Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

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Thoughts from the Road

I love my edtech community and following what is going on via blogs and Twitter. I have learned so much and made many great connections. I have connected with other teachers and brought their class and students into the lives of my class and student's lives through collaborative projects. I am very thrilled to have the opportunity to go to NECC. This is not a given in my school district ,where although the administration IS supportive, the finances don't allow for much travel. In fact, when I wrote a proposal for a poster session, I was planning on paying my own way. I am looking forward to opportunities to meet teachers I have collaborated and communicated with. I am looking forward to seeing new ideas and products, learning new skills and stretching myself in as many ways as possible. In the weeks leading up to NECC, I have heard reports of people's progress preparing and planning, even down to hair cuts, great deals on polo shirts, new computer bags and teeth cleaning. We are all excited and for many different reasons. Last week, things started to go awry when it was announced that ISTE was not going to allow podcasting and u-streaming of sessions without their approval. This seemed to alter the excitement everyone seemed to have about the conference. All of the sudden, it got political. No longer did the conversation seem to be about learning and connecting. It became about rights and sticking it to the MAN. I know that there was reason to be concerned because it was setting a bad precedent to the change we are trying to make happen in the classroom. We have been all about opening up our classroom to the world of learning. Letting our world community be our text book. All about creative commons and freely sharing our ideas and learning. This seemed to be counterintuitive to those ideals. Luckily, ISTE did rethink that statement and make some modifications, but the angst has continued. All the talk I am seeing is about what is not right, who is not working hard enough, what doesn't work. I am not seeing a lot of people openly sharing cool ideas and practices that actually work in the classroom, or real world examples of how learning is being transformed. There is so much good out there. People to meet, ideas to be shared, connections to be made. That is what I am looking forward to at NECC. So, as I sit on the plane headed to Texas, I am committing to my self that I am going to NECC to look for good ideas, good people and good connections. I know that I will find all of those things. I am also committing to staying away from the politics and religion of the edtech world. I really do appreciate those who are out there asking the tough questions and challenging us to move and grow, but I need a bit more of a practical experience at this point in my learning and career. I need to be able to learn how to do my new job with the tools and structure that now exists in my district. I can be an agent of change only if I can make things work with what we have now and begin to share that transforming vision of what can be with others who are ready to listen. One concern I really have is the division between ed-tech leaders, administration and in the trenches teachers. My PLN contains all of those people. Up to this point, I have been an in the trench teacher. I have to say, I have gained a lot more from their input and collaboration in fact often feeling frustration as I come to the end of a long and exhausting teaching day in the trenches, where I have been busy putting into practice what I am learning, and reading through the tweets of the day from people not in the classroom who have spent the day talking philosophy and even sometimes slamming teachers because we just don't get what needs to be done in the classroom. I now move into a new position, not that far out of the trenches, but I will not be dealing with calls from parents, lost lunches, standardized testing, report cards, parent teacher conferences, etc. I want to make sure that I remember my words today and am able to keep my instruction both visionary and practical. Pin It Now!

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