Miami Device: Something to dance about!

How lucky am I? The all inspiring Felix Jacomino invited me to speak at his energy-packed learning event, Miami Device, in the beautiful setting of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School.  The 2 day event ranged on a scale (i’ve just invented) from “fun” through “Awesome” on to “OMG, did that just happen!”. Felix is the sort of guy who’s character inspires people to get involved and work with him to build an event you don’t forget. Make sure you get there in 2017!

Miami Summary 2015

The teachers and #Edu-Rockstars that were at the event proved testament to how much Felix is loved and appreciated. Oh, and I was going to make the most of 22 hours of flights to get there, so also won my own EduRockStar Selfie competition!

The Keynotes

BellowAdam Bellow
started the event with a whirlwind of edTech ideas, philosophies and laughs. He’s always entertaining whilst making you think about teaching today in a very practical way. He fits a lot in though, it was slide 4537 I particularly liked! #Jokes! For the record I’d like to say that the two out of five times this year he’s managed to successfully fly a drone across the heads of the audience using the iPad app Tickle, I was there! I’ve always had an effect on drones. Like Adam, I’m also a Keynote nut, so LOVE his work.

IMG_7580Derek Muller is almost as sexy as his science. He’s definitely a clever man with a whole different but inspiring approach to both teaching and more specifically science. To consider that science is about proving your assumptions wrong as a way to discover a better truth was a brilliant philosophy presented in a fun but powerful way. At one point the keynote resembled a crazy 19th century circus roadshow! Now that’s how to make science cool.

George Couros always makes you laugh out loud and then has you crying (along with himself) 5 minutes later. He might also be the only keynote speaker to achieve simultaneos “Cry-Laughing!” This is a man with his feet on the ground and finger on the pulse of what it’s like to be young these days. Like me, he has a view that having more faith in what young people are capable of, can positively impact on every classroom. He showcases how natural it is for children to be digitally creative outside the classroom without any prompting by a teacher and how this desire to connect, create and share needs to be harnessed by schools more than it currently is. You also laugh out loud at the most hilarious Youtube videos! Thanks George … again.

IMG_7705Angela Maiers was a fabulous final Keynote that was aimed directly at the audience and asked teachers to consider how important it is to share your teaching journey with others. This was amazing for me as I’d spent a year researching into why teachers do and do not become connected educators, such as using Twitter. My findings were directly connected with teacher’s awareness of their important place within the world’s teaching profession. Angela gave me my favourite conference sound bite “The enemy of great is good.” Nothing sums up the state of teachers and schools than that phrase. Thanks Angela … and sorry about the quality of the pic 😀!

The Presenters

Where do I start? It was great to finally see Wesley Fryer in action, nicely pushing the importance of student blogging. A tool that schools are still slow to adopt and it was nice IMG_7575to see yet more great evidence of blogging’s potential.

To finally meet, see present, learn from and even teach Vicki Davies was an honour. Vicki had interviewed me a while back for her world changing show Every Classroom Matters and it was so nice to do a face-to-face plus grab loads of tech tips from her presentation, which like Adam’s was a whirlwind of ideas! Thanks Vicki!

Lisa johnson is more than just a “Tech Chef”, she’s an art & design master. Her presentation on Canva was so cool that it had already had my Kiwi colleagues messing around with it when I got home. Again, it was great to see an educator who will always go the extra mile in how professional teaching resources should be, after all, the students are worth it.
IMG_7715To meet Erin klein was something I’d waited years for. Unfortunately we were presenting at the same time, so I missed her session but even to chat for 10 minutes was awesome.

Tony Vincent not only presents great stuff in an entertaining way, he makes it all look like effortless fun! The work he’s doing currently with Periscope at the moment now has me considering new possibilities for live video feed in education nearly every day! What amazed me was his professional level infographics are made in Google Draw! He’s now forced me to up my game. Thanks also, Tony, for the impromptu Periscope interview that happened to unfortunately catch my dance-off with @Mrhooker! 😀 [See Gif below]

MY MD Tribe

9BB5DD45-34EF-4132-A374-0D22AE0C1489This is a BIG shoutout to the wonderful tribe of educators I spent my time with in Miami. Jenny Ashby and Rodney Turner were especially kind in looking after me. The two of them interviewed me and the others whilst travelling around Miami in Uber rides. This was strange at first but on reflection is a great idea and I highly recommend you tune in to their podcast.

Tracy Zordan is a woman on a mission to change Canadian education as we had great conversations. Mike Jaber has so much energy and is SO funny, I can see why he has such an impact in Wisconsin. He even does Scooby Doo impressions! Tisha Richmond is an excellent educator, and we had fantastic conversations about blogging and the connected community. Overall, we had so much fun and the group made Miami Device particularly special for me. I look forward to maintaining our connections.

Thanks to the fantastic  LucusKhris and Marie for putting up with me in the Appmazing Race team! Lucus, you’re hilarious and definitely the coolest Library man ever! I never did get the team pic! 🙂

IMG_7714Fantastic to meet my namesake Wendy Wells too. We both are passionate about design thinking and I was honoured she liked my infographic on classroom design thinking. The only downside was that it was Wendy’s idea to get Tony to video my dancing. #ThanksWendy 😀

IMG_7678Thanks again to Carl Hooker  for running the AppMazing Race and inspiring Felix to setup this event. Carl is AppMazing in so many ways and I can’t wait to see him next year closer to home in Australia at iPadpaloozaGC.


MD TeamAnother thank you must go to the amazingly organised Jenny Diaz,  Inge Wassmann, Ashley Cross and the Miami Device team who also helped me so often at the drop of a hat. Felix couldn’t do it without you. I had fun chatting about the NZ system with you too!


Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 8.50.21 AMAnd finally, my most important thank you goes to the amazing Judy Jacomino. Judy’s energy and enthusiasm is infectious and she was also a key reason from me being at this incredible event. I hope, Judy, I lived up to expectations and look forward to chatting, laughing and  dancing with you in the future!

Miami Device is THIS good!

sml Miami Dance (1).gif

A GIF says more than a thousand words!






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