Mrs. Oliveira and Mrs. Murgatroyd recently participated in Canada Connects: Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference. With over 1000 participants, the Niagara Falls Conference Centre was teeming with notable educators from across the country – all sharing the same commitment to developing their understanding of technology and education for the betterment of their classroom, school, or Board. As educators, we recognize the importance of life-long learning, and maintain a commitment to learning throughout our professional careers. We strive to better our own knowledge and skills with the intent that, ultimately, we are enriching the learning experiences of our students.
We are provided many opportunities at Richland for professional development, and felt a conference on learning and technology would help us gain a deeper understanding about the use of social media in an educational setting and meet one of our strategic objectives: connecting our community digitally, and providing Richland students with skills necessary to thrive in a digital landscape. Our progressive thinking ensures we recognize the 21st Century skills and dispositions our students will require for success, such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. At the onset, we thought the conference would inform us on the latest technology – the best tablet for the classroom, or the best apps for integrating technology into the curriculum. In fact, our learning was profoundly different.
We had the opportunity to meet and speak with leaders in the field of education and technology. Many who we follow and respect from a distance, including Alec Couros, George Couros, Kathy Cassidy, Dave Cormier, and Chris Kennedy. Although we were part of numerous presentations by leaders from across Canada, and around the world (from as far as Australia), there was a consistency to the message: do not focus on the devices, but on what the devices enable us to do.