Hopes and expectations:
I'm currently flying to Boston for the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit. I last attended the event when it was held in Atlanta last April.
A lot has changed for me since then. My last iPad Summit visit had a lasting and significant impact on pretty much everything I do. I ended up attending the Atlanta conference after successfully submitting a presentation proposal which indirectly led to me leaving my teaching job to set up a consultancy business with David Andrews.
I learned so much in 2 days and made connections with people I continue to learn from. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to listen to and discuss ideas with teachers from so many different schools, states and countries as well as connect with thought leaders and pioneers such as Reshan Richards, Greg Kuloweic, Lisa Johnson and Michelle Cordy.
The key message that technology is a tool for teachers to use but learning and pupil progress must paramount is something I continue to find myself discussing a lot. There are still many teachers with suspicions and misconceptions about classroom technology and still many school leaders who invest in technology without having a clear purpose for and desired outcome from its deployment. A teacher's main objectives remain the same with or without classroom technology - learning, progress, standards. At times tech demos from the rep from the tech store, or the worthy and widely respected SAMR model can become a distraction moving thinking subtly towards the technology and away from the learning. Teachers are right to be sceptical until they see something they can use in their work to make an impact on the job they do and the pupils they teach. Engagement is not enough.
I hope, over the next 2 days, to gain further insight into what is happening in schools around the world. What is making the impact on students' learning and progress? What ideas, programmes and process can be scaled up to ensure the biggest impact for all pupils and teachers. Sometimes it can be frustrating to meet a brilliant teacher doing astonishing things with technology and when asked "Who else in your school is doing this?" being told that there is limited whole-school take up and application. I know I'm in the right place, because I'm with the right people addressing the right agenda. We want the same thing.
I like the iPad summit because it is about sharing. So many committed, creative and passionate educators coming together creates invaluable dialogue, collaboration and momentum. That's why I'm attending, I want to be part of that learning process. Here is my schedule for the next 2 days.