Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#PETE2017 Day 1

This is one of my favorite times of the year! A time to come together with hundreds of excited educators to learn about the latest in the world of educational technology. From the inspiring keynote speeches each morning, to the inspiring breakout sessions throughout the day, and ending with the evening entertainment, PETE&C is an event every educator should experience. I hope I can do justice to this amazing event as I recap the activities of each day.

Day 1 Keynote - Carl Hooker: Mobile Learning Mindset

If you've ever had the opportunity to attend PETE&C, you know how inspiring and challenging the keynote speeches can be. I've had the pleasure of hearing from (what I would call) titans in education; speakers like Kevin Honeycut, George Couros, and Angela Myers. I can now add Carl Hooker to this list. From the moment he hit the stage, Mr. Hooker brought his 'A game.'

I came away from this morning's speech feeling both inspired and frustrated. Inspired by the thought of utilizing technology to literally bring the world to our students. Frustrated by what I see as the limitations of our system. To bring the world to our students, we as teachers will have to take risks. This goes against the natural tendencies of many of us, but as Mr. Hooker said, "Students don't take risks if teachers don't as well." Talk about a challenge!

One final thought from Mr. Hooker: "The building exists for the kids, not for the adults." BOOM!

Let's take these 21st Century Learners and teach them to fill their minds rather than to simply fill in the bubbles.

Day 1 Breakout Sessions

This is where the true learning takes place at PETE&C! I always love to hear how real teachers are implementing real technology with real students in real and meaningful ways. There seems to be a major focus this year on STEM, STEAM, and Project Based Learning. This is the future of education and how we will prepare our students for life in the 21st century. From the looks of it, I'm not the only one who sees value in these activities. Each session I attended was full to the poiint of people being turned away! I know for the second session of the day, I had to move on to my third choice!

Speaking of my third choice, it may have been one of the best sessions I attended on day 1. The focus was on Computational Thinking, a component of coding. I've had the pleasure of working with many of teachers in the district with Hour of Code events. This session has made me question how I conduct these sessions. I always stick kids on computers and they begin playing games. This is OK but I feel it could be more and we could easily get more teachers involved in the process as there are so many activities available that do not require a computer! This session focused on these unplugged activities and the value was immediately evident. How cool would it be to get entire buildings in our district involved in the Hour of Code and every teacher leading simple unplugged activities in order to present Computer Science topics to our students at all grade levels. I hope to offer trainings in the near future in order to show everyone just how accessible these skills are for everyone. Let's make it happen!!!

That's all from Day 1! Thanks for reading.