Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trial and Error and Lots O' Fun

As ISTE 2011 comes to a close, I learned a lot about being at a conference like this for the first time. Here's what I've learned:
  1. Follow advice that you're given. My previous post mentioned all the great advice that I had given to prepare. Some I followed and some I didn't... and there were consequences. One blogger suggested getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated. I was running all over the place and found myself feeling dizzy halfway through the conference. I was also told to leave any session that wasn't serving me and I didn't and that session quickly became wasted time. Bad idea. Someone suggested wearing a backpack. I thought "That's not very stylish" so I brought a laptop bag. Now I'll probably be at the chiropractor for the rest of the summer from carrying around my 10,000 pound laptop. These suggestions are given for a reason so follow them!
  2. Meet people. I had the chance to meet and chat with the new ISTE president Holly Jobe and she told me one of the great things about ISTE is that there are so many people to meet and she was right. Chatting with people in hallways and other random places, I met people from all over the world with some fascinating stories. I even met another preservice teacher, which hardly ever happens. It's the amazing the kind of relationships that can begin with saying "Hi."
  3. Have fun! At the Newbie Lounge, someone asked me if I was feeling overwhelmed and I said I wasn't because I was having so much fun! I had my palm read, played phone games, watched dancing robots, learned words in new languages and laughed until my stomach hurt. How can you feel overwhelmed when you're having so much fun?
More thoughts and reflections from ISTE are coming but hopefully my trials and errors will serve others.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Newbie Gearing Up For ISTE

    This weekend I registered for ISTE 2011, the annual conference held by the International Society for Technology in Education. (Better late than never, right?) Having attended a conference or two before I mistakenly believed that ISTE would be a breeze. I was wrong! There are so many workshops, sessions, exhibits and showcases to choose from my head is spinning! This conference is unlike any other one I have ever attended.

    The thing I'm most looking forward to is meeting members of my learning network in person. EdCamp Philly gave me an appreciation for the ability to shake hands or sit down and chat with people that I've been connecting with virtually. I'm really looking forward to conversations longer than 140 characters.

    I was feeling a little nervous about my first conference but there are tons of resources for newbies. The conference website features Tips for Newcomers including a Newbie Lounge. I'm there! The ISTE Ning is full of advice and forum topics for first-time attendees. Beth Still also offers Tips for Newbies on her blog. My favorite tip? "Comfort is really the most important thing" when choosing clothes. That tip makes choosing my wardrobe a lot easier.

    I'm so excited for ISTE 2011and I can't wait to learn, connect and grow :-)

    Anyone else have advice for an ISTE newbie?

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    A Year of Improvement

    I was inspired by Mary Beth Hertz's blog post  reflecting on the five things she improved on this year so I decided to do the same:
    1. Putting myself out there. I got the idea to start blogging over a year and a half ago but I was too scared to do it. Once I started blogging for my class I realized I could use it as a starting point or let yet another year pass by wishing I could. I decided to take a chance and in the process I'm finding my voice.
    2. Reflecting on my classroom management. I always thought I knew how to handle kids but working with kids this year proved to be a bit of a challenge and some of the techniques I used to rely on weren't working. So I started asking myself "What could I have done better in this situation?"Answering this question made me take an honest look at what I was doing well and what needed improvement. Once I started doing that, it was easier working with kids and I experienced less frustration. 
    3. Saying thank you. The last year I've been lucky to have so many people invest in my learning and development. In response to the flood of support and encouragement I started thanking everyone for the little (and big) things they do for me that will make me a better educator. 
    4. Finding creative ways to learn. For the longest time my only source of learning was through reading books. While I'm still an avid reader I've learned that there are a ton more ways to learn new things. I've found resources through other people's blogs, Twitter posts and other's lists on Diigo. And because of creative learning I've learned more than I ever have.
    5. Sharing what I've learned. Someone once said not to die with your ideas inside of you. To that end, I started telling friends, coworkers and members of my personal learning community about tools I've started using, why I value Facebook and Twitter and what I'm reading. The response has been that I've given people ideas they didn't think of and a fresh perspective.
    This year has been such an amazing time of learning and growing and I can't wait to see what the next year holds.