I attended the School Technology Summit hosted by the NYC Department of Education this week. I love opportunities to gather with educators and learn about great ideas and “best practices in educational technology.” @JanePook introduced the event with a clip from Back to the Future Part Two, where the gang is traveling from 1985 into the distant future of October 21, 2015.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña made an appearance much to the delight of the large crowd of almost 2000 teachers and administrators. She implored teachers to be the leaders in their schools and share with their students their joy in learning. She spoke about how she considers herself a digital immigrant but is always trying to learn, be it 3D printing or programming in Scratch. She talked about how she believes the Maker Movement will change schools and that, as always, she is looking towards funding schools appropriately to keep them current and wifi-enabled.
The keynote for the event was Dale Dougherty @dalepd, founder of @Make Magazine and co-creator of @MakerFaire. Dale further drove home the importance of STEM, STEAM, and the Maker Movement. He talked about how Make Magazine is the modern day Popular Mechanics, and his purpose in creating it was to offer How-To guides so technology can be as open & accessible as cooking. Dale also suggested that he thinks there is a real possibility of some sort of Tactile Deficit Syndrome that may one day be diagnosed in children if they only touch glass screens. Dale shared his New Rules of Making: 1. Open over Proprietary 2. Individual over Institution 3. Collaborative over Competitive 4. Practice over Theory. He also shared links to the MakerEd.org website and the Makerspace Playbook. Finally, Dale promised a backstage tour of the Maker Faire for teachers. Fingers crossed that happens!
I attended a panel organized by Lisa Neilsen (@InnovativeEdu) and moderated by Tali Horowitz of @CommonSense Media entitled, “So You Lifted the Cell Phone Ban, Now What?” Teachers and principals talked about their experiences in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and/or One to One (One device per student or “1:1”) environments. Lisa shared a great document with tons of resources: http://tinyurl.com/STS15-Panel-They-Lifted
I also attended a session called, “Wonders of the NYC Tech World” where 6 school tech teachers and leaders shared their routines, projects, students, successes, and challenges. Links to their slide presentations are here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1oV1_vn1cY-aZAWlufKS_aa-Z6g8co5SsFtFFpIE7ySM/htmlview
Manhattan Borough President, @GaleABrewer, was present for the final ceremony where she handed out awards for Excellence in School Technology. So many public school teachers were recognized for their achievements, but only @AharonSchultz pulled out a selfie stick and took a photo with Gale on stage!