We are under construction this year. Remodeling, revamping, always trying to make it better. So the program was in the form of blueprints. (PodStock is organized by the awesomely creative and visionary people at ESSDACK.
2 ½ days of great discussions with people that are and want to make a difference, make education what it can be.
Day one started with networking, vendor visits (there are only a few and they have good conversations) and the Kevin Honeycutt keynote. Lunch with old and new friends, no one goes alone (unless you are an introvert and really need some processing time). The afternoon had 3 hour sessions on a wide range of topics. PBL, Maker, VR/AR, STEM, Gaming. The idea of the 3 hour is more depth but also work time : here are the ideas and new learning. Now with people around you to help, what are you planning to do with these new ideas. We held a 10th birthday party for PodStock with cupcakes and party games and presents. Then a night out at a local establishment with some live music. Then #LobbyChat. Some of us just hang out in the hotel lobby and talk about stuff. Life, school, whatever.
Day two had 1 hour sessions in the morning and 3 hour in the afternoon. Again a myriad of topics : Badging, prototyping, coding and ELA, making parody videos, AR, incorporating tech, making an iPad scanning stand, PBL, Professional Portfolios, student digital footprint, coding, creating a buzz worthy classroom, Blended Learning, Entrepreneurship, Poverty & Trauma, Microcredentials. Lots of conversations and sharing. At night we had a dance/karaoke combo, then more #LobbyChat.
Day three (1/2 day) was time for us to process and really look at what we learned and how we can help each other take the next step. Some large group discussions and some table talk. I got to play “angry anna” and shoot down all the reasons to go 1:1 (the “new” idea “our” school was implementing) while everyone else had roles of being helpful, being empathetic, troubleshooter… someone had the best “argument” against 1:1---- “We went 1:1 with textbooks years ago and that didn’t help student learning”.
So maybe it is not about THE resource, but what you do with multiple resources?
Culture of Learning popped up in several discussions.
PodStock connects you with people who love having these discussions and love supporting each other.
Then it was over and we went to a final lunch with friends as other friends scattered to get home. Always over too soon.
One of my big take aways was a badging idea. I like badges and microcredentialing as alternatives to grades and ways to get more project base learning (and for makerspaces with the wide variety of tools and skills) . One of the speakers, who was an English teacher, used the 137 Boy Scout badges as choices for student research projects. These are awesome because they have some frameworks for students to work with, they are authentic and cross curricular by nature. They involve making and writing. This was the first time he had no plagiarizing and students wrote more AND better than they had in the past. ESSDACK is doing work with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4H in regards to their badging systems in order to help schools understand and use them.
Thank you ESSDACK for another great conference.