Yes, kids, it has arrived, and it looks as if the movement is here to stay.
The 2013 West Essex Technology Symposium (AKA ‘WeTech”) occurred this past weekend in the West Essex school district. Like other ed-camps / un-conferences, the format is simple: start with an excellent keynote, offer a plethora of workshops, and make sure you have free food 🙂 Two hundred educators from all over the state gathered, collaborated, and yes, learned a thing or ten. While I was also a fan of the variety of workshops, the keynote address given by Scott Rocco (Superintendent of Spotswood schools in NJ) had an excellent message and set the tone for the day; if you want progress, you need to ENGAGE.
If you haven’t attended one of these conferences, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. The concept is simple – teachers, administrators, and all those in between to learn or share how technology has helped move their schools forward into this technology infused 21st century.
The nice part? To many to list. My favorites:
- You pick what you want to go to, and if you don’t like it, you simply get up and leave. No hard feelings, no egos squashed.
- You meet up with old friends and new during lunch and get to share ideas and topics you liked or disliked.
- You get exposed to a variety of classroom ideas, the thinkers, and technology that is helping our students become excellent learners.
- You leave feeling good about yourself and your profession, knowing that there are others like you that want to utilize new ideas and technologies in the classroom.
I had the opportunity to co-broadcast video podcasts with Jeff Bradburry, the creator of TeacherCast.net. Several interviews with presenters, administrators, and teachers have been made available through http://www.teachercast.net or by searching for ‘wetech13’ on youtube. Perhaps clicking on an interview or two may further explain the benefits of these conferences.
It’s just a matter of time before all PD ends up going this route. Jump on the wave now – I certainly don’t want to see you left behind.