Next week, (actually starting this weekend) a huge number of techno-geek educators will descend (or would it be ascend) on Denver, CO for the largest technology conference in this part of the galaxy: the International Society for Technology in Education Conference. Best part? I get to attend! We are going to make a family road trip out of it (why fly 3 hours when you can drive 12 right?). Seriously, though, I love road trips with my family. They are the best part of my life and spending several hours in the family mini-van is actually a lot of fun with @mishelleyb, @justjessa, and @JCismyname. I spent several hours yesterday (instead of doing homework) planning my conference attendance so I thought I might do some pre-flection on my plans.
The conference officially kicks off on Sunday so there will be the usual keynote speech and stainless water bottle giveaways. I might even win an iPad! Monday starts the real business of learning, however. I'll begin the day by having breakfast with the president of SchoolCenter and their PR person. They are being very nice to me because I am going to help them out with a presentation on a new product we beta-tested last semester. That promises to be an adventure; even my kids are going to get involved, although I'm not really sure how they feel about it. I'll continue Monday with a session on how to "Creating a Google-Enhanced Classroom". I love the idea of Google and I've already ingested a significant amount of their Kool-Aid. That really about wraps up Monday, other than my SchoolCenter responsibilities, unless you count the reception the Oklahoma Technology Association is having that evening. Maybe I'll have time for a nap in the middle of the day.
Tuesday starts bright and early with (wait, it starts at 11 am.) "10 Web Tools to Make Learning in Your Class Even Better". I honestly have no idea what this one is about, so I am prepared to be surprised and hopefully learn something new. I really hope I am able to take something home that I can implement and possibly even share with my colleagues. One thing I have found with technology: if you find something that works, you cannot be selfish, you HAVE to share with everyone. It's all in the spirit of creativecommons and open-source. That afternoon will be filled with "Thinking Spatially: Using Geographic Tools to Enhance Learning". This smells of GoogleEarth, but we'll see. I want my students to become more spatially aware, so surely there will be some good nuggets (get it? Denver? Nuggets?) in this one! Then, that evening, I'm attending the "ISTE/NCATE Accreditation Standards and Program Reviewer Preparation". Yes. I know. It sounds like its over my head, but I'm on the accreditation team at PCO next year and I thought anything I could do to increase my knowledge of the subject would be beneficial, even if its only tangential knowledge. I'm strongly considering continuing my education beyond the Master's level and I feel fairly certain I will do that in Instructional Technology, so this seems right up that alley.
Wednesday is the final day of the conference and its a full day! I start the morning with one of my favorite subjects: "Wonderful World of Wikis: Practical Classroom Wikis for All Ages". I already use a wiki heavily in my class, but I have no doubt I can learn to do it better. I thought SNU had given me my fill of reflection during my undergraduate, but I am learning the value of true, focused reflection in education. That's why my next session is "EPEARL (Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active Reflective Learning K-12)". I always want to find a way to make my student's and my own reflection better and more valuable. Since I just can't get enough Google, I'll continue the day with "Using Google Apps Education Edition to Improve Learning". Then, my final session of the conference will be "All Digital: The Paperless Classroom for Less Than $100". I dabbled with a paperless classroom last semester with my AP Physics class and then made a serious move towards it with my Physics 1 classes, so this one should be intriguing. My main concern is simply having enough technology to go around on a mission such as this. At least I can do it with the adult learners I'll be teaching during August.
So, there you have it. I hope I make this experience worth the money the district is spending to send me. I am so blessed to have the confidence of my district. I mean, I'm just a classroom teacher (yes, I know how that sounds). I simply mean I'm not necessarily someone who's job it is to teach other teachers. I feel that is my intrinsic responsibility (and some times there are extrinsic reward$), but I recognize there aren't that many folks who get an opportunity such as this. I'm ready to attend my first "big" conference as a full-blooded, tenured teacher! PC teachers, get ready to hear all about it when school starts up again. After all, it is my responsiblity.
p.s. - I'll be tweeting, so follow me if you don't already!