Sunday, 25 August 2013

Guest Blog from Shawn Monyihan on Learning from the TLDW conference

Ten Things I Learned at Teaching and Learning in a Digital World

1. Social media are becoming a significant vehicle for instructional leadership and professional learning.  Hence, this is my first blog post, courtesy of my friend and colleague Hazel Mason.  I have also entered the twittersphere.
2. We have amazing teachers and administrators in Peel.  O.K., I knew that before the TLDW conference but the energy and brilliance of folks at the conference was inspiring, humbling, and pride-inducing.
3. Going through many examples of SAMR ladders really consolidated my understanding of meaningful implementation.
4. Ruben Puentedera and George Couros are an amazing combination of "mind" and "heart".  Together, they are the 21st century teaching and learning equivalent of peanut butter and jelly.  
5. Social media need to be a key component of implementation and on-going professional learning.
6. A mix of keynotes, breakout sessions, poster sessions, and ample time to connect in less formal ways is a winning formula for professional learning.
7. It was the first conference that I have helped organize where there was evidence (e.g., twitter, blog posts, etc.)  during the conference that practice was changing.  
8. A real "problem of practice" was the foundation of the conference: "How do we support our students and each other in learning in a digital world?" This created a learning stance which permeated the conference.  Although there were many demonstrable "experts" and "novices" attending, everyone felt challenged and safe to take risks because we were all in a co-learner mindset.
9. The structure of conference enabled "guided practice" to happen all the time.  Remember when we used to have technology workshops where only the presenter had access to the technology and everyone else took "notes"?
10. If we keep our focus on the learning, not the tools, then our practice encompasses both the learning and the tools.

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