After a whole year of planning, the annual Bring IT, Together conference is over. It’s a long drive home but that gave me some time to reflect on the past three days.
- Lots of Ontarians were concerned about the US Election, staying up until the wee hours to witness the results;
- I was told that 50% of Ontario School Districts use Office 365 and the other half use Google Apps for Education. Interestingly, if there was a platform that was used and/or showcased by presenters, it was with Google products. Except for a couple that uses Microsoft Powerpoint, Office 365 wasn’t to be seen;
- Microsoft provided a “testing centre” at the conference. You could stop in there and take a test towards certification. I thought that was a great touch for those who are interested;
- There were so many sessions and very few were focused solely on the tool but rather what it can do to enhance learning. That’s definitely the way that it should be. The conference committee chose wisely. The exhibit hall was about the “stuff” so there was something for everyone;
- Google Chrome is definitely the browser of choice for those who chose to display their content in one;
- There were a number of presenter cancellations due to lack of support from their districts. We were told by them that board professional development funding was directed to mathematics learning instead. Too bad – they missed a great conference;
- I’d put the quality of the presentations among the best that I’ve seen at an ECOO/BIT conference to date. Ontario Educators are becoming more sophisticated each year. That’s a good thing;
- More than ever, a single person can’t get the most from a conference. You need to send a team to get the most from the investment in time and to be successful when you return home;
- The move to the Niagara Falls Convention Centre with its first class facilities and ability to do social events was probably the best thing that the organization has done to support the conference;
- Carlo Fusco won the Slam demonstration for me. His demonstration and explanation of Edpuzzle was my personal highlight;
- A good conference becomes a great conference with first class facilities, a great organization team, wonderful presenters, and the best of Ontario Education teacher/learners chomping at the bit to learn everything;
- No matter how many times I do it – the drive from London to Essex County is loooooong and flat – a hill to break up the view would be nice – 22km of construction around Chatham just doesn’t do it;
- I don’t sleep well in hotels.
And most importantly, you need a strong network these days. When the in-house needs a little help, go portable.