiserated about how these kids are “entitled” and “spoiled” and “selfish”. He really delved into why these young people are considered entitled, ambitious, disloyal, lazy and self-obsessed. And it made sense. They don’t have the opportunities we did to enter the workforce. Our government, is not spending nearly as much money on programs for this age group as they are people aged 45 and older. I know that since the talk, I’ve cringed at comments like these. He even predicts that this will be the generation that saves us all, because they are not afraid to fail and are most playful with ideas compared to other generations. Plus, before you knock them, you need to realize that they will make up the majority of the workforce in 2040. They are the future. You need to see past the Millennial stereotypes to see what might be driving this behaviour.
There was a lot more to both of these presentations, I’m just highlighting what stuck with me afterwards.
A Kid’s Guide to Canada:
One of the sessions I attended was about “A Kid’s Guide to Canada”. First, I was impressed by the presentation by a teacher who has recently retired. This is her passion project. She is working in collaboration with so many people to make this a high quality project and she is advocating for us to participate mindfully and by creating our own materials or using materials we are authorized to use to populate this map of Canada made by students. Participating is as simple as registering, creating materials digitally with your students describing your (catchment) community and submitting it through a Google Form that she provides.
When you register, you will also become a member of the Digital Human Library and can then move beyond what you produced to connect with other classrooms in Canada.
She mentioned that we’re all interested in finding schools in the North and in Quebec to connect our students with. However, they may not be as open to connecting with us. We need to wait and get them to invite us to meet them.
During her session, I tweeted out that I was hooked as soon as she mentioned that she wants kids in Canada interacting in English and in French. She also mentioned interaction in Indigenous language, which I didn’t mention in my tweet. Later, on Twitter Mimi Masson (@mimi_masson) challenged my tweet with going beyond these languages and including many of the languages spoken in Canada. I know Mimi is a pluralinguist advocate interested in seeing more than French, Indigenous language and English taught in schools. I’m still sorting out my feelings about that and my knee-jerk reaction was that English and French are the two official languages of Canada. But I felt uncomfortable with my reaction and I have to admit, that we need to value that many people speak languages other than those taught in school. I think I’m not fully there yet in my thinking because I worry about the effect of multilingualism on French programs. It’s a conversation I hope to have in more depth with her in person some day. I’m thinking of a few Syrian Newcomer children that I know that are working on English and French. And I do wonder what opportunities outside of the home they will have to really refine their Arabic for instance.
Meeting Your “Tweeps” and Connecting in Person:
- someone that I had not seen in over 12 years from York Region (I worked there in my first 2 years in 2000-2002).
- people that recognized me and my TLLP team from #fslchat that apologized for not participating in the weekly chat (it’s really okay!!)
- people that I admire on Twitter (Larissa Aradj, Renee Villeneuve, Aviva Dunsiger, Philippe Croteau, Doug Peterson to name a few)
- lots of TVDSB people that were attending and presenting
- new people to follow on Twitter
I attended a LEGO WeDo 2.0 session and was really impressed by the kit and the app for the iPad. Being a French Immersion teacher, I was so pleased to see that it is offered in French. The kids can learn the piece names in French and great technical vocabulary. There are so many connections to Science and a Teacher’s Guide to help you think it all through or get you started depending on your teaching style. Should I go back to a French Immersion class next September, it is something that I definitely want to play with more. It was fun to get hands on and build.
Aviva and a colleague shared their work on going beyond SAMR and shared the ISTE Standards for Students 2016. They worked through different activities that connected with the standards and I was really impressed.
The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. The standards are designed for use by educators across the curriculum, with every age student, with a goal of cultivating these skills throughout a student’s academic career. Both students and teachers will be responsible for achieving foundational technology skills to fully apply the standards. The reward, however, will be educators who skillfully mentor and inspire students to amplify learning with technology and challenge them to be agents of their own learning.
I find SAMR confusing at times. I think it can be really subjective. I appreciate the clear topics and the indicators for each one listed on the website which you can find here. I know that I am going to do some thinking about where the use of technology for my TLLP project falls.
The Demo Slams at BIT were pretty phenomenal.
Kim Pollishuke’s demo slam on “Flippity” blew me away. Flippity will take a Google Sheet and can turn it into a Jeopardy Game, a random name generator among other things… It is one worth exploring.
The Super Secret Society came back to my mind today as I watched a CBC news story about elevated depression occurances in teens. Rodd Lucier, who presented this from London Catholic, notices that while teens are always connected via their phones, they are also really lonely. Find out what he’s doing about it in his blog here. It’s pretty darn clever.
Again, there were some great ideas beyond this shared, these are just the ones that stuck with me.
I kind of fell in love with Hyperdocs during Renée Villeneuve’s and Sylvie Firth’s session “Un TIC, deux coups”. She led us through it like you would the students in your classroom. My mind was buzzing with Math and Action-Oriented approach tasks that you could approach this way. Ooh, I just need the right teacher who wants to explore them with me when I return to coaching in February. And, I think this will be how I plan and organize my lessons in September.
If you want a better idea of what I am talking about check her doc out for yourself here. And if you do, please make sure the click on the BINGO. “Let’s Recap” and “Formative” … we can use with students, but what if we used them in a session with adult learners too? That’s exactly what Renée is doing.
Her hyper doc takes you through all those good Bloom’s thinking things…
Also, have you ever seen a presentation that is so polished and professional that it inspires you to do the same? Yep, my new goal is to run a session similar to this.
Being at BIT Helps Your Team Gel
Okay, I have a pretty awesome team for my TLLP. But, getting lost in the woods together in the dark while trying to get back to your hotel will be fodder for laughs for 2 days afterwards. I strongly recommend going to BIT with a team of people you are working with. There were great social events organized (I’m kicking myself for missing the Ignite event). Not only will you learn, you will have fun.
Presenting Our Project
Okay, I was pretty nervous that no one would show up as our project was in the very last slot of the day on Friday at 2pm. But we had at least a dozen people show up! Even though we were presenting our preliminary findings, I think our presentation really resonated with people.
I know that our team left with a big list of things to try and explore. We’re just at the beginning of our journey and I can’t wait to see where we will go next. I know that we are hoping that we will apply to run and half or full day session for next year’s BIT. I also have to figure out how to fund that possibility…
If you have a way of going next year, I strongly encourage you to do so! There are sessions for everyone.