"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.
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.