The sessions I attended illustrated several things: that the idea that ed tech should be used thoughtfully and in support of learning is widespread - that is, pedagogy should drive instruction not technology; ed tech is being used in many creative and innovative ways to help students learn, to share learning and to increase communication with community; there are many great things happening in schools across Canada and dedicated professionals working hard to make education better for all students. I also observed the growth of people attending using devices from laptops to tablets to smartphones to document their learning - taking notes, photos, tweeting and so on. Now, if school Principals, superintendents, trustees and other educators are doing this, why do some schools/systems still ban or control their use in schools?
I won't go through all the sessions I attended, however, the point is that the times are a changin' as schools and divisions across Canada are making strides in moving forward and making classrooms more inclusive and student centred. Educational technology is playing a big role in supporting the gains as learning becomes more personal and in many cases more public. Educators are sharing ideas, successes and failures. My hope is that this sharing helps to spread the change.
During the conference there were a good many quotes and tweets. A few are below and the exchange during the Parkland SD (Alberta) was storify-ed here by Mark Carbone.
The conference wrapped up fittingly with an outstanding keynote by none other than Dean Shareski of Moose Jaw, SK. Dean exemplifies the ideal of sharing learning - he has skyped in to speak to my classes for 3 years now and is a splendid speaker. His slides for the keynote can be found here: http://www.slideshare.net/shareski/a-new-culture-of-leaders#
... and a few photos from in and around St. John's.
|Jelly Bean row houses|
|View from Signal Hill (a little hazy)|