Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#ASCD14 - Conference Wrap Up

Another ASCD Conference has come to a close and I am very impressed with how everything turned out this year. There were some things that stood out to me more than others, so here is my take.

I felt there was a diverse set of sessions across each day. There were so many choices that it was hard to choose which session to go to on any given day. That is a good problem to have. This issue can be dealt with by being active in the backchannel and following tweets using the #ASCD14 tag during the conference. This allowed me to see everything that was going on each day while I was busy with panels and other fun ASCD things.

I loved that there was an edcamp session at ASCD. It was very well attended and people were very excited about what edcamps can bring to the PD world. I'm glad ASCD has embraced the edcamp movement into their session because more PD for teachers is good for everyone in education. The edcamp team that put the session together did a great job.

The Keynotes were amazing. I had not seen Dr. Q (Russell J. Quaglia) before. He was funny, engaging and smart. It is one of the best Keynotes I have seen. He would be a perfect fit for ISTE. He had the audience from the start of his talk until the very end. He seemed to understand his audience and that is something you do not see all of the time from speakers. You need to check him out because he was just awesome. 

Jane McGonigal was perfect. A smart and funny talk that spoke to the gamer in me and should be required viewing for all students who feel like their passion for gaming is constantly tossed aside as pointless in the education world. Her examples of the power of gaming and what it can do for people were powerful and interesting. I was very much engaged in everything she had to say and so was the rest of the audience. She spoke at ISTE last year and I missed the session and I'm very sad that I did. She has a fresh perspective on learning and education that is valuable as we try to change education for our diverse student population. 

I mentioned this in an earlier post on ASCD, but it feel it is worth mentioning again. The vibe was just different this year. Again, it might have been the weather we had (amazing) that kept many of us frozen folks from the North in better spirits, but I think it was something more than that. As a teacher, you will sometimes just have a class that is the perfect chemistry to do amazing things. It is the luck of the draw and it could easily have turned out the opposite of that (we have all had that). I think that is what made this conference seem different. There seemed to be the right mix of educators that were their to learn, educators that were there to share, and a conference that was perfectly designed to bring those two groups together. 

Next year, ASCD will be in Houston and I'm excited to see what they have in store for all of us after a wonderful 69th Annual Conference. 

1 comment:

  1. Jane McGonical would be a "must attend" session for myself as well! I haven't been able to see her talk, but I've participated in a few of her simulations before, and was quite intrigued. Glad that you had a great conference out in LA!

    If you're ever in the mood to attend a conference in which gaming, gamers, and game-based learning is THE topic of conversation about education, you should consider the GLS Conference in Madison Wisconsin. The "Learning Arcade" during the evening hours is amazing, and I was exposed to a whole side of the educational world never before seen at last year's conference.



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