Reflections on NECC 09

 EduBloggerCon, Elluminate, NECC Unplugged, NECC09  Comments Off on Reflections on NECC 09
Jun 302009
Written on June 30th, the night before I left Washington, D.C.

“It may be, in the end, that a good society is defined more by how people treat strangers than by how they treat those they know.” – James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds

If this is true, then the members of the ISTE network make a wonderful society. Being here reminds me of going to a rave back in the 90’s. You meet people from all over the country who are all there for the same reason and with a similar passion. They are open, inviting and want to share their experiences and stories. The difference is, however, that instead of Ecstasy, the educators here are high on their love of teaching and learning and the thrill that it gives them.

I have had a wonderful time here. I have met some amazing teachers, movers and shakers, thinkers and people with just plain great personalities. Underlying all of this are the conversations about teaching, learning, technology, politics and such that I have had along the way.

Now reading this a week later, it still rings true. During an Elluminate session led by Steve Hargadon from Classroom 2.0 last night discussing EduBlogger Con & NECC Unplugged, I realized that I had been lucky enough to enter a community of people as passionate about collaboration and furthering their own knowledge and learning opportunities as I am. I hope to continue to learn from these amazing people!

My First Day at NECC

 EduBloggerCon, educational technology, ISTE, NECC09  Comments Off on My First Day at NECC
Jun 272009

What a great first day! I met a lot of wonderful people and participated in a lively and informative discussion at the EduBlogger Con event.

My badge to the left shows a little about how my first day went.

First, I attended an EduBlogger Con session, which, in my humble opinion, should be a must on every NECC go-ers list. I’m not sure if this is how they are always run, but it was a great way to get the juices flowing in my brain and to begin hearing from people from other countries and states.

The conversation was led by Ann Flynn from the National School Board Association and Scott McLeod, self-proclaimed ‘Agitator.’ The session I sat in on was about social networking in schools. It was a great extension onto what I’ve already been thinking about toward the end of my course at Saint Joe’s. Many people voiced that there was ‘fear’ in a lot of School Boards and administrators about the use of social networking. Many of us agreed that most of these ‘leaders’ have never even used a social network before and don’t really understand what they do or what possibilities they might provide for engaging students or even just organizing staff. I, for one, have been sending out the idea over and over of having a NING for the tech teachers in the district. We are still using a listserv that fills up your inbox every day, often with duplicate questions and answers that could have been addressed in a discussion board.

I was a little jealous to hear about districts who actually ELECT their School Board members and are not run, as Philly is, by a CEO. I actually met another Philly teacher from Martin Luther King High who also shared my grievances with Arlene Ackerman (Superintedent). I also spoke with a fellow attendee about how districts use the E-Rate grant as an excuse to block social networking and other sites. She said that when the people in charge aren’t sure, they just block, block, block. I said that without proper teacher education on internet safety and how to monitor what students are doing on the computers as well as explicitly teaching the AUP, then districts ARE forced to do this. *What a WONDERFUL experience to meet people who are thinking the same way or in new ways about topics that I feel strongly about!* Refreshing!!!

My second ribbon on my badge is my ‘Tweet me @ _________” ribbon. What an amazing experience to run into one of my Twitter followers (Kent Manning – @kentmanning) at the session. He DM me to say “Look to your right, I’m waving.” I look over and there he is! This is proof of the power of social networking sites! I have already started following people I have met in person, and I look forward to meeting new ones.

My ISTE member ribbon reminds me that, as a member, I am a well-informed technology teacher and that I am part of something larger. I am realizing now how powerful the ISTE network is and how widespread. Kent if from Canada and there was a guy in the EBC session from Australia. It’s great to get a different perspective not only from teachers in different areas of the US, but from other countries dealing with their own issues and barriers (or successes!).

My last ribbon (ROCKSTAR!) was just an amazing find. There was a small pile of them at the counter in the ISTE Center (where all of the publications and tee shirts are being sold). I couldn’t resist. I also thought, “How awesomely nerdy and right up my alley!” I am totally a Rock Star!

As I walked back to the Metro, I was astonished to see NPR’s national headquarters AND Blackboard’s headquarters right there next to each other! It was too good to be true! I have been listening to public radio for the last 7 years (WHHY–great programming!!) and I have been using Blackboard for the last 2 years while getting my Master’s (though I happen to think Blackboard has room for improvement).

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s opening ceremony and spending some time with college friends at brunch.