The first ever Pepperdine OMET/MALT alumni conference was held at the Malibu campus this last week. Members from almost every cadre 1-14 were represented with around 40+ attendees coming for part or all of the alumni conference. The experience was different than a “traditional” conference but very interesting. Conference Coordinator, Debby (Kilburn) Kurti said it best, “Our common experiences going through the program binds us together because we all value the same thing”. Thanks to Bill Moseley for pitching the idea of an alumni conference to Pepperdine and Margaret/Paul and a HUGE THANK YOU to Debby (and the Thundering Herd), Julia, Derek & David for making it happen.
I especially enjoyed meeting folks from different cadres and comparing experiences. We all reminisced about our VirtCamp experiences, the bonds of friendship, frustration with learning how to program Legos, making websites and movies, and remembering “it’s the process”. I enjoyed catching up with fellow Cadre 9 folks: Kristen, Robert, Novita, David, Allen and honorary Bucca9er – Pam.
During the morning sessions of the alumni conference each day various people spoke about their Action Research, current projects, or how the program has impacted them in their current position. On Thursday we learned about ways to use Edmodo from Jill Florant (Cadre 13) to engage students & faculty and develop communities of practice. Jacquelin Sandoval (Cadre 14) shared an amazing story how her digital marketing plan from her Action Research helped resurrect a fledgling salon business. Kevin Chow, a teacher from Venice CA (Cadre 14) talked about marshaling student self-efficacy through knowledge building communities hoping to affect the dropout rate at his high school. Charlene Reed (Cadre 7) shared the story of how having an real client engaged her design students. Trey Eubanks (Cadre 14) used the analogy of using the right “power tool” when working with faculty who are learning how to integrate technology at his school. Unfortunately I missed most of Oscar Menjivar’s (Cadre 13) presentation on Teens in LA: Hustle & Hack because I was pulled out to be videotaped about my Pepperdine experience. The passion of each speaker was obvious and I enjoyed the variety of topics.
After enjoying a nice lunch, Cynthia Martinez (Cadre 1) helped explain and organize an unconference. Topics by attendees were suggested and voted on and I attended two sessions. During the first session people shared an online resource, software tool or website. The next session focused on best practices with mobile learning and favorite Apps. It was nice to have an opportunity to interact and get new ideas from each other. The nice thing about the unconference format is that if you feel you missed something by not attending one of the sessions, you can always suggest that topic at the next unconference you attend!
Julia Fallon (Cadre 8) then organized an informal panel and asked members to share, “What’s got your attention”. The sharing and conversation was insightful, engaging and inspiring. Cynthia talked about the Maker Faire movement and this got me thinking about how I could encourage more creativity at my school or for myself personally. We also got into an engaging conversation about empowering students, empowering teachers and leadership. What a wonderful way to end a full day of conversations and learning.
We were off to Duke’s for dinner and met up with some of the MALT15 folks later on for drinks. All in all it was a great first day for the alumni conference.
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