EdTechRI’s fifth unconference took place on Tuesday, July 15 at West Warwick High School. Over 60 educators from 19 districts attended the event, which ran from 9:00am until noon.
Unconferences aim to provide educators with an environment that fosters learning, understanding, and innovation. Their content is prepared by the same people who attend them, allowing for more engaged and relevant discussion.
At this recent unconference, several stations were set up where educators could discuss and learn about diverse aspects of tech that they would be able to incorporate into their lessons; subjects such as screencasting, educational apps, blogging, among others, were presented at the stations. A group of middle school students also set up a “help center” station where they explained and demonstrated their favorite educational apps to teachers who carefully and curiously looked on.
Teachers shared their experiences with using tech in their classrooms, their successes, their shortcomings, as well as the problems they’ve faced with trying to integrate tech into their classrooms. “I only have a couple desktops and a tablet” one teacher from Woonsocket said. Her story seemed to be shared by other teachers at the unconference; a lack of computers or tablets can be a problem when trying to experiment with a blended learning method.
Undoubtedly, one of the more memorable segments included a student panel who welcomed questions from educators and other adults in the audience regarding their use of technology in and out of the classroom. One student succinctly stated, “I like being able to play around [with tech, rather than be taught directly] it is harder and more fun to discover.”