I just arrived back from the Discovery Educator Network 2010 Leadership Council Symposium at Bentley University.  The trip to Boston was a fantastic opportunity to network with other educators, share best practices, and hear thought-provoking speakers.  Here is a summary of the ideas that I came away with:

Paperslide Videos and Music Videos with Lodge McCammon:

Lodge gave the group an opportunity to have hands-on with creating a paperslide video and a collaborative music video.  You can see his presentation here: http://sites.google.com/site/denlcfizz2010.  These are both great project-centered activities to implement in the classroom and will help students understand concepts.

Chris Dede on 21st Century Learning:

Day two of the symposium was an opportunity for us to hear Dr. Chris Dede from Harvard University speak about transforming education for the 21st century. He challenged us to think about what transformation looks like in the classroom.  He shared information about new literacies for the 21st century based on the Framework for New Media Literacies.  Dr. Dede also shared his EcoMUVE project and discussed how he hopes to develop a way for assessing student work in a MUVE.  He stressed that we must have sophisticated performance assessments based on rich observations.  My favorite quote: “Plan needs to be a verb, not a noun.”

Unconference Day:

On Wednesday, we had the chance to organize ourselves into sessions for an unconference day.  Twenty teachers agreed to lead sessions and the other participants could attend sessions of their choice.  The only rule was that you must be passionate about your topic.  I hosted a session on one-to-one computing with Genevieve Kahlweiss.  We were able to spend the entire morning talking about issues with one-to-one computing and sharing ideas and resources.  I also attended sessions on augmented reality and cell phone use in schools.  Check out  ROAR (Radford Outdoor Augmented Reality Project) to learn more about augmented reality in education.  All of the groups created documents that could be shared with everyone in attendance.  I’ll be exploring the documents for a long time!

Building Learning Communities 2010:

The DEN team outdid themselves this year by taking us into Boston on Thursday to attend Alan November’s BLC (Building Learning Communities) 2010 conference.  Michael Wesch, the creator of the viral video, A Vision of Students Today, talked about how we need to move our students from knowledgeable to knowledge-able.  His main point was that we need to engage students with real problems and harness the relevant tools to solve the problems.  I was also able to attend a session by Bette Manchester from the Maine International Center for Digital Learning.  She talked about the lessons learned from the one-to-one computing project in Maine.  I came away with a wealth of information that I can share with teachers in my district.

My Network:

I feel honored that I was able to attend the DEN LC Symposium.  The highlight of the week was networking with great educators from around the US.  The theme of the week was summed up by Peter Reynolds.  We visited Fablevision studios and heard Peter Reynolds talk about the books that he writes.  He emphasizes in his books that we need to make our mark (The Dot) and have a great journey as we go (The North Star). I feel certain that I can do that with the great network of people who will be walking alongside me.

Thanks to the DEN planners for putting together such a great week!

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