Thursday, April 2, 2015

HEY LADY: #NCCE2015 Reflections

In March I had the incredible opportunity to join the Northwest Council for Computer Education as they brought yet another engaging, informative, and energetic conference to the Northwest with #NCCE2015!  

Richard Snyder, Morgan Larsen, Heidi Rogers, Becky Firth, and the entire NCCE team out did themselves this year with an all star line up of keynote speakers and featured presenters. 

The Northwest Council for Computer Education Conference sets itself apart from other "edtech" conferences in an impressive and unique way.  The week of #NCCE2015 started with attending one of three summits.  Gaming/Coding Summit,  Teacher-Librarian Summit, and  IT Summit.  It was refreshing to see a conference that recognizes and respects the position of school librarians as an essential gear in the educational technology dynamics.  

There were also a plethora of workshops attendees could join in on if none of the summits met their particular learning needs.  The conference continued into Thursday and Friday with a wide variety of workshops and sessions for participants to choose from.  The hard part at #NCCE2015 wasn't in finding a good session or workshop, it was trying to decided between great sessions and workshops! If only you could clone yourself and go to all of them!

One trend that I have noticed over the past year or two that I also observed while at #NCCE2015 was the big movement by the education community away from Apple.  Personally, I love Apple products. I have an iPhone 6+, Apple TV, and a MacBook.  Professionally, I would never recommend using Apple in a school setting especially in grades 3- up.  Specifically, iLife/iWork apps like Numbers, Keynote, and Pages.  

As an educator I am dedicated to finding and using technology resources that take me and my students out of the mere Substitution mode in the SAMR Model and into Augmentation, Modification and ReDefinition. iLife/iWork products do not allow of the collaborative and sharing that is needed to truly reach the higher levels of the SAMR Model.  Plainville Community Schools has provided great lesson plan examples using technologies and the lessons equivalent SAMR level.

NCCE offered two options attendees could use that could help teachers and students achieve integration of technology in the higher levels of the SAMR Model.  Google Apps for Education and Microsoft's OneNote and Sway.  For years I have been turned off from Microsoft's products due to the expense and inability of their products to be collaborative.  Google Apps for Education has been on the forefront of providing quality, free, collaborative products.  Attending NCCE has made me take a second look at what Microsoft is doing for schools but I don't feel they have caught up to the awesomeness of Google.

While NCCE attendees were filling their heads to overflowing with ideas to take back to their schools, I was busy meeting Twitter friends and presenting a variety of sessions and workshops. One week before leaving for Portland, OR and NCCE I had PRK Laser Eye Surgery and got the contact bandages off the day before I left.  At the time of the surgery I thought that I would be able to see perfectly fine before I got to Portland.  This, however, was not and is not the case! 

As a presenter I rely heavily on reading facial expresses of session attendees to know if someone is confused, has questions, is bored, or is having a good time.  With the PRK my ability to see facial expression was GONE!  I asked attendees in my sessions to help me out by yelling, "Hey LADY! You left a mile back that way!" to let me know they were lost, confused or needed clarification.  

All of my session/workshop attendees were awesome and it actually became quite fun to see who or when the next person would shout, "Hey LADY!"

In the ePortfolio workshop I encouraged attendees to blog. Blog as PD. Blog to reflect.  We incorporated some of our thoughts about #NCCE2015 onto the Padlet below. Please feel free to add your thoughts from NCCE 2015 to this Padlet as well.

Besides meeting my Twitter friends face to face, getting to learn and interact with brilliant educators, and meeting the NCCE "brain trust", my favorite part of NCCE was the closing keynote by Jeff Charbonneau.  Jeff was engaging, funny, personal, thoughtful and encouraging.  I came away from the closing keynote feeling even more dedicated to the students I serve.  

If you missed Jeff's closing keynote you can catch a similar version from ISTE below.

Thank you Portland! Thank you NCCE!  I hope to have the pleasure of joining in the learning adventure with you again soon!

*You can find my NCCE sessions/workshops HERE.

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