Sunday, March 20, 2016

#CUE16 - it's a wrap.

The 2016 CUE National Conference has wrapped up, and again, another amazing, powerful learning conference took place.  After attending two keynote addresses, approximately eight workshops, and an energetic exhibit hall, I must say that it just keeps getting better.

Brad Montague & Robby Novak

Brad Montague (@thebradmontague), creator of The Kid President, was Thursday morning's keynote speaker.  I must admit - when I saw Mr. Montague listed as the speaker, I did a double-take.  Really?  I wonder what he has to share with educators?  Well, in typical CUE fashion, they outdid themselves - Brad Montague was the best keynote address at a CUE conference that I've seen in the past five years - and they've had some powerful people give the keynotes.  Brad's message is relatively simple, "This is a joyful rebellion - our mission is to help kids and grown-ups change the world together.  Be the educator you needed when you were a kid."  Brad had a great way of keeping it simple, yet real.  His work with Robby Novak - the Kid President - is simple, yet revolutionary.  Follow them on Twitter (@iamkidpresident) and their YouTube channel (SoulPancake).  You won't  regret it.

Friday morning's keynote speaker was Hadi Partovi - founder of  I am not kidding when I state that nearly everybody in the audience left that presentation wanting to teach Computer Science.  The relevance of Hadi's address is astronomical; and his message to young woman - a population that is under-represented in terms of computer science and tech jobs in general rings true.  Follow Hadi on Twitter (@hadip) !

My favorite session that I attended was during lunch Friday - a "Lunch and Learn" session with Burt Lo (@trubol) and Luke Hibbard (@hibbard_luke).  The examples of the SAMR model (which explains the level of technology use in instruction) provided participants with amazing takeaways - takeaways that can be put to immediate, relevant use.

I often wonder how CUE does it.  Seriously.  About 12 years ago, the organization was on the brink of collapse.  Conference attendance was down, their annual fall conference was canceled, and things appeared dismal.  Bringing in Mike Lawrence (@techmaverick) as Executive Director (now Chief Executive Officer) was the beginning of amazing things to come.  CUE provides the best and most meaningful professional development opportunities I've experienced in my 21 years of public education.  I am looking forward to CUE 2017 - for many reasons, but mostly because CUE continues to set the bar high and exceed it every time - the networking and learning that takes place should be the model of professional development for all school districts.

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