Educators who attended the 1st Annual 21st Century Learners Conference describe it as amazing and exciting. Keynoter Kevin Honeycutt was dynamic, engaging and inspiring.
Honeycutt captured the attention and hearts of all attendees, said David VanHorn, Green Hills AEA associate administrator. “I heard more than one educator comment on being brought to tears or being near tears as they listened to Kevin’s story,” he said. “The icing on the cake was the practical tools he shared with each of us.”
Honeycutt is a teacher from the K-12 world who has an intense passion for making a difference in the lives of others. “He is a special breed of person,” added VanHorn. “He has a personal mission to reach as many students as he can using technology as a way to ‘hook’ them.” And he really hooked the more than 700 attendees at the 1st Annual 21st Century Learners Conference, October 6 and 7, sponsored by Green Hills AEA.
The purpose of the 21st Century Learners Conference was to connect educators to the 21st Century Learning environment using technology with a focus on the Iowa Core Characteristics of Effective Instruction.
The beauty of the conference was the willingness of teachers and students served by Green Hills AEA to share their knowledge, skills and resources with other teachers. This was truly teachers helping teachers understand the power of technology to increase the rigor and relevance in a student-centered classroom while teaching for learner differences. “I will use one of the apps for struggling readers. I will have them read a book into the program then listen back.”
Teachers will be using technology tools for Assessment for Learning, a characteristic of effective instruction. “Already had plans for movies, Bookshare, and several others. I am planning to use what I learned during the math and special educations break-out sessions. Incorporating assessment tools discussed in the break-out session.”
The conference had teachers presenting on almost all curricular areas. Classroom teachers presented on topics such as:
• Managing the technology classroom to most effectively support student learning
• Using tools such as Jing to provide support to students in the literacy classroom
• Math teachers using Geogebra http://www.geogebra.org/cms/
• eLearning with Moodle or Edmodo
• iPads and apps, apps, apps
Students were involved in the conference as well. Sidney science students presented with their instructor on innovative ways to use some new and old technology in the science classroom. The VREP (Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder; http://www.vrep.org) students from Red Oak High School wowed teachers with their abilities to program in 3D.
Underwood High School students were the ambassadors for October 6 as they directed participants, took photos, helped with lunch and anything else we asked them to do. Students from Orient-Macksburg served as ambassadors on October 7 in Creston.
The conference was a success as evidenced from the evaluation and feedback comments.
“This conference made me very energized and eager to begin incorporating more technology and Web 2.0 tools into my classroom. It also gave me a lot of ideas on how going 1-1 will be extremely beneficial.”
“This was a day of learning for me. It introduced me to many new things. I appreciate the time by the people presenting.”