Learn East 2014

I had a great time attending and speaking at Learn East 2014. It is full of teachers and administrators who give up their summer to be there at their own cost.

Spending time with Jeff Whipple and Bryan Facey are always so encouraging and inspirational. I feel like a better person just standing around them.

The highlight to me was Jacob Lingley’s Keynote about MakerSpace with Brilliant Labs and how we are starting to approach what was recently thought as Science fiction in Star Trek. I loved his definition of Maker Education as students interacting with technology to be creators and not just consumers. He then talked about how 3D printers, arduino, make-makey etch.. can be used to have students create.

I wonder if the participants saw it as a bit bigger school wide vision, more like Preston Middle School, where the school uses English, humanities, sciences, arts and engineering AND TECHNOLOGIES like 3D printers, arduinos, digital art, work, and iMovie to solve real problems for their real community. That is where the “A” (arts) and the “H”(humanities) are added to STEM to evolve into STEAM and SHTEAM.

Jacob’s talk setup my talk very nicely where I asked the question what school might look like if there were no classes for at least a little bit of the day. I then gave the Preston Middle School Animal Guzzler story, my Automated Greenhouse project from RHS Science 12 and my XenoTransplant project from RHS Science 12.

I did get a chance to catch a portion of a session about SMART Boards. It was FULL. It is technology that they all have but largely still do not know how to use. I thought my talk about high level SMARTBoard collaboration was over used at this conference and that participants would be bored. However, the Tech Mentor who was presenting on SMARTBOARDS was doing a good job demonstrating things like the Screen Shade, how to add a browser to the screen, how to make a my content folder. The teachers were eating it up.

Next year I will apply to give multiple sessions. Session #1. Document Camera’s and augmented reality with SmartBoards, Session #2 SmartBoards as Collaboration Hubs, Session #3 Workflow in small group work with SMartboards. This will combine the how, to use them, will give the tech mentors some space to do their things and then give them the “why” we should use them.