Mobile 2015 Presenter Michael Buist

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

SONY DSCThe following post is by Michael Buist, a fifth grade teacher at Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler, Arizona.

I haven’t been to a professional conference in nearly 10 years. I think it was a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in Park City, Utah. And it’s not that I haven’t had opportunities to attend conferences. Edtech companies have offered to pay my registration for ISTE two years in a row. But my summer family vacation schedule has always conflicted with the granddaddy of the edtech world. And it’s not that I haven’t participated in professional development. My school district offers both mandatory and self-selected PD all the time. And it’s not that I haven’t connected with my colleagues. I’ve been using Twitter for nearly four years. Many of the ideas I’ve tried in my classroom came from this virtual PD tool. But I haven’t followed through on an opportunity to meet some of my PLN heroes, mentors, colleagues until this year’s Mobile Learning Experience. So I’m a bit nervous.

But I’m nervous for more than just attending Mobile 2015. I’m presenting! And even though it’s one breakout session (shameless plug – my breakout session entitled Bridging the Communication Gap with Parents Using New Tools is Friday, June 12 at 9am in Murphey), it’s my first time presenting in this forum to a group of adults.

I’ve been thinking for weeks about what I would present, how I would present it, who would attend, and I’ve finally come to a fairly simple resolution. Don’t try to be the expert. Don’t show off. Don’t be the sage. Rather, be human, be genuine, be honest. And most importantly, be a learner right along with whoever attends my session. This hit me square in the face as I read an article by Holly Welham in The Guardian about history teacher Matt Esterman. In the post Esterman says, in referring to teacher training, that teacher leaders need to be innovative in the way they share information, knowledge, and skills. The same is definitely true for those attending Mobile 2015. Why would someone spend hundreds of dollars in registration fees, hundreds more in accommodations and travel to have someone – with NO prior conference experience – lecture at them. I am certainly not the expert. I’m not the sage on the stage. Nor do I want to be. I would rather be a person who others can bounce ideas off, a person that can challenge deeply-entrenched 19th and 20th Century pedagogy, a person who others see as a lifelong learner. And as I plan my breakout session, I hope that people who attend come away with the following:

  • A deeper sense of how educational technology can be a powerful communication tool.
  • A better sense of self in using a variety of educational and mobile technologies to accomplish communication goals with parents and students.
  • A dynamic network of professionals committed to developing better schools and better citizens.

Why wait until Mobile 2015 to start connecting? Download the Remind app and join the Bridging the Communication Gap group using class code @buist2015. Follow me on Twitter @BuistBunch and on Instagram @buist_bunch. You can also check out the work I’m doing at Knox Gifted Academy in Chandler, AZ by visiting our grade level site.