I just returned from my first ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) Annual Conference in Philadelphia. My Dad has been attending this very same conference for as long as I can remember, at least the early 90s. He always came back with increased enthusiasm for his work, re-energized to lead his school, and great new ideas for becoming a better teacher and administrator. When I was young, I was convinced I would never become a teacher. Teachers are under paid, under appreciated, and over worked. Why would anyone want to become a teacher, I wondered?
As it turns out, teaching also comes with rewards: the look in a student's eye when the concept suddenly clicks, the pride radiating from students when they do well on a tough assignment, and, more often, past students returning and thanking you for teaching them. As it turns out, those rewards far exceed the pay, appreciation, and hard work. So, as you know, I'm now a "teacher." Why do I put teacher in quotes? Because I'm a college (gasp) teacher. I wasn't formally trained to teach. All of my understanding of the teaching profession comes from my parents and the countless workshops I've attended.
And now I can add ASCD to that list!
My ASCD experience began with a Welcome Reception. I'm glad I attended this reception, as it gave me an idea of the magnitude of this conference. I think I heard a final estimate of 8,000 attendees from over 30 different countries. Compared to my experiences at other conferences (ITAA and CSA) this is HUGE! The feel I got being in the company of 8,000 intelligent, passionate, motivated teachers and administrators is indescribable. Imagine a group of 8,000 people who care so much about future generations that they dedicated their lives to educating students and continue to try to be the best educators they can be. It is really difficult for me to wrap my mind around it.
And one of those educators was my Dad! Yes, my Dad was able to join me for my first ASCD experience. However, for the first time in his career, he wasn't attending to present or attend sessions, he was an exhibitor for Columbia College this year! After 30+ years as a teacher and administrator, my Dad retired and became a recruiter for the online Master of Arts program at Columbia College in Columbia, MO. He spent the entire conference shmoozing with fellow teachers and administrators. Yes, I think he was in Heaven.
I attended the following sessions:
It's Not About the Bling: Effective Technology Integration Trough an Instructional Lens
Debra Pickering, Marzano Research Lab, Littleton, CO
Loni Ghiorso, Kalei Eskridge, and Cheryl Dultz, San Juan Unified School District, CA
The Science of Extreme Storm Chasing
Reed Timmer, TVN Leader Storm Chase, Meteorologist, Discovery Education, Silver Spring, MD
Transformational Technology Integration: Using Google Tools for Education
Char Shryock, Bay Village City Schools, Avon Lake, OH
Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions
Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, The Right Question Institute, Cambridge, MA
Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lecture
Rick Smith and Grace Dearborn, Conscious Teaching, Fairfax, CA
The Checklist Manifesto
Atul Gawande, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Developing Creative Confidence and Innovation Skills Through Design Thinking
Deborah Parizek, Henry Ford Learning Institute, Dearborn, MI
Cora Christmas, Henry Ford Academy, Dearborn, MI
Be a Dynamic Trainer
Laurie Kagan, Kagan Publishing and Professional Development, San Clemente, CA
Engaging Students with Mobile Technology: Using iPads to Address Student Diversity
Daniel Espejo, Edmonton Catholic Schools, Alberta, Canada
Jennifer Harasimiuk, Susana Gerndt, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
From Novice to Pro: What Young Professionals Need to Know
Kevin Scott, ASCD, Alexandria, VA
Patricia Dickeson, Victoria Ayam, Dave Stovenour, Alina Davis, ASCD Emerging Leaders
Mobile Applications for Learning
Helen Mowers and Shari Ehly, Killeen Independent School District, TX
Don't get me wrong, ASCD isn't all work and no play. Teachers are the best at working hard and playing hard. If you're familiar with ASCD, then you're probably familiar with the magazine Educational Leadership. One of the conference's more popular play activities was the opportunity to have your picture put on the cover of your very own Educational Leadership cover! At times during the conference, the line for this photobooth was 30-40 minutes long! Luckily, I was in the know. (The Columbia College booth was right across from the EL Photobooth) so I was one of the first to have my picture taken. I'm now ASCD Famous.
My favorite part of the ASCD Annual Conference was the social media presence. There was a great group sharing information via Twitter, the @ASCD Tweeters were phenomenal, and I came away with an entirely new group of friends, colleagues, and Twitter followers. As one person stated in a tweet, if you didn't have a presence on Twitter this weekend, you missed half the conference. So true. I also enjoyed the many conference sessions dedicated to the use of social media, both as a professional develop tool and a tool to engage students in the classroom.
Eventually every conference comes to an end. But I'm already pumped for the 2013 ASCD Annual Conference in Chicago. Perhaps I'll even present! Who knows. I look forward to seeing you all next year!