I’m back from ACEC2014 and today as I dealt with the ten loads of washing my teenagers accumulated while i was away, I have been reflecting on the conference. There were many fabulous aspects to ACEC2014 that have left my brain tired but also energised. I listened to some great keynotes, I took many informative workshops and I met and reconnected with many interesting people. I have a pile of apps I want to use and several websites I need to delve further into. My main two take aways though are the following.
Firstly my students need to learn how to code and to use proper software. In the hope that by doing so some of them are inspired to learn more. If only because as a nation we are woefully failing at preparing enough students for high paying careers in computer science. So what can I do? Well I can promote and assist with a maker space at my school. I can encourage my students to learn Scratch and other programming apps such as looking glass. I can also continue to teach them software skills in Photoshop and Premiere Elements, real software with real life applications.
Secondly I need to connect and inspire my students using stories. In Kathy Schrock’s words, ‘storytelling has become the new black’. ‘Now It’s Personal’ was the theme of ACEC2014 and a fitting one it turned out to be. Both Alex Couros and Kathy Schrock the main keynotes used their own personal narratives to engage their audience. Kathy reminded us that stories are powerful and that a good story can inform and instruct, whilst also making one want to respond. This was a great reminder to me of the power of using narratives in the classroom. By narratives here, I do not just mean student written stories but of teachers using digital stories to engage and inspire students and students creating digital stories to share their learning.
My final take away was that all of this learning, connecting, socialising and more was thanks to my NGS Super Scholarship. My interest is in motivating student writers through the use of authentic connections and digital technologies. My visit to ACEC2014 has inspired me to continue exploring these vital skills.
Hopefully this digital story I created on my IPad using Shadow Puppet Edu and Creative Commons images will inspire my students to engage with our mathematics and blogging plans this term.