From Moonshots to Classroom Management

Future Ready's Tom Murray speaks at the CMTC.
(Image credit: Christine Weiser)

In memory of Christa McAuliffe, New Hampshire’s "teacher in space" astronaut who died in the Challenger shuttle launch in 1986, the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference (#NHCMTC) highlights successful technology practices among educators. Hosted in the quintessential New England town of Manchester, New Hampshire, the conference offered four days of sessions, workshops, and keynotes focusing on tech-based success stories, integration tips, instructional strategies, and classroom management techniques that work in the learning environment.

Keynote speakers included the always-inspiring Tom Murray of Future Ready (@thomascmurray), who shared stories about how schools are using the Future Ready framework to personalize professional learning, innovative learning spaces, create community partnerships, and launch digital learning initiatives (see his video here). Ginger Lewman (@GingerLewman) of ESSDACK, a non-profit education service center based in Kansas, asked in her keynote, “What are your schools doing differently today to get students ready for their tomorrow? Are you making real changes or are you just repainting the same old house a different color?” Jennie Magiera (@MsMagiera), whose work as Chief Program Officer for EdTechTeam focuses on diversity and equity in education, focused her talk on the untold stories schools should consider to avoid stereotypes and help teachers see themselves as change agents.

The breakout sessions covered a vast array of topics, from workshops on how to use the latest tools to new approaches to PD to defining new tech like Blockchain. Craig Sheil, a tech integrator from Bedford High School (NH) presented a number of sessions that offered deep dives on tools like Google Classroom and Google Expeditions. He talked about the importance of empowering colleagues by bringing them to the conference. “One of my goals each year is to  bring a new staff member to present with me,” he said in an interview. He said teachers often say they don’t think that they have much to add to the session, but once they prepare the materials and present at the conference, they realize they do have ideas to offer to their colleagues. Sheil talked about how they use this model at the district’s annual conference, where teachers run up to 100 sessions during the event, making it a powerful learning opportunity. 

This kind of collaboration was a key part of the discussion during Joseph South’s (@southjoseph) session on implementing the new ISTE Standards (find more about the session here and a link to the standards here ). As ISTE’s Chief Learning Officer, South focused on the five components of the new  ISTE Standards for Education Leaders, which include becoming an: 

1 - Equity and Citizenship Advocate: How can leaders help students use digital tools to create the world in which they want to engage. How do we evolve inequalities? “It’s more than just about access,” South said. “We need to close the gap with equitable access to devices, bandwidth, digital resources, and skilled teachers.” 

2 - Visionary Planner: How can leaders engage others and evaluate success? 

3 - Empowered Leader: How do you scale innovation? 

4 - Systems Designer: How can leaders build systems to implement, sustain, and improve the use of tech to support learning? 

5 - Connected Leaders - How can leaders better model and promote continuous Professional Learning for themselves and for others? 

In this spirit of collaboration and sharing, many speakers shared links to helpful resources. For example, Tom Murray posted this link  that includes dozens of helpful digital citizenship resources and HIghlander Instutute’s Eric Butash (@EricButash ‏) shared this link that included resources from his eye-opening deep dive into social media. 

The breadth of session topics at CMTC offered something for just about everyone. A special thanks to CMTC Co-Chair Cyndi Dunlap, Carl Ladd, Executive Director New Hampshire School Administrators Association, Anne Knight, Wendy Weiler, and Rita Oates for their warm welcome and generous assistance throughout the conference -- and to the amazing student tech team that kept sessions running smoothly and populated the official conference Twitter feed (@nhcmtc). 

Click here for more conference photos: 

Christine Weiser is the Content and Brand Director for Tech & Learning, and has been with the company since 2008. She has reported on education for most of her career, working at Scholastic and Gale Publishing before joining Tech & Learning. Christine is also an author and musician, and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and son.