New Orleans: National School Boards Association – Annual – NSBA

NSBA is the National School Boards Association, a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards across the United States. NSBA achieves its mission by representing the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education.  It also provides vital information and services to state associations of school boards nationwide.  Over 5,000 board members, superintendents and education leaders from across the country and beyond were there to gain valuable knowledge and information in five key areas — leadership, advocacy, technology & learning, urban school issues, and school law.  This, we heard, was a national event that brought together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of students.  Guru journalist and writer Thomas L. Friedman was there to kick off proceedings, and remind delegates that, as his book title has it, “The World Is Flat”.  Wait:  educators have been trying to shake off Flat-Earthism for 500 years…  #education

Boston: National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA

Boston: National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA

NSTA is the National Science Teachers Association, and what they seem to believe in is “STEM”, or Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics.  NSTA conferences offer the latest in science content, teaching strategy, and research to enhance and expand professional growth among science education leaders. New standards recently adopted define important scientific ideas and practices that all students need to learn by the time they leave the 12th grade. The standards integrate three key dimensions—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts—effectively build science concepts from kindergarten through 12th grade, and integrate important concepts of engineering.  NSTA supports the Next Generation Science Standards as an effective and research-based way to transform science education, to prepare all students for college and career readiness, and to foster a new generation of evidence-based consumers of science.  So… ready, kids?  #NSTA

Atlanta: American Meteorological Society – AMS Annual Meeting

AMS is the American Meteorological Society, and this was their Annual Meeting. So what were they talking about?  Well, stuff like Chemistry and Earth Science, with subdisciplines including Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Science, Climatology, Meteorology….  The international debate on climate change made this a particularly topical;  and, sure enough, the theme for the 2014 AMS Annual Meeting was “Extreme Weather—Climate and the Built Environment: New perspectives, opportunities, and tools”.  Taking NYC as an example, Mother Nature has been forced over four centuries to give up more and more reclamation land to property-hungry Manhattanites.  Now, it seems, she wants it back.  The New York districts damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s storm-surge were almost identical to the land drained and reclaimed since 1600.  It included a broad ribbon of commercial and residential property ringing the southern tip of Manhattan Island. 400,000 people live in what a century ago was still a flood plain, and before that was under water.  Makes you think… or is that sink…?

Austin: Texas Computer Education Association – TCEA

TCEA is the Texas Computer Education Association.  we heard that passionate teachers, campus and district leaders all unite at this annual event, to gather and share the latest trends and best practices for creating “engaging classrooms that excite today’s active and inspired learners”. Who was there exactly?  Well, Teachers, Campus Leaders, Curriculum and Instruction Leaders, Technology Directors and Coordinators, Superintendents, Librarians and Library Media Specialists, Educational Technology Enthusiasts…  Apparently you’re never too young to start learning stuff from computers.  More than 400 companies were on hand to showcase their products and services ,in over 90,000 square feet of exhibition space. This marketplace was the destination of choice for learning about the products and services that support innovative teaching and learning environments.  Wait: how do you teach a 4-year-old with little tiny hands to Ctrl+Alt+Delete…?

Vegas: Association for Career and Technical Education

ACTE, or The Association for Career and Technical Education, is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers. ACTE was founded in 1926, ten years after the federal government began funding “vocational education” through the Smith-Hughes Act. Now, of course, it’s all about the internet. Online scorecards, infographics and other online tools are flourishing. One of the most recent entries is an infographic series created by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education for the nation as a whole and for all 50 states and DC. “Tapping the Potential: Profile of Adult Education Target Population” profiles use Census data to show the percentage of adults that lack a high school credential or English proficiency. ACTE aims to fix all that. CTE is getting much-warranted attention on Capitol Hill lately. Maybe ACTE can help legislators with their proficiency issues…. #careerteched

San Diego: California Schools Board Association – CSBA

“CSBA is the California Schools Board Association, and CSBA/AEC is CSBA’s premier continuing education program, “”the only leadership development opportunity that offers the governance perspective.”" We heard how the association is “”delivering practical solutions to help governance teams from districts and county education offices improve student learning and achievement”". Whether you were a veteran board member, a superintendent, a board support professional, or a first-time attendee, you found a conference filled with practical ideas. Whether you were focused on issues related to budget and finance, student achievement, governance, school safety, common core, community engagement, communication or collaboration, this premier event majored on key areas to guide governance teams through tough fiscal times. To prove how up-to-the-minute the proceedings were, there was a speech from Jane McGonigal, visionary game designer and futurist. No, she didn’t read palms….