This week was my first time visiting the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). One word can describe that experience: Wow! I love the idea of combining a student-friendly/community-friendly environment with the administrative (district level) office spaces. A great way to build community. I was there attending my very first SC Midlands Summit. Although, I was not a presenter this year, I look forward to the opportunity in the future. This Blog Is Why you should add the SC Midlands Summit to your list of must-attend conferences, I know I am!
My hat's off to the awesome presenters of this conference. They truly made their sessions interactive and I came away with many great ideas that I am ready to implement for the 2017-2018 school year. The kick-off event to the conference was a keynote by Matthew Luhn (@MatthewLuhn). He is a writer known for some of your favorite children's movies (Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo---just to name a few). His presentation focused on the power of story. He states that story is 22 times more memorable than facts alone. In order to be meaningful, stories should also have impact and be personal as well. Luhn also shared what makes a good story. These key elements include: The Hook (8 seconds), a promise of change, connection, authenticity, and structure. What is structure? The Basics: beginning, middle, and end. Sounds simple, right? Finally, he shared "The Story Spine" which are sentence stems to help give your story that flow, if you are struggling with putting your thoughts together coherently. The life story that Luhn shared was definitely made for Disney. I hope you get a chance to hear him speak some day and learn his story.
My favorite session of this two-day event was "GoNoodle 102: What's New" with GoNoodle Ambassador, Jessica Lopez (@SeaTurtlesCD4). One of the reasons that I loved this session, was because I THOUGHT I knew GoNoodle, but she introduced me to a whole new world. I wish I had known! I feel like I have been cheating my students. This session was the perfect combination of free swag, movement/dancing, selfies, and tons of valuable information. If you want students who are awesome, engaged, and ready to learn, try these short movement videos. You can find getting-to-know-you activities, exercise (Zumba), mindfulness videos, and academic minilessons. The Plus option expands your access to resources and features. You can get a one-month free trial before making a financial commitment or use the free version. As you try something new in GoNoodle and love it, share with them on social media using the hashtag #betterwithgonoodle. Great videos shared on Twitter if you follow @SCMSummit.
The staff from Jesse S. Bobo Elementary in Spartanburg was another favorite for me. I was inspired by the work of Ms. Alisha Bridges from an Edcamp that I attended. She shared some phenomenal Lego resources with me and I wrote an Impact Grant to get started with using LEGO's WeDo 2.0 kit. Now, I want my own LEGO Learning Lab! I enjoyed hearing from the teachers about how they incorporate the use of LEGOs into the curriculum starting from Pre-K classes. The team offered some helpful tips including management in the classroom, where to get additional resources, how to get started and lessons for elementary students. Again, more freebies and a fun activity creating a storyboard featuring a fairy tale/nursery rhyme. Can you guess mine?
Some other conference highlights:
1) I love hearing from Nick LaFave! He always shares a variety of great tech tips. I will be checking out Screencast-O-Matic and you should join Nick's website (link below).
2) If you are attending the Upstate Technology Conference (#2017utc), stop in to see Shalonda Blakeney (@sblakeney3). She shares great resources for using @Seesaw in the classroom. Her sessions are interactive, so you can practice while you learn. Don't forget to bring your device!
3) If you are planning an EdTech event, "It's as Easy as 1-2-3"! I enjoyed the un-conference set-up for this session. The discussion was engaging and informative. As we are preparing for Edcamp Palmetto, I will use the tips, tricks, and resources shared in this presentation. A special thank you to Irene Bal and Jennifer Thornsberry!
4) I cannot forget about my best laugh of the day with Dr. Lee Green (@itsleegreen). Not only did I learn about Google's Explore Button and Add-ons, but I learned the new terminology "chompey-chompey's" (insert laughing emoji). Dr. Green shared some easy ways to make your research look professional and thorough in a matter of minutes. When I begin work on my doctorate, I am using these time-saving resources. In the meantime, can't wait to explore Autocrat, Flubaroo, Doctopus, and Orange Slice. It's a whole new Google language!
5) Another gem from the conference was the Digital Citizenship session presented by Janelle McLaughlin (@Ms_Mac4). I personally learned the most in this session. There is a lot of talk about digital citizenship and cyber security, but I must be honest that I have not put enough emphasis/focus on them. That changes now. I am more aware of my responsibility than I have ever been and I have the resources to make more informed decisions. My final share from the conference and call to action for you all: Pledge today to be better digital citizens. Our students/children are depending on us.
**@ = Twitter connections
(Courtesy: Creative Commons & @misskyritsis-Eleni Kyritsis)