A couple weeks ago, I got to go the CUE 2018 conference. CUE originally stood for Computer Using Educators, but it has expanded to much more.
This is my second year going to the conference. For me, it is like Teacher Comic Con…without the costumes. These are generally tech savvy (or tech interested) teachers…which makes for an interesting time. While tech is a big focus, it was rarely THE focus. It always came back to the children. THEY are why we do it, but if we can use tech to help us engage, be more effective, save some time…well, we are all for that.
Here are a couple, okay 3, of my takeaways from CUE in no particular order of importance.
Student Voice and Choice– This came up often. In sessions. In the hallways; I was even interviewed by a couple teachers who were participating in a PBL workshop. From the simple idea of having students choose from a menu of choices, to apps like like FlipGrid, or Google Forms, there was much talk about student voice and choice.
The idea can be intimidating at first, but when we can help kids choose what to learn within some boundaries, the engagement automatically goes up. [I will be honest. I am not entirely comfortable with 7 and 8 year olds walking out or protesting against adults (or Gov’t) about a political issue like gun control (it is more complex that a sign or slogan).
That said, within the classroom, there can be much value in offering these things.
Creation- There was talk of how we can get kids creating. Art, tech, art-infused tech, and all kids of combinations of that. They was one company (Bird Brain, I think) that introduces Elementary kids to Arduino and Raspberry Pi like products (Not my area of strength) while having them use cardboard and pipe cleaners, etc…to create their robots and code their robots to do stuff. This was just one example. I love the idea and I know my kids get more excited when I can get them making stuff, either physically or digitally.
Relationships- This idea came up often. Maybe it is where I am right now or where I need to work better, but I feel like many of the presenters and teachers I talked with stressed the importance of relationships. Whether it was with students or other educators in their building or on Twitter; it came up often.
“No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.” James Comer
One of the cool things about CUE is also the educators I came in contact with. This was where I re-learned the value of connecting with other educators, who want to talk about their passions (children and tech-and more).
I could probably write a long series of posts about the things I learned from CUE (and I may, but my attention span needs help), but I leave you with these few reflections. I hope you got some value out of them. If you ever get a chance to go to CUE, it is worth trying out at least once. I can nearly guarantee you will learn something and meet someone new.
NOTE: Go check out CUE’s Website for more info. Or their Youtube channel with some of the sessions.