Reflections from ICE 2011 Day #1 - Keynote Speaker: Rushton Hurley

25 years in the making, the Illinois Computer Educators (ICE) Conference has grown to a four day affair consisting of two days of workshops sandwiching two days of general sessions. Yesterday marked the first general day, and I was ready to go at 8am for the keynote. Reflections on the presentation after the jump.

Always an energetic, funny and engaging presenter, Rushton Hurley titled his keynote "Why This Technology Stuff Matters." From the beginning, I liked the tone that was set; he referenced a common theme we see among our teachers in terms of training on technology. The "I want to learn" vs. "I want to spend time on learning." Rushton then delved into reasons why we need technology. He mentioned the following, which I'll share and then apply my reactions:

  • Overcoming isolation - As a classroom teacher for 10 years, I often worked in isolation, and I think this is common practice due to the frantic lifestyles teachers partake in. Technology can allow teachers to make connections not just in their own school but outside of their building, yet inside their content or interest areas.
  • Sharing stories - We're looking to start sharing teacher technology lessons at ETHS, and I'm inviting teachers to test out VoiceThread or other digital storytelling tools to add to their curriculum. Both avenues allow us to share stories in an everlasting format.
  • Reminding us why we're here - Rushton showed a great IKEA commercial ("You are crazy!"), and gave the quote of the presentation: "We are not the lamps. We are the light."  Cheesy? Yes. Applicable?  Certainly.
  • Saving time - using Advanced Search in Google is an underrated feature and can lead to a project in and of itself.
  • Confidence and celebration - we need to instill confidence not just with our teachers using technology but with our students and then celebrate everyone's accomplishments. 
  • Critical thinking - an interesting video that gets us to think and analyze a bit everything we see on the Internet.
  • Connecting with students and with each other - one of my big goals for the second semester is to work with our World Languages department and set up a Skype conversation with a class in another country.
  • School spirit - an introduction to "Lip Dubs" (for me at least) and inspiration for a future contest with our rival, New Trier?
Rushton's site of "freebies", including links to videos and other useful sites can be found here.

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