Nothing Truer Has Been Said…

Energized and breathless, I am catching up from last week’s Bucks Lehigh Edusummit at Southern Lehigh High School. It was a great two day affair where local educational leaders gathered to discuss teaching and learning with an educational technology flair. If you look up the hashtag, #bles14, you’ll find some gems to take back to your school this year.

Although the first day of the conference had some pretty good sessions and presentations, I was more pleased with the opportunity to connect with fellow educators and leaders I have befriended over the last several years. To be honest, that’s what happens when members of your PLN attend a conference…you are more interested in connecting with them than attending the conference activities! An additional bonus was seeing some fellow Bethlehem educators attend #bles14 this year!

The keynote presentations at this year’s Edusummit were particularly thought provoking. In fact, they distilled a few concepts that have been rolling around in my head this past year as I have eased back into working with teachers at Bethlehem ASD.

The first keynote was Ted Hasselbring‘s talk about how kids learn. Since his research has been instrumental in the development of the Read180 and System 44 computer intervention programs,  he has a lot of data to back up his claims. His talk infused the science of learning with tips on how to “do it right” in the classroom. I gleaned some basics including the 7+- 2 rule and chunking of information. But the takeaway for me from his keynote was:

Realtime corrective feedback has a profound effect on learning.

How are we as educators giving students feedback? Are we losing this opportunity to make learning activities MEANINGFUL because we can’t get it together on HOW we want to give students feedback? This is where many teachers who use educational tools in their classroom get themselves in a tizzy. They want to use the tool of the week to give some type of feedback to kids. But it isn’t the same thing twice and more like a shot in the dark. In addition, we often stick with the same level and type of feedback instead of digging deeper into what will provide meaningful experiences.  We need to choose corrective feedback tools that do the most for our kids and develop them as we start to understand how the instrument works and it is affecting performance. In addition, we need to coordinate on said tools as a learning community so we can learn from each other on how to effectively use them.

Now, if that wasn’t enough, the Dean Shareski’s keynote on the second day totally blew my mind. Check out my blog next week to see why!

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