Maximize your #Empower18 Experience

Ready, set, …… we are off at #EMPOWER18! Started off Friday by hitt’n Dunkies and saw this guy there. I knew these 4 days were going to be “Wicked Awesome”.

Whatever your pre-event goals were or expectations for @ASCD – I hope you MAXIMIZE them during your time in Boston. I arrived in Boston Friday ready to maximize my learning and networking efforts. I took some time to walk around to see historical landmarks and see some Boston sites like the State House (below), Chinatown, Cheers, Garden Fountains, and many more.

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I had my goals ready (click here for pre-ASCD Blog) and my sessions selected. My materials were ready for my learning table, ticket printed, parking pass on my phone, and phone/computer chargers packed. I was excited and proud to attend #Empower18.

Friday started with a joint MASCD welcome event where the room was buzzing with excitement for Saturday’s learning. The welcome event started with Deb Delisle, ASCD Executive Director challenging us in the 75th year of @ASCD to connect with at least 75 new educators. #WeGotThis, Deb! Benjamin Shuldiner @bshuldiner, ASCD  President welcomed everyone, sharing “ASCD is dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” After a taste of local flavor with an Irish step-dancing performance, @MASCD executive board members @MGeoghegan22 @SimplySuzy give a warm welcome and shared some beautiful views of Massachusetts. The highlight was hearing students share their thoughts on education. Perfect start to a wonderful event.

On my quest to 75 new people to meet I started with Neil Gupta (@drneilgupta), District Administrator and Leadership Consultant. The collaboration continued with meeting Principal of the Michael J. Perkins Elementary School in South Boston, Craig Martin  (@CraigCMartin12). Two down, 73 to go.

Benjamin Shuldiner and Boston’s Superintendent Dr. Chang cut the ribbon and we were off.  There were so many amazing options for sessions, I couldn’t pick just one. I attended two morning sessions that were inspiring. #CultureEd Panel and Unleashing Teacher-Led Innovation in Schools: Practical Tools That Have Real Impact.  The common theme was taking risks in teaching and learning and letting your students creativity and discovery learning take center stage.

Dr. Chang @SuptChang took the stage to welcome everyone to #Empower18 and welcomed in Dr. Biden. He said “Our diversity is our strength” and that was a powerful message about educating everyone. Dr. Jill Biden shared stories and powerful messages about how teachers find a way no matter the obstacles, and described how students impacted her and gave her motivation to keep supporting and championing learning. She closed with “Thank you – Your work changes lives, all of us have dedicated our lives to enriching others. It is a club I am proud to be a part of”.  With all her efforts and wisdom at #Empower 18, she even had a minute to meet me.

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After attending a handful of additional sessions, and speaking to many educators, it became evident that education in 2018 is motivated to enhance more diverse, creative, and collaborative learning environments.  Seeing this occur through active learning and a focus on engagement rather than consumption of content will allow us to reach the Whole Child

Saturday’s final session for me was the MASCD: Igniting the Learning of the Whole Child in Massachusetts. 10 Amazing educators shared Ignite presentations on a range of topics from passion days, being a superhero educator, to school based programs to name a few. I Tweeted out each session on @MatthewXJoseph – make sure to check them out and these awesome educators on Twitter @MGeoghegan22 @casehighprinc @CraigCMartin12 @KerryHawk02 @RojeeHistory @SimplySuzy @Shaunna3830 @dhnoonan @drcsjones @eparkswps

Another common theme I heard Friday was “I wish I planned for the Expo Hall.” Wow! This room is massive and oozing with ideas, tools, and resources to support learning. I would recommend spending time planning before heading back to the vendor hall:

  • Make a list of the vendors you don’t want to miss
  • Reserve time for exploration – it’s BIG in there
  • Keep a bag on hand because there is a lot of cool swag to pick up for your classroom, schools, and yourself. I kept hearing “if it’s free – IT’S FOR ME” Believe me, they don’t want to take the stuff home!

Friday closed with the Romantics at the ASCD 75th Anniversary Gala.  What agreat way to relax, dance, and meet new people.

Saturday started with a #hacklearning Twitter chat and I #fanboyed out and met Mark Barnes @markbarnes19!

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I knew Saturday was going be a great day with a full slate of sessions. I just finished my second time at the poster learning tables and it was great to collaborate and talk about school culture.  I was thrilled and honored to be a part of this collaborative learning opportunity. If you couldn’t make it down, feel free to check out the resources:

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I am at the  half-way point and I am taking a breath, writing this post,  filled with excitement for Manny Scott. I am so excited to be part of MASCD and trying to spread the excitement on Twitter. I am also pumped for the Sunday night event that is a co-hosted by  @MASCD and @BostonCollege. I have my BC shirt ready and am looking forward to the evening as a member of the Ed. D PSAP class of ‘16.

Bring on Monday with General Colin Powell kicking off the day!

Keep in mind, now that we hit the halfway point….u can’t do everything, but you can absorb as much as possible by being present in the moment; whether it’s at a session, in a conversation with a new friend or watching a keynote. Four days will go fast (first two already have) and it can sometimes feel like an information avalanche (or like drinking from a firehose).  Stayta in the moment: it will help you have a richer experience.

Check out the conference hashtag #EMPOWER18 and follow me @MatthewXJoseph and @MASCD to stay on top of the latest announcements and find out what other attendees are discovering. Don’t forget to share your own experiences too! You might even consider video streaming via @periscope.  I have tried a few myself!

@ManuelScott is in the house! I can already  hear the chants for Man-ny Sco-tt Time to soak up his wisdom and motivation!

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