I didn’t even know this existed until Michael told me about it, but it turns out the federal Department of Education has a National Technology Plan. I might have been the last one to hear about this but I think it’s interesting, and probably worth reading. At 124 pages, it’s not something I can read on a whim, though, so I’ll have to work it in to my book schedule. Anyone ever heard of it or even read it?
A week ago yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend TeachMeet Georgia, which was only 45 minutes from me (even in the pouring rain) at Kennesaw State University. Not only was it my first time attending TeachMeet Georgia, it was my first time attending any TeachMeet or similar event at all.
I first heard about TeachMeetGA shortly after attending GaETC, the annual state-wide technology conference held near the Atlanta airport. Over 2,000 people attended GaETC, which I found a little surprising, but on the whole it was a great conference. It was nice to spend two-and-a-half days sampling all the many, varied topics the conference had to offer.
TeachMeetGA showed up in my Twitter feed shortly thereafter, and I was interested, although a little apprehensive. I’m the sit-in-the-back guy, the one who doesn’t always speak up, the one who just likes to take notes. I also thrive on and need structure in order to feel comfortable, and when I heard that TeachMeet events were run by educators for educators, visions of anxiety-producing chaos stayed in my brain.
But I knew I owed it to myself and the teachers I support to try new things, so I signed up anyway. It sounded more my style than ”edcamps,” the explanation of which still stresses me out (though one day I am sure I will try one). And I Tweeted some with Nancy Blair, the organizer of TeachMeetGA. Ms. Blair was very comforting and spent some time explaining away some of my misconceptions about the level of organization of self-directed learning events like TeachMeets. I felt a lot more comfortable going after talking to her, and I’m so thankful she took the time to answer my beginner’s questions.
I pulled up last Saturday not knowing what to expect, and that must be something I need to do more often, because whatever I was expecting, TeachMeetGA blew it away. I had such a great time! Only about 100 or so people were there, which was below expectations and not in accordance with the number who had registered, but the event had a very personal, very relaxed, very awesome feel to it. For such a small event, the choices of sessions and topics discussed was quite large, and in fact there was at least one session where I was torn between two presenters–a situation that never occurred during GaETC.
I left with a gigantic list of resources, fresh inspiration, great ideas, and the inspired feeling that I could do the things I’ve envisioned doing in my school. I still have a Sticky Note on my Windows desktop that extends the length of the screen with websites and ideas for me to check out later. I even got up and presented on Symbaloo for two minutes during the “smackdown” session at the end (audience members get exactly two minutes to share a website or tool), something I’ve never done before. It was fun!
I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given to attend. I look forward to registering for next year’s meeting when the information is available, and if there’s something that I can do locally to help out, I’d love to do it.
In short: I came with my preconceived notions, learned a whole lot in a short period of time, and left with a fresher, more informed point of view. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
I came in the door this morning completely ready to make a fresh start of it this semester. Within not even 90 minutes, I was knee deep in the same drama I thought I had left right before the holidays. Oops! I guess the lesson I learned is that just wishing and preparing for a fresh start doesn’t make that fresh start automatically appear!
That said, we buckled down and got through the worst of the problems and managed to make it a pretty productive day anyway. I left satisfied. I am also slightly hopeful after seeing that many teachers have finalized and submitted their grades from the first semester a day ahead of time, which is very helpful.
Tomorrow, I have fewer meetings, which hopefully means fewer distractions, and maybe I will be able to accomplish some of the things on my long leftover list from this morning.
I also plan on developing a Twitter class for teachers this week come help or high water!
In order to ring in 2012 properly, I’ve decided to erase all my older entries. I’m been struggling to stay motivated and post consistently and I’m looking forward to the fresh start!
I’m feeling very motivated and inspired and I’m ready to begin tackling the challenges of the next semester. Here we go!