October 11-12, 2012 marked the 25th annual ACTEM conference in Augusta, Maine. ACTEM is the Association of Computer Technology Educators in Maine. The sessions were varied, but the theme was the same- leveraging technology in schools to improve student learning outcomes.
Overall, I found the conference to be a great experience. I particularly enjoyed Christopher Tully‘s talk on Thursday, where he spoke of the importance of creating classroom cultures that show students that learning is fun. This is something that I fundamentally believe in. Learning can, is, and should be fun. Technology can help in a lot of ways. Students can show mastery of concepts via multimedia presentations, for example, which can connect to real-world experiences.
I found the below video from Wired Educator, and it speaks rather nicely to the themes Chris was speaking of at the session.
Another highlight was a session put on by the folks at Teq. They went over 10 cool things to do with a SMARTBoard, as well as some features of Edmodo. One of the things I enjoyed was using the SMARTBoard with some free programs. Rather than write about it, this video will help:
The other highlight was Friday’s Keynote speaker. David Warlick, who I follow on Twitter, was our featured speaker. He is equally witty and curious about how technology can influence and positively impact our students. He spoke of many things that were reminiscent of Tully’s earlier workshop session, but he also spoke of the relevance of gaming in education. However, what was happening behind the scenes was what I found to be really interesting. As he was speaking, people (including myself) were actively tweeting themes, ideas, and parts of David’s speech that resonated with them. Not only that, but they were connecting what he was saying with their own practice. So, if David wanted to see if participants were understanding his message, a cool way to do that would be to look at the posts from Twitter about his presentation.
Here’s what he thinks of us techies and teachers in Maine-which is wicked cool.
Here is one way you can use Twitter to leverage learning for your students:
The other reason I was at ACTEM was to co-present with two fellow educators who focus on Early Childhood and technology. Together with two other educators in Maine, the five of us co-authored an article that was featured in the newest issue of Teaching Young Children. Our presentation was an extension of the article, and stressed the importance of the intentional use of technology. Right before we presented, we received the print version of the article:
The session was well-attended, and I hope that participants got a lot out of it.
However, during the whole time at ACTEM, I just kept thinking that it would be great if more teachers came to events like this.