Now, one would think that the ECIS Triennial Library Conference was a strange choice of PD for me, but there were a few different factors that got me there:
- My husband is a librarian and he wanted to go to this conference (he has good taste and he’s always a fun guy to hang out with)
- We have good friends who live in Chennai who would watch our kids while we attended this conference (our first conference together… ever!)
- My office is in a library and our Office of Learning includes the EdTech/Design Facilitators and Librarians, so I should be working more with them!
- There were some MakerSpace/Tech presentations that I felt there were definitely enough sessions I could attend.
- It was during Chinese New Year holiday, so I wouldn’t have to miss any school and we could all go to India as a family.
As soon as I walked in, I realized that I was not in my comfort zone – my connected, happy, social, familiar “Design and Tech PLN bubble” I had developed over the last ten years. And after a delicious Indian breakfast and more caffeine, I relaxed a bit, even though I was surrounded by hundreds of unfamiliar names and faces. I realized it was good to be a little uncomfortable and to embrace the situation. Very few people knew me (and I didn’t know a lot of people there) and the focus wasn’t necessarily on my needs, but I definitely could still get a lot out of the experience.
While I could write a lot about what I learned and all my highlights, from the hospitality of AISC (which scored an A++ in my book) to Mr. Schu‘s engaging keynote (even to a non-librarian), I will put down my top four:
1. I met the Boyers from Shanghai American School and they are doing a lot with First Lego League. In short, we need to be doing this at ISB. I’m excited we have a new Computer Science/Robotics/Design/Science super-teacher joining us next year. I think he’s already offering this at his current school. I’m excited to start some conversations with him about our developing programs. If he isn’t going to offer this for MS, I think I need to step up and do something about it. Robotics and Programming are not my strengths, but I could definitely help facilitate a program like this and I really like the facets of the program from their core values to the research component to the designing and creating.
2. It was great to see the ES and MS/HS MakerSpaces. Roger was a gracious host and toured me around the secondary Design Space after our session was done in the ES Lab. It is always interesting to see what other people are doing and how they have organized their spaces. ACTION: Stay in touch with the Design and Maker teachers from AISC and MamaTechnology who is running an Open MakerSpace for Secondary Students at JICS.
3. Library MakerSpace – I went to a session led by Melinda Piehler. Her focus was mainly ES, but I got a lot of great ideas and starting points from being in her session. A Library MakerSpace is something I’ve considered for years. I’ve never gone through with it because I felt like I was coming up with an idea and dumping it on someone else to manage. Luckily, at ISB, my office is in the library and it’s an amazing space that kids really like to come to. I know it’s not going to work perfectly, but I want to give it a go and see if it can work, so students can create outside of integrated projects and Design classes and maybe even prefer to create rather than mindlessly consume YouTube videos on their downtime. I’ve just written a DRAFT proposal that I’m going to share with our secondary librarians this week (here are some pieces):
4. Living Library – Catherine Buchanan presented how she organizes and runs her Living Library at Chadwick International School in Korea. While this is probably a bit out of my job description, it’s something that John and I would like to work together to develop for our middle school for the Fall. I love the idea of inviting people in as primary resources to engage students and for our students to learn more about all the amazing people in and around our community. We think we’ll try to schedule this event for Fall 2018. There are many schools that organize an event like this. Here are some examples: The Human Library and check out this article. More to come on this.
The ECIS Library Conference was almost just the right amount of new ideas to come back with after a conference. Sometimes I come back with too many ideas and I am overwhelmed with what I want to do versus the amount of time I have to take action on some of my new ideas. I would say I didn’t have a ton of options that applied to me for a lot of the sessions, nor did I know enough people to pick out the “engaging presenters” that you could learn anything from. I feel like I can easily manage the four actions (above) and maybe I should look around for different types of PD rather than attending the same conferences in Asia that I go to all the time. They are excellent, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always a good thing to be out of my comfort zone every once in a while.