"An update to the schedule is available. Do you want to download it?"
If you attended ISTE 2014, then you are very familiar with that wonderful notification. Now, it's over. Five days. My first ISTE. What a ride! My head hurts. My heart is happy and my mind is ready to download the update.
My journey in education started eleven years ago. Not having a clue as to what I was doing. However, each year I would strive to be a better teacher, a supportive colleague and an innovative thinker. Always trying to find the update and download it. The first few years were tough and I didn't know where to look. I guess because I really didn't know how easy it could be.
In 2009 I started to connect and I started to grow exponentially! Now here I am in 2014 and I can't imagine what it would be like without my supportive network. Attending my first ISTE allowed me to have the personal conversations I've been wanting to have with long time connections. It allowed me to listen to inspiring people and make new connections. There were discussions that were lengthy and conversations that were brief. However, every "update" was unique, meaningful and noteworthy. Remember developers don't always wait to release the most robust update. They release what is needed and that is what I walked away with from ISTE. Each conversation was going to make me a better teacher, colleague and thinker.
As inconvenient as the app notification was it made me think about my own learning. I thought about where I am currently and where I want to be as educational leader. I shouldn't be annoyed by any update. I need to embrace them because after meeting all of these amazing people I've realized that I have a long way to go. So this reflection is more of a "thank you" to those who notified me (mostly without knowing it) that I needed to update my learning and "Download Now".
"Thank you" Robin Pence @rpencetech for taking time away from your Makerspace Playground experience and helping me brainstorm ways to bring a Maker Movement into my new high school space.
"Thank you" Vinny Vrotny @vvrotny for speaking with me about your middle school Makerspace and the creative things that your students are doing with e-textiles. I'll be reaching out to you very soon!
"Thank you" to my friends from Decatur; Jennifer Panganiban @jpanga10, Chrissie Edwards @techiechrissie, and Sara Kelly @Kellysara6Sara for showing me how colleagues can work and grow beautifully together.
"Thank you" Kristen Ziemke @KristenZiemke for your wonderful presentation and thoughts on Student Learning Networks and showing us how your 1st graders connect. I loved your comment "Stop global competition. Start global collaboration."
"Than you" Michael Matera @mrmatera for our discussion on our journey as educators and how we have grown over the years. I also enjoyed talking about the great cities of Milwaukee and St. Louis.
"Thank you" Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy for taking a moment and chatting with me about Iowa, Texas and family. By the way I told my wife we need to start teaching our kids more Spanish. Because Jimmy said so.
There are so many other individuals and teams that I would like to thank but I should probably keep this short. Just know that if I we met or if we reconnected, then you made me better. I can only hope that I did the same for you and we continue our conversations.