Attended and participated in several great learning moments so far and #ISTE19 is only beginning. Enjoyed viewing posters of educators showcasing their work and ideas. Love connecting on Twitter, Facebook and ISTE Connects to continue conversations. Heard one presenter discuss the difference in methods of using devices. Are your devices a "Digital Worksheet Storage Hub" or a "Pathway to Unleash Genius". Technology opens the world to our students. What a great tool to unleash their individual genius! Coaching/Teaching them how to successfully navigate the digital world is important work. Working together on collaboration and intentional creation are important. These are skills students will need all their lives. Engaging students in conversation and practicing putting a jumble of thoughts into a succinct expression is vital for adulthood in our current world. There are so many great teaching strategies out there to enhance our instruction and enrich student engagement. I love exploring the #SpotlightOnStrategies myself to gain new ideas for how to encourage interaction.
I was a member of a different audience recently. The speaker asked everyone immediately to stand up. Yes, this was less than 5 minutes into the start of their speaking session. Great way to keep the audience energized. This started everyone quietly chuckling since standing up and pairing with a stranger is not a comfort point for most people. But that helps to further connect us to the moment instead of passively sitting and receiving. The speaker asked participants to find a partner next to them and stand back to back. One problem... there was an odd number of participants.
Yep, picture me - standing in the near middle of a quite populated room without a partner. I'm willing to say outloud, "Does anyone not have a partner?" No response. Okay. Stand there awkwardly and quietly chuckle to myself about the uncomfortableness and we discuss school culture. I admit - I didn't like the feeling in the moment. But I'm also glad it happened. It reminded me to be more intentional and empathetic to my students (be they children or "grown-ups"). Activity continues, we sit down, people share out thoughts from the activity.
Speaker continues eloquently reminding us about the importance of how quickly our roles can impact several. The butterfly effect is strong in schools. Each day we have a choice to make a difference. I hope that I choose wisely, at least most days.
Okay, everyone stand again. This is now maybe 15 minutes into the session. Great way to keep people awake and activated. "Return to your partner without talking." Hmmm whom should I return to in this exercise? (Remember above comments about not having a partner the first time). Stand there awkwardly the second time in the session while the speaker shares their directions for the next activity.
Luckily as I scan the room sooooo uncomfortably trying to figure out what do. Do I - escape? sit? continue to chuckle ridiculously? A lovely woman behind me asked, "Should we make this a triad?" Her kindness was noted. "Thank you, that would be great." However, the activity involves shaking hands and simultaneously performing another activity... um ever try that in a group of three in the US where we all shake with our right hand...
Being placed in these uncomfortable moments definitely reminded me of how our students may feel at times. Have you ever had to say, "Oh well just look on with ____." or "That's okay, I'll be your partner (um just a thought by the way)." I know that this experience will have me be more cognizant of my audience in the future. We discuss differentiation, customization, and adapting lessons. Not to mention teachable moments. I believe moving forward I will be looking around my room more as an activity is underway. Does everyone have the ability/opportunity to participate? Do we all have the tools we need to succeed? Is everyone receiving the message that was intended? Are all members of the audience able to be engaged in some way? Some may chose not to engage. Let's remember not to embarrass them with comments and/or facial expressions. But let's provide the equity needed for a successful experience for all audience members (be that audience 26 children, 15 adults, or 50 members or more).
Always learn so much from attending #ISTE19. Some learning moments are intentional, formalized sessions. Others are quick, informal learning moments. Never quite sure which has more impact. I enjoy finding both kinds of personal and professional growth moments.