On Friday I traveled down to Newton, MA. to attend TechForum Boston. In exchange for co-facilitating a roundtable discussion entitled “The Library/Media Specialist’s Perspective on Critical Thinking, Web 2.0 Tools and More” I was given free admission to the conference. It turned out to be an excellent deal!
My favorite session of the day was “Creativity, Collaboration and Engagement in the Elementary Grades,” presented by Shawn Rubin, Sue Bergman, and Diana Marcus. These three dynamic teachers shared some amazing things that they are doing every day in their classroom and it was very inspiring! Each educator highlighted the importance of removing barriers, providing choice and actively engaging every student and then they showed the many ways that, with technology, they do all three of those things. Some of the tools that they use (like Wordle and Tagxedo) are tools that I am familiar with and also use in my library, but it was still useful to see how they use them differently. Other tools were brand new to me, which was exciting! I can’t wait to try:
The other highlight of the day for me was the librarian roundtable discussion that I co-facilitated. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come to it, so I was thrilled when the librarians started trickling, then rushing, in! With about 20 of my colleagues from all over New England, I had the opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing issues in librarianship today. We discussed the Common Core, the blending of technology integration and library programs, and some of the best tools that we’ve found to support critical thinking in our libraries. The hour discussion flew by and many of us had a hard time wrapping it up – I was definitely left with the sense that there is a great deal to talk about in the world of libraries and I wish I had more chances to do so face to face. This is an incomplete record of our conversation, but we back-channeled a bit using TodaysMeet.
One of the excellent outcomes of attending this conference is that I now have several new people in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) with whom I can continue to discuss, collaborate and brainstorm via Twitter. I love that the face to face conference was just the beginning!