On Day 2, our keynote speaker started our day off unlike any other keynote speaker I had ever listened to. Kim Campbell kept us laughing and laughing as she told numerous stories of how to find humor in our daily lives. I always get jazzed when I meet someone who CLAIMS middle school. Like, it's not a stepping stone for their aspiring high school career, or the only job that was opened in the district, it's their passion. Kim's profile literally says, "proud middle school teacher." Um. THANK YOU. She reminded us that our relationship with our students is everything as it relates to correcting behavior, engaging students and maintaining our sanity. She told us of a few different management nightmares she had experienced as a teacher and principal...and her response was always unconventional, shocking, and hilarious. Kim reminded me not to get uptight about kids being kids. And although her keynote wasn't necessarily focusing primarily on technology, she helped us view a lot of what we would later learn throughout the day through the eyes of relationship and a sense of humor.
My first session was learning all about Genius Hour with Janelle McLaughlin. I have been wanting to hear more about this topic ever since reading how Laura Sexton uses it in her Spanish classroom. Janelle taught us in a way that assumed nothing: we started with this article that helped us learn the very basics of genius hour. This session was a great starting point and a gathering of many helpful links and resources as I continue to search out this concept further. I was hooked after 1 hour! I think this practice has a place in any classroom at any level."Middle school teachers: If you don't recognize how unique each [student] is...get out. That's how important it is." @KimCamp4Kids #e3Tech— Maestra Schemmer (@maestraschemmer) July 26, 2016
The final session of the day was the topic I felt least informed about. Jenn Brower taught us all about digital maker spaces. As a matter of fact the term "Maker Space" was brought up a LOT all throughout the conference. Essentially, the overarching theme was that it is no longer good enough for students to use the internet to get answers. They should be creating material to contribute to the internet so others can learn, too. Jenn gave us countless platforms, websites, and apps to allow students space online to archive, share and organize their projects. She had SO many resources inside resources that she didn't have time to share it all with us, but I definitely saved her notes for future reference.
"In general, we are takers. We want to teach our students to OFFER something to the world." -@CybrarianJenn #e3Tech— Maestra Schemmer (@maestraschemmer) July 26, 2016
This conference never ceases to challenge my preconceptions of what is possible with technology, and more than that, what is best for our students. This year, it was a huge added blessing to see the conference through the eyes of my sister there for her first time. Just two nights ago (nearly a month after the conference) she called with excitement in her voice to tell me of a successful implementation of one of the apps she learned about that magnified student engagement to a whole new level. I'm so thankful for Warsaw Community Schools and the Indiana Department of E-Learning for organizing this opportunity for area educators. I'm already looking forward to next year!
I welcome your suggestions...what should I present in the future? What conferences have you been to that you recommend?