Five years ago, NICERC hosted our first national conference, the Education Discovery Forum. Since then, we’ve brought the EDF to places like Baltimore, Dallas, Shreveport and even Palm Springs, CA! This year, NICERC will be hosting two EDF’s; one in Augusta, Georgia from June 4-7 and the other in Omaha, Nebraska from July 10-12 following the National CSTA Conference. A lot of people may try to shy away from boring PD’s (especially in the summer – we get it!) but as anyone who has attended a NICERC professional development can attest to, they are anything but boring.
At the EDF, educators go in-depth with new, exciting STEM and cyber projects and receive guidance how best to implement them in their specific classrooms. If you have ever attended a Cyber Literacy training session, you have programmed the robot to light up LED’s and move around. At the EDF, you can build on these skills in the Cyber Literacy 2 training where you program the robot to do more complex and in-depth tasks. For example, fellow NICERC Curriculum Development Specialist Jon Ownby and I ran this workshop in last year’s EDF and we had the participants work their way through the Runway Strip, Bank Vault and the Bank Hacker Bot, as well as the Mars Rover projects. All of these projects took us the better part of a day and teachers went home with a renewed energy and excitement to bring these new, approachable projects to their students.
Since these sessions are 3-4 days long, you also begin to form relationships with the NICERC staff as well as other educators from different areas of the country. Additionally, most of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists have taught the curriculum they authored in the classroom, and can bring a unique perspective through one-on-one collaboration with EDF attendees. Many other teachers attending the EDF teach part of the curriculum or are looking for ways to collaborate with teachers. This is one of the most powerful resources of the EDF.
Lastly, I can’t forget to mention the giveaways! Teachers walk away with robots and STEM EDA kits or Raspberry Pi’s (depending on the session you attend), but there are drawings for classroom sets of each of these.
Be sure to check out some snapshots from last year’s EDF’s below and don’t forget: registration for EDF 2018 will be open soon – we hope to see you there!
Learn more about the EDF 2018 here.