Reflecting on a GREAT day of learning

Today I presented at the Global Resources in Education and Technology Conference (GREAT15)  in Galway, Ireland.  It was such a positive and encouraging experience.  In my session, I shared the research I have been conducting over the past two weeks as a part of my studies in the Masters in Educational Technology (MAET) overseas program at Michigan State University. I have been doing research to improve my practice as a technology integrator in the making.  The learning experience I have been designing will teach research and information fluency to elementary students.

In my session today, attendees were very thoughtful with the feedback that they provided.  I was relying on them to help inform me of ways that I can enhance the learning experience that I am developing.  Their insights on project based learning and online inquiry were fantastic.  We deconstructed their processes of inquiry.  The feedback that I got from participants in the Padlet that I created was so useful.  They were very engaged in the quickfire activity, which was just a small taste of what my students will actually be going through when they do this unit of study.

The feedback that I received based on the session survey was encouraging.  Participants seemed to enjoy my session and I felt a sense of excitement from them.  One participant even said, “I wish my students were in your class!”. This confirmed that the research and direction I was taking to complete the design of this learning experience was good.  This reaction tells me that something I am doing will be beneficial to kids, which is ultimately what I aim for.

It was interesting for me to hear what my participants had to say about my designed learning experience because they all had different ways of looking at it.  For instance,  I did not think about having students think of what they would like to do on their vacation prior to deciding where they wanted to go.  There were great conversations that surfaced a variety of ideas that will help carry the design of this learning experience.  I am now wondering how I can curate an assortment of strategies that help teach kids how to manage their online inquiry process.

This is not the first presentation I have done in a conference setting.  However, I felt way more knowledgable than when I presented in the past.  I could back things up by research and engage my attendees by doing an activity with them.   I was able to grow professionally by presenting but I felt that participants also walked away with new ideas.  It was definitely a win win situation.  Seeing the tremendous growth I’ve made from when I’ve presented in the past to now has reminded me that learning never stops. 

I was even able to connect with new faces.  This, is one of my favorite parts of going to conferences.  I connected with Robin Sacks, from Toronto, Canada.  She has a unique position where she teaches leadership to college aged students.  We hope to Skype or do a Google Hangout after we both teach my designed learning experience to both of our classes.  The interesting piece here is that my lesson in designed for third grade students in Hawaii.  I am looking forward to connecting with people around the world who engage in the same learning activities that I do with my students.  It is uplifting to know that others want to teach the learning experience that I designed. Today’s conference had me thinking in new ways.  I now see how one can definitely benefit from looking at the world differently.IMG_1997


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