Every student has greatness inside them. It`s up to us as teachers to help them find it. This is also SMART Technologies` mission. Together with schools and SMART Exemplary Educators, they aim to empower teachers to build classrooms and environments where students can uncover the greatness inside them by learning and collaborating.
As part of this mission and to achieve their aims, SMART Technologies host a Global Summit every summer for teachers from around the world.
July 8, I went to Calgary to attend this Summit for the 3rd time! Although I have been there two times before, my expectations were great – maybe just because I’ve participated before. I knew what a unique opportunity this was to learn from the best, contribute and to meet new friends from all over the world.
We were 32 teachers from 8 countries that attended the SEE Summit 17. Nine of us had participated at the summit before, and we served as mentors. Our task was to take care of all the new participant. I saw this as an important task, because even if the Summit is a fantastic experience, it can also be a little overwhelming . This gave me also the opportunity to get in touch with everyone, both during the day and by including social activities in the afternoon. So thank you Smart Technologies, for my new friends!
The main theme for Summit 17 and for SMART`s product launch this year, was «Inspire greatness». What can we do, so learners discovered their unique greatness in the classroom? Some of the Nordic SEE`s discussed how to translate this into our language. We found that blossom or flourish, could bee good words that express the same.
Again I experienced that SMART Technologies really listened to us and was genuine interested in our thoughts on how to enhance the students learning and education. They gave us an extraordinary insight into new products and they listened to our feedback on ideas they presented and how to promote them . The managers in Smart Technologies also participated in all the social events! This made them «one of us» and we felt valued in a sincere way.
Peer to peer sessions are always interesting ,and I got new ideas for my teaching.
Together with another SEE, I also had a session. We showed different ways to use and create videos in the classroom.
The highlight for me was the ‘Hackathon’. The Hackathon gave us the opportunity to work with SMART’s Software Developers to improve or develop new software with them. They wanted to hear from us about what`s needed in the classroom. The developers sat together with us and discussed and after they created a new function, lab or something totally new. I must say, their competence astonished me… again. It all ended with a fantastic presentation and award of winners. Now we have to wait and see. Perhaps some of our ideas become reality in the near future!
White Hat Ceremony was another highlight.This is a ceremony where we were celebrated for the job we do and we were even made «Honorary calgarian»!
Even though I knew what would happen, I was still touched by the reception, the sincerity and the fact that all the staff were present. To see the faces and reactions of those who did not know what was happening, was a big and touching experience too.
SMART Technologies also showed us some typical Calgarian culture. Wednesday we attended Calgary Stampede, the greatest outdoor show on earth. The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July. The ten-day event attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions,chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions. It ended with a rewarding show and fireworks. Considering that White Hat ceremony was before the «Stampede», we got to use our new white cowboy hats.
We also had team building activities, ice break activities every day and an «Amazing Race» at WinSport, The Olympic Stadium in Calgary. In the «Amazing Race» we had to work together to solve various tasks as puzzle, find colored balls with blind eyes, turn a blanket while we were on it and different quizzes.
Thursday evening we had a splendid farewell dinner in the Calgary Hall of Fame. A great end to a fantastic week.
After these days in Calgary and at SMART HQ, I look forward going back to work in mid-August and again try to make my students flourish. I also look forward to start a new global collaboration with Amy Yonashiro and her students in Hawaii (GCNorwaytoHawaii).Global collaboration was one of the main themes at the summit and I know that such projects promote lifelong learning among the students. With SMART Learning Suite`s functionality , especially SMART amp, it’s easy to connect to the rest of the world.
Thank you to all the SEE`s at the Summit for making this week GREAT and again, thank you SMART Technologies for letting me take part in this amazing event.
You are all stars!