The Spring NETA Conference has always been an outstanding conference for learning about great technology tools to support instruction and student learning, and it has always been a great conference for collaboration, networking, and getting to play with new technology tools in the vendor area. This year's Spring NETA Conference absolutely lived up to that reputation, and did not disappoint! It this post, I am going to share my top takeaways from attending the conference. These are by no means a comprehensive or all-inclusive list. With so many outstanding presenters and sessions to choose from, I am convinced that it is impossible for one person to be able to take in all of it during the two and a half days of the conference. Having said that, here are my takeaways from the conference. I hope you enjoy!
1. Stacy Behmer (@sbehmer) facilitated a session entitled "Hacks to Help Us." At the beginning of the session, she shared a Google Doc with a table, and the participants formed small groups and shared their favorite technology tool in the Google Doc. The information included a description, links, and screenshots or screencast videos. The 45 minutes flew by, and in the end, the Google Doc was filled with 8 pages of great tools and ideas on how to integrate them into your classroom! Click the link below to make your own copy of the Google Doc and view all of the great tech tools that were shared!
2. Ignite sessions are a fast and fun way to get a lot of great information in a short period of time. Otis Pierce from ESU 7 (@odiep77) facilitated a couple of these in which presenters have 5 minutes to present on any topic of their choosing (20ish slides). The Ignite session I attended featured outstanding presenters who were clearly passionate about education, and it was truly inspiring! Presenters included Otis Pierce (@odiep77), Crystal Hurt (@CrystalDawnEd), Karl Hehr (@karlhehr), Corey Dahl (@iCoreyDahl), Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent), and Melissa Pilakowski (@mpilakow).
3. Leslie Fisher had some excellent sessions on hidden gems in G Suite for Education and other web 2.0 tools, and she also had a great session on creation tools for both teachers and students. You can visit Leslie's Website to view her resources. She usually has presentation slides available to download for free for up to 14 days after she has presented at a conference.
4. Joe Sanfelippo (@Joe_Sanfelippo)...holy cow! This was by far the most amazing keynote I have ever heard. What made it so amazing? The content was great, but what made it outstanding was how engaging, authentic, passionate, and genuine Joe was. There was no doubt that he truly believed in what he was saying, and his stories definitely backed that. Some of his stories were humorous, while others were serious, and there were times when Joe became a bit choked up as he told the story. At the end of the keynote, Joe received a standing ovation and there was hardly a dry eye in the audience. Joe also presented some sessions on leadership later in the morning, and they were also outstanding. Joe is the Superintendent at Fall Creek Public Schools in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, which is a small town with a population of around 1,300 people. To learn more about Joe and Fall Creek Schools, here are a couple of websites to visit:
NETA18 was a great conference! If you were not able to attend, you can get a lot of the resources and info on Twitter by following #NETA18 (embedded below). You can also view the entire schedule with session descriptions by visiting netasite.org/?page_id=4596.
Ben is the Technology Integration Specialist at ESU 4 in Auburn, NE. He is also a Google for Education Certified Trainer.