Monday, May 12, 2014

A Look Back at Connect 2014

Canada's largest educational technology conference, CONNECT,  was a huge success. On May 8th and 9th, educators, leaders, administration, companies and start-ups came together in Niagara falls to experience everything edtech. Over 1,500 attendees were able to experience new technologies on the exhibit floor and learn together during sessions and workshops. School boards and their CIO's from around the area attended, and I met attendees who came from as far as Saskatchewan, Nashville and the UK!

Around 100 education and industry leaders gathered together at the Can/Am event on Wednesday night to network and discuss the field of educational technology. From both sides of the border, those who gathered were able to begin to solve issues and share their own experiences with technology in their fields. Combining industry perspectives, with educator perspectives and start-up companies was truly the unique aspect of the whole CONNECT conference.

On Thursday, May 8th, the conference kicked off with the inspirational key note address from Dr. Michael Fullan surrounding the issues of Leadership, Technology, Pedagogy, and Deep Learning. He reinforced the idea that teachers need to be more than just facilitators of student learning but, act as activators in their classrooms. Deep learning should always be the focus for educators in the classroom. The rest of the day consisted of informative workshops, sessions and experiencing the exhibit floor, with over 800 booths.

I presented my Masters research at the CONNECT conference later that day. I was able to share with over 50 attendees what I have been working on all year during my MEd program. My presentation was entitled "Promoting 21st century learning iPad applications in the primary/junior literacy classroom". I shared the background research on the benefits of using mobile devices such as iPads in the classroom and the research behind the use of applications. The main goal of my presentation was to reinforce the idea that iPads and applications must be used effectively in the classroom to truly reach desired learning goals and the possibilities they encompass. I discussed the FREE applications I deemed truly 21st century - ones that completely redefined traditional practice, were engaging, aligned with curriculum and were multimodal, and the audit process I completed. I showed attendees sample lesson ideas for this applications and tips and tricks of iPad use, which is located in the handbook I have made. We were able to discuss barriers to iPad implementation and create strategies to overcome these.

For those interested, I have attached my slideshow for you to view. CLICK HERE to access a list of my top 5 applications and a few others are included in this presentation for your use! If you are interested in receiving a copy of my handbook presented, feel free to email me at and I can email you a copy once my final edits are completed!

 I was able to attend a special VIP reception at Niagara college in the evening and a special Karaoke night at Margaritaville! On Friday, the second day of the conference, I was able to attend a few sessions and continue to explore the large exhibit floor. The day ended with a unique chance for start-up companies to participate in a Dragon's Den styled pitch to a panel of leaders from the Niagara Region and Microsoft. They had 5 minuets to pitch their product to them and received feedback and suggestions from the panel. The audience was able to vote using clickers from Turning Technologies and Learning Bird was decided as the best presentation. The winner recieved their own booth at next years conference!


If you did not have a chance to attend CONNECT this year, I strongly suggest it as one of your conference destinations for 2015. Congratulations to the organizers who worked so hard over the last few months to prepare for this event. Thank you to those who attended my presentation and I was happy to make some great new connections! See you all in 2015!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Connect 2014 Conference

Brock University, Niagara College, DSBN, NCDSB, Mindshare Learning and Compass for Success have partnered together to present, Connect 2014!

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting next week at the Connect Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada. This is Canada's educational technology conference that connects educators, administrators and companies supporting technology and 21st century learning. On Thursday, May 8th, I will be presenting my Masters of Education research in the K-12 presentation stream. Check out the description below!

Look forward to a full review of the Connect 2014 conference! Hope to see you there!