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NCCE24 Sessions and Takeaways!

Updated: Feb 17

This week, I'm learning and sharing at the Northwest Council for Computer Education's annual conference. I've been a part of this conference several times and it's always a joy to reconnect with EdTech leaders from the PNW and beyond! It will likely come as no surprise that many of this year's NCCE sessions centered AI. What I noticed about a lot of the offerings (from their descriptions only) is that the focus of our AI conversations seems to have shifted away from how to keep kids from using it, to harnessing its potential both as a learning and teaching tool. While this feels like a natural step, I also hope that as our understanding of Artificial Intelligence grows, we'll find ways to interrogate:


  • the implications of AI for news, media and information literacy

  • the biases baked into the AI data sets that are used to generate the stuff we (and our students) create with these tools

  • the ways in which so many AI models exploit the intellectual and creative labor of others - often without their permission.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti AI, but I do feel there's a lot we need to reckon with before we all start sporting our "certified AI Educator" badges from EdTech companies that are keen to slap their logos on our posts, blogs and email signatures, etc. (without paying us to advertise their products, by the way).


But I digress.


Despite the focus on AI in the conference program, what most people were eager to talk to me about was reading. Both during and between sessions, the questions I received were all about:


  • reading motivation

  • reading stamina

  • independent reading, and...

  • the ways technology affects those things


These questions are important and complex. They can't be answered sincerely or meaningfully in a single blog post, conference session or even a podcast. But here's what I can say: Reading stamina doesn't exist without motivation. Neither kids (nor adults for that matter) will put in the heavy lifting that reading requires without motivation. What's more, reading motivation ebbs and flows. There are a litany of internal and external factors that affect our motivation. That said, if we are serious about wanting kids to become readers, we must persist in whatever ways feel attainable, meaningful and sustainable. Our efforts won't always work, but when they do... the juice (as they say) will be worth the squeeze.


With that in mind, even though NCCE is a tech conference, the focus of my sessions is always on the work of helping kids become readers, writers and thinkers. It was a joy to find myself surrounded by people whose compasses were so clearly pointed towards the same true north.


Until next time, y'all!


SHELFTOKKERS

As part of my session on #Booktok and reading, I created some TikTok inspired shelftokkers.


I'm a fan of having kids use hashtags as a way to share descriptors and themes that might help others understand a text. Additionally, readers might choose hashtags to help share their enthusiasm for a particular book. Additionally, helping kids think about how hashtags convey meaning in the context of a book review may also help them think about how hashtags are used online to do the same thing. You can download these for FREE by clicking the image.


MY NCCE SESSIONS

Click image to access slide deck.


🎶 BETWEEN SESSIONS

As an extremely introverted person, when I'm at a conference, I often wear headphones between sessions. Not only do they cancel out the surrounding noise, but they also afford me the opportunity to wrap myself in something familiar: music. If we're ever at a conference together and you see me wandering around with headphones on, this doesn't mean you can't say hello to me. It does mean, however, that I might not hear you when you call my name, so don't be afraid to give me a wave or tap me on the shoulder, too. For anyone who might be interested, here's my current go-to playlist.



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