My trip to USM Summer Spark

This past weekend, I packed up the family and a lot of my STEAM and headed off to the University of Milwaukee in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. A beautiful school campus and full of awesome teachers and administrators. The trip was especially exciting for me as I finally met many of the Teach like a Pirate Crew. Shelly Bugress, Quinn Rollins, Michael Matera, Matt Miller, George Couros, Don Wettrick, Jason Bretzmann and more. I was also reunited with Andre Kornowski, James O’Hagen, Michael Jabar, Ben Brazeau and more. I lead three sessions, the most I have ever done for any type of conference with back to back Putting the Art in STEAM and later What’s the Word? A session about creating infopics, memes and properly using Selfies in the classroom using Adobe Spark, Google Drawings and more. I have to say my first session of STEAM didn’t quite go as planned, I had a lot of connection problems with my spheros and my projector didn’t want to show how to use Adobe Illustrator Draw like I wanted too. However, everyone had a lot of fun and I had several attendees on Ditty and Tickle by the time the session was over. My second session actually went as planned and we created an awesome STEAM art titled: “Sunset over Milwaukee” that we dedicated to the school.

My session What’s the Word? was well attended and I ended up pointing many of my attendees to the Adobe Spark session an hour later and many attendees learned how to use Keynote on their macbooks in a new and exciting way (thanks Tony and Adam). But enough of what I taught. I have to say that every session I attended as USM was fantastic! I loved Quinn’s Play like a Pirate session and reuniting with Matt Miller for his Ditch the Textbook. I sadly was unable to attend one of Michael’s gamification sessions, I have luckily been able to go to a previous one at Edcamp, but he is such a great guy and I hope to attend one of his next sessions. Also, as many of you know, Julie Smith, our Master of the Media has been a personal hero of mine when it comes to social media and properly using research ideas (especially for my dissertation). The two of us finally met and what a great time we had and her session just blew me away. So, thank you Julie. Of course, meeting Shelly Bugress, the Lead like a Pirate master herself was fantastic. I had her sign my pirate hat (more on that later).

However, it was both keynotes by George and Don that were the biggest highlights for me. George brought up wonderful facts in education and what has been done and what “should” be done. Don’s completely blew me away, with his amazing history of his classroom to how he transformed it into a student lead classroom and the accomplishments of his students. It was just amazing, I could sit here all day talking about it, but it was that great. Take my word for it. Now, as many are wondering what is with my pirate hat that is shown above with Minions and a Pirate Emoji. Here’s the story, a few weeks ago, I was getting my pirate books together to be signed at USM Summer Spark. My copy of The Innovator’s Mindset by George was lent out to a friend of a friend. Well, that person never returned the book and had no forwarding contact information. Then the last day of school, someone snuck into my office and took my copy of Explore like a Pirate by Michael and I have no idea what has become of it. Sadly, I was unable to purchase new copies, but a few of my students during our 8 bit pixel Google Sheets lessons gave me the design for the Pirate Emoji and said I should have something for everyone to sign like if I was going to a comic book convention. Hence, my Teach like a Pirate hat was created. I had everyone who wrote a book or has been involved with the Dave Bugress Consulting Inc sign the hat. I am currently just missing a few signature including the Pirate Captain himself.

It really brought home the entire idea of STEAM as the hat was created using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. It also was good because sadly before the convention, my wife and I had two of our cards hacked, including our panera bread gift card and lead to my account over drawn. Hence, we were limited on our mini vacation and before the conference began. But it was times like this and my students who inspired me to do what I do. I was surrounded the last few days with so many educators who have made a difference in the lives of their students and the face of education and are continuing to do so. They are teachers, educators and friends who inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing and to not give up. So, thank you to all the amazing staff at University of Milwaukee, speakers, presenters, students and more. It was a great time.

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