Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The View from CUE - Reflections on the 2014 CUE Conference

Like all of the other 5,300 educators who attended the CUE conference in Palm Springs last week, I walked away energized and ready to try out some of my new learning. It was great to see that large of a crowd at the conference. Mike Lawrence, Executive Director of CUE, announced that the conference attendance was the highest it had been in recent history. Further evidence of the swelling ranks of CUE attendees is that I had standing room only during my session (Technology in the Common Core Age) on Friday afternoon.
Photo used with permission from Moreno Valley USD

CUE is famous for always having some great keynote speakers and a large selection of impressive concurrent sessions. This year was no exception. The keynoters included: Dan Meyer who spoke about picking the right technology tools for the classroom, LeVar Burton who spoke about digital media and reading, and Sal Khan (founder of the Khan Academy) who encouraged us to rethink education. I attended sessions on Twitter, Blended Curriculum, Personalized Learning, Mobile Learning Initiatives, and others. One of the great things about an educational technology conference is that most of the presenters publish their handouts and resources online for all attendees. Check out the sessions you could not get to in person by going to:

But no matter how great the keynotes and the sessions are, my favorite part of the CUE conference every year is the Student Technology Showcase. This is where the students get a chance to show everyone the outcomes of all the hard work that they and their teachers put into 21st Century learning. The Student Showcase is where all of our talking and writing about educational technology becomes actual doing. And these students do it well!

Of course, I am partial to the students of Riverside County. We had students from North Ridge Moreno Valley Unified School District. There were students from Temecula LuiseƱo Elementary School in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. And we had the long-standing Student Showcase participants from Victoriano Elementary, and Val Verde Model Continuation High School from the Val Verde Unified School District. All the students, elementary through high school, were well prepared to show off their projects and their learning. Students would step out into the crowd and ask people if they would like to hear about the class project. The students, and the parents who were there, were clearly enjoying the opportunity to "showcase" their projects.
Photo used with permission from Val Verde USD

The districts are proud of what their students have accomplished and how they are able to communicate to the audience. Aaron Barnett, Director of Information Systems and Technology for Moreno Valley USD, told me that "Students from MVUSD are excited to showcase their computer programming skills at the CUE conference. While engaging many of the attendees, the students are able to exhibit the technical skills needed in the 21st Century." Phil Harding, Technology Integration Coordinator for Val Verde USD, said that "This event shows that continuation students have what it takes to compete in the global community. The evidence is their film product that has taken them all over the world - from Japan to Brazil to England."

It is wonderful that the CUE conference continues to grow. I am already looking forward to next year's Student Technology Showcase!

Dennis Large
educator & learner
follow me @dennislarge

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