This past Thursday I had the privilege and honor of attending and presenting at my first EDxEDNYC conference. For those unfamiliar with the conference, it’s a summit created by educators for educators that delivers inspired professional development sessions in different avenues of teaching from technology to pedagogical approaches to fostering student voice to others. This year my co-teacher invited me to attend and present with her at the conference.
When I first arrived to the conference, I was greeted with my own swag bag of goodies including a book I have always wanted to read For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…And the Rest of Y’all Too by Dr. Chris Emdin, who also served as a keynote speaker for the event. In education circles I have heard his name floating around before but had never listened to him speak until that day. Empowered, passionate, inspiring – are the three words I would use to describe his address and manner of speaking. He captivated the audience as he almost took us to church with his sentiments of breaking the mold of traditional teaching in order to truly teach the black and brown faces we see everyday. One quote he mentioned particularly resonated with me in that “context matters more than content.” Essentially we as educators can not hope to educate our youth in any matter unless we first meet them where they are, the students’ interests and circumstances. Let our own ‘ratchetness’ connect with our students, within reason of course. Students can immediately sense what you are all about and whether you’re real or not. This can make or break your connection with students and whatever content you hope to teach them. Needless to say, I’m excited to dive into his New York Times bestseller!
After the keynote, my co-teacher and I delivered a session on Building Partnerships with Parents through Remind. I have tried to use the app Remind before during my first year teaching, but, you can attribute my prior failures to just getting into the motions of teaching and classroom management and paperwork and such. This year I have decided to give the app another try with my new co-teacher who has a bit more familiarity with it and it has greatly improved my parent engagement! Remind is a great tool that allows teachers to send messages to parents and students about upcoming events, classwork, homework, trips, concerns and basically whatever purpose you may have without revealing your phone number! It’s free and such a convenient tool in relaying messages quickly and efficiently which indefinitely builds stronger rapport and communication with parents. I would definitely recommend to other teachers and educators as it also increases accountability. The session was relaxed and conversational as we presented to fellow educators and administrators.
When this had concluded I was able to attend two more sessions among the plethora of offerings available. I wish I had time to see even more as many seemed to be beneficial but eventually I settled on the sessions of The Power of Stories for School Improvement and Teach More: Talk Less. The Power of Stories for School Improvement session was a good remind of how important narratives can be in connecting with students and pedagogy in the classroom. The presenters gave their own personal accounts and the research supporting the neuroscience behind storytelling. Of course, one of my passions being storytelling, this particularly appealed to me and made me reflect on how I could incorporate even more of my own narratives in the classroom.
The other session, Teach More: Talk Less provided insight into the pedagogy model of the flipped classroom. Again, another educational buzzword I have heard but never quite delved into until now. The flipped classroom is essentially when pedagogy is provided outside of the class in video form and the classroom time is spent going over misconceptions, clarifications, or else homework. The presenter showed an example in her own math class of students learning a concept at home from her own pre-made videos, checks for understanding embedded into the clips and the next day reviewing materials and further practice with other problems or whatever she deemed necessary from the student response to the video. This intrigued me as I had been contemplating more digital/online learning with my own classes as technology demand increases. However, this is definitely a concept I will dedicate more research into and hope to experiment with in the near future.
Overall the conference was a great learning experience and one I look forward to next year, and possibly presenting at as well. If you are a fellow educator or administrator I recommend checking them out for next year or even signing up to present and add even more to this amazing summit. You can find more information on the following site, http://www.edxednyc.com/ or even check out my tweets from the day over at HawkandQuill!