ITAG Conference Notes: Keynote Daniel Williamson and Panel Discussion

I have been recording my sessions notes from conferences I have attended are all located here.

I attended the ITAG Conference in Des Moines, IA a few months back and with being so busy with my teaching job I have a pad of notes(actually several pads from notes from all over) that I never had a chance to type up and share.

The notes that I have are a hodgepodge of several sessions where I did not take a massive amount of notes like the other sessions.

Here they are as I work to organize and declutter my book bag and life. I hope you find something useful.

*My ideas will be italicized to separate from notes*

Suggested Reading
Michio Kaku – Physics of the Future
Tom Peters – Re-Imagine

3 Sectors of People Living Tomorrow, Today
1. Army – massive budget to experiment
2. Arts – no budget, experiment to make money
3. Advanced Manufacturing – 

Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot(From Iowa) – gave a speech at Oxford
–Not what you are passionate about or love, but what you are good at
This whole idea is interesting to me….do we pursue what we are good at or what we love?

Sun is 8.3 minutes to reach
Polaris – 467 years to reach

Students point to the sun, but they are already behind – GET THEM TO POINT AHEAD

When we hook our dreams to the stars, will it be there when we arrive?

What a product means has replaced what a product does

Project Idea – yardstick + yo-yo or Typewriter + TV

Ideas don’t make sense together, but when combined you get a tape measure and a computer!!!

What 2% change can we do to make a difference?
Example: Jet Blue decreased speed of planes 2mph and saved 13.6 million dollars

Back in the day you were told “all thumbs” when meaning you were dumb
Today “all thumbs” are the key (texting, phones, games)

So What? Then What? – we have to adapt to create ideas

Fail fast
Be brave and avoid distinction
Think Innovation and end result, not compliance

Jason Glass
21st Century Skills – we are 13 years in and so perhaps we need a new term?
School responsibility to be economic driver and prepare students for real world

Nurture Shock
101 Things I Learned in Architectural School
Adversity Advantage
No Asshole Rule
Made to Stick

“We prepared the path for our children. We should have prepared our children for the path.”
Marilyn Kempich(freshmen orientation director at Iowa University)

1. Creative Economy
2. Caboose
3. Cytosine

Richard Florida – Rise of the Creative Class
3 T’s – Talent, Technology, Tolerance

What repositioning of an existing resource or asset could ensure the future of gifted education?

Caboose is replaced by the engine up front to prevent knuckles breaking on big trains
Cytosine – What happens if giftedness is engineered rather than enriched?

“If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.”

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My First Presentation Reflection…..FINALLY!!

This nametag made feel more important than what I really am!

Last Monday and Tuesday I attended the ITAG (Iowa Talented and Gifted) Conference in Des Moines. There were over 500 educators, professionals, research experts, parents, etc. in attendance for the conference. It is a massive gathering of some very intelligent people that really make me feel inferior in terms of my knowledge.

 I submitted a presentation proposal about 6 months ago as this was always something that I wanted to challenge myself with doing. It has been a goal of mine, but at the same time I have a great fear of giving a presentation. To make a long story short, my proposal was accepted.

 The title of my presentation was, “Going Global With Coffeechug! How To Go Beyond Your Classroom Walls.”. You can view the slides, handouts, and wiki I built for the presentation here.


I spent a great deal of time preparing for this presentation. It underwent about three themes, slides, layouts, and basic structures. I kept changing things because I did not feel it was good enough. I won’t go into all the headaches I put myself through, but you can read this post about how I stressed over my handout.

On Tuesday, it was my day to present. I had the last time slot to present. I honestly was not sure about what type of turnout I was going to have. However, the last session really was amped up by the head lady and with about 20 minutes before I was to begin my room was packed. I had a room full of people and thought that this was good. All my efforts were going to be worthwhile. I set a goal of not losing my audience. I did not want anyone leaving during my presentation.

I did what I do best. Tell stories. I gave stories and examples like crazy. Perhaps too much because my 60 minute time slot flew by. I needed more time!!!!!!

I had connected with an amazing teacher from the Philippines who created video of her 1st graders. This video is amazing and a great eye opener about what is happening around the world. It is an eye opener that we are not as cutting edge as we give ourselves credit for! My goal was to give my audience their very first global partner. I wanted my audience to record a short video response to the video for these first graders.

A few stuck around for the video due to me talking too much. We finished and many of them did not want to be on camera. I found this interesting. As gifted educators we are constantly challenging and pushing our students outside of their comfort zone and yet as adults we were not comfortable enough to do the very same thing. Part of this was not knowing everyone, but I figured that since we were talking to 1st graders it would not be a big deal. Very little video was recorded and I quickly had to rethink my plan. I now have my 2nd grade son taking a video into his classroom where his teacher has been kind enough to shoot some video for us to send back to these amazing kids!

So, what did I learn? How did it go?

I give myself a B+. I was very comfortable once I started talking. I want to do less talking and more engagement. I wanted more interaction, but this presentation made me realize that perhaps these audiences don’t want more engagement. I created a Twitter hashtag, made a Google Document handout where we could collaborate during the presentation, had a video partner established, and built a wiki for us to further connect. What I found interesting is that nothing developed on any of these levels. I really think they wanted a paper handout and to just listen. That is fine and I need to have this as a plan B next time I present. I need to be more accommodating to my audience. I don’t like paper. I don’t like to to use paper if I don’t need to. I need to remember that not everyone is like me.

I also need to provide more time for questions. I had some amazing questions being asked. The questions drove the presentation. Less content, more time for question and answer. I felt that my audience was engaged. I had a lot of eye contact and more questions than I thought would be asked.

It felt good to present and connect. I am following up on some connections with people who wanted more information. I have already applied and been accepted to speak at the 2012 Global Education Conference in November(time to work on a new presentation) and would like to continue to present and challenge myself.

It was a great experience and a great conference. When I attended other breakout sessions I studied how others presented and how the crowd interacted. I now know that I need to give them the straightforward facts and steps for them to follow. They want specifics. I like big ideas for me to then go back and ponder and create my own path. Not everyone is that way.

Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. There are too many to name, but Amanda(my wife) had to listen to me a million times and helped me stay focused on organized.

Thanks to ITAG for allowing me to present. I only wish I had feedback from the audience to learn more about what they thought.

On to the next one……..

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ITAG Conference Day 1: Brain on OVERLOAD, I create new Keynote!

Today was a great day of learning. It is so important for teachers to get out to these conferences to network. I learn so much from the keynotes and breakout sessions, but I learn even more from people in regular conversation.

If you know me, then you know I lack some social skills until prompted. I had to break out of my shell and comfort zone to engage and when I did I quite impressed with who I talked to and what they do. I have several posts in the making on all these topics. I have more pages of notes than you can imagine. I fought through fatigue to stay driven and capture key ideas.

These conferences make me realize how little I really know and how much more I can learn. I love this! It leaves me hungry for more.

Early today I posted my notes and thoughts from the first keynote. I will post the rest of my notes and ideas soon.

The point of this post is to get back to my earlier post about taking care of small details. I discussed my process of my handout. I still found two errors that are driving me nuts, but they are things that perhaps only I will notice. As I rehearsed yesterday I realized that my original slides did not fill the entire screen when presenting. So, I went back and created a whole new presentation. I kept 98% of it the same, but had to retype, copy and paste the whole thing to the new format. You can the new one here on my wiki for my presentation

Tomorrow I have to present during the last session of the entire conference. I hope to energize my crowd(if I even have one!). I have practiced. I have prepared. I am nervous. Nervous for coming across professional like the presenters here. Not nervous due to lack of preparation.

Off to relax and get a bit of sleep after the long night last night. As I have posted on Twitter and G+, I will post the same here to close. Thanks and stay tuned for all the great things I learned.

All educators, please leave a tweet about the importance of global education to the hashtag #flatclass. I am doing my first presentation tomorrow about global education. Feel free to also join the conversation tomorrow at 2:30 pm central time. I would love to have you to show how powerful the online global education network is. Thanks


Leave a note or two on the wiki and/or presentation handout at
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ITAG Conference: David Williamson Keynote, "Know Next Now"

This keynote was a great start to the conference. Despite being super tired from being up since 2:15 with an upset child and driving 3 hours to get here I walked away with some great ideas and food for thought.

Here are my “take-aways” from David Williamson and his presentation titled, “Know Next Now”

**This is a mix of his words, suggestions, and my thoughts and questions**

  • Must read Michio Kaku – Physics of the Future(already purchased on my Kindle, cannot wait to read!)

  • Another book suggestion – Tom Peters, Re-Imagine
  • Key Idea – Find people living tomorrow TODAY!
    • Army
      • Parviv working on internet contact lens(INSANE!)
    • Arts
    • Advanced Manufacturing
  • View Corey Taylor(lead singer of Slipknot) talk to Oxford College last year about doing NOT what you are passionate about or what you love, BUT what you are GOOD at
  • new ITBS called Smarter Balance(I need to read up on this more)
  • A good idea for opening up my gifted class taken from his sun fact
    • Have students point to the sun(they point at the light)
    • Ask them why they are waiting or the present to be the past
    • Discuss sun takes 8.3 minutes to reach Earth
    • Follow up with goal setting about the future
  • Polaris is over 450 years old by the time it reaches us(before Pilgrims)
  • “When we hook our dreams to the stars, will it still be there when we arrive?”
  • “What a product MEANS has replaced what a product DOES.”
  • Take his idea of merging two unlikely ideas/products as part of our gifted theme for next year
    • yardstick and yo-yo = tape measure
    • typewriter and TV = computer
  • Know the difference between a visual answer and visual question
    • representational
    • non-representational
  • Study up on the Lean Six Sigma
    • How can I apply this to my teaching?
  • Jet Blue example of slowing planes down 2mph saves 13.6 million dollars
    • What 2% change can we do as teachers to create this type of positive difference?
There it is. My notes and my thoughts. Time to further crunch my ideas when I return back to Bettendorf and clear off a few monster projects currently in the works.
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Expect The Best From Yourself: Small Details Matter

Tuesday I am delivering my first education presentation ever. I am nervous. I feel prepared. I spent most of today finalized everything. I will admit that I feel good about what I put together. With anything, I had tremendous help from so many people helping me, offering ideas, suggestions, topics, links, etc. Amanda had to check out all things today when she had other issues.

I have high expectations for my students. Ask any of my 6th grade students that I just wrapped up an extension with and they will tell that I expect a lot from them. In order to expect great things from others you have to expect a lot from yourself.

That is the reason for this post. I want to show my students and others that small details make a difference.

Today I spent more time that necessary working on the layout of my handout. I was not going to hand anything out, but I was advised that teachers love handouts so I agreed.

I started out with this version to begin with:

I used my own face as images because I could not find what I wanted. I originally liked this one quite a bit. However, it was pointed out to me that the glare in the posters behind were tacky. Then I thought that an image of myself could come across as conceited.

So I moved to version 2.0

I was trying to achieve a Zen like approach, but this just seemed to be “off”. I don’t know, but it did not work and I was frustrated. Then it hit me and I came up with version 3.0

I started to really like where this was headed, but this was still not quite right. I changed some fonts, increased the images just a tad to eliminate white space and reduced some dark shades of black and came up with the final version.

Yes, that looks nice. I like this handout. This is one sharp looking handout.

I expect a lot from myself. This is just a silly handout. The real worth of my presentation is all online with my Google Document and the slides and the website I built for one 60 minute talk.

So, to all my students. I do have high expectations. I expect great things from myself and my family. I expect great things from my colleagues. I expect great things from all people. Why not work to your potential? We are only here for so long so what will your mark be that you leave behind?

In case you care all things for my presentation can be found here on the website I built –

Feel free to check it out. As always leave any suggestions or ideas as there is still time to make any necessary changes.

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