EduTECH 2015 Takeaways

by Brian Host

I love the ability of educators to connect and the power of this has been shown at EduTECH 2015. Previously working in other fields, some of the speakers whilst in the past were distant and unreachable the keynotes, session leaders and seminar speakers were accessible at the event.

Some key takeaways:

  • Maker spaces are here to stay – contact @ZeinaChalich
  • Computational thinking is a concept we are going to hear more and more about.
  • One size and method of technology implementation does not fit all.
  • Backchannels are something to consider implementing in classrooms as it draws out the students who would often draw back.
  • What would a classroom be like if we took most of the furniture away?
  • How can we allow students to collaboratively complete assessments after completing an individual assessment?
  • The value of Teach Meets – learning from the grassroots.
  • Authentic assessment and teaching is crucial.

As I sit on the AirTrain pondering my reaction to EduTECH 2015 I realise how blessed I am to be teaching in a wonderful school and supported by an incredible Professional Learning Network (PLN). Much of today confirmed for me that there is a groundswell of educators who are now looking for ways to pedagogically improve their application and integration of technology. They realise that they, along with students, can do “dumb things with smart devices” and we need to be empowering educators and students to move to creating solutions for real world problems.

I loved the quote that “a pencil is a technology but does it mean students can write?” The answer is no, obviously! Teachers need to be the guides in the learning process. We need to become less scared about which technologies we are going to use and think more about the skill and process we are looking to teach and then choose the technology appropriate for teaching the skill.

Another takeaway was student voice is more powerful that a lecture. I experienced this during my teach meet session. As soon as my Year 2 class came up on the screen using Google Hangouts I instantly saw the audience move forward in their seats. They became increasingly engaged and interested in the concept because it became an authentic experience for them.

The final takeaway came when I saw the power of the four program structures – Learning Space, Grouping, Personalised Learning and Time. If we want to see learners excel, we need to modify all of these to allow complete engagement with the content being taught.

Students deserve the best so we need to become our best self.

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