Can You See Me Now?

Can You See Me Now?

I've been traveling for the past few weeks so I really hadn't had a chance to collect my thoughts and to reflect my experience at ISTE.  Since my school wasn't going to send me to ISTE and I didn't have a sponsor so to say to help pay I had to justify the trip.  For a small town teacher in the middle of Kansas traveling all the way to Atlanta, Georgia to a 4 day costly conference is a little pricey.  In order to justify the cost I turned it into a family vacation.  I needed up dividing my time between sessions at ISTE and with my family.  I was excited to be one of the 20,000 people who traveled to Atlanta for this amazing chance to learn and connect with other educators from around the world.  In December I had learned that my proposed workshop for ISTE was accepted.  Before ISTE got under way I was notified that my session had been canceled due to lack of people signing up for the workshop.  I was a little disappointed but still stoked that I was going to be in Atlanta for the conference.  I had not been to an ISTE conference before so I was very excited to see where this avenue was going to take me.

During my time at ISTE I noticed myself becoming very frustrated and a little disappointed.  I wasn't sure what to expect but I hadn't expected myself to be frustrated.  I knew ahead of time not to try to do everything and to mark the sessions I would like to attended, which was my plan.  What had frustrated me was the 1st few sessions I attended where focused on the technology and teaching kids and or parents how to use it.  I found myself questioning why do we need to teach them how to use the device, the technology isn't anything we haven't seen in the past decade.  I also found myself remembering the keynote from iPadpoolza and the "Hole in the Wall" experiment.  Give the kids the device let them explore it and focus on the learning.  What is the objective? What do you want the kids to learn?  What are they going to take away from this experience?

A couple of other session I attended gave me lists of apps.  Which was OK but I wanted more, not more
apps but more like why these apps.  Why should I use these apps other than they are fun and entertaining? What is their purpose, what will I learn or my students from using these apps?  I guess I would rather go a inch wide and a mile deep rather than a mile wide and inch deep.  I think I would like to have a handful of very useful meaningful apps that make me think at a higher level than 50 million apps that are just fun.

When I wasn't at a session I found quiet places to sit and think.  While I sat and thought I noticed people having trouble connecting to the network, using an app, or just normal tech issues so I would lend a hand.  A teacher from New Jersey had been watching me.  She had asked for help with her iPad even though she didn't really need it to break the ice and talk with me.  She had noticed I was a little frustrated and wanted to help.  I explained to her my frustration.  She looked at me and asked if I ever noticed the signs that are all around me.  I was very confused and asked her to explain what she meant.  She explained while she watched me helping others that she had Google me (since she saw my name on my badge) and found both my blog and my resume site.  She had scanned them both and noticed all the presentations in this year alone I had done.

She was a very straight forward person and just came out and told me what she saw.  To her I seemed like a quiet person with a lot of knowledge and experience when it comes to technology and education, I could probable fix or solve a issue with my eyes closed.  I just need someone to brake the ice, which is why she asked for help.  She went on to explain that people see great things in me which is why my proposals keep getting excepted. I just need to find the one thing that helps me stand out.  We hear you, now we need to see you; those words struck home.  She went on to explain that I need to make connections that will take me to where I want to go.  Then she ask the questions that has been asked to me several times these past two months, "Where do you want to go?". In my heart I scream I want to go everywhere, but I know that is not possible.  Where can this small town Kansas girl go?  There is no industry of any kind in my town, and differently no tech education companies.  I also have 2 kids in high school and 1 starting kindergarten, it would be hard to transplant my teenagers to another school.  If we were to relocate where would my husband work? I could say is I am not sure.  I am growing personally and professionally I just not sure where it is heading.  Her advice to me was to make connections, soon the right door and window will open.

Before she got up to head for session she looked at me with a smile and told me great things will come my way.  I thanked her for the talk, I think I really needed to hear it.  Keep your eyes open as I find away for you to start to see me know.

Don't worry I will be sharing my notes from ISTE 2014 very soon.

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