Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Friends - Conference Reflection

Debora and I spent a lovely time at the National Service Learning Conference in Atlanta last week.  We enjoyed getting to know an incredibly friendly, talented, and amazing teacher from our district, Debbie, and the incredibly friendly, talented, and amazing Greg Forbes Siegman (both pictured above).  Check out his website!  We met many other wonderful people, but failed to get pictures.  Lesson learned from Greg:  have camera ready at all times.

  [terrible photo, but awesome flash mob]
  • State Farm's Project Ignition brought together teens from all over the country who are finding creative ways to address the issue of teen driver safety in their communities  We witnessed a very cool FLASH MOB that involved students silently standing throughout the crowd holding signs with alarming driving statistics.  Effective (and easily replicated)!
  • There are tons of organizations willing to help students, teachers, and community groups join forces to meet the needs of the world while empowering youth.  Just a few exhibitors we met include:  SweatMonkey, National Runaway Switchboard, Project Learning Tree, and the OCHO Project.
  • There are schools of all shapes and sizes implementing service learning on all levels --- from rookies to old pros.  While the use of SL may be on a decline, it is clearly evident that those who believe in its value are doing amazing things with their students.
  • Awards ceremony at the Georgia Aquarium - beautiful venue!
  • Conferences like this can too often become session after session of preaching to the choir.  Current teachers who implement (and have a passion for) service learning should find an avenue for sharing their projects and passions with teachers who don't use SL.
  • Too many presenters rely on PowerPoint and utilize it for nothing more creative than (or less painful than) sitting at an uncle's house watching a 'slide show' of recent vacation pictures.  Agony.  See Death by PowerPoint on slideshare.

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