Our conference has been named Dynamic Landscapes for many years. It is a nod to the constant change that technology and its uses in the classroom create to the learning environment. This school year (and the end of last school year) are perhaps no better described than the most dynamic education landscape we, as educators and learners, have ever experienced. The world has changed, and while we all look forward to a time when the threat of the COVID-19 virus are mostly in the rearview mirror, we know that what is to come will not be simply a return to the classroom like nothing happened.
COVID-19 and the health and safety concerns that it raised were not the only drivers of change to the educational landscape. We have seen significant social and political unrest in our country. These things combined with our efforts to continue to provide learning for our students has seen significant increases in the uses of technology and broadband to support learning. And, like all change, it has also exposed new challenges, pre-existing weaknesses in our practices or infrastructure, and new opportunities. Early glimpses into data from the Vermont AOE suggest that over 100 schools in Vermont now routinely provide and send personal computing devices home with students to support learning that did not do so prior to March of 2020. Zoom is not just a PBS Kids show about math, it’s how we connect with students, colleagues, family, and friends.
Where do we go from here? What will the “new normal” look like? What have we learned? We’ve all asked these questions to ourselves and to our colleagues, and while no one has definitive answers, what is clear is that a wider conversation, and an opportunity to reflect together on our collective experiences is needed.
Dynamic Landscapes 2021 will bring thought-provoking keynote speakers to help set the stage for these conversations. Starting Monday, May 3, Dr. Ruben Puentedura will share his thoughts on technology, pedagogy, and the dynamic landscape, and offer a path forward to supporting learning. We will host our first symposium on Wednesday, May 5 after having some time to reflect on Dr. Puentedura’s keynote. The following week, on Monday, May 10, Jennifer LaGarde will help us learn to empower students to become digital detectives to better enable them to navigate a media-rich world that presents information to students (and us) that may or may not be intended to help you. We will host a follow up symposium day on Wednesday, May 12 to further reflect and discuss Jennifer’s ideas. Our final week will begin with a keynote speaker (TBA) on Monday, May 17 with a follow up symposium day on Wednesday, May 19 with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
What about workshops? We’ve got those too! Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in the afternoon, Dynamic Landscapes will host regular workshops and presentations! Have something to share? Please consider submitting a proposal!
We look forward to a robust conversation! We will again leverage the Hopin platform to host all of our conference events. This will provide us with the capacity to have numerous small group discussions as well as large group presentations all in the same virtual venue. For more details about the conference and to register to attend, please visit the conference site!