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Monday, April 25, 2016

And so much more.

My good thing today is pretty obvious. I got accepted to present at a state conference in October called MOREnet.

And so did two of my colleagues.

Notifications came via email first thing this morning.

I literally heard my phone buzz on my way to work. I parked and decided to check my phone before I headed inside.

There it was: Your proposal has been accepted.

It's not that I didn't think my proposal would be accepted, or that this is my first conference.

Somehow, though, those acceptance notifications always make my palms sweat, my heart race, and my smile split my face in half.

Plus, this was my first acceptance of the year.

Over the last few years I have developed a system for conference proposals.

Each year, I try to develop a single idea.

Two years ago, it was "Simple Tech Tools for (Former) Luddites." I focused on creating a presentation focused on helping the technology challenged or hesitant to gain confidence in using three simple apps.

This proposal was accepted to METC (Missouri Education and Technology Conference). I also presented some version of this idea to my district Professional Development Committee and the Tech Cadre I was lucky enough to participate in last year.

Last year, the idea I latched onto was "Authentic Accountability Using Simple Tech Tools."

Again, I wanted to help those who are just beginning their #edtech journey see the power of a few simple ideas.

I demonstrated the way that pictures can improve accountability by creating a visual record of work completed that is easy to share between school and home and across time.

I explained how Padlet can be used in the classroom as a projected message board or as a back channel chat. This spring a colleague of mine helped me further understand how Padlet can be used for collective research.

I displayed the features of Google Docs and Classroom that allow for immediate feedback, live monitoring, collaboration, and sharing.

This time, I was accepted to present at a local Google Summit, at METC again, at the regional ELA conference called Write to Learn and at a local conference called STL in STL. I also presented for the same district audiences as the previous year.

Recently, I determined that this year I want to focus on using Technology to Leverage Teacher Collaboration.

The want to share with teachers in other schools the types of technology enabled collaboration I have had the privilege of engaging in for several years.

My PLC (a group of 9th grade English teachers) has used Google Drive to organize, share, modify, and improve materials for several years.

Without conscious thought, we routinely open Docs and work together simultaneously to create assessments, plan lessons, or make curricular choices.

Common assessments are administered as a single Google Form so that data for all teachers is automatically collected into a single spreadsheet.

And so much more.

Sometimes, in our struggle to go 1:1 next year, it easy to forget that while many are much further down the revolutionary path of innovation steeped in technology, many others are still struggling to start their own journey.

Presenting in different settings this year reminded me of my own initial struggle to embrace technology.

Talking to teachers from different districts drove home the reality of how good I have it and how much I can share with others.

I hadn't submitted a proposal to MOREnet before and I wasn't completely sure what to expect.

It was a very good thing indeed to have the proposal accepted and know that my idea for the year has merit in someone's eyes.

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