It’s been a crazy 10 days or so since the Teacher2Teacher conference in Canada and I’ve only now had a chance to sit down and put down some thoughts about the event.

I landed in Calgary on the Tuesday evening after a 9 hour flight from London. I spent the evening with an old friend who lives in downtown Calgary. She also happens to be a kickass dance teacher and choreographer, so if you have any contacts in the dance world, go visit her site! I found out that three pints of Alexander Keiths IPA and half a bottle of red wine don’t help counter the dehydration from a 9 hour flight! Oopps.

On Wednesday I drove down to Lethbridge, making a detour to see the Okotoks Big Rock – a glacial erratic. We meant to see this in the Summer when we came over, but forgot. It’s leant it’s name to the Big Rock Brewery who made some very fine beers. It was a very big rock. I wouldnt have made a special journey to see it.. but as a 20 min detour it was OK.

Big Rock

As a brit I am not used to looooong straight roads….. especially not with so little traffic on it. Makes the drive much easier πŸ™‚ A far cry from the M25 around London which I seem to spend most of my time on back home.

I never tired of seeing the mountains…

Driving South

In Lethbridge I met with two groups of teachers at the School District Office. One of the companies I train for in the UK – Espresso Education, are trialling their resources in the Prairie Rose District plus a few other schools in the locality. As a Espresso trainer, I was asked to deliver an introductory session in what Espresso is and how it can be used. The session went very well and it was great to meet such a nice bunch of staff. I forgot St Patricks day was such a big deal in N. America, and I was the only person not wearing green it seemed. I was in my purple Espresso top.. I looked like I hadn’t recieved the memo. (In England we rarely do anything for our own patron saint St George…)

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Espresso session out of the way, it was time to make the short (ish) drive across to Medicine Hat to meet the other trainers who would be at the conference. Was a fantastic meal that evening – I don’t think I’ve ever seen steaks that big (and that well cooked!)

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Thursday morning was the first day of the conference. What impressed me the most was the sheer number of teachers who were attending. I had no idea just how big the conference was, I think I had imagined something a little smaller – but there were apparently over 400 teachers on day one, and a similar number on day 2.

My first session was Smartboards and High School Science, which was a slight niche market, so I only had about 10-15 people attending. But after that, every session was totally full, which was very pleasing. Some people even came to more than one of my sessions, which was very nice to see. I obviously hadn’t put them off in the first session. I did have to apologise that a lot of the jokes would be the same! I also only once called the eraser a rubber by accident.. which was good.

It was great to meet so many of the trainers who I had corresponded and bounced ideas via blogs and twitter over the last 18 months or so. There were so many great people running training sessions it was hard to keep up.

A few photographic highlights:

James Hollis from Teachers Love Smartboards – in the middle of one if his great practical sessions on smart notebook

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Silvia Tolisano from Langwitches – Showing Blogging in the Classroom andΒ  70 tools in 70 mins

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Richard Byrne – from Free Technology for Teachers showing Animoto with a high gopher quotient.

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Anna Adams of the Techchicks showing how to use Voicethread

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Was also cool to meet up and say hi to Jen Deyenberg, Jamie F (Fiteach) and Bruce McGillivray from 2Learn.ca. There were many others too, but I have a brain like a sieve sometimes.

I also need to make a special mention for Pinto McBean, the giant bean who stands in the heart of Bow Island. It’s not every day I include a giant Pinto bean in my driving directions…

Teacher 2 Teacher Conference

Apologies to the Techchicks for making them sit through Eddie Izzard on the long drive back to Calgary πŸ™‚ But there must have been a DeathStar canteen right? Glad you had a good time up the Calgary Tower!

I was also able to grab a few days in Calgary before the flight home. This gave me a chance to visit Flames Central and watch a hockey game (Flames lost), and head out to Banff for the day to see some mountains πŸ™‚ It was interesting to see the places that I had visited in the Summer, but all frozen – such as Lake Minnewanka and Lac Des Arcs. I really need to get back to Canada again and this time bring my skis.

You can find the presentation for the Digital resources copied here for users of any whiteboard.

I had a great time at the conference – and it was wonderful to see so many enthusiastic educators giving up their time to learn more ways to teach using new technology. Kudos to Dave Blemings and his team for putting on such a great conference, and for making myself and the other speakers feel so welcome. Thanks Dave, and I hope to see everyone again next March.