Guest Post: Digital Leadership Day 2015 by Zach Snow

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Below is a guest post from Zach Snow, Instructional Technology Coordinator in Royse City ISD. This post was originally published on Zach Snow’s blog: Digital High Five.

Like most people, I learn at a deeper level when I can tie my learning directly to an experience.

Today I had the opportunity to learn from, EdCamp Founder, Kristen Swanson. But, even more significantly, I had the opportunity to learn with my oldest son, Jacob.

Jacob was invited to be a student panelist for Region 10’s Digital Leadership Day workshop. Digital Leadership Day was a pre-conference event for Regions 10’s Annual Technology Conference. The day was filled with opportunities to process through some of the challenges, obstacles, and yes {many many} ideas. The goals for the day centered around:

  • Student Voice
  • Personalization of Learning
  • Change Requires Active Management

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 9.26.55 PM

The student panel, made up of 13 students ranging in age from 9-18, answered questions regarding how technology impacts their learning each and every day. I cannot even tell you how many times I have heard it said “technology in the classroom is a distraction”. However, in listening to the students share their experiences it seems that the reality is exactly opposite. Time and time again we heard students say that the utilization of technology allows them to extend their learning and find the resources they need to be successful. For the first time today I heard a student say that a textbook was nothing more than a “supplemental resource”.  I thought this was so cool. The students talked about those things that become barriers to their learning, such as blocked sites/resources. And they talked about how impactful those teachers are that allow them to be in charge of their own learning. This IS a best practice.

That brings me to this image…

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 10.00.53 PM

Jacob mentioned something during the panel discussion about his Genius Hour project, so during one of the breaks a teacher came over to ask Jacob to explain what Genius Hour was and how his project was coming together. At this moment, I realized how important my son’s voice is. All of a sudden, Jacob was the expert. In this 4-5 minute conversation, he may have helped to shape a teacher’s classroom. He may have sparked an interest. He may have created an incredible learning experience for another student whom he will never meet. He may have changed the world…for someone. I know that seems a bit like over-played, dramatized, hyperbole…but what if? See, the thing is, I’ve been telling my son that he is a world-changer all of his life. I say this to him and his little brother all of the time because, well, I believe it. This was one of those moments. This was one of those experiences. And I learned so much. And I will never forget today’s learning.

Inspired,

Zach Snow

Kasey Bell

Kasey Bell is a Digital Learning Consultant for Region 10 ESC.

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