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WEtechOn March 2, 2013 I had the honor and privilege to give the keynote at WEtech 13. The theme of the conference was Technology + Teaching = Student Engagement and the theme of my keynote was ENGAGE. Below is the first in a series of excerpts from my speech designed to encourage educators to engage in the use of technology to improve instruction and enhance learning.

Good morning WE Tech. It’s an honor and a privilege to speak with you today about a few things I am very passionate about:

Education, Teaching, Learning, Technology

And how they have finally, after all these years come together!

Today you will experience what it’s like to be both a student and teacher. You will learn and teach today. Maybe that learning and teaching will take place in a classroom, or in the hallway, or during lunch. But have no doubt that learning and teaching will occur… today… in every corner of this school because learning is EVERYWHERE. It’s all around us.

Why is this so important? First, because this is the way learning should be EVERYDAY in all of our schools. It should happen everywhere, every day of our lives. Second, it reminds us of our foundation as educators. As both student and as teachers we must expect to learn everywhere and every day. We must look for and demand as educators that learning is for both student and educator. Third, because learning that is everywhere signifies and is an example of student engagement.

Learning is no longer memorization and regurgitation of facts and figures. It’s about student engagement. It’s about creating a learning environment where our students can connect, collaborate and learn from each other, us, and others. Today’s learning at WEtech, on student engagement, and our own learning engagement is so different than other professional development we have experienced over the years. Today’s professional development here at WEtech is all about making the learning environment come alive.

For years professional development for educators was a one and done model or brought to you by “experts” who were not practitioners but had a program or service that would make us better teachers and our students smarter. However, when the day was over the training was over and most times than not we would return to our schools and do the same thing we did prior to the training. That’s not what today is about. We are all about engagement today.

Today we are talking about student engagement. Something educators have struggled with and debated about for decades. Student engagement is evolving. At one time student engagement meant that our students stayed awake throughout the lecture given in every class all day long.

Kind of like this

Student engagement takes on a new face in education and today is an example of how much student engagement is changing and how dedicated you are to it. Your desire to focus on student engagement is a testament to your desire as educators to be engaged in the learning, sharing, and teaching process.

How do I know this to be true? Well if you asked me two years ago to go to a professional development workshop on a Saturday… in March… heck in any month… I’d say… NO, why would I want to do that and what would make it worth my time? Yet, in the last 2 years I’ve been to more Saturday PD workshops than I can count and for the last year I get up every Saturday morning to have a discussion with educators from around the world on Twitter at 7:30 AM.

Why is this exciting? Because technology makes learning possible for educators every day. It’s exciting because we understand the need for educators and our students to engage in the use of technology. And we are educators dedicated to student engagement through the use of technology. But what is this new engagement and how do we achieve it?

WE Tech has a formula that we should follow:

Technology + Teaching = Student Engagement

For modern educators who believe in making our schools better, more inviting, interactive and yes, engaging we must make this formula popular among educators because our profession has been stagnant for way too long and it is currently under heavy scrutiny. But more importantly this formula is important because it has become evident to educators that using technology and engaging our students’ learning no longer limits instruction, knowledge, learning and collaboration to the walls of the school or times of the school day.

Think of that for a moment. We are now able to provide opportunities for educational connections, collaboration and learning outside of the walls of our schools. And I’m not talking about a really good multiplication worksheet for a homework assignment. I’m talking about real interactive learning.

For example, I’m using an app right now that will send out Tweets using the #WEtech13 hashtag to you as a way to backchannel this conversation. I’m doing this because I want to engage you in a deeper conversation about student engagement while I speak and after we are done learning today. By doing so I am assuring the conversation carries on long after we have left WEtech.

That’s part of the difference. We can learn from each other and contribute to the conversation tonight, tomorrow morning and next week. And we can do this with our students too… RIGHT NOW!

Educators now have the ability to engage our students inside and outside of the classroom 24 hours a day 7 days a week in all different ways.

We can use: Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, Video, Podcasts, Webcasts, Text messages, Articles, Graphics, and those always entertaining Infographics

There are literally hundreds of options out there. You just need to pick one, try, experiment…


You see it is my opinion that if we want to Teach and use technology to get student engagement we as educators need to…  


This is the first in a series of excerpts from my keynote at WE Tech 13 Conference on March 2, 2013