How Do You Unconference at the Highlander Institute Blended Learning Conference?

How Do You Unconference at the Highlander Institute Blended Learning Conference?

Students teaching teachers about myCreate at the Highlander Institute Blended Learning Conference

Students teaching teachers about myCreate at the Highlander Institute Blended Learning Conference

A couple of weeks back, I had the sincere pleasure of attending the Highlander Institute Blended Learning Conference. Sure, this truly was an amazing conference experience, run by some top-notch people (cough…Shawn C. Rubin…cough), and filled with like-minded people with an eye and a mind for edTech. It was also filled with great sessions run by educators, administrators, creators, and everyone in between. While all of these elements made this conference one to remember, there was one element that stood out, and got me truly excited. The element that I refer to is the usage and participation in the “unconference”.

I know most of you are probably familiar with the “unconference” model, but for those that haven’t experienced it, I will give you the brief overview.

An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. It does not have a set agenda, it is not sponsor driven, and it utilizes the collective knowledge and experience of all participants to create the end product.

So now that we have that cleared up, I can tell you why seeing the unconference model in action was so great!

• Educators talking freely and openly about how to better integrate technology into the classroom, through sharing real life experiences.

• Educators coming together to help problem solve technology barriers that currently exist, and sharing ways to make it work.

• Watching people share their passion for teaching, technology, and giving students the opportunity to learn through new channels.

• Seeing students get in on the action! This was by far the highlight of the conference for me. I had the joy of watching a group of elementary school students from superstar teacher Deb Ramm’s class get to weigh in on what works for them in regards of integrating technology into the classroom. In addition to hearing about their likes and dislikes, I had the opportunity to watch them give live demos of myCreate and SAM Animation to teachers. Seeing students have the opportunity to have the tables flipped, and become the teachers was truly an empowering moment for everyone involved.

So now it’s your turn. What are your experiences with the “unconference”? Do you like this method of learning and communicating, do you like the traditional conference model, or do you like the blend?

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