Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Drinking The ISTE Kool-Aid

Last June, I attended my first ISTE conference in San Diego. During the welcome session,  I was impressed by the giant screens that surrounded me and energized by being in a room full of motivated educators.  Everyone had their devices out and clicked pictures, and I followed suit, pulling out the iPad that my school issued me the day before I left.  I was baffled by all of the activity. What were these people doing with these pictures?  Why were so many people logged into twitter? I dismissed the attendants as bored and distracted- Why won’t they pay attention to what is happening on stage?

Soon we were asked to turn to the people around us, introduce ourselves, and talk about how technology in our schools.  It only took me a few words to realize that I was a stranger in a strange land.  I didn’t speak the language.

I spent the rest of the conference sitting in the back, observing, listening, and trying to keep pace.

The last session that I attended was an ISTE Ignite, and one of the presenters begged us to join twitter.  I drank the Kool Aid.  And I haven’t looked back since.

Joining twitter and jumping in to the edtech world has been the best professional decision I have ever made.  My PLN convinced me to morph my classroom into a BYOT learning space where students choose their own tools to meet their needs.  I have taken more risks this year than ever before, and my classroom is a better place for it.  I come to school each day eager to experiment and reflect on my decisions with my PLN.  Thank you ISTE, thank you twitter, thank you PLN.

Now, I’m ready to attend ISTE13 in San Antonio with a whole new outlook on technology and education.  I’m eager to shake hands and meet the faces that have helped me transform my classroom this year.  I will not be sitting skeptically in the back, but taking charge of all the opportunity that surrounds me.   I might be little late to the game, but I am ready to play. Hope to see you there!

By the way, if you are going to ISTE13, I  recommend this packing list from the Daring Librarian

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Why Blog?

One of my summer professional development goals is to start a blog before attending ISTE13 in San Antonio at the end of the month. Here it is!

1.  PLN Depth

My PLN transformed my classroom this year.   Thank you to everyone who is reading this blog right now.  After my first year on twitter, the next step for me is to build stronger relationships with my PLN.  I am connected to a plethora of talented educators and leaders, and I want to deepen those connections.  I hope that blogging will help me share more of my teaching life with my PLN, so we can keep learning from each other.

2.  Transparency

Transparency is a central tenant of my classroom management strategy.  When students know and understand the why behind assignments, routines, and discussions they participate willingly.  I want to take the transparency that I have with my students and translate it to my PLN.  From my colleagues that I work with everyday, to the teachers who meet with me online, I want to share what I do and why I do it. Blogging opens my classroom door to the world.

3.  Reflection
I use twitter for daily reflections about my teaching and classroom, but I am ready to dig deeper and explore the larger themes in my success and failures in the classroom. Blogging gives me the space for more comprehensive pondering.  I love the lightning paced pinging of ideas and feedback on twitter, but I also need to slow down and think deeply about my practices.

4.  Modeling
In the spirit of Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them, I need to rediscover my own identity as a writer and model my writing process for my students (follow her on twitter @pennykittle).  In my first three years of teaching, I couldn’t find the time to write.  Now, I am making time.