On a bi-annual basis, ET and IT contacts in Alberta meet for a one day conference and networking opportunity. It’s a time to share what’s happening on a provincial level and to see what other school divisions are working on in regards to integrating technology in schools.
The November program was filled with a variety of information from smartboards combined with AT, cloud computing, research on the Supporting Innovative Classrooms initiative, IT panels, inclusive classroom strategies, student-owned devices, essential skills of a tech leader, wireless networks and even an overview of the K-12 Horizon Report.
I was able to attend 2 sessions and then with the third, I was co-presenting PSD 70’s Supporting Leaders in Integrating Technology project. I was quite interested in learning about Upper Canada District’s work on inclusive classroom practices facilitated by smartboards and AT. Alex Dunn gave an impressive overview of what she worked on with students and teachers to integrate the technology into an inclusive environment with some great results. Her website at http://www.smartinclusion.wikispaces.com gives pertinent information as to the process that she has gone through. And during this conference I already had a school email me interested in pursuing this kind of learning (and they did not even know this “smart inclusion” existed). Although this school has a more segregated program, we can certainly work with aspects of smart inclusion AND I know of a couple of schools, thanks to a discussion with one of our Asst. Superintendents who would fit Alex’s smartinclusion model; just need to get things in place such as a SETT framework, discussions with admin/teachers, etc. I really like the slide Alex showed –
“Everyone welcome, everywhere, all the time…”
– it just proves a point that with proper guidance, all students can have a fulfilling educational experience.
I then scooted up to the Student-Owned Devices: Community of Practice session with Karen and Ralph from Alberta Ed. Since PSD is researching and analyzing how to go about allowing these mobile devices onto a wireless network and what kind of educational importance they may have in learning, I thought it would be important for me to attend this session to see what Alberta Ed’s focus on this subject entailed.
For this project there are 10 jurisdictions involved who are exploring technology and educational considerations regarding the use of these devices. They are working with UofA, UofL, UofC, Concordia, ATA, 2Learn, and Metiri Group: Cheryl. They hope to create a ‘work book’ that discusses the pedagogy, policy and communication aspects of these devices.
Finally, it was my turn to co-present for the Leadership projects found within the Supporting Innovative classrooms project. Peter from Black Gold went first and then I completed the time. Here is a brief video of the Year 1 presentation for SLItech. I also had attached a 4 page info sheet (I’ll try to add it here later.)
What do I take from this event? The importance of always connecting, networking, listening and questioning the people around me as to how are they effectively integrating technology into learning and leading in schools.