I am super lucky that I was able to attend the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C) at Hershey, PA this year! What’s not so lucky? Unpacking the car and realizing that I forgot my toiletry bag at home! Disaster! A Walmart run and trip to CVS later, and I started to mellow out a bit. Being a first time attendee at the conference was overwhelming enough, (but the whole leaving my toiletry bag at home thing definitely didn’t help!) There was so much going on! The Hershey Lodge is HUGE and then you find out you can hop a shuttle to the beautiful Hotel Hershey for sessions too! (The lovely Hotel Hershey is featured in my graphic at the top of this post. I took a panorama with my iPhone of this lovely Mediterranean style room they had there). It took some time to get acclimated, and I had a ton of information thrown at me over the course of my 3 days there! I will be sharing what I learned at PETE&C in a series of posts on some of the reoccurring themes that I explored during my sessions there: new apps, flipping instruction, and STEAM. This is the first post in the series, and it is dedicated to the Keynote speakers!
Going Digital: The Next Chapter in Teaching & Learning
The Keynote speaker on Day 1 was Scott Kinney and he had a very engaging session with Poll Everywhere questions and a Kahoot It! game. My biggest take away from his speech was that we need to design instruction based on students’ instructional preferences. In the graphs below he was illustrating, that instruction is delivered most often in lecture format, yet students are inclined to be more visual learners than auditory learners. I do pride myself in creating a classroom environment that caters to all learning styles, but some days in first grade I have those is-anyone-out-there-listening-to-me moments. The next time I feel like my students aren’t listening to me, I am going to think about how I can change my instructional style to meet their needs! What are your favorite ways to switch up your instruction to appeal to students’ learning styles?
The Art of Enchantment
On Day 2 the Keynote speaker was Guy Kawasaki, former Apple employee, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and author. I was blown away by his speaking skills. He gave a very entertaining speech in a Top Ten format that outlines the key points of the art of enchanting others. (At the beginning of the speech he explained that he uses a Top Ten format so the audience knows how much longer he is going to talk. I had to laugh, because I have used a Top Ten format for technology trainings with my staff and blog posts in the past, “…because who doesn’t love a top ten list?!) Below is a similar speech that he has given in the past. In the speech he gave us at PETE&C he focused more on education, and how we as teachers can enchant students, parents, administrators and the community. I liked how he stressed the importance of being competent, trustworthy and likable. In my next PETE & C post I will adopt his Top Ten format approach and share with you my Top Ten favorite New Apps)
I also attended the Q&A session with Guy Kawasaki where he shared more about his latest endeavor, Canva, which has quickly become my latest addiction! It allows you to quickly create images for all of your social media posts, which as come in handy with the recent launching of my business as an Independent Younique Presenter. My graphic at the top of the post was created with Canva! I will share more about Canva in my next post, because it
Passion-Driven Learning and Leading
The speaker on Day 3 was Angela Maier, who has authored several books including, The Passion Driven Classroom. She spoke about how our teaching and learning practices can be transformed by work that is passion-driven. Here is a peek at some of the resources she shared. She really makes you rethink how we are doing things in education! Often, we are so focused on the curriculum and standards, that we forget to discover what our students are truly passionate about.
I was recently having a conversation with a first year college student who is having difficulty deciding on a major. She like many others are grappling with the age-old, “What should I do with the rest of my life?” question. One thing that became evident to me during this conversation is that we are doing our kids an injustice by stifling their passion in schools. A young adult shouldn’t come out of their K-12 education with feelings of “I don’t know what I’m interested in” or “I’m not good at anything”.
Angela talked about using Genius Hour in the classroom as a means for helping students discover their passions. I have heard a lot about Genius Hour, and I learned more about it when I attended Google Geo training this past summer. Genius Hour uses 20% of school time to give students the opportunity to research a topic that they are passionate about, similar to how Google allows their employees to explore their own passion-driven projects during 20% of their time at work. I have shared an introductory video below if you aren’t familiar with the Genius Hour concept. It, like many other ideas in education, sounds so nice in theory… but I’m not sure what it would look like in a 1st Grade classroom, and how I would fit it in my daily schedule when I’m already having a hard time cramming in reading and math! (I might have to bust out what I learned from Guy Kawasaki on the Art of Enchantment to woo administrators on the idea!)
I will definitely do more research and reading up on Genius Hour over the summer. I do think it is important to start cultivating students’ interests and passions at an early age. If anyone has good examples of what it looks like in a Primary classroom, please share!