Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BIT 14 - Bringing IT Together

I attended BIT14 from Nov 5 to 7th in Niagara Falls, Ontario with 3 other teachers on the iSITS committee from the Living Sky School Division.  

One of the keynotes was George Couros.  He is known as the Principal of Change because of the blog that he writes.  He now works in Central Office for the Parkland School Division in Alberta.  During his keynote, I experienced emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I wish every teacher could listen to him speak.  I found his Ted Talk.  Not the same as in person, but you'll get a sense of him as a person and an educator.

I took a couple of things away from this conference compared to other conferences that I have attended in the past.  One message that rang loud and clear is that we should be coding with kids.  And not just in Computer Science classes at the high school level.  We need to be coding with kids at all ages. I attended one session with Brian Aspinall.  He showed us how to use Scratch to find the factors of numbers.  There is also something called The Hour of Code where we can all get tutored through how to make programs work.  Both my grade 6 and 8 Math classes have worked through the first Angry Bird codes and some have started the Lightbot ones.  A huge hit so far.  

I didn't go to Niagara Falls with the intention of going to so many sessions about Google Aps for Education (GAFE) but it kind of worked out that way.  I have been a google drive/doc user for years now, but finding out the Division was going to the Google Classroom for all students and staff at the last iSITS meeting had me wanting to learn more.  There is so much that we will be able to do with this.  I am still learning, but here are some of the sites that I will be going back to many times to help me with ideas.  Some of the addons are very cool.  A great presentation by Andrew Bieronski  showed several ways we can use GAFE .  For example - Super Quiz is an Add-on for Google Form that can be used to automatically assess quizzes given to students with a Google Form. Have you ever hear of Google Ideas? Me either. Or Google Keep? Who knew. 
and Google Cultural Institute and the possibilities with Google Drawings is endless. There are some examples for a Science lab report with that here from a presentation by Jonathan Berlingeri and Joe Sisco.

The second message I took from this conference is the same one I have been hearing for a long time now.  It's not about the tech.  It's about the relationships that we create with our students and how we engage them and empower them in their learning.  So that's what I strive to do each and every day.  Believe me some days are better and easier than others.

More links you may want to check out:

Richard Byrne

Google Alerts 
Connected Classrooms
Epic - a reading program that encourages both comprehensions and collaboration
Panoramio - shows pictures of places anywhere in the world.
Free Music Archive
Youtube Audio Library

This conference reminded me of many of the Showcase type conferences that we used to have in Saskatoon.  I miss them.  It was always a fun couple of days getting inspired and networking with teachers from around the province.  I was inspired in Niagara Falls to continue working with my students in different ways.  I also really enjoyed getting to know Lane, Emily and Rhonda better and am very thankful that I have so many great teachers to go to with my ideas and problems.  Again it's about the relationships.  I am blessed to work in a school division that encourages and supports us to not only attend conferences but also to try many different ways to reach our students.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I truly believe in the importance of critical thinking through coding. If I can help further, please let me know!