So... back to Sunday evening. The Special Olympics opened the evening with a reception that featured a series of writable glass walls in aa large conference room space where participants could add their response to the question, "What does inclusion mean to you?" We also had the opportunity to talk to representatives and teachers who explained the Unified Chamption Schools program. After the reception, it was time to start planning the week. Just to put this conference into perspective, the schedule is a 164 page with a table of contents. There are so many choices, it is overwhelming. There is even an app to help you organize your day.
I started the day with a walking tour of Austin. It began early and we saw several sites such as William Sydney Porter's home. For those of you who don't know him, he has written many stories including The Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red Chief to name two under the name O. Henry. It was cold and I cut the tour short... but not before learning that the guide works for a company called Tipster Tours. This company takes people on free, no reservation, walking tours in cities around the country. From their website, "You pay what you like after the walk. You decide. We truly believe that if we do our best to create a great experience for people…without demanding anything in return…good things happen. Positive energy is created, which is beneficial to all!" So Cool!
Back at the conference, I decided that a good place to start was at the "First Time to SXSW EDU Meet Up." This session was packed and led by Dan Ryder (@WickedDecent) and Lakita Edwards (@ArtsHumana). The session was packed with newcomers like me and the facilitators provided opportunities for us to meet and talk.
Additionally, they shared tips like:
" Connect, Reflect, and Have Fun! "
Well, after a crazy day one, I did some reflection. I perused the catalog and scaled down my expectations... not my expectattions for learning, but rather than breadth, I wanted depth.
My Day Two Schedule:
This attitude led him to become an at NASA, an organization he said, works really well together. From there, he experienced tremendous challenges, including losing his hearing in a pool training exercise, that he overcame to be able to make several space flights. He encouraged the audience to use what kids love in order to teach them more effectively. His website, lelandmelvin.com has more about his current work as well as many inspiring videos. Don't forget to check out the "stupid astronaut tricks." And finally, don't forget the "man in the yellow hat" from Curious George who symbolically represents the people in your life you constant lift you up and are there for you.
Day 3 was going to be a day of networking with educators, visiting the vast exhibit hall, seeing several speakers , and then engaging in two hands-on workshops.
"Limits force us to rethink how we are working and push us to new heights of creativity."
Finally... The exhibit hall was vast and featured everything from start-ups to colleges and universities, new technology products, furniture, and a mobile fab lab. Several of my stops included:
Jennifer's full presentation can be seen here: https://youtu.be/3s_NkSEWJZg
The Restaurants & Culture
Some new books for the reading list:
Whittney Smith, Ed.D.
Dr. Smith is the Principal of Mineola High School in Garden City Park, NY. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Ruth Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University.