SxSWedu Day 1: Greatest Hits

Top 3 Moments of the Day:

1. Meeting Cindy Johanson of Edutopia. She was super inspiring and a great conversationalist (as expected) and I really hope I bump into her again tomorrow.

2. Listening to Ian Needham, Jac de Haan and Ash Bhoopathy discuss data. I loved Jac’s example of collecting social data on middle schoolers by asking them to write a list of people they wouldn’t mind bunking with on a camping trip. He used the data to draw connections and make observations about social interactions in his classroom. What a strong example of teacherly data.

3.  This definitely constitutes as more than a moment, but having dinner with a group of innovative entrepreneurs (including SnappSchool, Kickboard, Kinobi, Dojo) definitely makes the cut! A strong end to a great day!

Session of the Day:

I went to some great sessions today…sessions with speakers who were quite quotable. My session of the day is TheirSpace: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens because it was the only session that managed to change my mind about something today. I have had mixed feelings on the use of social media in the classroom for a long time. Last year, many of my sixth graders were dealing with cyberbullying on Facebook and I was often a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board for families. I have had multiple controversial experiences with social media for teens. I know that must sound like blasphemy at this conference, but it is the truth. This session made me stop and think about treating the development of a digital identity as a sort of content area if you will. I have long been intrigued by CommonSense Media’s curriculum on Digital Literacy and Citizenship and this session, paired with my research into CommonSense Media’s curriculum has swayed my views. Like anything else, this area of learning will take modeling, conversation and mentorship.

My Favorite Thing About SxSWedu So Far…

Number one on my list is meeting new friends, I could not be more excited about the connections I made today! This may sound odd but my absolute favorite thing about attending educational conferences is that I am reminded of the role of the student. Throughout a day like today, I go through the motions of being a student again – feeling:

  • So inspired that I feel like I can do anything
  • Like I have no idea what the teacher is talking about
  • Like I already know what the teacher is teaching, so I’m bored
  • Like I need to take a walk because I’ve been sitting for too long
  • Like I wish I could speak more
  • Nervous to ask a question

As teachers, we need to remember the feelings we go through while in the position of learner. Reflecting on these feelings, I am reminded of the importance of differentiation, hands on learning, student-centered learning and high engagement.

I am over the moon about the events of the day and although I’m exhausted, I am looking forward to another full day of learning. If you had a favorite moment, session or quote of the day, share it by posting a comment below. Off to bed…

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