Thursday, February 26, 2015

#STUTECH2015 Letting Students Take the Lead

STCLogoOn Saturday, January 31st, I got to watch as two of my students presented at an international, student-led virtual conference about technology in education. The Student Technology Conference 2015 included presentations and participants from around the world. I first learned about the conference from an update via The Learning Revolution and Steve Hargadon and knew that it would be a great opportunity for some of the students I get to work with.

I pitched the idea to a class of seventh-graders back in October. The two seventh-grade girls took me up on it, authored and presented a session called "Is Google Drive For You?" These seventh-grade students gave their presentation in both English and Spanish. Attendees from the Philippines, Ukraine, the Bahamas and many cities in the United States were very impressed with the girls' knowledge about Google Drive. Watch a recording of their presentation to see for yourself!

These sweet girls would meet with me during their lunch. Neither had access to a computer or the Internet outside of school. So, during lunch time, they selected a topic for the conference, wrote a proposal for a session and finally, prepared their presentation. They wanted to present about Google Drive because they feel that this technology has had the biggest impact on their learning in school. I am so lucky that in my school division, all secondary students have access to a school Google Drive account. Jenny and Mikaela created their presentation in Google Drive using the Google Slide feature. This allowed them to revise and edit in real time. It also gave them an example of the usefulness of Google Drive for their presentation!

Not many kids are willing to come to school on a cold, wintry Saturday morning, but these girls were excited to share what they know with the world. Jenny and Mikaela used a product called Blackboard Collaborate to web conference with attendees from around the world. The girls logged in, tested their video feed and microphone, uploaded their slides and began their presentation. It was exciting to watch students and teachers log in from around the world. Jenny and Mikaela were able to explain how Google Drive has impacted them as well as answer questions from participants about how Google Drive works. The session was very well received and and the girls are planning on presenting at the conference again next year!

Participation in this conference was one of the highlights of my year. It was so amazing to watch these girls develop their presentation, work on it diligently, argue over how to say "PowerPoint" in Spanish, and edit and revise their presentation. But the most rewarding part was seeing their response to the enthusiastic attendees of their presentation. Both girls were bursting with pride as they read through the comments in the chat of the presentation and saw that teachers and students around the world learned from them.

If you didn't get a chance to participate in #STUTECH2015, be sure to sign up for The Learning Revolution emails and watch for an opportunity to participate next year. Whether you have students that present or you just join the sessions to learn from the students, you won't regret it.


  1. The girls did such a great job! Congrats to you and them. :)

  2. Thanks so much Steve! It was such a great experience, I look forward to encouraging more students to participate next year!