Last weekend, I headed up to Providence, Rhode Island to represent E-Line Media at the Second Annual Blended Learning & Technology Conference (hashtag HiBLC). This event is put on by the Highlander Institute and headed up by super teacher and Metryx founder Shawn Rubin, who is leading the charge to bridge the gap between educators and the edtech industry.
Geeking out with classroom teachers about education technology is seriously one of favorite activities…so, my expectations for this event were pretty high. I’m happy to report that Shawn and his team completely exceeded my expectations. Here are the top three reasons why the Blended Learning & Technology Conference totally rocked:
1. Educators and industry folks talking on the real. In addition to keynotes and talks, HiBLC had tons of smaller roundtables and un-conferences where the format was discussion rather than presentation…sharing and learning rather than pitching. In these sessions, educators talked about how they are using technology to meet classroom challenges, what’s working and what is totally horrible. These kinds of user stories provide the most valuable learning experiences for people who make education technology.
2. High flying teachers. Next year, HiBLC should get a red carpet and media wall, because this event was full of Blended Learning superstars. Like Dan Callahan, Founder of EdCamp and the K-5 Instructional Technology Specialist at Burlington Public Schools. What Dan and his students at Pine Glen Elementary are doing with screencasts will blow your mind. Seriously, check it out. Also he and his students did this awesome Harlem Shake video…the dude in the mask is the principal.
3. An awesome BYOD talk from a district leader (OMGs) given during the lunchtime keynote by Jean Tower, the Director of Technology at Public Schools of Northborough & Southborough. The gist: BYOD is coming, the sky will not fall, in fact, you will love it. It will save you money, it will be easier for students and teachers. BYOD success will come to districts and schools who “manage the people part of it not the technology part of it.”