Day 2 for me at the conference was fantastic. Again the networking was invaluable! It was ACCESS day for technical and community college programs and instead of trying to run all over to various sessions, we were in the same room from 8-5:30pm. Breakfast was provided by Cengage. (Thank you!)
We began the day by discussing articulation and transfer. This is something that we all agree is critical for our students. We want students to be able to transfer from our programs on to university programs with “seamless transfer.” It sounded like most states are working on it although it is often an uphill battle for all involved. That being said, when egos are set aside and transparency is used a common goal is possible to reach. Someone from the group shared an interesting fact- North Carolina and Indiana have the highest number of articulation agreements and also have the highest number of NAEYC accreditations.
Peter Pizzolongo from NAEYC stopped in to say hello and shared this message with our group, “There’s more power when the zealous get together…to achieve true zealousy.”
The second ACCESS session of the day was about using technology for education. This session was fun! We learned about Voki, Vimeo, Screencast, Dragonspeak, iMovie, Dropbox, Animoto, Storybird, LittleBird Tales, Flicker, Prezi, Ted Talks, Evernote, eTextbooks, Jing, Connect Modules, MindTap, and Kahoot. It was inspiring to hear about how other teachers are implementing these tools into their classes (on campus and online).
Rhian Allvin from NAEYC stopped in with a very inspiring message for us as well. “Be the instigator to decide what the road map looks like. Be an effective voice. Now is the time. What’s dfferent? There’s a notion of a national mandate…attention like never before.”
The third ACCESS session was like speed dating. We had 16 minutes at each table and discussed the table topic. I attended the curriculum table, the state affiliate table, and the accreditation table. It’s always invigorating learning and getting quick answers from those across the country.
Next I attended the Creating The Teachers We Want session by Gera Jacobs. She stated that students need to be involved, make connections, need support, need relevancy, and desire respect. When teaching young children, Gera believes that standards can best be met through engaging activities and play. “Low threat and high challenge is best for brain development.” She shared some active participatory activities to engage college students.
Day 3 started way too early. I woke up feeling exhausted and not really wanting to get out of bed, wishing that I could attend the sessions from bed. Wait a minute – there’s an app for that! Could I still get valuable professional development by solely relying on the conference app? I immediately wanted to find out. I decided to attend session 1 from my room on my phone. Because there are hundreds of app users diligently commenting and uploading pictures from their respective sessions (all throughout the session), I had plenty to keep me busy. It was a constant app flutter from the notifications coming in. I was actually following text/pics from multiple sessions. I realized I wasn’t feeling so sleepy any longer. I was jazzed about attending multiple sessions from the app. I was able to participate with others who were actually in attendance, ask questions, etc. I could follow a ‘real-time’ conversation as varied posts came through or for a more solidified experience I could search one session title and received posts for only that session.
Because the posts were coming through live, I was able to experience the event in real time. Participants posted pics of handouts, PPT slides, activities, etc. I barely remembered that I wasn’t actually there, except that I wasn’t sitting in the freezing cold room that was filled to capacity or on a hard chair…oh and I was still in my pajamas. PD in PJs! It was definitely a fun experiment for one session. That being said, I returned to the group for the rest of the day.
I attended sessions about teaching adult learners, promoting inclusive practices, and educating policy makers. I was especially intrigued by the advocacy session. As the executive director of NAEYC stated, now is the time…the time to get involved and unite as a field to move the profession forward. Want to be a part of this movement? Be informed. Read NAEYC’s Call for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. It’s important to have talking points. Learn more about effective advocacy. Get involved at your local level. Use social media to your advantage. Check out the Invest In Us campaign. I’ve also listed two books below that may be of assistance.
- Early Childhood Education for a New Era by Stacie Goffin
- Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualitites of Leadership by Maurice Sykes