Sunday, April 27, 2014

Awakening Possibilities 2014

Nice posters of sessions
outside each room -
I'm second from bottom.
On April 16 and 17, I was fortunate to attend and present at the Manitoba Teachers' Society's educational technology conference called "Awakening Possibilities". This conference was geared toward K-12 educators, in the past 6 years most of the conferences I attend are usually academic ones or ones with a more mixed audience. I was asked to present on my dissertation research, the organizers wanted some sessions based on research. My slide deck was very similar to the one I used at the National Congress on Rural Education a few weeks earlier - it is embedded in that post, so I won't embed the new one here. It can be found on my slideshare page if interested. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people attending my session, but the topic was about using social media in the classroom - from the teacher's perspective. It went well, I think. Near the beginning I ask "What is social media?" the very definition is a confounding factor in doing research in this area. This led to a good discussion and points made - not all I agreed with, but good none the less. The rest I went through the purpose, findings and some conclusions from my study.

Now - back to the conference. It was one of the best I have attended, I actually wished I was still teaching in K-12 so I could try some of the ideas presented with kids. But alas, I will have to settle for using the ideas and examples presented in my teacher education courses instead. The number of tremendous educators and projects going on in Manitoba (and SK, in the case of Kathy Cassidy) schools is inspiring, it was too bad I had to pick some sessions over others. The tweets were also going fast and furious - which helped get a sense of other sessions going on. The keynotes, opening by Steve Dembo and closing by Chris Lehman were excellent, as were the IGNITE sessions held in the evening. Many of those were by students, all so intelligent, funny, & inspiring. Some photos and video clips from the conference can be found on the MTS Facebook page.

Kudos to the organizers and MTS for putting on this excellent conference!

I created a Storify of as many tweets in the hashtag as I could capture (unfortunately it quit working on me, I don't know if there is a limit or what - it was my first use of Storify - so please forgive me). It is here;

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nineteenth National Congress on Rural Education

On March 30 - April 1, I once again attended the National Congress on Rural Education, held in Saskatoon, SK. I always enjoy this conference since it is an eclectic gathering that includes teachers, pre-service teachers, school and division administrators, trustees, and post-secondary educators. This year I was involved in two presentations. The first was along with a colleague and the senior administration of the Lakeshore School Division. My colleague (Dr. J. Kirk) and I have been working with Lakeshore School Division in a supportive research capacity during their efforts to renew education in their division through a project they call Re-Imagine Lakeshore. Brandon University is supporting these efforts through the SSHRC-CURA funded VOICE project. Exciting things are happening in this division! This presentation was well attended and the Superintendent, J. Martel was engaged answering many questions after the session.

The second session was just me - I presented about my Ph.D. thesis research for the first time. It was good practice for my, hopefully soon, thesis defence. It was also good to go back over the research and boil down the findings to fit into a bit less than an hour, yet keep it interactive as much as possible. My session was fairly well attended and and the audience included several pre-service teachers as well as a mixture from the above categories. I think my session was well received and my colleague commented positively on my slides. I spent little time on the methodology and analysis and most on the findings - creating interesting slides to support the information was a challenge since I wanted to use participant quotes to support what I was presenting, but I think it turned out well. The presentation is embedded below. I am presenting on my research again this week at the Manitoba Teachers' Society (MTS) major conference, Awakening Possibilities, as well. The audience will be a little different again - mostly teachers in K-12 I suspect. The conference has some great presentations & keynotes, so it should be fun.