Hello friends, it seems like I’ve been away from this too long!
The last two days, I’ve spent running around the beautiful campus of Upper Iowa University, located in Fayette, Iowa. Now, before you go looking on your map, Fayette is a tiny little community in Northeast Iowa, but boast a total enrollment of close to 10,000 students via their campuses and online programs. This was the Technology Integration for Classrooms campus, (#KeystoneTIC) and was the second year for this conference. I’ve told friends that this was my first time presenting, actually, I presented at this conference last year as well.
Anyway, I could rave and go on and on about the awesome set up and the keynote speakers (Tammy Worcester and Dan Meyer) both who presented about technology in very engaging ways, different, but engaging. Or I could talk about the sessions ranging from Blending Learning, SmartBoards, Finding Collaboration, or Google Activities, all of which can fit so nicely into my classroom next year.
No, I’d rather talk about the people of this conference. First, our own group that went. I’m up to my eyeballs in trying new technology, and so are many of the teachers I run around with. I expected to see them there. But when the music teacher and the art teacher walk by, I know we’ve got a good thing going. Like most summer conferences, this was by choice, and to see almost a quarter of our staff there, it’s encouraging. Not only that, but we had lower elementary, upper, middle school , and high school teachers, a great cross section of our school.
Now, you know when you go to a technology conference, you get all ranges from the techies to those who just bought an iPad, and that whole gammit was certainly there. But the patience shown to all: participants, presenters, tech staff, was just amazing. If a blip happened, like it always does with technology, it was cleaned up and away we went. Not only that, it was learned from, and made better the next day! You can’t ask for better support that way!
And finally, the rich conversations that took place through made this so worth while. I’m a tweeter, and have developed a strong personal learning network of those who are jet setting uber educational celebrities and the group that labor in the classroom like myself. Both feed me with inspiration and smiles on a daily basis. Well, I had the opportunity to do a first, a “Tweet-Up”, a real life meeting with those who I’ve tweeted with over the past year. There were five of us who ended up at a session together, one presenting and for supporting, and when the session was over, we just interacted as though we knew each other for years! Professionals, making connections that much more meaningful by making the effort to meet and talk face to face. It was surreal in a way, meeting these people. One of the first statements was, “Darin, you don’t have your yellow tie on!” (my profile picture) Another talked about their how their profile picture was actually something drawn by their daughter and on and on. We talked about how powerful Twitter has been in our own professional lives and the fact it was mentioned again and again throughout various sessions. We’ve talked a bit about making this a quarterly meeting, going somewhere and just talking about whatever it is that comes up. How cool would that be?
Here our the twitter names of our Tweet Up, great educators I can’t say enough good things about! If you’ve not followed them, I’d highly recommend it! @AnIowaTeacher @mapowell @alovstuen @teacher6th @iowasboy
I love technology, and see it’s uses on a global scale with the students of my rural Iowa classroom, but when technology can bring you face to face with some incredible educators, it makes it that much more real. So, this was quite a conference for many reasons. Will I make it three for three next year? We’ll see. I am the fifth grade teacher next fall, and will have enough laptops to be “1 to 1”. Can you see the technology possibilities in that? I can:)