Conference Reflections

I’ve been really inspired over the past week after having attended two regional conferences that were chock-full of excellent speakers.

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Professor Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon (above, at VA-ASCD) was on fire earlier, at the end of last week at the Virginia conference for ASCD. He talked very little about technology, but instead the American education system, with special insight into the connections between International test scores on things like Math and Science, creativity in education, and how we can compete globally. His talks (I attended both) were peppered with humor. His conclusions made me sit back and take notice; I found them at once both sensical, refreshing, and emotionally overwhelming. I look forward to studying his books.

Next, Chris Lehman, who appeared at both the VA-ASCD and VSTE conferences, who is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Wow. I heard him at ISTE this past summer, and his message this time around was as focused and important. His school does G21 all the time. He gives promise that transforming a school to one that practices twenty-first century skills with an all-project based approach is possible.

Adam Bellow closed the VSTE conference and was new to me. But his message encapsulated with both humor and fast-paced engagement what I’ve been hearing from others for over 5 years… he was a good speaker, made deft use of slides to illustrate his points, and provided common-sense thinking on how and why we should utilize technology.

It will take me a few more weeks to wrap-up all the digestion from what I was able to observe. Goochland educators Sandy Kasch and Bea Cantor presented on addressing literacy with iPads, and Bea also did two more presentations in the Apple-sponsored room at VSTE on iPads: Flat to Fabulous on creating eBooks with Pages and iBooks and the other on iTunes U resources for K-12 educators. My colleagues Sean Campbell and Peter Martin also attended, Sean, working on the tech team for the conference committee in a volunteer role.

Below, I prepare to go into my presentation on the formation of VSTE Special Interest Groups. Congratulations to Mrs. Cantor for becoming elected as secretary of this new VSTE SIG.

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