Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Atlanta Bound!


Tomorrow I leave for my third ISTE conference.  This year it is in steamy Atlanta, Georgia!  I am so fortunate to get to represent WEMTA--our state organization as the Affiliate Liaison to ISTE.
I am looking forward to the conference for so many reasons.

1.  I am attending this for the first time as a Google Certified Teacher.  While I knew I was going to be attending the GTA in Chicago when I went last year, it did not actually happen until July.  This is significant not because it's cool to be a GCT, but because I have a whole new group of friends and colleagues that I have been networking with all year online to connect with.  I can't wait to see them face to face again and to catch up on the incredible things that they do for kids.  I am honored to be a member of this group and hope I get to spend lots of time with them.  I will be hanging out at the Google Playground on Monday to talk Google Glass and some other fun Googley topics.

2.  My presentation schedule is much more manageable this year.  Last year I committed to many things and left the conference feeling that I only really attended a few sessions and didn't make it to the Blogger's cafe at all.  While I enjoyed it tremendously, I felt very busy and rushed during my time in San Antonio.  This year, I only have a half day workshop and some time in the Google Playground.  The other open times will be spent attending sessions, networking, and learning with colleagues.  I am really looking forward to this!

3.  I have a great group scheduled to attend my pre-conference workshop.  I do the workshop because while I technically lead the session, I learn so much from a diverse group of educators that attend.  It truly is a learning network that we build throughout our three hour time slot.  We will be talking about our struggling learners and how we can use technology to make curriculum accessible to them in all areas.

4.  Great events!  I have some great social events scheduled with friends that I don't get to see too often.  Am looking forward to catching up in a relaxed environment.

5.  THE WORLD CUP!!  Can't wait to cheer on the US!!

There are other reasons I'm looking forward to the conference but these are the top five.  So many people from so many diverse backgrounds all in one spot--awesome!!
Many seasoned, "popular" educators have negative things to say about ISTE.  That really bothers me.  We are never too good to learn from each other and to celebrate the incredible things that happen for our students around the globe.  While the conference may not be a perfect venue for every issue we deal with in education, many of us save our pennies throughout the school year just to attend this one event.  Most classroom teachers that I know only get to attend one conference event a year.  I hope that those fortunate enough to attend multiple conferences and those that are well known in the Ed Tech world remember that and save the snarky comments for another time.  I, for one, am super excited about ISTE.  Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Try This Again...

Well, it has been quite some time since I did an official blog post and not just a quick tip on my website.  I am going to try to stick to blogging on a somewhat regular basis--maybe monthly--maybe a little more depending on what has been going on.  Thought I'd do a little reflective post about what the 2013-2014 school brought on.  I am so fortunate to work with such hard working, thoughtful educators everyday.

This past school year has been incredible!  I received Google Glass in November, started a great new group of students called the TechKnow Kids--a Minecraft EDU design group, started a crazy thing called PD in Your PJs, implemented a new tablet pilot program for our K-2 students, and watched members of my TILT team do incredibly powerful things with their students and then share it out with our team.  Whew!  No wonder we are all tired!

I am really proud of having started a Tech Coaching Network for coaches around the state--mainly in my area of Wisconsin, but we network with people all over.  This has been a chance to really talk about the challenges and celebrate the many wins of using technology tools with our kids.  I love that we can go for much of our meeting and just talk kids-not technology, not school--kids.  That has been so encouraging each time we meet!

Glass has been such an interesting addition to my life.  I used it a lot when I first received them and then it started to taper off a little.  A huge update in the past few weeks has encouraged me to get them back on and use them regularly.  I had a very interesting conversation with a gentleman that has Cerebral Palsy about Glass and the potential of technology like this.  He actually got a little teary eyed when he talked about how hands free computing could really be a game changer....and of course that made me get a little teary eyed as well!

I have had the pleasure of presenting at lots of different events throughout the school year.  I love that no matter where I am, all discussions at these events have centered around how to do right by our kids and give them the most opportunities and ask the best questions that we possibly can.  My "techie" colleagues are amazing and such a supportive addition to my life.
I am scheduled for more PD events this summer, so stay tuned....