ECOO 13 ~ Reflecting on Learning


 "Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo 


It's been a whirlwind of professional learning for me over the last 4 days. Wednesday night I arrived in Niagara Falls for ECOO 13, ready to present on Thursday afternoon and to attend as many of the amazing sessions as I could. Then on Saturday I was back in London to attend our district's annual iCon conference where I was presenting a session on Twitter for administrators. Now it's Sunday morning and I've had a chance to rest and reflect on what was an amazing 4 days of professional learning.  There is just so much to write about that I've decided to break it into 2 blog posts. Today's post will be my thoughts on the keynote presentations from Amber MacArthur and Jaime Casap. The second post in a few days will be what I learned from the sessions and human connections I made at ECOO 13. 

The Keynotes

I've never heard Amber or Jaime speak. I've seen Amber a few times on her television show Apps Central. I've only heard the name Jaime Casap through my social media connections, but never read anything of his or heard him speak. To say I was impressed by both would be an understatement.  Both keynotes had me thinking, laughing and tweeting throughout their time on stage. The last time I enjoyed a keynote this much was at NECC in New Orleans when Malcolm Gladwell gave an inspiring keynote based on his book The Tipping Point. I could write a blog post on each keynote but for the sake of brevity I will outline what resonated with me the most.

Amber's keynote was a mixture of humour, facts and her own insight into the world of educational technology. Her experience reviewing apps for her show Apps Central has given her insight into what works for kids. She showed videos of her son experiencing the iPad for the first time and how he wanted to have is own YouTube channel to teach other kids about Minecraft. She outlined the power of social media for storytelling when she recounted the story of United Airlines who broke an songwriters guitar and refused to address the issue. Not satisfied, Canadian musician Dave Carroll wrote a song and created a video that went viral and cost United over 185 million dollars in revenue. You can watch the video here.  I think this is a powerful message for schools. We need to listen closely to our students, staff and community. We need to address concerns in a timely manner and use social media to tell our story, giving those outside of the school a view into what makes our learning community special. The second idea that really resonated with me from Amber's keynote was her quote "Innovation is dead, long live adaptation". This may shock a lot of people since innovation is a real buzz word in education. Her message is based on the idea that creating something of value does not necessarily have to be developed from scratch. There is a process where one can fail, make adjustments and improve on the original idea. Taking something and adding value to it is a powerful message to anyone in education. There is an iterative process to most things we do. A message Jamie Casap touched on as well. You can view Amber's keynote presentation here.

Jaime's keynote was steeped in the message that education disrupts poverty. It is the only thing that can change a family in one generation. He spoke passionately about his youth, growing up in Hell's Kitchen and what he saw around him. Jaime's recount of having only one source of information (his local library) which closed at 5pm everyday to how most of us today hold the world of information in our hands was powerful. He had me constantly thinking back to my time in elementary and secondary school and how much things have changed. Even from my time in university is drastically different to what is happening in classrooms and lecture halls today. However, this change in what is available to students hasn't translated to a change in the classroom and teacher practice that much. He asked why the 7th grade classroom his son sits in is still the same as a generation ago. Most thought provoking for me was his idea that the role of teacher used to be the Google of the classroom, where students went for all the answers. Now students can find information on their own, learning something new or teaching themselves a skill all through the power of the internet. A powerful, very enjoyable keynote from Google's Global Education Ambassador.

Best quote of the keynote's ~ "The internet is like a cigarette, we light up before we wake up." ~ Jaime Casap

Best video of the keynote's ~ "Study like a Scholar - BYU Library" shared by Amber MacArthur


I'd love to hear your thoughts and impressions of these 2 keynotes. I was unable to attend Kevin Honeycutt's closing keynote on Friday, which disappointed me greatly. So if you have the time let me know what you thought of it. 

ECOO 13 - Reflecting on Learning, Part 2
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  • I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed Amber and Jaime's keynote addresses, David. I'm really sorry that you missed Kevin's closing keynote followed by the band. If anyone sat in the audience at any of them and didn't stick their chest out a little further for being proud to be a teacher, they're not doing it right! Each of them had stories that just serve to remind us all of the power of education and our abilities to change children's lives. But, it doesn't stop there. As I blogged this morning, there were messages from educators at the breakout sessions throughout the three days. The sum total is of a profession that just doesn't and won't continue to learn. I'm sorry that I didn't know of the iCon conference. I sped right past London on my way home. Had I known, I could have dropped in. It was good to see you again; it's been far too long. All the best.

  • David

    Hi Doug,

    I saw a couple of videos of the band, and it looked super fun! I agree there is no reason not to be proud to be a teacher after attending any of the sessions. It was good seeing you again too. I'm sure we will see each other again in the near future. Take care.

  • Lisa Noble

    David, I'm sorry that I didn't get to find you at some point - I think we were in the same session more than once! The closing keynote had my hair standing on end, and the band performance was a lovely way to show that we are more than tech learners - many of us have other passions (and I only pouted a little bit that I had sent my flute home ahead of me - 'cause I was part of the band during Thurs. night's jam session). Kevin really challenged us to "live out loud", and to model that for the kids we come into contact with.
    Looking forward to part 2 of the post.

  • David

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for letting me know how Kevin's keynote went. From everything I have seen and heard it sounds like it was amazing. Sorry we didn't meet face-to-face at the conference but I'm sure we will sometime soon! Talk to you soon.


  • Nice reflections, David. It was good to meet up with you at ECOO, albeit briefly. I would have really enjoyed hearing about your new gig, post consultant. Amber spoke at the RCAC Symposium a few years ago. I guess you must have missed that one. I thought her keynote set the perfect mood for the conference. It was light, it was humourous, but it was really to the point. Her comment on the Power of One should serve as a message to all students. More than ever, the entrepreneur can set the world on fire if she/he wishes to do so. In today's world, they have the tools to make their mark and influence people and for free if they elect to. It's not just them though, the teacher presenters at the conference were leaders in their own area of specialty in their session. I'm not sure that everyone realizes that the simple 45 minute session just might change classrooms thoughout the province. As for Jaime, he nailed it. My first read every morning is on my iPad which is never turned off. So, when I wake and tap the power button, I take a look at everything that came in over night. I just never really thought about it in the same context as his message.

  • David

    Thanks Doug. I did miss Amber when she spoke at RCAC, so I'm glad I heard her this year at ECOO! I agree that her message of the Power of One is a message to all students. I laughed a lot when Jaime made the comment that we light up, before we get up. So true. It was good touching base with you and I'm sure we will see each other again soon. Probably at RCAC in December.

  • Having had the same opportunity to see both Amber and Jaime at ECOO, I couldn't agree more. You did a wonderful job of capturing the highlights of each of their Keynote Addresses. Both presenters referred to the power of children teaching other children via technology which resonated with me.
    I loved Jaime's quote "Education is the silver bullet, not the technology! Technology allows us to look at innovative ways to educate our children"

  • David

    Thanks Sue. A powerful message from both keynotes was the power of children teaching other children via technology. I'm glad you took the time to highlight that for me. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. :)