Day 3 served as a real reminder to me that quality professional development is all about being with, and learning with, great people. I found myself drawn to the same sessions as good friends Peter, Harry, and Brenda. Before and during sessions, just talking was so enriching.
We opened the day at a leadership session led by Chris Lehmann and then had my first opportunity to listen to Howard Rheingold at a session entitled “Crap Detection 101”. Good content and good sharing before and during the session.
It was also on Day 3 that I hit the high points of my conference. I always try to identify the “best in show” for me and there were three significant bests.
First, as I was sitting in the room waiting for the Crap Detection session to begin, I happened to be checking Twitter and a message from David Warlick goes out indicating that he was surprised that the room wasn’t completely full. I hadn’t had the opportunity to say hi to David and so scanned the room, noticed him a few rows away, and headed over for a chat. David is one of the true gentlemen that you’ll find in these forums. We quickly got caught up on this since he last talked at our board. He had most recently come to Greater Essex to help us with a visioning session with our principals and CIESC groups. David was very generous and gave me a signed copy of his new book “A Gardener’s Approach to Learning”. I look forward to reading it on the flight home in a couple of hours.
All morning, Brenda had been talking about this $150 document camera that could also serve as a camera. We had talked about all of the uses of document cameras in general but the low cost of this device would work well for those students who would need to scan text into reading programs. So, it was off to that booth and an in-depth demonstration. What a sweet concept! The device connects to your computer via the USB port for both output and power. It also folds up for easy carrying. The new model also has a 3Megapixel camera so that you can have a picture in picture feature. Very nice! I hung around for the free drawing (which was an experience in itself) and lost but that’s OK. The price point is terrific. Brenda got one and I anxiously await her thoughts about it.
The best session and I’m going to declare it “Best in Show” session was really a focused conversation led by Steve Hargadon. “The State of Open Source in Education” was just a group of us in a room answering and sharing thoughts about Open Source and its potential. We talked about the Audacities, OpenOffices, Ubuntus, Pythons, GIMPs, and so much more and how this availability makes opportunities available for students and schools at no price for the software. We also delved into the concept of support and IT Departments hesitancy to make this available in schools in favour of pay software. It really was a great discussion that ended all to soon. I could have gone with this discussion for hours.
But, it was off to the closing keynote by Jeff Pionek about “Today’s Global Learners = Tomorrow’s Global Leaders”. Unfortunately, people had already started to depart and the Wells Fargo Theatre was less than full. But, our Canadian group secured a bank of seats and we were treated to a wonderful presentation delivered by this Brooklyn native now running school in Hawaii. His stories and comments were inspirational. We were also treated to a couple of absolutely excellent student created visionary videos.
And that was it.
The bunch of us headed out for one last dinner where we celebrated a birthday and thoughts turned to packing and getting ready for our return trips. All in all, another great few days of learning and motivation.