Include, Inquire, Inspire

Include, Inquire, Inspire.

The Learning 2 Europe conference hashtag and catchphrase have been running through my mind since it finished two days ago.  The conference may have ended, but the ideas generated and connections made will hopefully last beyond the 3 day event.

A Chance to Play with AppleClips:

I had very high hopes for this year’s conference at ASW in Poland after an unforgettably high energy L2 conference last year in Milan.  Last year’s learning curve was steep—I was not yet in my current role as Ed Tech Coach, and so much of what I learned and took in was brand new (to me).  I attended a wide range of sessions, joined every social opportunity and networked like crazy.  I was in awe of people’s experiences, connections and skills.

This year, as part of my Personal Learning Plan to challenge myself, and to support my final project inquiry into e-portfolios,  I volunteered to lead a teacher workshop on Seesaw.

The conference started with a great session on ePortfolios and documenting learning by Kimberly House.  Now, I have been living and breathing e-portfolios this last year and a half and what was brand new and inspiring last year, was more like review and affirmation this year. It was great to be in the session with my colleagues from the High School and the benefits of the opportunity to hear their perspectives and to develop shared language and understandings cannot be understated.

Image Source: AboutAlbertEinstein.com, flickr

Learning 2 has the fabulous tradition of hosting its ‘extended session leaders’ on the stage over the 3 days to deliver a series of Ted-style key note talks. A-mazing.  One talk was given by a High School student, Nico who explained delved into Einstein’s quote on why ‘imagination is more important than knowledge.’  Josefino Rivera, who specialises in training students to deliver Ted Style talks, insisted we teachers must ‘walk the walk’ we expect of our students. John Mikton convinced me of my moral responsibility to model responsible device use in front of my students and children.

Another great aspect of the Learning 2 conference is the cohorts.  I joined a technology leader cohort (there were 3!) to find like-minded people to learn with and from.  This year, L2 challenged us to come up with cohort hashtags and memes.  At our first session, we discussed the sometimes random and confusing nature of our job titles and tasks.  This resulted in our never-ending ticker tape response to #WhatIDoAllDay, encapsulated in film, and 360 degree camera:

#WhatIDoAllDay #Learning2, Image Credit, Mark Shillitoe

My extended sessions (‘Change Makers’ with Sonya terBord and  Hosting a Ted Ex Club/Event with Josefino Rivera) were thought provoking and informative, although perhaps not as hands on as my sessions last year (physically re-arranging a classroom and learning to program a variety of robots are hard to beat in terms of immediate, hands-on learning.) I don’t think I walked away with as many new tools or skills or ‘I’m gonna do this Monday” kind of thing as I did last year.  Although I do plan on using this animation lesson using TED ed: lessons worth sharing one of these Mondays (I host a Digital Design After School club on Monday.)

Another fabulous aspect of L2 are the unconferences—random meetings of like minds interested in discussing what is immediately relevant and of interest. My first unconference I joined the Maker Space in the library and ‘hacked’ my conference badge by figuring out how to complete a circuit in order to light up an LED. The next day I discussed the addictiveness of the new Serial produced podcast series, ‘S town’  (I half wrote this post and half listened to the podcast on my journey home) and compared and contrasted our respective school’s tech integration model with someone sitting next to me on the couch. Fabulous.

I think ultimately my biggest learning was leading my own workshop on Seesaw. Public speaking/presenting is the single most dreadful experience in my #firstworldproblem kind of existence. I’m terrified of it-but this terror was what made me skip lunch, lose sleep and work extra hard to make sure I knew my s—.  My session had a great turnout and people had great questions and I actually knew the answer to most of them.  Many were self-proclaimed ‘converts’ after my session.  My Seesaw ambassadorship and Coetail forced me out of my comfort zone and insisted that I give back and share.

One of my main conference take-aways, however was actually not from any of the sessions/unconferences/workshops or speeches, but simply the connections made (and hopefully maintained and kept…) Madeline Brookes’ #BaconNumber talk alludes to the power of connections.

There is so much value that comes from the opportunity, time and space to connect with colleagues from around the around the world (and from my own school!) The power of meeting your teaching idols is great, but one can’t beat those conversations with emotional impact on the path to ‘finding your tribe.’

Finding your tribe: It’s not about who jumps highest… Image Credit: tpsdave, Pixabay, CCO public domain,

5 thoughts on “Include, Inquire, Inspire

  1. Tim Tattle

    Great post Holly! Well done for getting something up so soon. Your words really capture the chaotic, inspiring buzz of the conference. I would definitely echo your sentiments about the benefits of connecting with people between sessions and I think that as a group of ISZL teachers we’ve come away with a stronger sense of what is and isn’t being done at our place and of people who we could really work with in the future. I think that the e-portfolio conversation needs to be opened up so that more high school teachers can see what’s being done at PYP and MYP level as a way of working out a model to adapt and implement for our students. I didn’t make it to a Maker Space session and would also be interested to hear more about that idea…

    1. Holly Fraser Post author

      Hey Tim,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, we need to ride the enthusiasm train as long as possible/take advantage of the break and get those posts up–I will comment on yours asap! I think it’s good for teachers/students to see what is being done in Primary/Middle and get that discussion going, but would hate to see admin enforce anything on the HS as one wouldn’t want to dampen the natural and intrinsic motivation of those who are already converts. Although for those who aren’t…not sure of the best approach.

      Yes–I am very interested in Maker Spaces at the moment–and am supremely bummed at the lack of any space–maker or not–our school provides. It was interesting to the differences in people’s level of comfort at working on something they might not be familiar with (circuits)…there was definitely a bit of hanging on the sidelines/peering over shoulders before joining…reminded me a bit of the clip at the end of Kimberly’s session https://youtu.be/fW8amMCVAJQ–possibly the highlight of the entire weekend…

  2. Steve Weatherell

    Hi Holly, It was great to meet you at Learning 2. Like you, I was inspired by a lot of what I saw. I was also listening to S-town while I was there. You didn’t say whether you had finished it, so I won’t spoiler anything. Another great podcast I binged this week was Missing Richard Simmons: https://www.missingrichardsimmons.com/
    Seesaw is one of those apps that communicates the enthusiasm of its users even to outsiders like me. Our elementary school is about to start their journey with it; we aren’t considering it for the older students at the moment. Who do you think the audience could be?
    I also felt like blogging the conference for CoETaIL as soon as I got home.
    https://www.coetail.com/steveweatherell/2017/04/10/learning-2-integrate-technology/
    We are really looking forward to hosting it at our school next year. I hope you and your colleagues can make it.
    Steve

    1. Holly Fraser Post author

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comment–it was great meeting you, too. (I’m in the middle of episode 4…not binge listening, just trying to savour it. A fellow L2er told me how envious she was that I was just at the beginning of the series.) Thanks for the recommendation–just read a review and it sounds bizarrely interesting.

      Yes, Seesaw users love it. (Ironically I don’t use it that much myself in my role–just facilitate its use for others. 🙂 Although it can be used at the HS level–(https://help.seesaw.me/hc/en-us/articles/211679586-6-12-Seesaw-in-Middle-High-School-Beginner-)

      I think that it’s best for elementary (and possibly Middle School). The walled garden has its advantages and inevitable disadvantages–students trying to establish a positive and googleable footprint are out of luck with Seesaw (unless the teacher opens up blog option and someone cares enough to scroll through the feed/find a link to an individual student’s post–possible, but another platform would likely suit better.)
      I will check out your post, thanks for sharing. Yes–I hope to make it to Luxembourg next year. Have fun with the organising and planning!

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