Canconnect 2017 Reflections

So, its been a week and a bit since Niagara Fall’s annual Canconnect Conference 2017; and after taking some time to digest, review, digest and review some more I have yet to get through all of the amazing insights, technology and learning during four fantastic, energetic days of incredible learning!!

I do feel the need to mention one of MY personal highlights was hanging out with Fair Chance Learning’; Brian Aspinall @mraspinall, during the event! Brian is someone I thoroughly look up to and follow religiously on Twitter as he is outrageously funny, engaging and someone challenging and pushing limits of all educators to dive into the technological universe to give ALL students as ‘Fair Chance in Learning’ . I would love to share Brian’s current challenge of Carpool Edu Karaoke; this is my post, but you will get the picture by seeing this chaos of this posting on twitter; suffice to say I need not to sing again, although it was fun!!

So, Canconnect started with an amazing, yet powerful Keynote by Shiza Shahid @Shiza, followed by Kyle Kitchen @thekylekitchen, rocking it with ‘The Experience of 3’. Lisa Floyd @lisaannefloyd (make sure to include that ‘e’ otherwise you may end up elsewhere) also rocked an awesome workshop on Computational Thinking; Through Coding and Digital Making. Mr. Bow-tie himself; Johnathon So @MrSoClassroom had a great workshop on Gradeless Classrooms too! @GEDSB’s own Jeff Dumoulin @JeffDumoulin hosted ‘Capturing Student Thinking as well! From Maker Spaces, Blended Learning, Mobile Classrooms and Interactive Innovative Learning Experiences the first full day was exceptional! One of the other highlights of the day was the Market Place (as always hosting various companies and some innovative ‘start-up alley’ groups and teams too!

Day two kicked off with Tiffany Poirier @TiffanyPoirier ‘Finding YOUR Question’ and sharing her ibook; called ‘Finding Your Questions’. Dispite being ready to pop with child, Tiffany was fantastic to inspire Inquiry Driven Teachers!! I was incredibly excited to be at Jennifer Casa Todds @Jcasatodd keynote; ‘Shift to Postive’ as I share her incredible passion to utilize twitter and the digital world to explore the universal real world problems and connect students globally with everyone around the globe! I also met the ‘AstroJediChef’; Regalado Vasquez @mrvasquesteach and experienced an insightful sing song on stage from this innovative educator! Such an amazing guy too, I mean who else inspires people to eat crickets thanks again for the treats dude! Looking forward to connecting soon! The day also included; Coding, ScratchJr, Onenote, Critical Thinking and much more workshops, to top things off; ‘Beyond the Hour of Code’ with Brian Aspinall…..what a finish to another awesome day Thursday!

But wait….Thursday night I was invite to attend and present at Fair Chance Learning Ignite Event! So awesome, what an experience to partake with so many inspirational icons in education take a peak at this list of amazing educators! The conversations were amazing, insightful and so much fun! Spending time connecting with Twitter Buddies was the highlight; while sharing the event with MY former Nipissing Teaching Student; Nick Reynolds @Teach_Canada – another rockstar in the making!! (Recorded the Event). So awesome to meet Jen, Kaylyn @MsD_QOH, Lee @TROISMARTIN, Steven @stevenpfloyd and so many more inspirational teachers! Fair Chance Learning Martha @marthajez and Dustin @DustinJez provided all speakers with a fantastic gift as well; can we say @Micro:bits everyone!! Yahoo, thanks so much Fair Chance Learning @FCLEdu

This evening I also met someone who put on an amazing keynote Friday to end the conference for myself; Robert Dunlop @dunlop3339 whom is working diligently on an awesome book that will be HUGH when a publisher picks him up! Talking with Rob was awesome as he thoroughly promoted his good buddy Lee Martin @TROISMARTIN and his passion for overcoming odds and achieving happiness in our educational profession! So, awesome to meet Rob!!

I was and am so caught up in all the transformation thinkers and educators I almost forgot to mention I won the 2017 Classroom Educator Innovator Award!! such an honor to be nominated let alone win! This was a HUGH day, and so so so grateful to experience this incredible day!!

Friday morning started off with a bang; well more of a digital insight into the world of Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Kelly Calhoun Williams! Lisa Floyd rocked another workshop on Micro:bits which I scored yet another awesome device to bring back to my classroom!! Yahoo thanks Lisa and my old D’Youville Teaching Friend Ryan Matthews @tvdsbmatthews as mentioned before Robert Dunlop finished my conference with ‘Motivation and Happiness in Education’ a keynote to send you off inspired and thoroughly motivated to transform your professional philosophy and pedagogy.

I had a very quite ride home back to Port Dover reflecting on the Conference that once again did not disappoint but motivate me to become so much more then I am! I am hoping to become enough of an inspiring educator to have the honor to present at next years Canconnect as my Twitter PLN colleagues and friends during the 2017 conference!!

On my desk I have placed my Canconnect 2017 Classroom Innovator Trophy; not to shamelessly promote myself but more of a constant reminder to innovated, inspire and take all the incredible learning from the conference and share with my Grand Erie and Hagersville Elementary School Colleagues, but most of all my kids (yes, I say my students are MY kids, I put everything into teaching them therefore they are mine for the year).

Canconnect once again provided me with yet another years worth of inspiring resources and projects to explore in the upcoming school year as I take on a new learning adventure in grade 5/6 with Janice Hughes @JaniceGEDSB (Hagersville Elementary’s AWESOME Principal), look out people you thought Mr. A was trouble this year, next year will be even crazier!!

Thanks again to the leaders, innovators speaking during the conference and a HUGH shout out to the organizers of another incredible event!! Cannot wait till 2018!!


2 thoughts on “Canconnect 2017 Reflections

  1. Wow, Joe. I can hear your voice and enthusiasm in this post as you share the highlights! This was a strange conference for me, because normally, like you, what I value most about Connect (all conferences actually) is meeting people face to face who have had an impact on me online. I was disappointed to not get to chat with you or any others because of my unique circumstances. Love to hear about all of the connections you have made & congrats on the award! Keep being awesome and hope to catch you next time.

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