A couple weekends ago, Jeff and I presented at the third bi-annual Kuwait International Educators Conference at Al Bayan Bilingual School (BBS). We were invited to present in the fall after we met Lynda Abdul Raheem (FAWSEC Professional Development Coordinator) at PEAK in 2012.
KIEC was the first time we were sought out to present and the first time we’d ever done 4-hour workshops. We met with Lynda in the fall and learned all about their organization and the conference. Their philosophy is that any professional development that betters their staff will also better education as a whole in Kuwait. Love it. All BBS employees were required to attend both Saturday and Sunday (with Friday optional). They opened the conference to all educators in Kuwait and even allowed people to split tickets (3 people, 3 days, a different person attends each day). Each day there was a keynote, 4-hour workshop and 1-hour session (except Friday). At 60KD (~$212) it was a pretty great deal for a conference!
Jeff and I each led one 4-hour workshop each day. We each had two different workshops. I was scheduled to do Empowering on Friday and Sunday and GAFE – Next Level on Saturday. After Jeff lead GAFE for Beginners on Friday and Saturday, we realized the demand was high and people were excited. We switched it up and I replaced the Sunday Empowering with GAFE – Next Level. Saturday and Sunday (when all BBS teachers attended) were full sessions…and we even had to turn people away! The energy in our rooms was impressive! I had SO much fun nerding out with people over Google Apps 🙂
- My Empowering workshop was good…but I had very high expectations after attending Scott McLeod‘s workshop at NESA. I ended with only 5 people…which made it difficult to really engage in discussion and get them creating. One piece of feedback was that the first part of the session was theoretical…but I’m not quite sure how to have attendees analyze lesson plans without the background in the frameworks (SAMR, etc). Also, almost the entire group was not educated in North America. I wonder if this makes any difference in the way teachers teach. Would definitely be interested to know how teacher education programs differ! Although it didn’t live up to my expectations, the feedback made it seem like people still got something out of it.
- I left this session both days feeling energized and excited! I had a pretty big range of knowledge in the room which was difficult to keep up with at times. I started with a Google Race (adapted from my classroom in SC). The race ended up taking a little longer than expected. If I did this session again, I would like it to take less time…but I’m not sure what I would take out! I had a range of feedback from “I got a little lost at times and would have preferred a slower pace” to “I felt like it could have moved a little faster.” Seriously…it couldn’t have been more opposite! But every single piece of feedback was positive. It was incredibly rewarding and reminded me why I love what I do. I need to remember that feeling when I’m not feeling quite so positive about my job, school, etc.
Presenting at KIEC was an incredible learning experience. It was a lot of work but we also had a lot of fun. Working with Jeff so that our GAFE sessions spiraled was a great opportunity. If you have any questions about either of my sessions, let me know! If you want any of the information from Jeff’s session, contact him. 🙂