After attending the ICTE conference yesterday (Iowa Council of Teachers of English) in Johnston and teaching some physics yesterday and today, I am very much ready for the ITEC conference on Monday. I am a big proponent of going to education conferences as long as you focus on how you can improve as an educator and what you can bring back to your district. I know there are a good number of districts out there that do not financially support their teachers going to conferences but I am glad to be working in Ames where we are supported. I feel that we need to be in the growth mindset and conferences are one way that we can work along that path.
Education conferences are also a time when we can connect with other educators and find those that we can collaborate with in the future. We can meet people we might not otherwise meet and we can form some connections that will help us down the road. I always enjoy meeting people face to face that I have connected with online. Since October is Connected Educators month, this is a great way to connect with others.
ITEC is a favorite conference of mine for many reasons but partially because it was the first conference that I have ever presented at. A few years back I did a presentation on what I was doing in my flipped classroom and it was very interesting presenting to a packed room for the first time. It is also interesting because they recorded that session and I can always go back and rewatch it if I really want to, mostly in order to see what I need to work on as I get better and better as a presenter.
This year I will be presenting twice, once for Digital Tools for Leaders and Admin and then again for Differentiation Using Google Apps. These will be the first time I have presented on these exact topics but I have done presentations on very similar topics in the past. The presentation I did earlier this week was on how we can use digital tools to provide better feedback for students, and I will definitely be doing that again as it is a topic I am passionate about. I find it harder to choose topics now as opposed to when I was only in the classroom as I seem to be more spread out these days but there are so many things that I would love to share with others.
I am constantly trying to get better, and when it comes to presentations there are some things I need to work on. I am making sure that there are interactive elements so it does not become a sit and get while at the same time making sure that there are resources to keep the learning going. I am deploying ways to connect with those in my presentations while at the same time increasing the engagement factor. Reading “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess has given me ideas on how I can do a better job and I will be trying some new ideas in my presentations this year, even maybe a pseudo “magic” trick.
No matter what I will base my success or failure on if I have helped others to think in a new way or view things differently. I know that the short time we have with a large group does not allow for much individual focus but I always want to be making an impact on those that come to my presentation. No matter what I will try my best and see what happens, can’t fear failure but I can prepare as best as I can. If you are coming to ITEC, say hi and lets connect. If you attend my presentation and I suck, let me know so that I can get better.