This July, the 16th & 17th, I attended Podstock 2010 in Wichita, Kansas. I went for a couple of reasons. It was at the ITSC Conference in Portland this last February that I met Kevin Honeycutt, http://www.kevinhoneycutt.com/. After our post-session discussion, he had invited for me to apply to present how I use our clicker system. I gave it some thought and decided to give it a try. I wanted the experience in presenting, to learn more about technology incorporation, and meet some of the people I had been conversing with on Plurk. When Kevin introduced me to Plurk, I was instantly hooked and enjoy the resources, links, ideas & personal things shared.
I have to admit that I was surprised, and ecstatic, in April when my session proposal was approved. Now that it is over, I feel that my session went fairly well. While I only had a few attendees, those that attended seem to find the information I shared useful. I was able to model the system and the ways that I incorporate it into my instruction through interaction with the Active Expressions system. The company representative that was there provided great back up to the questions that I couldn't answer, such as pricing and current promotions. I am glad I had things prepared the way I did. Towards the end of the session the CPS system wouldn't work, which was disappointing and also frustrating. However, I was able to use my back-up plan with the short little videos of my class with the Mind Point Quiz show. I wanted to show how to run an ExamView test on it as well, but I ran out of time and the system wasn't cooperating anyway. Over all, things worked out well in the long run and I enjoyed my first presentation. I can call it a success.
Nothing could have prepared me for the over all experience of Podstock, as it was like no other conference I have attended. I'm not sure if it's the people, the connections many of us have through Plurk, our shared love for education and technology, or maybe even a combination of it all. It felt like an awesome family reunion combined with my Professional Learning Community (PLC). Each session I attended opened my eyes to a new concept, tool to use or consider and helped me see my philosophy even clearer. The connection to the other attendees have been strengthened. Now when someone plurks an idea, resource, or shares some personal information, I have a face, personality & a greater context to the message. I participated in discussions that have me really thinking about what I want for my students, my classroom routines & environment and how I want my students to learn.
The hard part starts now. The ideas in my head are swimming around and I'm finding my ideals are not going to immediately play out for this next school year. I need to find a balance between current state and administrative expectations and what I truly want for my students. I do not teach in a 1:1 school, so I need to find other avenues to bring about the changes I wish to bring to this upcoming year. I want to teach my students how to be resourceful problem solvers and provide them with a myriad of avenues to express themselves and share their learned knowledge. I want them to take pride in their work, enjoy the learning process, and be able to face the world they are preparing for. I now have a greater sense of the tools that I can use and introduce them to, knowing this upcoming year is going to be one of the best one's yet. And better yet, I have the best, supportive group of professionals as resources that you can find!