I believe that this is what Ian O’Byrne is speaking of when he encourages us to blog about our journey through the IT&DML program. Whether we go off the path or stay on the straight and narrow, there is a therapeutic element to writing about our experiences.
On Friday, October 24th, I presented at the Connecticut Reading Association’s Conference in Cromwell, CT. This was my fourth consecutive year presenting on technology and literacy. The materials have morphed from the start, however, the message has been the same… don’t be afraid to experiment and use technology. I was able to collect a splattering of different tools to support digital literacy. I was able to speak to these tools based on MY experience. It felt great to be able to bring something different to the table for these educators that may have been new and fresh.
I began the day on a not so positive note. And now, I feel shameful for thinking that my time was going to be wasted. I found out a few weeks prior to the event that I was slotted for the 2:50-3:50 workshop on a Friday afternoon… Yes, a Friday afternoon workshop… no bueno. Having attended Friday workshops, I know the excuses… and I can not blame anyone for being creative when they want to book out and get a head start on traffic. With that being said, I set my expectations on an intimate group of maybe ten or twelve participants. I had bought chocolate and had the promise of dinner out afterwards, so I was good…
I was so surprised to see the room fill up as the 2:50 mark hit. As I looked around, there were maybe a few empty chairs, but basically, I had a great showing. I love presenting to educators who truly have a passion for learning something new and wanting to find out about new tools that work with other teachers and students. Just like my students in class, I look at faces to see how I am doing. Sharing materials is one thing, because anyone can Google up what I put out there. However, bringing these tools to the teachers with the excitement I have when using them with students was even better. I truly believe that creating a place where teachers can learn from each other in a no-pressure, exploratory environment is what is necessary to build trust and comfort. I am hoping that I can do that for staff and students to support them in becoming college and career ready.
So, my takeaway from the conference… It doesn’t matter what time the presentation is on the board for… what matters is what you have to present and how will it impact educators. I will continue to share my ideas, experiences and “good stuff” with teachers and students. Knowledge sharing is all empowering… especially when there is passion behind learning.