Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ICE Top 3

Have you ever been to a professional development conference and had FUN? That's how #ICE14 (Illinois Computing Educators annual conference) was for me last week. I learned so much and was rejuvenated and inspired. Here's the top 3 things that I took away last week:

3. #OurKidsTeach

Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris are teachers at Burley School in CPS. They build their classroom environments so that "The community teaches the community, not just teacher to student, student to student"
One of the ways they build their classroom community is through blogging using Kidblog. This has created a shift in their classroom - "Kids are no longer looking to their teacher asking, “is this what you want”? They are thinking, "hmm what would my followers want!"

2. Padlet is my new favorite tool.
Padlet is one of those tools that I'd heard of before, but until I saw it in action I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. It's an online bulletin board. Sounds simple? It is, and that is why it has SO much potential! It can be a backchannel, discussion board, KWL chart, a stream of student work, and more. It works on an iPad or a computer, so students can share the work they've done and post it on the "bulletin board". Here's an example that was shared that students have created of Rainforest Fish (Sorry for my fuzzy iPad photography):

Here are two examples we created in class: uploading pictures from Drawing Pad, and uploading ScreenChomps

1. "Technology doesn't equal engagement."

Harsh, I know. But George Couros (who is one of my new favorite educators), really pushed the envelope on my thinking during his keynote speech at ICE. Here are some of the things he said that resonated with me:

And finally... he always says to ask yourself "what's best for kids"? That should be your guiding question day in and day out. They're the reason we're here of course! :-)

George Couros has also done a TED talk if you're interested in being inspired and have 20 minutes to spare. It's worth it! I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face, or your money back. 

Were any of you at ICE? What were your favorite takeaways?

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