Friday, March 2, 2012

ASB UnPlugged

This biennial conferences brings in teachers and tech folks from international schools all over the world to look at 1:1 as a way to learn and collaborate. As the ASB UnPlugged website says, "1-to-1 is about providing access to technologies that empower learners and support the creation of 21st century learning environments." I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year. Here is a brief glimpse of my first day of the conference.

Common Area at the American School Bombay - host of UnPlugged

5th Grade Classroom

6th Grade Language Arts Classroom

7th Grade Language Arts Classroom

Two handed touch pad/mouse use

Student Showcases

ASB has been a leader of educational technology for more then 10 years including having a laptop program for PreK - 12. This was the third UnPlugged. Throughout the conference there are opportunities to step into classrooms for Classroom Visits, see students demonstrating different uses of technology through Student Showcases, workshops presented by others in attendance, R&D presentations from ASB, and two different half day workshops. I have been back for five days and I am still trying to process all I took in over the course of the conference.

I was prepared to be completely overwhelmed. I thought I would walk into classrooms and and realize that what I am doing in my classroom, with my students, is not even coming close to preparing them for the walls outside of school. To my shock (and relief), I was wrong. 

The biggest push is for collaboration and I do that! Sometimes even in the exact same ways students at ASB are collaborating. The only difference? Students as ASB can comment on one another's Google Docs (or what have you) in class and my students have to go home to have access to a computer. I was in shock for a bit as I let it sink in that I am on the right path, I just don't have all the tools I need as I not, yet, get to teach 1:1.

I attended workshops on iPads, gaming, project based learning, social networking in the classroom, and BYOD in ES. I met with teachers I knew and met new ones (and almost always found that the international school world is not six degrees of separation, more like two). After being encouraged in COETAIL I gave Twitter a try and successfully grew my PLN.

My half day workshops were Digital Storytelling with Bernajean Porter.
Take aways include…

"You can't decorate up thin thinking."
"Students have to be meaning makers before they can be media makers."
"Expand the range of tools & you allow more multiple intelligences the chance to shine."
“The opening should grab you. The middle should hold you. And the ending should haunt you and make you sorry that it ended.”
”When a story is finished - it should be remembered for its soul not the bells and whistles."

And Creativity with Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild. They have so much energy and passion for turning on kids' imaginations. Some Tim quotes…

“English as an additional language”
“A shared learning journey”
“Creativity: knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.”
“It’s not the technology, it’s what you do with it”
(And he gave us a gazillion tech resources - nearly all free!)

This just barely scratches the surface of my experience. I am inspired. I am motivated. My network has grown. And everyone involved was all about getting kids engaged and learning.

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