Fans of iconic bands like Guns and Roses, Kiss, or Led Zeppelin often look forward to the next time these legends reunite for another tour. As a fan of Tech & Learning Live (opens in new tab) (#TLTechLive), I’m looking forward to a similarly inspiring reunion on September 20 in Austin with a day of professional learning led by edtech rock star, Carl Hooker (@mrhooker).
When I saw Carl present the keynote at #TLTechLive @ Boston in April 2018, l knew this wasn’t your ordinary conference. Playing off the theme, “Can the Marriage of EdTech and Curriculum Be Saved?,” Carl went through three costume changes, facilitated a hilarious satirical conversation between tech and curriculum “actors,” got everyone talking, and generally kicked off a day of professional learning that was engaging, interactive, and impactful.
Seventeen months later, Carl Hooker and the Tech & Learning team is back with Tech & Learning Live @ Austin (opens in new tab), another full day packed with sessions, hands-on workshops, inspiring speakers, and more.
The day will begin and end with a “Think Tank.” Prompted by guiding questions presented by experts, attendees will work as a group to discuss how K-12 schools can better prepare our students for tomorrow’s careers through collaboration and innovation.
In “The Experience Space,” attendees will have the opportunity to try the latest tech products and learn how to use them from colleagues. And during “Walking the Walk” sessions, panels of innovators will discuss how they implement effective programs in schools. Topics include data privacy, Social Emotional Learning, eSports, school to career readiness, and more.
Check out the full agenda here (opens in new tab).
How #TLTechLive Inspired Me As a School Leader
I can personally attest to the impact of Tech and Learning Live. I had been a principal for ten years, focused solely on managing instruction, when I attended my first Tech and Learning Live event in New Jersey in 2016. Prior to that, I didn't think I had time or the need to introduce innovation into my school because of test scores and accountability. That all changed, however, after going to Tech and Learning Live that year.
I was excited about the event options and was motivated to turn excitement into action. I went into the day thinking, "I am going to learn something new today." What I was a part of was nothing I expected. I have been to many one day events as a teacher and principal. Typically I got my badge, sat in some sessions, heard speakers share their stories and introduce a tool, only to be on my way by 4:00 pm.
Tech and Learning Live, however, was nothing short of inspirational. I felt part of the learning. The dynamic speakers facilitated discussions and showcased innovative ideas on how they changed instruction. At #TLTechLive, I learned not only from all the talented speakers but all the talented participants, too. The event had a collaborative feel, and I took away many ideas to implement in my district. Tech and Learning Live pushed my boundaries and took me out of my comfort zone. I become more innovative in my leadership from the content and ideas I acquired. The event boosted my confidence and allowed me to believe in creative leadership that maximized my abilities. I quickly realized that my goals of managing instruction needed to change to leading innovation. In turn, our test scores would improve due to greater engagement, clear vision, and a focus on learning.
Since my first Tech and Learning Live in New Jersey in 2016, I have attended many other #TLTechLive events and have even brought a team of teachers to share the experience. Sessions have always been designed to allow participants to learn and participate in a round table or open discussion to better understand the content. Participants have active involvement in the activities via inquiry-based learning. The Tech and Learning Live sessions (opens in new tab) are designed as either innovative instruction, panel discussions, hands-on activities, student presentations, or round table topic-driven conversations. I observed innovative instruction and shared the design with my teachers. What resulted was students engaging in more than the "sit and get" learning. Tech and Learning Live provided the tools and strategies for students to be actively involved in learning.
Besides the individual training and collaboratively learning with my team of teachers at Tech and Learning Live events, I have met inspiring educators who have pushed and enhanced my practice. At all of the events I’ve attended, I had opportunities to broaden my perspective on education by meeting a variety of new people; it's inevitable with all of the talented individuals that come together at these fantastic events! Talking to so many educators strengthens and diversifies my PLN. Over the years I have remained friends with these inspiring leaders, and continue to collaborate with educators I have met at Tech and Learning Live events.
I am honored to have the opportunity to share at #TLTechLive Austin Live in September during a session on “Personalizing PD (opens in new tab),” co-presented with Jeni Long and Sallee Clark. In today's digital world, it doesn't matter if your district is one-to-one or working towards increasing learning tools because students have devices in the palms of their hands. I learned that students will be more engaged in any project if they can use tools for presenting, curating, and sharing information.
On September 20, 2019, join Carl Hooker and the Tech & Learning team as they gets the band back together for Tech and Learning Live in Austin and see just how new age-old technologies can be in 21st-century classrooms. Rock on edtech!
Dr. Matthew X. Joseph is currently the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Leicester Public Schools. He has been a school and district leader in many capacities in public education over his 25 years in the field. Experiences such as the Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, elementary school principal, classroom teacher, and district professional development specialist. His work and experience focus on supporting teaching and learning. Follow Dr. Joseph on twitter at @MatthewXJoseph or read his blog techinnovation.live (opens in new tab)