PUWT Conference Reflection

Walking through the doors, I didn’t know everyone in the room. I didn’t have an immediate comfort level. I didn’t know where anything was in the building.

I loved it!

Saturday morning a colleague and I took a 2 hour, 150minute trek across the Bay Bridge to Greenbelt, Maryland for the annual Powering Up With Technology Conference (PUWT) hosted by Technology Training Team in Prince George’s County Public Schools. The one-day conference was jam packed with numerous concurrent sessions tailored around classroom technology and its impact on student achievement. I found myself at a loss not knowing which sessions to attend because the selections were so good.

I found myself in the opening session watching two higher education faculty sharing about Making in early literacy using the Dr. Seuss books I loved reading as a child. The tasks the presenters made were original and creative. Any young child would want to make the character that should have been in the book like the broom that I made come to life (and actually made it/him/her–the broom–too). My partner on the task laughed and collaborated the entire time.

After giving PD all the time, it was fun to sit back and just learn from others! There were so many little nuggets of knowledge I was able to take away from the presentation.

Afterwards, the keynote did something I loved seeing — tried a new tech tool in her presentation. Using Pear Deck, she stumbled a moment or two, but had a mentor or coach assisting her with the tech (which is often my job where I work). She offered a powerful message of asking educators to look for their why they do what they do, not how they do it. We all have many avenues of how we teach or present information to children, but the why we are doing it is much more important.

As another session passed, I was ready for my own session (Building Global Citizens Through Sustainable Development Goals) to present. I never enjoy being in the last time slot because educators often leave or skip out on the last sessions. However, PUWT was different — most were still there. I was told the prizes were too good at the end fo the day to leave early (which I might add were amazing).

Seeing it was a small session of attendees, I modified my approach with only 10-12 people and learned no one knew about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I was stoked to share how using SDGs can teach empathy and understanding of differences. I walked through the principles of global education, tips on connecting, and actual projects I have implemented. Hands were raising asking questions and I was stoked. Many shared they wished there was more time because I opened up a can of knowledge they never knew existed. Feeling unsure of presenting on the topic, I walked away recharged that I need to continue my work with SDGs and Global Education this school year.

Wrapping up the conference, the teacher I brought with me thanked me for inviting her to the conference, and I asked her if it was worth the cost of attending. She reminded me I paid her registration. I asked her how much she thought registration cost; she responded “probably around $200.”

PUWT cost $20 for the early registration fee and included lunch. The later registration fee was only $45. There is no better value for an educational conference than I got from PUWT.

In 2020, I’m bringing a crew of Worcester educators along for the conference!

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