Friday, June 27, 2014

ISTE Day 1 - The Hack Education Unconference

I need to reflect and blog more frequently. So, ISTE seems like a good place to start. Though I doubt this will be a very reflective blog post, more like a summary of some of the things I saw and learned today.

I took in the Hack Education education unconference that opens ISTE today. It was my first experience with a large unconference, and I learned a few things about organization and set up, both from the day and others that I spoke with through the day.

Design thinking was something that I've been hearing about for a while now, so took the opportunity to sit in on a session where those who were using it and exploring it shared there thoughts on the benefits and challenges of design thinking. It does have a lot in common with Project Based Learning, though it might be better framed as Challenge Based Learning or Problem Based Learning. You can take a look at some of the notes from the session here.

Professional development is something I've been thinking about a lot in my role as a digital literacy resource teacher and as a part of my M.Ed. course work.  I think there are a lot of problems with the way that PD is traditionally delivered to teachers, and not just in the areas of technology. I learned a few ways that schools are attempting to give teachers more autonomy in that that pursue their ongoing professional learning and that was exciting. I think that Jim Jamieson and I also had something to contribute as we shared the story of our YRDSB Google Camps and the YRDSB Leaders and Learners Google+ Community that we've developed.

The last session I attended was facilitated by Audrey Watters, the amazing mind behind the Hack Education blog (which I think every educator should read!). It concerned data and privacy, and while it's a tough subject to tackle (especially amongst innovative educators who believe that technology can facilitate different ways of working and learning), I think that the important message of the session was, "Have the conversation. Each and every time you want to use a tool with your students, make sure you read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and if you don't like what they have to say, don't use the tool. But have the conversation, again and again, because we need to make sure that if we are giving up students' personal information, there is a good reason for it, and the data will be protected, used, and shared appropriately."

That's it for Day 1!  Looking forward to day two tomorrow!

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