#ecoo – My Experience in Niagara

#ecoo - My Experience in Niagara

Well the hashtag #ecoo13 trended number 1 in Canada – twice over the three day conference. This means a few different things. First, out of the 1300+ attendees, many are on twitter – and tweet regularly.

Second – this shows the power of social media in education. I could easily spend the next three days trying to read every tweet with the hastag #ecoo13. Ironically, that would be better PD that many of us receive in schools.

So thank you #onted educators who love to share.

I’ve been home now from #ecoo13 for a few days and have read a few different reflections from a few people I admire tremendously (@acampbell99, @avivaloca, @dougpete, @davidfifevp). It certainly was great to meet these people f2f.

On that note, one of the biggest barriers to social media in education is the lack of ‘f2f’ communication or the quality of the social interaction that is happening. I met people in the ‘real world’ this week that I have known online for years. I could pick them out of a crowd based solely on a profile pic. Nothing was awkward about these first time f2f interactions. It was no different than seeing an old friend for the first time in a while. Social media belongs in education.

I also had the opportunity to sit and chat with @dougpete one on one. This individual has been a mentor to me both in the ‘real world’ and online for close to 8 years now. He is someone I admire deeply. Interestingly enough our conversation was about Amherstburg and Harrow – our home towns and how much we enjoy living near the lake.

I want to touch upon the format of #ecoo13. Every 40 minutes there was a slew of workshop sessions I could choose to attend. I didn’t have to sign up specifically but could move freely around the conference centre and attend presentations that interest me. A strategy I think we should all adopt in our classrooms. Student choice. Secondly, if I was not ‘feeling the session’ I could get up , walk out and go to another one. I equate this to projects we have at school or books we read in class. If our students loose interest, are they able to get up and go the to next classroom or choose a different assignment or do we force them to sit and become more and more disengaged because we put so much into the lesson? Food for thought.

My session titled “The Paperless Math Classroom” had an overwhelming response. Sweaty hands nerve wracking. I cannot remember the last time I was that nervous. Speaking to like minded people about my classroom and how we organize it. I counted at least 70 people, many of which came to say hello or thank you or can you come and speak at our board. I am deeply flattered. My session was a day in the life of grade 8 at ICRPS and how we sometimes do math a little differently than traditional methods. The response from people was so overwhelmingly positive, like we are on the right track. Go Sundevils!

I did get a question I receive often: “What happens when your students go to high school and classes are still rote and repetitive – and on paper?”

If I have done my job properly this year – and focused on my beliefs that students should be taught to solve problems by seeking appropriate resources on an individual need, then I have no doubt everyone in my classroom will be successful in high school. If I have helped them learn skills that they can adopt in any setting, I have done my job. Its not about the formula for volume of a cylinder, it’s about solving volume of cylinder problems using whatever resources we can find. Resilience, collaboration, initiative, organization, problem solving and self regulation. With these skills, any student can ’survive’ high school.

Live out loud, folks. Be creative and collaborative. See you all at #ecoo14.

You can find a link to my keynote at http://www.brianaspinall.com.



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