I was privileged to once again attend the Upstate Technology Conference sponsored by Greenville County School District in upstate South Carolina. Over 1300 educators registered to attend the free two day conference. Besides two keynote speakers (Hall Davidson and Brad Fountain of Discovery Education), the conference also boasted a wide variety of (mostly) hour long sessions. You could choose to attend up to eight of these sessions over the course of the conference.
Visiting with friends and meeting new people is one of the greatest pleasures I get from attending conferences. We always compare notes about what sessions we plan to attend and then meet later to discuss what we learned. It may surprise some of you reading this to learn that I met most of my conference friends online before I ever met them in person. We may come from different areas of the “palmetto state,” but we share a love of learning and teaching.
Dr. Chris Craft, one of these friends, always asks us, “What was your best take-away from today?” This causes each of us to reflect on the sessions we attended and conversations we had in order to answer. I love hearing everyone’s answer to this question.
I am still reflecting on my “best take-aways,” but they definitely included:
- Tamara Cox (media specialist) and Monica Haley (reading resource teacher) of Anderson District One presented “We eRead: Using Kindles with Reading Resource Students.” Tamara’s enthusiasm never ceases to amaze me. Adding Kindles to Monica’s classroom helped pave the way to a huge jump in MAP scores: the average increase per student was 12.6 points. Wow. Instructional technology at its best!
- Kelly Knight (media specialist) of Greenville’s Fork Shoals Elementary School presented “Using Blogs to Promote Reading.” Kelly has been blogging as Knight Reader for three years now (one of UTC’s many success stories!). She incorporated her love of blogging into the curriculum and introduced her 4th graders to blogging. Their enthusiasm for sharing ideas on books has just blown Kelly away. Students are even coming to school this summer to bring Kelly book reviews to be posted on the blog!
- Alice London (Family and Consumer Sciences teacher) of Boiling Springs High School presented “Revitalize Reviewing.” She demonstrated how easy it is to use PowerPoint templates found on the Internet to actively involve students in test review.
Didn’t get to attend, or were unable to attend all of the sessions that piqued your interest? Visit the UTC website and look for the link to “2011 Session Handouts” at the bottom of the page.
Loonyhiker’s Flikr photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/23240330@N03/