Skip to main content

A Lesson Learned and A Lesson Taught

I just returned home from the WASB 2011 School Board Convention.  It was great to meet up and network with colleagues, superintendents and school board members from Wisconsin. I had an opportunity to present on the focused topic of 21st century educators and blended learning environments. My session was very well attended, and I provided an environment with many facets of learning through a TodaysMeet back channel chat, Twitter stream!/search/wasb2011 , think-pair-share activities with attendees, Q and A, and a presentation with strong visual and video literacy to engage the participants to make immediate connections to the content presented.

It is always interesting to present at School Board conventions because there are literally many variations of learning styles and mindsets between the generations of learners in the room at a given time. My audience ranged from 75 year old school board members to 35+ year old superintendent and administrative attendees.  Some tech savvy individuals really appreciated the interactive hands-on presentation, where others were looking for that stagnate sit-and-get lecture type presentation. It was very interesting observing the attendees as they sat in their chairs, some squirming with uncomfortableness, while others were actively engaged through their cell phones, laptops or iPads through their 3G connections to interact with the back channel chat and discussing possibilities of use with their colleagues. 

This convention posed a few hurdles for us "techno-user" presenters as well.  The session presentation areas were not equipped with any Wi-Fi or hard-wired connection Ethernet to gain access to the Internet or audio. Apparently it was too costly per each session and the conference center would not allow for free Wi-Fi connectivity or audio, but they more than willing to charge $9.95 for each individual to purchase Internet access and $20 for a pair of conference room projection speakers. I instead launched my Wi-Fi modem hotspot on my android cell phone and connected my laptop with ease, to ensure my presentation went on without a hitch to access my online content.  I did have to use the podium mic to extend the audio projection for my presentation, and it was a little clunky- but we made it work for the time being.

During my presentation and throughout the the convention- I found it amazing the apparent disconnect between some school boards members and k-12 administration when we discuss preparing our students for a 21st century teaching and learning environment. I questioned at times- do these school boards really feel they are in the position to make sound and quality decisions for our k-12 educational system and our students, when they themselves are lacking the technology skill sets and proficiencies to understand how our students learn today's world? It made me squirm now, knowing that at the heart of the matter- some school boards and administrations are too far out to lunch to understand what IS the best interest and learning possibilities of our today's 21st century learners and 21st century educators.

It impressed me though- that individuals that attended my session- were okay with not knowing. They were there to find out the best practices, strategies, tips and solutions to support their K-12 environments, and point them in the right direction with quality blended learning opportunities as I showcased to them in my presentation. I was impressed with their inquisitive posed questions, individuals sharing amongst the group their accomplishments and strategies of their blended learning models, and hurdles they are currently facing in online learning deployments in their districts.

I stressed throughout my presentation the importance of training and preparing educators to be skilled with offering a quality content-based online and blended learning environment through a user-friendly CMS/LMS with in their school districts.  Without the foundation of educators knowing what the "art of facilitation" looks like or feels like to build their content around- an online learning program will ultimately fail for educators, their students and and will reflect poorly on the school district as a whole.

While adding closure to my presentation, a veteran school board member came up to the front of the room to ensure she had my business card in hand. My business card provided my contact information, links to my online handouts and my QR Code to scan to provide my personal contact information in a digital format.  As she approached the presentation table, she stated to me quietly as I was still adding verbal closure to my seated attendees- "You are one sharp cookie girly- I enjoyed your presentation and will let my district know." And just as she said that statement, she quickly took my card and exited the room.  It left a huge smile on my face as I tried to compose myself to showcase the closing uplifting video "Ten Years of Tech."

The WASB convention provided me the opportunity to share my expertise and learn from others.  The many opportunities to network with individuals in the trenches of k-12 educational environments is priceless!  We as a whole- will only continue to improve our professional practices to impact student achievement as long as we collectively share our successes, our failures and our cultivated vision amongst one another.  Thank you WASB, school board members and administrators for sharing your learning stories with me to extend my professional growth and development efforts this past week!


Lisa Dubernard said…
I was at the conference too and while I did not get to your session, I really agree with the observations in your blog. I contribute to a blog as well. I invite you to read and comment on the posts. It is called Excellence in Governance and School Leadership.
Jennifer said…
You are the perfect person to be presenting at a conference like that! Bravo, Naomi! I enjoyed reading your reflection!

Popular posts from this blog

Twitter is My Life Line- What Happens When It Goes Down?

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope the coming year brings you much joy, relaxation, and fundamental enjoyment around the most important events in your life in the coming new year.  One major event I am looking forward to is our oldest son's wedding in the Caribbean in late Spring. I am so proud of him and his beautiful finance Krissy, they are truly meant to be together- and are so very happy. I am also pleased to say that I am very happy in my life- with my family, work and active lifestyle- and can't wait for the new year to bring much inspired new learning to my everyday adventures. 
Much of my inspired educational learning comes from my PLN of Twitter. Today as I launched my browser then Tweetdeck to welcome the morning with familiar Twitter friends- I was faced with the big blue whale- as this is the symbol that Twitter is over capacity. I thought- no worries- refreshed my browser- and relaunched Tweetdeck once again- but it happened again.  I think I cried a little inside at …

Smartboard Training at the University Level

This week I will be offering Smartboard trainings to our local universities. I have put together a link list of "adult learner" content sites that professors and instructional trainers can easily use with their college students to enrich their curriculum offerings. This is just a "starter list" and I will continue to add to this list as resources are found and shared from others from around the world. Thanks to my social network of Twitter friends for the development of the Smartboard resources as a true global team!

All Content Areas and Research Support Articles
Academic Earth
Activities for ESL Students
Becta: Harnessing School Technology: Schools Survey 2008
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
Hippo Campus
Improving Student Learning Outcomes
Interactive Whiteboards Pedagogy's and Pupil Performance Evaluation
Is Higher Ed Technology Keeping up with Student Demands Article
Learning Zone
Merlot- Multimedia Educational Resources
Open Education
Open Educatio…

2017 Beginning of the New Year: A Learning Discovery Escapade

The holiday break was very well needed and appreciated, and allowed for me to personally and professionally take a break from my education strategist job and relax with some amazing educational research articles to read- as they have been sitting on the back burner for a few months. Some topics of interest that have caught my interest and full attention is the most recent case studies on our student learning population of Generation Z. Yes, these are the kiddos born from 1995 -2010, and these are the young adults now entering the majestic years of college for the first time or are deeply engaged in a full-time job as their new career.

Did you now that these Gen Z students are completely different than Gen Y? Yet many of our k12 educators, and university professors are still teaching to the knowledge base of Gen Y, and have not caught up to the new learning needs and student interest of this dynamic population. Everything they are learning is through a multi-sensory and multi touch inte…