Along with the importance of good teaching and access, I was reminded of the importance of connecting students and myself with peers around the world. I have done a few cross country and world projects including the Flat Classroom Project, #mysteryskypes, #comments4kids, Global Read Aloud, Global Holiday Poem Project, Skype/Google Hangout with guests and experts ranging from newscasters, Olympic torch carriers, to Olympians. While this is a good start, there is more to do! This school year I will be partnering with classes round the country to create a global poetry book, but I want to continue building the contacts my students have. To do this, I will continue expanding my PLN on twitter and Google+, seek out ways to connect throughout the content areas and using a variety of technologies. I also want students to begin making connections themselves. By this I mean if a student is researching a topic, say the Oregon Trail, they search out experts they can interview and learn from. I want students to leave our building connected, empowered, and accepting they are not limited to learning from the books in our library, websites on the Internet, or their teacher's words.
My final ah-ha moment revolves around support. Not all teachers are at the same spot in their personal learning as I am, and there are others that are more advanced in their understanding than I am. Together we need to be willing to share our successes, misses, thoughts and ideas. When we work together by sharing at conferences, publishing blogs or professional writings, posting on social media, or being a listening ear, we not only benefit a colleague, but also their students. Not a day goes by that I don't learn something new through Twitter or blogs that I don't bring back to my classroom or pass on to a fellow educator. We are all in this educational journey together, and need to constantly support each other.
My #NotatISTE2014 Next Steps:
- Continue sharing ideas through social media, blogging, and writing for IRA Today Online
- Develop a websites for my building with instructional strategies, instructional coaching, and technology integration resources
- Seek out additional outlets for students to connect outside our building
- Encourage colleagues to maintain their focus on quality instruction while effectively and authentically integrating technology
- Submit proposals to present at local, regional, and national conferences