Yesterday, I spent the day at Tech Forum New York, at the IBM Palisades Executive Conference Center . The conference was established by Technology & Learning Magazine. IT WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST CONFERENCES I'VE EVER ATTENDED! This conference exceeded my expectations!
I attended the conference with my co-teacher, Lisa Parisi. We love using technology in our 5th grade inclusion classroom, the South Paris Collaborative and we were very excited just to be in the presence of tech gurus such as Alan November, David Jakes , Steve Dembo and Ryan Bretag. To our surprise and Lisa's outgoing personality, we actually ended up connecting with each one of them. It was f2f networking at its finest.
Alan November was the keynote presenter. If you haven't seen Alan, go see him. He is an interesting speaker. The part of his preso that surprised me the most, was when he polled the audience about which educators were giving students the creative license to use technology in their classrooms. Lisa and I were only two of few who were raising their hands. (We were, the teachnology minorities in the room, at a TECHNOLOGY conference! Go figure!)
Not surprisingly, technology played an important role at this conference. However, the technology I'm talking about, didn't have anything to do with the presentations; it was all back chatter and social networking. People were tweeting away on Twitter. Lisa was streaming live on UStream , and there was a lot of action in the UStream chatroom from people all over the world! In addition, Lisa and I started taking conference notes through a shared Google doc that we created. When we found our twitter friend, PJ in person at the conference, we invited him in too. Ultimately, we had so much information being shared between the twits, google docs, and UStream conference chatter, Lisa took the initiative to create a wiki for the conference in wikispaces. Follow this link to the TechForumNY wiki, where you can access UStream footage from the conference and read through the chat.
David Jakes was another presenter at the conference and he was FABULOUS! He presented two breakout sessions that Lisa and I attended on Digital Storytelling 2.0 and 21st Century Cartography. David shared a wealth of information on digital storytelling and a number of ways that teachers could use the GoogleMaps & GoogleEarth in their classrooms. He has inspired us to revamp many of our upcoming projects because of all the information that he shared. We can't wait to show him the end results. Thanks again David. It was great meeting you!
Another unique opportunity that presented itself during the conference were the breakout round table discussions. For approximately 45 minutes, I met with various educators (teachers, principals, IT staff, etc.) to discuss Technology and Special Education. We had some interesting conversations about the lack of technology in some districts compared to how teachers utilized the technology when they had access to the tools. While a Google document was shared between all the participants, I hope the conversation will continue on the Inclusion Revolution Ning that I created.
All in all, in alliance with the goals of the conference posted on the TechForum site, I most definitely gained a a year's worth of insight and empowerment in one day. I had a wonderful lunch with a new network of friends in a productive yet casual setting. My new pals include David Jakes , Steve Dembo, Ryan Bretag, Gwen Solomon, PJHiggins, and David Gorecki. Together, we explored groundbreaking education technology solutions through great discussions online and off. We listened and learned from each other, a group of renowned K-12 technology experts, innovators and educators.