Microsoft #E2 Educational Exchange in Toronto

Wow, so I am not entirely sure where to begin, but what an incredibly inspiring experience a few of us Grand Erie employees; Cynthia Gozzard, Norma Bingham and I got to experience this past Thursday!

I was once told that Twitter (one the my favourite tools, and now a hobby) would bridge a gap from hand shakes to hugs! I did not really think of it that much, nor really believe this however upon walking into the #E2 I was greeting with so many hugs, high fives and whatnot as 86 Countries from around the world gathered into a space to collaborate and share! So, many people I follow and engage with through Twitter ran up and greeted @ArcherJoe. It was so awesome seeing so many others experiencing the same thing from around the globe! Talk about such a powerful networking tool that brings people so close yet from so far away!

With the day pass Cynthia, Norma and I were able to listen to many fantastic keynotes from around the globe, we became more and more inspired and engaged within Microsoft O365 tools, apps and programs! We all met some of our Twitter Hero’s and Heroine’s such as the Onenote Master Mike Tholfson, Coding Genius and an inspiration for all ladies in code; Lisa Folyd, Minecraft Master Steve Isaacs, Fair Chance Learning Team of Martha Jez (whom rocked the stage as always doing a fantastic keynote – her energy is always so remarkable!!), Dustin Jez juggling his wife and kids (whom normally juggle him, so it was some what funny, however being a father I totally felt his pain), I seen Brian Aspinall but never got the face to face (Canconnect and Ignite Sessions though!! – Along with our Makey Makey Workshop at Hagersville please sign up!!), we received a ScreenBeam and had a remarkable demo as well! We also ran into Anthony Salcito; Microsofts Vice President of Worldwide Education which was a HUGH moment as well!

I have to say one of the most powerful messages came from finally meeting Lia DeCicco. She said I just had to meet you, I feel so connected. That word ‘Connected’ percolated for the last couple days! In the 21st century we can be so connected yet so far away! Now, Lia has been so involved and supportive in many way so for me it was a HUGH moment as well! Twitter HAS and CAN reach across the globe and into space; with the International Space Station as well! It is so powerful to communicate, network and collaborate with others!

I cannot say enough about twitter! Infact; Brian Aspinall asked if I would consider speaking during the Ignite Session during the Canconnect Conference in Niagara Falls: and I was incredibly surprised, honored to be asked and immediately thought either Snip or Twitter….so please sign up and come and see my Ignite Session on ‘The Power of Twitter in Education’. Take a look at the line-up within that Ignite Kaylyn Dorland everyone knows @MsD_QOH aka Queen of Hamilton, Brian Aspinall (always awesome), Steven Folyd and so many other great speakers! I know them all well….through twitter yet never had a face to face! Twitter is remarkable!!

I have to share one really intriguing project. I walked up to a display from Britain that was called Flipping the Bottle! OMG I was so annoyed right away, such a horrific hobby kids are now using!! It drives me sooooooo nuts, but this incredible teacher decided to use this nasty annoying thing kids were driving educator nuts with as a learning experience! She asked the kids to look at and investigate the variables around the water, the bottle and location of flips to see if their is a Science behind the ‘sport’. By using excel students trialed and investigated while viewing a live graph displayed of 300+ students trials, and yes there is a potential science behind this less then desirable sport!! The power of O365 Microsoft Tools in the classroom well represented behind this display!!

What did I come away with!?! So many fantastic business cards with QR Scans of so many brilliant lessons, activities and projects to share with Grand Erie District School Board! Insight into creating and maintaining valuable tweetmeets, connections across the globe with specialist using all the O365 tools that are more then willing to tweet, skype and share with everyone using Microsoft Products across all sorts of devices!! so many things to list, amongst a strong desire to share, network and collaborate throughout our Grand Board to get all teachers, students and staff interconnected globally around the globe to dive into global issues, problems and become innovative and inspiring and from yesterdays Innovation Fair (please check this out; our kids at Hagersville were incredible…i still get tears thinking of this!!)

My birthday is fast approaching in April on the 18th and I have to say my wish list grew this Thursday with so many cool tech toys, gizmos and gadgets, books and resources for work my wife is going to kill me!! hehe

A BIG BIG BIG thanks to Lia DeCicco for the invite from Microsoft Canada to the E2 event! I have to say I was at first disappointed (along with Cynthia) that we did not win the draw to come along, but upon finding out it was in Toronto and not a European Country we BOTH decided to set lofty goals to be on board a plane next year to represent Canada and Grand Erie District School Board Globally at such an amazing event!! However, when Lia emailed and asked if I would be interested in attending I did not hesitate nor think, I jumped….as you ALL should on the Microsoft Bandwagon!! Such an inspiring multicultural company and leading the way in innovation for our students within our board!!

So, in closing I would be re-missed if I did not suggest that you all visit; The Microsoft Educator Community, set up an account and become blown away with the PD, the networking, collaboration and means of extending your remarkable classrooms across the globe!!

I will conclude with this quote ‘Technology will NEVER replace great teachers, BUT technology in the hands of great teachers is TRANSFORMATIONAL’

I bid you all farewell, till the next E2, see you on the plane!!

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