Wednesday, July 8, 2015

eRev 2015

The largest gathering of the Summer of eLearning can often be found in Evansville. This year, the eRevolution conference had nearly 900 educators in attendance! These participants were treated to more than 200 sessions, dozens of sponsor tables, a student-hosted technology playground, and a giant maker space! Among the new additions to the conference this year, the eRev Scavenger Hunt App! Attendees download the app and used it to find bluetooth beacons, collect badges and register for prizes.

Jennifer Brandt led an early session, supported by Harrison eLeaders, students who help teachers incorporate technology by providing training and support for new tools. They modeled the use of an online presentation tool called emaze, as well as the ever-popular flashcards in Quizlet. One of the Harrison eLeaders, also gave high praise to Mathway, saying: "My teacher taught us the way it made sense to him, and sometimes the book showed it a different way. Every student learns differently, and Mathway just let us learn it the way it made sense to us."

“There are two kinds of educators today- the connected educator and the unconnected educator.“ Tom Whitby, author of The Relevant Educator: How Connectedness Empowers Learning explored the how and why connected educators are changing learning for today’s students and themselves. Developing your PLN is key to expanding your own learning and building your skills and tools for teaching. Twitter is the place to connect with other learners. Follow those that share your passion and thoughts and more importantly those that challenge your ideas. Participate in Twitterchats a great way to engage in discussions and “Learn it today- Use it tomorrow” resources. Edweb is another good place to start connecting with fellow educators. Indiana educators can connect with colleagues around the state through the #INeLearn hashtag.

Teachers and administrators gathered in the auditorium to spend time with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. After the a brief IDOE overview, Superintendent Ritz opened the floor for questions. Topics covered teacher preparation and retention, evaluation, accountability, assessments and everything you want to know about Indiana education and weren’t afraid to ask. Ritz shared her views and encouraged educators to look forward, positive changes for the profession are coming! The superintendent then tuned in to the keynote delivered by Rushton Hurley, who encouraged teachers to help students find their own passion and create learning experiences that are truly memorable.

One of the most powerful sessions of the eREV was the Keynotes from the Classroom, Ted-like presentations from three EVSC classroom teachers: Amanda Bussey, Lisa Boeglin, and Jon Carl. These educators inspired, challenged and brought both tears and laughter to the audience while they shared their thoughts on the teaching profession, the process of learning and the impact educators have on their students.

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