Stop #16 on the Summer of eLearning tour is the eVisionary Conference hosted by Valparaiso High School. This is the first year for this conference and over 500 educators were in attendance!!
The day started with 3 hour workshops on a variety of topics. I decided to attend Leslie Fisher's iOS session. If you've had the opportunity to be in one of Leslie Fisher's sessions, you know she is phenomenal! It was so great to hear "WOWs" and giggling when teachers learned new tricks. Some new things I learned were how to split the keyboard on my iPad (put your two fingers in the middle of the keyboard and drag out...drag back in to put it back together) and how to add the emoticon keyboard to my iPhone. After about a half an hour of tips and tricks, Leslie moved on to sharing several apps that would be helpful to teachers in the classroom. Some of these were Dropbox, Haiku Deck, a new broswer called Dophin, and Remind101. She also shared what she thinks is the coolest app for education, InfuseLearning, a free student response website which students can access from their computer, tablet, or phone. There were some great questions and comments from the group. As always, Leslie was informative and entertaining!
The theme of the afternoon for me was internet safety. I first attended "Digital Citizenship in the 21st Century Learning Environment" with Jeanie Sienkowski, MS language arts teacher, and Andy Sargent, MS assistant principal. Their school saw the pressing need for digital citizenship instruction when they had an incident at their school and started with adding school policies and moved to student convocations with FBI agents. Since then their district has created a technology curriculum committee and they are utilizing ISTE NETS standards, specifically standard 5, digital citizenship. Their goal is to create digitally responsible leaders. Jeanie shared her digital citizenship survival guide, which she found on Pinterest. Some resources she uses are Common Sense Media, Twitter, Pinterest, Edutopia. A big takeaway from the session for me was that we are not just teaching our students to be good digital citizens from 8:00-3:00 on school days, but all day, every day!
Next, I attended a session on internet safety and cyber bullying presented by Beth Kreppein with the Chicago Division of the FBI. Beth discussed cyber bullying and the amazing statistics of how many students have been bullied online. Some tips that she had for students who have been bullied online are do not seek revenge, do not respond, save the evidence of cyberbullying, report threats of harm, and prevent communication. A great resource that she shared is cybertipline.com.
The 2-day conference ended with a keynote address by George Couros. Many conferences participants also got attend some of his sessions earlier in the day. George shared some great things that are going on in his school district, some phenomenal ideas of how to get ourselves and our students connected, but, most importantly, getting to the why of connecting. George ended the day with an inspiring video, encouraging us to move out of our comfort zone and jump in!