BIT 2014 Day One

As educators, we need to be constantly enriched by new experiences and new learning.  Our  first day at the 2014 ECOO Conference certainly did this for all of us.  We started before 7:00am at the registration desk and were soon into the first keynote and then the half and full-day sessions.

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I love the Minds on Media full day session – I really think it is one of the highlights of the entire conference.

I was able to take in four sessions throughout the day.  I find you really need to sit and talk with the presenters to get a good sense of what they are presenting.  Unlike the next two days where we will be running from workshop to workshop, today there was time to sit and talk to the presenters, try out some new tools and pick up some incredibly valuable resources.

I probably spent the most time in the Mindcraft session.  I am certainly no good at playing the game, but I am starting to get the concept.  Like makerspaces, one of the ideas is to give students a creative outlet to express their ideas in a new and innovative format.  I am starting to see all sorts of applications back at school.  I now have a great set of resources and a wonderful contact person to go to when I get bogged down.

I also learned about Ubuntu and how this operating system can be used to breathe life into old, slow laptops.  I can’t wait to try this out with some of the old machines we have kicking around our house.

 

Loading screen from Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10.
Loading screen from Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s lots to learn talking to the vendors as well. I had some great talks with vendors from Northern Micro, Copernicus, Antidote, SmartpenCentral and Read & Write. I already have resources that I want to purchase for our school that I hope will benefit students and teachers.

The networking possibilities are endless.  Tonight, the learning will continue with a dance back in the main convention center.

 

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BIT 2014 has started!

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Standing room only at first keynote of the day

 

We  have started with our first keynote speaker and the regular schedule is just about to start.  You can see all the events planned today on Lanyard at http://bit.ly/1x7J2k2

Very exciting to be back here.  We started registering delegates last night and closed up at 10:00PM.  This morning we started again at 7:15 and are still registering people now.

Wednesday is the only day where you sign up for sessions.  Some are the morning only some go the entire day.  The wonderful vendor room opens at 10:00am.

I love the Minds on Media session.  It starts now and will go nonstop until 3:30pm.  It is a great opportunity to sit with presenters and try out the programs and products they are featuring.  But, don’t take my word.  Just follow the #bit14 hashtag today.

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Conversation with Joanna Crapsi – Roxborough Park School on Parent Engagement

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This morning I had an amazing conversation with the principal of Roxborough Park School regarding some of the parent engagement work she is doing at her school.  This is terrific work that needs to receive more exposure.  All these ideas are things that we would love to do at our school.
Joanna has been working on these programs for four years.  Here are some of the essential points from today.
1)  Funding is important to hire teachers to work with the student groups that have been targeted for additional academic coaching and to pay for the meals that take place after each session.
2)  The program is invitational – staff and admin make personal contact with the family to invite them to take part in the tutoring and the parent component of the program.
3)  Community partners are important to act as facilitators for the sessions identified by the parents.  Very important to coach facilitators that sessions are to be designed to create a dialogue rather than straight information sessions.
4)  Essential point – parents choose the sessions they are interested in – they design their own learning program during their first session at the school.  Topics have included, health and wellness, safety, stress management, how to finish high school, EQAO, how to read with your child – to name just a few.
5)  The sessions run twice a week for 15 weeks.  Tutoring is from 3:00PM – 4:30PM and the parent session is from 3:30PM – 4:30 PM.  All sessions conclude with a meal for the parents, students, facilitators and teachers.
6)  Child care needs to be in place.
7)  Your school is also running a special ELL initiative which sounds really interesting, it would be good to hear more about that.
This would be a terrific workshop idea at any educational conference.  We all know that parent engagement is important, the ‘how to’ is not as well known.
Any ideas that you would add to this list?