Walking into my second EdTechTeam Summit, there was a sense of excitement in the air. I was greeted by Juan de Luca and Emily Fitzpatrick, and I knew in that instant that this would be a great weekend of learning. The icing on the cake was the gift of a Rocketbook. At first, I was just excited about another notebook, since as much as I like technology (especially my Chromebook), I still love to write notes and ideas down. Little did I know this was an upgrade to my original notebook. The notebook piqued my interest even more with the warning of DO NOT MICROWAVE. I had to know more! A little bit of Googling and I had my answer, and my mind was already spinning for ways I could use this in the classroom. Within the first ten minutes of this summit, I knew this was a great decision to attend. Whenever I have the opportunity to go to professional development I always think as long as I get one thing that I can take away it was a great use of time. But if you can get over 100 different things, I would chalk that up to an amazing use of time.
I could write paragraphs, upon paragraphs about all the fantastic things that I learned over the weekend, and the inspirational messages from the speakers, and the great ideas that I want to try out with the classrooms that I work with, but I am going to focus on my top three – the Rocketbook, Flipgrid, and Awesome Tables.
First and foremost, the Rocketbook – that in itself is a game changer for me. This past week I’ve had the opportunity to try it out, and needless to say, I was really happy and the students I work with thought it was the coolest thing. For me, I love the convenience of it – yes I can upload pictures of a piece of writing to my drive, but Rocketbook organizes, cleans up the images, and I don’t have to take the extra steps of finding my image, and organizing it and putting it where I need it to go. I can also make these snaps either PDFs – great for notes that I need to share, or JPEGs, which can easily go into presentations/lessons that I am working on. As soon as I got home on Sunday I started to use it (plus all of my other new learning – I may have forgotten how much I love Bitmojis). I also realized that I needed to get prettier pens for my notes. I thought what a great way to show my students my thinking. I also wondered, can I put an object onto to the page? Yep – you sure can! Which got my mind turning a bit more. I had my students create angles, and then we uploaded their rocket pages to consolidate their images into our Google Presentation. We shared the file in their Google Classroom and now these images are available as anchors for each student. Amazing! Now how else can I use this? I think the next step is for documenting our work on whiteboards. But that will be for another day. I also love the idea of using the pages for exit tickets, brainstorming, or any type of modeled writing. Again the opportunities are endless with it (as are the paper supplies ). I can’t wait to find more opportunities to utilize such a fun resource.
Next up is the amazingness that is Flipgrid. I have been using it for the past couple of months and the session that was offered just reaffirmed the awesomeness of it. I love the fact that these EdTechTeam Summits expose people to new learning and enhancing what they already know. I felt like this in my Flipgrid session, it was a great enhancement. What was also fantastic, was seeing teachers that I work with embrace the possibilities that it has in the classroom. Finally, from my learning from this session I am now on my way to becoming a Flipgrid Certified Educator, which again rocks!
My last piece of learning was looking at Awesome Tables. I loved the name of it and wanted to know more. I felt like this would be a great session to learn something new. I was right. The amount that I learned, and how it can be applied in my current role as an educator was a little mind-blowing. I see a lot of value in Awesome Tables – but I also feel like I need to spend a bit more time with it. I think I’ve been a little bit distracted by Rocketbook.
Overall the London EdTechTeam Summit was a fantastic experience. Even though this was the second time I had attended, I was able to build on my learning that I had from the previous summit I went to in May of this year. If you have the opportunity to attend, it really is the best professional development that you will get, and maybe you will get to write a blog post about it too!
Stephanie Gardner is an Instructional Coach K-8 with the Thames Valley District School Board and has worked for the board for the past ten years. She has presented workshops on Integrating Technology into the Classroom and Integrating Critical Thinking into Your Literacy Block within the Thames Valley School board. Her primary focus is integrating Critical thinking and GSuite into the classroom. You can make Stephanie part of your PLN at @gardnersteph2.
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