Thoughts about NECC 09


I’ve just returned from my 4th NECC Conference held this year in Washington, DC and once again I’ve found it to be great professional learning, especially from the perspective of connecting and re-connecting with both people and ideas. The big focus for me was student learning and projects with constructivist technologies: students inquiring, collaborating, and creating with tech, rather than a focus on tech tools. I feel refreshed in my mission to make sure that teachers are transferring control of learning to the learner…regardless of whether they have one computer or 30 in the classroom!

Dropping in on the Constructivist Consortium event meant seeing Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez and the folks from LCSI which was a treat! LCSI has launched a new piece of software called Transform which I’m excited to be experimenting with in the next few months.

A new release from Fablevision is an amazing software called Animation-ish…and yes…it comes from the writer of the book Ish, Peter Reynolds! I’m going to order that software and give it a whirl this summer. The interface is playful, creative and downright gorgeous.

Watching @garystager do a fabulous job speaking his truth at the ISTE Panel Debate about Brick and Mortar Schools was inspiring! I enjoy Gary’s honesty and his dedication to what is right for kids, even when it goes against the bureaucracy of school boards, curriculum and policy makers.

I love seeing the real deal of classroom teachers at work inspiring kids and it was great to see @mariak, @kathycassidy and @marragem sharing their primary classroom uses of technology. They’ve started a wiki if you are interesting in joining in the conversation about how technology benefits primary students: http://primaryconnections.wikispaces.com

Two of the best things that I did was to revisit sessions by Alan November and Jamie McKenzie. Both of these guys have influenced my work in educational technology and it’s been several years since I’ve checked in to hear them; it was definitely worthwhile to see their newest presentations that re-affirm the kinds of deeper approaches I’m trying to promote among the teachers and students with whom I work back in Guelph.

This year it was wonderful to spend time with so many of the educators that I know already from Ontario and the US, with the added bonus of meeting a bunch of people from my twitter learning network f2f! I spent a fair bit of time learning from the ISTE folks who have many suggestions that will benefit the delegates at the ECOO conference here in Ontario next November! I can’t wait to share those benefits with Ontario teachers!

Another real highlight was meeting up with the Great Lakes Constructivist Consortium, a group of teachers who believe in student centred, experiential, ecological and equitable learning environments! I will look forward to becoming involved and learning from this wonderful group of people.

A visit to the Canadian Embassy from MindShare Learning was something I never thought I’d be doing in Washington! 🙂

Washington was a really great city and I’ll have to go back where there is time for more sightseeing. I was grateful to stumble upon a very nice place to eat, sit outside and chat for ages with friends in Georgetown…I miss it already! 🙂

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