Earlier this week, my teaching partner Melissa (@melissahellwig4) and I attended the MOREnet conference in Columbia, MO. We had been looking forward to this conference for a long time. We knew it would be a good opportunity to learn from some of the area's best educational technology minds. Well, we were not disappointed.
Our time began at the Presenters' Picnic, a time to meet and talk to MOREnet staff and other conference presenters in an informal way. Who knew how many resources MOREnet had? Free professional development sessions? Huh? Yep! Online resources that we can use tomorrow in our classes? Yep! As we listened to what MOREnet offered to teachers throughout the state, we kept thinking, "How come we didn't know about this already?" Well, the secret is out!
On Monday morning, we presented about our 20% Time project. Our presentation title was Harmonized Learning: A 20% Time Learning Environment. We keep a blog that documents everything we do for 20% Time and includes videos, podcasts, photos, blog entries and other resources that we use (harmonizedlearning.com). We had a good crowd at our session, many of whom knew what 20% Time is but many who knew nothing about it at all. While we sometimes doubt that anyone wants to hear anything we have to say, we also realize that the philosophy, processes and procedures that we have developed around 20% Time are new and progressive for many. We feel that 20% Time leads to a deep learning experience for kids, but we sometimes have to convince teachers to divest themselves of the traditional way that school operates and take the leap.
During the rest of our time there, we saw many cool tips and tricks, learned about several technologies, talked to very knowledgeable people and made connections that will help us in the future. The attendees all seemed to be there to learn, help, collaborate and share. In that kind of environment, one of support and learning, you can't help but flourish. Now we take that learning back to the classroom and implement as much as we can as soon as possible.