October 1, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator

June 10, 2013

The Ultimate Guide to #ISTE13

It's that time of year again where thousands upon thousands of tech-enthused educators come together at the annual ISTE conference!  The hosts of the TechEducator Podcast invited ISTE13 keynote speaker, Adam Bellow, and myself onto the show last night for our take on the Ultimate conference experience.  Check out the recording here.
There are lots of posts going around right now to help others prepare for the conference.  So in the spirit of sharing, here are my top 3 tips for the Ultimate ISTE experience:

Networking Fair
When:  Sunday, 6/23 from 3-5pm
What: An amazing opportunity to meet Twitter and Conference Ning friends face to face, make new friends, get great session ideas and be sure to stop by the YEN booth for YEN session picks!

Organized Conference PlannerWhen: Start NOW and download the app
What:  This is the premier ed tech conference with oodles and oodles of amazing session choices, I'm booked 14-deep on Tuesday along, have a backup session for your backup session, share notes with others using Google Drive or Evernote since you can't be in two places at once, and be sure to visit the Poster Sessions and Playground areas for a different learning and sharing environment.

Social Events Social opportunities are great way to decompress from an amazing day of learning!  Follow the #ISTE13 hashtag for ticketed events and casual meetups and treatups.  Plan ahead and come out to Lonesome Dove on Monday from 5pm-7pm for a #EpicYEN fun with the Young Educators Network, whether you are a young educator or young at heart!  Sign up today!

Your turn!  What are your top 3 tips to make this ISTE13 the ultimate conference?

March 13, 2013


I'm a talker.  I teach 380+ students per week, direct the school play, facilitate Student Council, and I talk too much.  This week I had the opportunity, dare I say privilege, to stop talking and listen.  Seven students from my 4th grade Student Council group were invited to guest blog for the 12 Days of Dreaming: Student Edition.  They had blogged about their dreams for education on our Student Council blog and submitted proposals for their post which were thoughtful, honest and very, very surprising.

Over the past two days I met with three of the guest bloggers to talk over their ideas.  I quickly realized that my role was not to do the talking but to listen and ask questions.  The conversation was remarkable and the students schooled the teacher.

Listen, these students shared that they want to be heard.  They want the opportunity to share their perspectives and have their thoughts and opinions matter.
Choice was a consistent theme in our discussion.  Choice in topics of study, project guidelines and due dates.  These students value their extracurricular activities (enjoyment, life-long skills, specific interests) and wanted to better balance their schedules to accomplish learning goals and extracurricular. 
Passion was a topic that made them all jump out of their seats!  Maybe they're a passionate bunch to begin with, but these students want and dream of opportunities to pursue their passions- in 4th grade none the less!

We looked at this post of photo prompts together, and this particular slide really got under the skin of these 4th graders.  They could all personally relate to the quote and thought of classmates who also fit this description.  This led to a very heated conversation about grades and report cards- details forthcoming in their future #12DOD blog posts.

I walked away from these meetings reminded again just how important it is to have these discussions with students.  In this day where teacher evaluations and school letter grade ratings are dependant upon student's standardized test scores, we cannot lose focus on student learning and what is important to students.  Many of the ideas, suggestions and dreams these students shared are easily attainable, we just need to stop talking and listen more.

If you are a teacher reading this post, I challenge you to ask your students what are your dreams for education?  They are dreams worth dreaming.

I would like to thank the three students mentioned above who completely inspired a very lethargic teacher/blogger to blog again.