Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MassCUE Conference Day One 2013

Nancy Carroll referred to the beloved Jetsons as an early'
foreshadowing of today's videoconferencing. 
Today was the first day of MassCUE's annual two-day conference at Gillette Stadium. It was a day of learning as I navigated new information, ideas, and challenge.

The day started with an enthusiastic talk by Tony Wagner who relayed his exciting vision for education including the seven skills students desperately need, and a vision that is wonderful and similar to his talk in this video .

The first workshop I attended was a presentation by The Virtual High School representatives.  I found it interesting to listen to the ways they foster collaborative learning design.  They introduced me to the collaborative tool, Teambox which might be a useful tool for a collaborative learning design effort with colleagues at some point.  The Virtual High School could be a useful resource for some high school or middle school students in your school.

Next I watched the Weston Elementary Science Coordinator and the Tech Integration Specialist share their STEM efforts utilizing SCRATCH, Lego WeDO, Lego Mindstorms, and challenge projects from Tufts University.  Their work, planning, and result was exceptional and enriching to all the students in their elementary schools.  They noted that last year's MassCUE conference inspired them to make change, and the system made a choice to think outside the standards and employ this early science, tech, engineering, and math learning with depth and breadth.  Next year they hope to include Google Blockly as well as integrating the programming and engineering tools with more standards across disciplines.

The third presentation I attended introduced me to videoconferencing in the classroom.  I was amazed at how much Nancy Carroll's Walpole fourth graders learned about geography and math using Skype or Google hangouts to meet students, teachers, and experts all over the world.  During the presentation we videoconferenced with Nancy's prepared, poised, and polite fourth graders.  They shared their videoconference highlights, tips, and review.  This is an activity I want to include in my classroom sooner than later.

I presented during the final session to a large group of educators.  I presented Tech Connect: The 24-7 Classroom, and introduced many ways that teacher might use technology to teach well and make connections to learning in and out of the classroom.

I look forward to another day of learning tomorrow.