Monday, February 25, 2013

PETE & C 2013:-Innovate, Collaborate, Educate

PETE and C conference 2013

 Innovate, Collaborate, Educate 

 On Tuesday February 11th, I drove the Hershey, Pennsylvania to attend the annual PETE & C conference. This regional conference attract many educators from the state to present and learn about the educational trends in educational/instructional technology. This is my third year attending the conference and just I anticipated, the conference had many cutting edge educational practices that would be could be coming to my school district.

On Tuesday the keynote speaker was Aaron Sams, teacher and author of the Flipped Classroom. Aaron spoke about how and why he decided to flip his science classes. Even though the Flipped Classroom does not resolve the all recent educational issues, still this methodology is one of many that have successful in the classroom to provide more instructional time for learning. The main idea behind the flipped classroom is the value of face-to-face time with students. He explained how he began to create instructional videos for his class with Jon Bergmann, one of his colleagues. Flipped Learning does not expand the digital divide because there is always some form of technology that can be used in viewing the videos of the lessons such as USB keys, DVDs, there are ways of finding a solution to this issue. Flipping your lessons creates less homework and is a form of blended learning but is less blended because there is less structure. Aaron suggested that the lessons should focus on the beginning of Blooms Taxonomy of remembering and understanding then the students will move up the system.

It took six years for Aaron and Jon to go through this process/implementation and at present the Flipped Learning Network is gathering data to demonstrate the effectiveness of this instructional model.

After the keynote I attended a question and discussion session with Aaron regarding Flipped Learning. During the session, I sent an email to my technology teacher is Sayreville and then twitted out that I would ask questions for anyone on Twitter. Interestingly enough, I heard from both my technology teacher and received a twit from a teacher in the UK asking about flipping lessons at the elementary level. This gave me an opportunity to get answers for these teachers while attending this session.

Many of session could be found on the PETE and C website. There were so many session to attend that it was difficult to choose. Much of the presentations were focused on the use of technology in the classroom but there were a few that focused on the infrastructure of technology within a school/district. Also present was representation of CoSN from the Pennsylvania Chapter. Being a member of CoSN, I was invited to attend a luncheon sponsored by Schooldude. At the luncheon, we discussed the new CETL certification for district CTOs/Directors of Technology, expanding the membership of CoSN in Pennsylvania and the development of a chapter in New Jersey.

The next session I attended was developing about the Comprehensive Planning Process and the Tech Plan. This year there are different requirements for a district/ schools technology due to changed made in Erate from the federal government. The filing requirements of the 470s forms should have already been done and that schools should be receiving proposals from different vendors. The presenter mentioned about the differences between Priority One versus Priority Two. Very few districts apply for Priority One due to the number of free and reduce stunts attending their schools. The presentation was informative and provided me with information for Sayreville Technology Plan. Before the end of the session I attended a session on Mobile Apps and spoke to the presenters about students suggesting apps to teachers rather than it being teacher focused. The presenters believed that if the apps were more from students than from the teacher, then students would want to be involved in the learning process. I suggested as a BYOD district that if they sent me their information from the presentation, then I would pass it onto a couple of teachers that I believe that would adopt this process in their classrooms.  The presentation can be found here at

In the afternoon, I visited the SNL-Social Networking Lounge to charge my laptop and cell phone. This gave me an opportunity to spend time with old friends from PAECT. I have developed a professional relationship and friendship that has transcended states and time using different modes of social media. Through Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. I have kept in touch with them over the past couple of years. They renew my resolve in the belief that technology should be integrated throughout the instructional process. The use of technology in the classroom should be apart of the natural of process because students today don't consider technology a separate matter to their lives but an intricate part of who they are as an individual. These educators believe that education should be student-centered and that technology enhances the learning process. The educators in the PAECT organization are innovative, creative, award-winning individual that passionately believe that technology can revolutionize the educational process.

The session on 60 in 60 App Attack was filled and very few seats were available. The apps were awesome and many of the attendees were hurried writing down the name of the apps and how they could be applied in their classrooms. Microsoft Office 365 Deployment Tips for IT Professionals was very interested especially due to the district possibly changing to 365 from the hosted Outlook now hosted in the district.

On Wednesday morning I presented on the Connected Educator versus the Connected Generation. How is the present generation connected? What does it mean to be a Connected Educator? How is your community connected? Why is it necessary to be a connected educator? If you want to be a connected educator, how do I start? In this workshop we will be exploring how teachers and students are connecting and radically changing education today. These were some of the topics that were explored during the session. There were several attendees including some of my friends from the PAETC. Some of the attendees were already connected educators but many had no idea of even why being connected makes a better educator. I mentioned that I only use Twitter professionally and the being connected allowed for me to answer questions from non-attendees of Aaron Sams regarding the flipped learning. The presentation was great and many mentions from the twits and the number of visits to blog seem to indicate that the attendees thought the presentation went well. Then I went to iBooks Author: Creating Original Content, Microsoft DPM - Backup Without Tape, and at the end of the conference I attended the luncheon with a keynote by Randy Wilheim from Knovation.

Overall the conference was fantastic and I believe that the connections as well as the information I learnt at the conference will be invaluable to my career and work in Instructional Technology for the coming school year. I always envisioned this conference to be my national conference whenever I can't attend ISTE. The PETE and C conference is just as dynamic, innovative and creative as the National ISTE conference and it just happens to be next door to my state.