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Looking back on CUE 2017, I am struck by the number of small moments in a venue so large it requires maps and guides. With nearing 8000 attendees, how could I possibly compose a reflection post that accurately describes CUE?
For those readers who have attended in the past, but didn’t make it this year,  I need to capture the energy of the hallways, report on the wifi, and assure them that Sherman’s Deli is still doing a booming trade. For readers who have never been to a CUE conference, I need to provide an experience they can relate to, paint a scene they can see themselves in.
The conference had 501 sessions: 501 individual learning experiences crafted by members and supported by the amazing CUE organization. In many ways the CUE national conference is a giant pop-up school. Like a school, CUE serves a wide community of learners. In this post, I have tried to include a range of voices beyond my own, so the loose theme behind this post is the line from Walt Whitman, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
For a sense of the multitudes, let’s tune in to a few of the songs of experience that have been shared from #CUE17. In the social media marketplace visual images command more attention than ever. At this conference I saw an amazing use of both infographics and Sketchnotes.
By the Numbers, an Infographic PowerUp
Ryan O’Donnell helped us all understand our conference “By the Numbers” He created an infographic template in Goolge Docs and empowered many other teachers to create their own infographic and share their experience.

This is the essence of CUE, an awesome shared experience and open source tools. Be sure to check the #cue17 hashtag for other infographics created with this template, then create and share your own. Visual summaries can be a powerful meaning making tool, even for yourself. Of course, once you see that you can make one, your students won’t be far behind. Here’s some more data and infographics, if you’re interested!
Palm Springs in SketchNote

A joyful surprise in my conference experience was Misty Kluesner’s SketchNote session. I had walked to the Hard Rock and my first choice didn’t work out. I took a seat in the front of the session even though I came in late. I loved how she framed sketch notes as a meaning-making tool.

The session was practical and inspiring, but I am still not ready to share my notes. I am happy to share a couple of great notes that illustrate the powerful potential of the medium.
Beth Heyden’s reflection sketch note of the conference makes me think of my own journey.

Nancy Minicozzi’s SketchNote of Jo Boaler’s inspiring keynote clearly summarizes many of the points I saw on social media during her speech.

There are MANY more great sketches on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Search #CUE17 to see them all.
In many ways Lucie deLaBruere’s conference experience was like my own. We both spent several hours in the unconference space learning about toy hacking with Jeff Branson from SparkFun. We each made it to some great sessions and also took time out for amazing conversations. 
Megan Albright, a 4th grade teacher at Valhalla Elementary School, shared her CUE experience session my session, preserving impressions as well as resources. From Keynote to affiliate dinner, Megan’s blog has everything from her CUE edventure.
From my Colleagues
I was lucky enough to share my conference with colleagues from my school. We lived “big brother” style in a rented house and got to share our learning in a quiet space each evening, so any reflection on my conference experience needs their voices.
Elaine Wrenn, Assistant Head of Echo Horizon School
Upon returning from my 27th CUE Conference, I find myself as recharged as I did after my 1st conference for similar reasons.  At my first CUE, I was so excited to have found a group of educators who shared a belief that technology can give kids opportunities to learn and express themselves in ways that are not otherwise possible.  At every subsequent CUE, I have enjoyed sharing with and learning from new colleagues and longtime friends who inspire me to continually evolve my practices as an educator in order to help kids develop as independent, creative, and confident learners.
Jimmy Smith, 5th/6th Grade Math Teacher at Echo Horizon School, first-time CUE attendee
CUE was a wonderful and inspiring few days of learning and growing professionally. From Jo Boaler’s keynote on promoting the growth mindset in schools to the vendors in the exhibit hall helping me to understand how to use their products, the greatest takeaway was not only a renewed sense of gusto in crafting my teaching practices but also the fact that I was able to start off the following Monday with tools in my belt to teach my lessons. With so much learned during the conference, I have plenty of ideas to not only finish off the school year strong, but to start off the following year with a bang.
If We Aren’t Crying, We Aren’t Trying
I know that most of the people attending CUE weren’t hauling puppets around or hacking into toy dinosaurs, and the great thing about CUE is that we can all carve our own path. Events like the CUE Keynotes allow us to “sync-up.” As we travel our different paths, this shared experience aligns and allies us. We cry together. I have to thank Ryan O’Donnell again for putting the cry stat on his infographic. I cry in each keynote and I look forward to it. There is something amazing about crying with a crowd for all the right reasons.
This year, the keynote speakers did not disappoint, relevant, genuine and inspiring. You will be able to find almost all of them on the CUE Live playlist and CUE 2017 National Conference playlist on CUEtube.
Ed. Note- No post by Sam is complete without a companion post by his ever present companion- Wokka.

Sam Patterson, M.F.A., Ed.D. is a Makerspace teacher for PreK-6th grade students at Echo Horizon School in Culver City California. Dr. Patterson is an innovative teacher using puppet building and computer programming to inspire kids to create and share. His shares his work through his blog MyPaperlessClassroom.com and his book “Programming in the Primary Grades: Beyond the Hour of Code” at BeyondtheHourofCode.com.

#CUE17- The Game

For the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working on CUE conferences, mostly from afar at my homebase outside of Chicago, Illinois. My role has been to monitor social media, contribute to virtual conversations, and share ideas and resources with the #notatcue folks who are participating from a distance. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on using digital badging as a way to document professional learning at CUE events. I’m excited to say that I will physically (rather than digitally) be in attendance at this year’s CUE 2017 National Conference and will be helping out wherever needed. I can’t wait to attend this conference and experience its energy in person!

The full conference schedule is available here and for those #notatcue, don’t forget that you will be able to catch some of the action online at cue.org/live. You can also follow conversations and glean resources if you follow the hashtags #notatcue and #CUE17 on Twitter and Instagram.

Keynote speakers at #CUE17 include poet and former teacher Taylor Mali, mathematics professor Jo Boaler, educator George Couros, and arts educator Cathy Hunt. Spotlight speakers include Darryl Adams, Nicole Dalesio, Hall Davidson, Leslie Fisher, Karen Janowski, Brad Montague, Tom Murray, Mark Ray, and Toni Robinson. As noted above, many of these featured speakers and keynotes will be livestreamed here.

Attendees shouldn’t miss out on the special features and events at the CUE 2017 National Conference:

CUE is pleased to partner with ChromeWarrior to offer a Gamified PD #CUE17 Online Game similar to the one CUE member Cate Tolnai introduced to 2016 Fall CUE attendees to gamify their learning environment. Using Chrome Warrior, attendees can document their interactions with various components of #CUE17 and provide evidence of their learning in a fun way, while earning digital badges and stickers.

To get started with #CUE17 – The Game, visit https://cue.chromewarrior.net/. This year’s three game pathways powered by Chrome Warrior are:

#CUE17 Explorer – Activities required to earn this badge revolve around getting to know many aspects of the CUE 2017 National Conference. Visiting the STEAMPunk playground to meet robots, the exhibition hall to meet vendors, and attending a CUE affiliate meeting are just a few example activities.

#CUE17 Connector – This badge is all about connecting to the #CUE17 community. In this mission, CUE 2017 National Conference attendees can earn a badge for volunteering, presenting, and connecting with other educators at the conference.

#CUE17 Learner – Show what you know in order to get this badge. Activities in this category all revolve around sharing what you’ve learned at this year’s conference.


#CUE17 Virtual Attendees – #notatcue folks can also earn a badge (digital badges only) by participating in activities from home. Watch a live session from this year’s conference, view a recorded archived session, or participate in the #CUE17 Twitter stream.

Players that complete the three conference missions, Explorer, Connector, and Learner, will receive the prized #CUE17 EDU Warrior level badge and sticker!


For those attending the CUE 2017 National Conference, you can also earn a physical sticker in addition to a digital badge for the Explorer, Connector, and Learning categories.


Pick up your badge stickers at the HUB@CUE booth in the middle of the Exhibit Hall on the following dates and times:

Thursday, March 16th  –  1 PM to 3 PM

Friday, March 17th –  9:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 1 PM to 4 PM

Saturday, March 18 –  9:30 AM to 11:30 AM

That’s all the news that’s fit to print for right now! Before the CUE 2017 National Conference starts, take time to go through the conference program and select sessions that may be of interest. 

Fire up your Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram accounts and start sharing the pending excitement over social media with #CUE17. And, don’t forget to keep on the CUE blog where news and updates will be posted from time to time. Follow #CUEchat Tuesday, March 14 at 7pm for final conference tips and tricks. See you soon in Palm Springs!

Currently an education consultant advising a variety of organizations,Lucy Gray previously taught elementary grade levels in Chicago Public Schools and middle school computer science at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She also has worked at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute and the Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education. In 2007, Lucy founded the Global Education Collaborative, a network for educators interested in collaboration which has been expanded into the Global Education Conference. Lucy also has received the distinctions of Apple Distinguished Educator and Google for Education Certified Innovator. For further information and resources, please check out her website at http://lucygrayconsulting.com.

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