It was an incredible experience to be part of the GAFE Summit in Victoria. I remember sitting in the theatre, (after finally getting through the tech troubles, boy that was an awful way to start, tech sweats are the worst!) and thinking that I was a part of making this whole thing happen. There was couple pieces that I kept front and centre through all the planning and coordinating: how was this building community and how was this going to be a resource for all levels of learners. The EdTechTeam did an incredible job, as they always do, at providing brilliant and accessible speakers. The design, accessibility, and range of the workshops was great, and atmosphere was fun, exciting, flexible and smooth. I am still looking through the sessions from the GAFE summit and extending my own learning –Victoria GAFE Summit Nov 2015.
As attendees at the Summit asked where I look for GAFE resources, I honestly responded with “have you looked at other GAFE Summits?”. I have found that knowing that other educators have presented and built the resources, it gives a level of credibility and therefore good value for my time – (Montreal GAFE Summit Dec 2015 and Calgary GAFE Summit Aug 2015) The amazing part is they continue to be available as resources for us as we grow, and GAFE Summits continue to happen. The sharing is incredible!
I was so happy to hear both keynotes Brad Ovenell-Carter and Neil Stephenson to frame the days. They both have a strong focus on learning, relationship, love, trust, and thinking. I have reflected on the idea of why I requested both of them to keynote. I had seen them and met them before. I trusted them with the audience here in Victoria. It again showed me that there is more value in who we know and not simply just what we know. Everything starts in relationship. I will never forget the moment that Brad asked us all to pull out paper/pencil and draw to kick off a tech conference. There was immediately chatter, arms reaching, and then even community building. “Who has a pen…anyone?” and “I have one to lend!”. It was so important to dispel the misconception that tech is the be all end all for learning. It was all so memorable. Thinking, and its process, can incorporate all kinds of tools and mediums. Neil hit me strongest when he talked about how the word “work” is said 80% more often then the word “learning” in our classrooms. He callenged us with this question: How do we develop a culture of learning and not a culture of work? I am still thinking about how I can remove the word ‘work’ from my vocabulary when working with students.
I found myself looking back at my own tweets to reflect on my own biggest take aways. Typically, my inspiration is translated right into sharing about it. I have begun to use twitter for this immediate output, where I can share it out in the moment and then even collect it later for my own memory. It is much more difficult for me to blog about it, but blogging is in the same vein for me – to sharewith others. Here are just a few of my favorite take sways.
“Honoring the process of learning by posting it on the walls, instead of products, build a culture of thinking” @Neilstephenson #gafesummit
“Reframing inquiry, which is divisive, to a thinking-centered classroom. Learning is a result of thinking” @Neilstephenson #gafesummit
— Dave Shortreed (@mr_shortreed) November 21, 2015
“Teaching is fundamentally about human relationships and is natural and not about using technology ” @Braddo #gafesummit
— Dave Shortreed (@mr_shortreed) November 20, 2015
Another highlight to the GAFE Summit was hosting the “Google For Education Playgrounds” sessions. The framing was to take time to process and dive into the tools that we have heard and make the tools our own. I learned so much facilitating this room – hitting walls, troubles, and successes with teachers. Each session ended with a sharing, both verbally and digitally on a shared Google Slide, on what was learned/explored/discovered. Each session I picked up new tools attached to teaching/learning, along with a few great contacts. It was powerful.
There is more to this, but I will leave it here for now. Feel free to contribute to my thinking in the comments.