Saturday, August 23, 2014

Continue of Overview of the 2013-2014 School Year

It has been quite sometime since I posted anything on my blog and that is not a good thing. Therefore I decided sometime last week that I would do an overview of the 2013-2014 school year in one post. In this post I plan to talk about the fantastic connections I have made through my Profession Learning Network (PLN), Social Media, the conferences and workshops that I attended during the year. Even though there would never be enough space here to mention both the great and bad things that happened during the year, I plan to make an attempt to at least document some of the highlights.

In continuation of my previous post on the overview of my 2013-2014 school year, I attended TechTalk Live 2014 in Pennsylvania where I presented on the SMART report by CoSN. The conversaions and relationships I developed with both organizers and attendees were awesome. One of the session I attended was presented by a friend Nancy Morris and her colleague Tim Laubach from Lancaster-Lebanon IU13 on Securing the Human. In this session I realized how important it is for school district to have professional development for all educational stakeholder to understand what it means to secure the information and data they are using on a daily basis and the need to have checks and balances for all operational procedures in a school district.  At NJASA Spring Conference with Ed Aguiles, on Faculty Meetings can be Dynamic and Engaging-Here's How. Our approach to meetings in general need to be changed from one of just information giving to where there are conversations and interactions to benefit all stakeholders in education. Also I attended the Long Island Connected Educators Unconference in Farmingdale. There I finally meet Face-2-Face with Bill Brennan, Tony Sinanis Vicki Day and Starr Sackstein. I have been following many of these educators for years on social media but this was my first time meeting in person. Even though the traffic was not the best going from New Jersey to Long Island, it was worth the effort to be among such passionate educators on a Saturday.      

In the past year I have also been interviewed by Tech Talk Live 2013 on the importance of having the type of conference where both people from both the technical and educational sides come together to share information on what is the best method of supporting technology in the classrooms. Understanding the need for the infrastructure to match the requirements of the instructional process is a conversation that should be continual due to the rapid changes in technology but the slow changes in education. At the CoSN conference I was asked On Who Inspires Me. 

Through Twitter I have connected with individuals from all over the United States and the world including Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and England. It has been amazing on how many educators are still very passionate about what they do and the impact they have on the students in their classrooms. The innovation and creativity that educators bring into the classroom always amazes me but seeing the students not only understanding and getting it, but going beyond the just learning in the classroom or school, and doing it on their own, just excites and "pumps me up".

Even though  am a connected educator, I find that there are still many administrators and teachers that don't see the point in using social media to be connected. As the education changes the need to make change or be changes will require one to be innovative, persistent, courageous, develop grit, etc. to move forward in a world that is constantly changing and using more and more technology to accomplish even the simplest of things. As a connected educator I can share my ideas, thoughts and passions with others, whether I agree or disagree with them, so that I can grow in the profession that I am passionate about. 

2013-2014 School Year Review

The past school year seemed to have been a whirlwind and my PLN has been a great support going through the ups and downs of the year. Starting September I attended the School CIO Summit in Denver, Colorado with the Tech and Learning crew. The staff at Tech and Learning are fantastic and the School CIO Summit provides an opportunity for many district superintendents and technology administrators from all types of district in the US to come together to talking and share information on both their failures and successes in providing technology services for the students in their communities. Even though discussion focus on present day technology, there is always discussions regarding the future of education technology and if at all possible to predict what will happen in the next three to five years. I participated in the Edtech Leaders Create Their Dream Districts session with the attendees of the summit. There I spoke about the upcoming technology in the school district and how this will be implemented in the schools.  The connections and relationships made at these summits has assisted me in not only moving my district forward but also  helped me resolve many an issue in an effective and efficient manner.

In October I participated in Edscape, NJ and presented on AR and 3D imaging in the classroom, NJASL Fall Conference, NJ - PARCC and Your library, EdTechNJ, NJ - BYOD and your Classroom, and NJAET Annual Conference, NJ as a executive board member. While there I was asked if I would be the keynote speaker at the Metuchen Diocese Tech Conference in April presenting on the same topic of BYOD.

In November I participated in TEEAP Conference, PA. The TEEAP conference is a technology and Engineering Conference in Pennsylvania and it was my first time presenting and attending this venue. One of the general sessions I attended was done via Skype by a marine research technician, Tina Haskins, at Rutgers University from the research lab located in Antarctica. It was amazing where she discussed the marine changes that took place before and after Hurricane Sandy in the northeast and the marine robots that are used in her research. As a treat she took her mobile device outside the shelter and gave a quick tour of the what the outside research facility looked like. and EdcampNJ, NJ

In January, I presented at NJASA Techspo, NJ with Jay Eitner and Tim Charleston on The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of BYOD in your school/district.

In March, I presented at WeTech 2014 in WestEssex NJ on the Dynamic Faculty Meeting and Becoming a GAFE school. How do we get there! with Barbara DeSantis from Sayreviile. Many of my PLN colleaguesc were present at the symposium and our discussions included what new and innovative things that where happening in the classroom or in their schools and the new Web 2.0 Tools available for teachers and students. The keynote was done by Joyce Valencia on Metaliteracy on the best tools for teling stories and communicating new knowledge.  I attended the #satchat live session first thing in the morning and the continued with Promoting Excellence in Education Through Social Media with Bill Krakower and Scott Rocco.
  At the Annual Spring NJECC Conference, William Krakower and I presented on Twitter and You,where we had a hands-on session for attendees to sign up using Twitter and practice sending tweets to each other during the seeion. At the 2014 NJAET Spring Symposium I presented Setting up BYOD in your school  at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick NJ as well as assisted in organizing for this unconference.   At  the CoSN Annual Conference I apart of a couple of  panel discussions on Solving the Small District Puzzle, Using Social Media and 21st Century Skills to Prepare Tomorrow's Teachers with two members of my PLN Susan Bearden from Melbourne Florida and Alex Podchaski from Summit NJ (both are founder of the #edtechchat on Twitter on Monday nights) and then with Gordon Dahlby and other on the SMART report done through CoSN in Washignton, DC. The SMART report focuses on the planning and network design that should be done to prepare schools and districts for the upcoming technology of 1-1/BYOD that is presently being implemented at many school districts. As more district expand, it will be necessary for the planning and implementation of the infrastructure of schools to be robust but flexible to encourage innovation and creativity in the classroom.

 In May at attended Edcamp Philly in Pa where I meet up with many of my PLN friends and colleagues from the Tri-state area. I attended a session on Coding. The idea that coding may become a basic requirements in schools from K thru 12 grade has been awesome for me especially since I sue to be a computer science teacher as well as programmer. Many of the languages that I used are no longer taught but the logic and methodology is still the same from the 1980s.
As this post continues I though it better that I continue by adding another post to complete the year. The vast amount of connections, collaborations, relationships, etc. that developed throughout the past year has been both encouraging and supportive in following my dreams and aspirations for the future generation of all students in Sayreville and in the world.