Friday, June 28, 2013


June has been a whirlwind month full of wonderful and exciting experiences. Most notable have been my trips to Hilton Head, SC and San Antonio, TX for the NMC and ISTE conferences. While both are very different educational technology conferences, I often found myself reflecting on the following three themes:
  • It's not about the technology, it's about the relationships with students and colleagues.
  • Use the technology tools to personalize, support, and enhance learning experiences.
  • Flatten classroom walls and expand networks to provide students with more global opportunities.
Since I'm still technically "on vacation" in Austin, here are some quick highlights from both trips:

K-12 Ambassadors
While I've only met a few of the Ambassadors in my travels, I do know that they have all been great people, we've had inspiring conversations, and have made lifelong connections.

Troy, Lisa, David, Jonathan, Holly, me, Sue
photo courtesy of Laurie Burress

While at NMC I sat down and struck up a conversation with another attendee. The more we talked, the more I learned about his work (and the more it sounded familiar...). Turns out, I was chatting with Reuben Puentedura, developer of the SAMR model, himself! 

Steps to EdTech Transformation

2013 Horizon Report
This is an amazing time to be an educator. The NMC's Horizon Report is a great way to stay on top of emerging trends and get a sense for what's coming down the pike. Download your copy here. 

Jane McGonical
I'm not a gamer, but I love the idea of using gaming techniques in the classroom. I loved Jane's opening keynote and the connections she made with the audience. 

What do you get when six educators from around the US and Canada get together for (almost) monthly Google Hangouts? Eduparty! Hanging out with these ladies was absolutely a joy, and I've appreciated their support and friendship for the last six months. It's just too bad Ann and Celina could't be with us. 
Joan, Krissy, me, Karen
photo courtesy of Krissy Venosdale

Meeting Peter Reynolds
Starstruck! So great to meet this wonderful author. I can't wait for Dot Day '13!
I met Peter Reynolds!
This is going to make me a rockstar in the eyes of my students.

Adam Bellow
Inspiring doesn't even begin to describe Adam Bellow's closing keynote at ISTE. Wow!

Big Plans
Having a friend from my district at ISTE has been essential the past three years. Jake and I first joined forces in Philadelphia (ISTE '11) and have been co-conspirators since. We had a blast attending sessions, exploring vendor booths, and hatching new plans for our district at this ISTE conference.

Having a buddy always helps. Can you tell we were both left a little teary from Adam Bellow?

I got my start teaching in Texas, and it sure has been fun to return for the ISTE conference. I've been remembering the difficult experiences that made me a better educator, my mentors who helped me navigate my first years in the classroom, and reflecting on the choices I've made along my path. 

Now that this busy month is coming to an end, I can finally relax and enjoy summer break guilty pleasures and get to work planning a new school year!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flipping Failure

I was incredibly honored to receive the first ever Henderson Prize from the New Media Consortium for my talk on using failure as a learning model. My talk is in response to one of the NMC's identified "wicked problems" in education. I encourage you to watch the other K-12 Ambassador videos for more inspiration. It was a privilege to share the stage with such brilliant minds this week, and I truly enjoyed collaborating with them at the summer conference. I hope our paths cross again soon!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NMC Summer Conference: Pre-Conference

This week I'll be blogging and tweeting from the New Media Consortium summer conference in beautiful Hilton Head, SC. I feel very fortunate to attend this conference as a NMC K12 Ambassador. I am especially thankful to the people that allowed me to make such a long-distance trip two weeks before school is out.

Since this is my first time at the NMC summer conference, here are the Top 5 things I'm looking forward to this week:

1. K-12 Ambassador Forum
Five K-12 Ambassadors will present solutions to the NMC's "wicked problems" in a 10-minute TED-style format. In speaking with the other Ambassadors today, I expect we will all be coming at these problems from very different and diverse perspectives.

2. Karen Cator's keynote
I'm really looking forward to hearing from such an influential and innovative leader in educational technology. What a treat!

3. HP Horizon Project Card Game
This card game looks like a really fun way to meet new people and spark conversation within a group.

4. Idea Lab
Great ideas can form when you get the right people at the right place at the right time. The Idea Lab looks like it will be a place chock-full of great energy and creativity.

5. 20th Anniversary Beach Party
This event promises to be another fun get-together for conference participants. Simply thinking about the advancements in technology over the last 20 years makes my brain spin. What a wonderful opportunity to come together as an organization and look towards the future by reflecting on the past.

Want to know more about this amazing conference? Follow along remotely:

Twitter/Vine: #NMC13