Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit San Diego - My Reflective Post

This past week I was fortunate to spend time in San Diego presenting and attending  the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit.  It was a great opportunity for me and one that I won't forget any time soon.

 I began my time at the summit as an assistant for Samantha Morra .  It was a real pleasure working with Samantha. She was organized and thoughtful and did her very best to lead a group of new learners through iPad challenges and tasks. Although we had some internet issues in the morning together we did the best we could to keep moving forward and supporting our learners.  I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to assist Samantha and if I'm able to do it again I'd jump at the chance.

Tuesday morning I started my day with Audrey Watter's keynote.  She talked about the history of technology from the past. An interesting perspective for certain.  I will admit I was a bit preoccupied during it as I was presenting right after, but her presentation did have my head spinning once again.  As much as things with technology are changing, we are still repeating many of the same mistakes over and over again. Technology should be used to transform learning, for critical thinking, and to create yet far too often we use it to do the same things we do without it.

From the keynote I went to my room to get set up.  I had a bit of trouble getting my slides to show properly on the big screen but with some wonderful support we were able to get something to work.  I also found out that Beth Holland from Ed Tech Teacher would be live blogging my session.  To say that I was nervous was an understatement. I am often working with staff, sharing open ended creative apps in which interaction is a big part of how I share.  This session was far less interactive.  It was also the first time I've presented outside of my own country and I felt a lot of pressure not to let down those that supported me to be there.  Unfortunately I can't say that my session went off as I would have hoped.  I was extremely nervous, and talked very quickly.   I successfully shared my passion as a grade one teacher but that wasn't my objective of the session.  My objective was to highlight some of the many ways classes can connect and learn with the world. While I did connect with several of the participants at the end of the session, and then later throughout the conference and via e-mail and twitter I still left feeling like I disappointed. I am hoping that the feedback from my session will be shared with me.  I hate to let down others.

After my session I attended Beth Holland's session on "Crushing Your Curriculum with App Smashing".  I first heard the term "App Smashing" while I was at the Apple Institute in Austin this past summer.  It made me smile because it was something my grade one students naturally did all the time.  I  loved listening to Beth. It wasn't so much because of what she shared - she shared great things but many of what she shared are things that I already believe and actively do in my classroom - but how she shared it.  Beth is a knowledgable dynamic speaker and I paid close attention to how she was presenting.

Over lunch I took the time to ask Beth for feedback on my presentation.  I listened carefully and will use what I have learned to continue to improve my presenting skills.  It's funny that this was the first conference where I was really questioning how I present vs what I was presenting. After speaking with Beth I had a lot more to think about.  That's a good thing though as I'm always looking to improve.

In the afternoon I went and listened to Amy Burvall from Hawaii and her presentation of  ReMix Ed - The Power of Remix, Mashup and Recontextualization in the Classroom.  I have a heard Amy's name being mentioned so I was curious to hear her speak.  While Amy works with much older children than I teach, I left with many ways I can remix and mash up with my young learners.  I promised her that I would share what we get up to on her G+ community and I will.  I am very grateful to have met Amy too.

My second session of the afternoon was one being presented by Carl Hooker.  I first met Carl at the ADE institute in Austin. I have heard he too is a great presenter so I attend his session with a purpose of learning.  To no surprise Carl did not disappoint.  He shared some excellent points on what not to do when you go 1:1 with devices.  I also watched very closely on how he engaged his audience, and was clear with his why.

I ended my day as part of the Elementary Panel. Holly Clark had many questions for us (Joanne Fox, Samantha Morra, Reshan Richards, Kristen Wideen and myself) and we shared our responses with the group.  It was nice to have a Today's Meet channel to hear what the audience was thinking and wondering while we were sharing.

I was fortunate to be invited to a dinner hosted by Ed Tech Teachers on Tuesday night and I continued my conversations there.   I was able to reconnect a bit with Don Orth, another educator I highly admire. We also met at the ADE institute this past summer. Tuesday was a good day with a lot of thoughts and reflections going on in my mind.

Wednesday I was up early to attend Ken Shelton's session  Pictures in Motion - Digital Story Telling with an iPad.  I am not too knowledgable "yet" in photography or videography so this was a great session for me to attend. I learned a ton and will see how I can adapt what I've learned to help my students take better photos, and produce better digital stories.

After Ken's session I presented a second time, this time on the Power of the Little People.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am very passionate about young learners.  While I will agree that they are cute, they are so much more than just cute.  I  designed this presentation to demonstrate just what five, six, and seven year olds are capable of doing.  My audience was much larger and I think for the most part I did a better job then on Tuesday.  I had many questions, which I answered honestly. I think I inspired others to look at what they are doing with their young learners too which is always good. But of course I continued to wonder how I could improve my presentation style.  In addition, during my presentation  Tom Daccord the director of Ed Tech Teacher also sat in for a bit and to no surprise I was curious to have feedback from him too.  It interesting when I am taking in feedback as to what is being talked about and what is not being talked about.  With out going into details, like with Beth, I appreciated what Tom had to say.

I then spent time talking with the vendors.  I strongly believe that it is important to hear what vendors have to say at conferences. Often I learn about products I previously knew nothing about.  For me the highlight here was meeting the people from the iPad app Drawp.  I have e-mailed and video conferenced with them and so it was great to finally put faces to names.  They have been very good to me and in turn I have also helped try to give my opinion on their products.  I was also extremely excited to see what Tangible Play is up to. I can't wait to get my hands on the product so I can have my students test it out.

While talking with the vendors I ended up missing the second keynote.   It was never my intention but it happened.  I think I may have been on over load at that point.  I was taking in a ton of new learning, was processing feedback I was receiving, and was sick. The combination of the three meant I just needed a slower pace for a bit.

After lunch however I jumped back into it with two more session.  My first was put on by JoAnn Fox, a California educator I have been following for a long time via twitter. Her session was called App Differently, Reach for Redefinition .  She shared many apps that I am familiar with but in ways that I am not yet using them.  I loved that as it again made my brain spin on how I could transform what she is doing with grade four students to what I can do with grade one students.

From JoAnn's session I headed to Lanette Walter's session Kinder Content Creators: Keeping Engagement and Curiousity in iPad Classroom K-2.  Lanette and I shared a lot of similar apps and ideas. I LOVED what she is doing with young learners and I learned a few new ways to use some of my students favourite apps too.  Pic Collage was one that stuck out most.  After attending her session, knowing what my students do with the app, and all that was going on in my brain, I think I could write an entire blog post on the many ways Pic Collage can be used in a K-2 classroom.  Lanette's presentation really had me thinking, even though I was completely exhausted at the time. Her session was, after all, the last of the conference.

Unfortunately I didn't have much time to spend after the conference as I had a plane to catch.  I did leave with a brain filled with many new ideas and things that I want to try with my students.  Some of the highlights of the conference included my time meeting and getting to know some of the Ed Tech Teacher's team.  They are an incredible group of educators who have so much to share with others. I am thankful for the one-on-one conversations I was able to have with many of them.  Another highlight was reconnecting and meeting my Twitter PLN face to face.  And of course I was also extremely thankful to be able to spend more face to face time with my good friend Kristen Wideen.   Despite living across Canada from one another we have managed to connect face to face four times over the past year.  I look forward to our next opportunity.

So where to now?  The presenting thing is still on my mind a lot.  I am presenting a few more times this month so I will be focussing on being clear with my why. As I mentioned earlier I have a LOT I want to share, now I just want to ensure that I am clear, inspiring,  and the best presenter I can be. It's a work in progress of course, but it is something I am working at.

Many of the session handouts and presentations form the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit can be found here.  They are worth checking out.


  1. Karen - I can't wait to hear in person about what you are learning about yourself as a presenter. You are always growing and improving and sharing! It is truly inspirational. I am always impressed.

    1. Carrie, thanks for your kind words. To no surprise I'm still processing my time in San Diego but very thankful to have had it. I look forward to sharing with you in person. Hopefully sooner rather than later. :-)