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Kūkulu Kaialu 2014: KS Ed Tech Conference

This year’s conference theme is “believe” and it is quite a powerful statement. As educators, we believe we can make a difference shaping the next generation to empower them with the 21st century skills needed to succeed in life. This is my second KS Ed Tech Conference overall, but my first as a KS staff.

Overall, the conference sessions were very diverse in topics through the 4 strands that were offered (Collaboration & Community, Creativity & Curiosity, Critical Thinking, and Culture & Compassion). For this conference, I wanted to focus on sessions in the Collaboration & Community strands but managed to attend sessions from almost all strands except Critical Thinking. The sessions provided wealth of information from presenters who delivered with knowledge, enthusiasm and passion. In this blogpost, I will briefly reflect on my top two sessions and my one takeaway for each of these sessions.

Lomi Salmon, Isn’t it Amazing What Happens When You Combine Hawaiian Culture with New Technology! by Kealiʻi Akina

Kealiʻi is very personable and likable and it definitely shows. He opened up the session by sharing his life and educational journey, throwing in bits of humor along the way. As we got comfortable with him and his story, he shifted to his main topic. Kealiʻi challenged us to be innovative with technology and how we can teach with multiple lenses when we teach Hawaiian culture.

Technology has always been a part of Hawaiian cultural knowledge for centuries. Hawaiians have been very innovative to make something that is not originally Hawaiian to something Hawaiian. Kealiʻi gave us examples of innovations with the lomi salmon and the ukulele. There are other things that I can recall that are great innovations and they include the loʻi and kihoʻalu (slack key guitar). With today’s emerging technologies, we have the ability as educators to guide our next generation to make something not originally Hawaiian to something Hawaiian. Imagine the possibilities with the smartphone, Google Glass, and augmented reality. How can we guide our next generation to make these technologies into something that is part of Hawaiian culture? Only we as educators must be able to teach with multiple lenses in order to empower our keikis.

The biggest takeaway I got from this session is that we learn to innovate things through trying new ideas out and experiencing the successes as well as failures. Also, to learn from these experiences, we need to reflect on it, whether we write it down on our journals and blogs or record our vlogs. Experience is the best teacher.

Learn to See; Learn to Shoot; Learn to Have Fun! by Dewitt Jones
The session by Dewitt Jones was a continuation of the inspiring keynote session he gave an hour earlier. Dewitt Jones is a highly respected National Geographic photographer and the images that he shared during the keynote made my desire to learn to capture jaw dropping and powerful images like him. Although this session was not about learning how to take pictures, but instead show you what to see and how to set yourself to capture images that are exciting. Dewitt had definitely taught us the mindset and a few simple techniques to improve on our photography.

Photography has been a love and hate type of hobby for me and at times I stumble whenever I try to use the advanced settings such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO. However, coming from the words of this highly acclaimed professional photographer, he says that it is okay to use the camera’s program mode. Dewitt also advised us that you must train your technique to be proficient with the camera settings in order to enable you put yourself in a place of most potential.
The biggest takeaway that I got from Dewitt’s session on his philosophy in capturing great photos. He uses the acronyms FAT to explain his philosophy:

F = feeling - how does your experience make you feel? Dewitt explained that we need to feel excited about the experience on what we see and that capturing that photos are a residue of that experience.

A = articulation - what can you articulate in what we see and experience? What point grabs your interest? Once you find that point and focus on it, your image will become 10 times more exciting.

T = technology - use the technology to help deliver the excitement of your experience.

This philosophy does not apply to photography, but also content creation. We need to be excited about the content we create in order for it to be exciting to those who are seeing/hearing/experiencing our content.

After the Dewitt’s session, I decided to try the things I learned (including the iPhone apps he used):
Shot with iPhone 5 pano mode

Shot edited with Snapseed app

Finally, the KS Ed Tech Conference delivered and inspired us educators exciting ways to use technology to teach our keikis the 21st century skills in order to succeed in the 21st century.


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