Saturday, September 28, 2013

North Bay CUE Conference Thoughts

I was lucky enough to get to attend the North Bay CUE’s annual event today. It was a good time! Like most conferences these days, it was awesome to get to catch up with Twitter friends in real life. People are the highlight. Does this mean that conferences aren’t worth it? Absolutely not. I take ideas back to my classroom that will make me a better teacher. But man, it’s cool to get to hang out with folks who are passionate about making education better!

I got to check out Amy Fadeji’s #twitterrocks in the first session of the day. Amy swore this was her first presentation on Twitter, but her session layout was excellent. I especially liked her use of a TodaysMeet backchannel as a non-Twitter way people could share concerns and questions they had. It was inspiring to be in a room learning about Twitter with multiple administrators and superintendents. Connected administrators - what a powerful thing!

I got to co-present with with Sarah Press about the Innovation Day we had at our school last spring. We spent a lot of time thinking about the structure of this presentation - neither of us wanted to stand up in front of people and talk AT them for 90 minutes. We settled on a nice structure that allowed us to share what Innovation Day was and have participants brainstorm issues they would have on their campus running Innovation Day as well as try to find solutions for these issues. The presentation is embedded below. All of our resources that we used to prep for Innovation Day are there - please steal away!

Catlin Tucker’s keynote was excellent. What really struck me was Catlin’s emphasis on failure in the classroom. It’s one thing for me to talk about failing forward with my students. It’s entirely another thing to have an author and keynote speaker tell a large group of teachers that is their job to go out and fail and then reflect and get better. What an awesome charge to go and do!

Catlin’s push to get teachers to blog was one I hadn’t thought about but is so totally on the money. By blogging, teachers are doing two really important things that often get skipped over for a lack of time: they are reflecting and sharing. What a great rationale for blogging!

I got to lead a session in the afternoon on better feedback with Google tools. First live demo presentation ever! And by the end of the session, everyone had created a Google form, gotten responses on it, and run Doctopus and Goobric on the results of their Google spreadsheet. Check out the step by step directions I created here. I ran out of time to have everyone walk through Kaizena, but I’m hopeful that my fast run through and the step by step notes (available here) that I made will have people feel comfortable using this powerful feedback tool.

Thanks to the NBCUE team for throwing an awesome event - great wifi, nice facility, good food. As always, hanging out with passionate educators is awesome!