I arrived for the UTC around 7:20 AM and was very surprised at how quickly that happened. It was just under a 2-hour drive and easy. I was dismayed though to discover my sessions were scheduled for Thursday and not today as I had planned, and had to apologetically withdraw/cancel my sessions for tomorrow. I have a meeting in Columbia at the State Department of Education, and it is one I cannot miss. I (along with others) will be working with other educators across the state on a curriculum project and even though I am not sure of the exact details, this is an opportunity to demonstrate that teacher librarians are partners in instruction and collaborative planning, and can be an asset in the development of standards-based instruction. Since way too many schools use the teacher librarian as holding area so teachers get a planning period, I want to do my very best in this project. I love brainstorming project design. Hopefully I will “represent” teacher librarians well. It is important that teacher librarians help change the view that so many have, that which is incorrect. So I feel this is more important than the UTC tomorrow. I am disappointed though because I am leaving the conference with 2 empty spots, and this is the first time ever I’ve done this. I am also missing what I’m sure will be fabulous sessions and a keynote by David Jakes.
Today’s material was mind boggling and terrific. I commend the planners for the UTC. I really thought it would be difficult to top attending a conference the day before that featured a keynote and 2 sessions by Marc Prensky, but Ewan McIntosh blew my mind. He is probably the strongest “think outside the box” speaker I’ve ever heard. I left with many ideas on rethinking my approach to teaching, using video games in a classroom, and how to have fun with pictures that tie into the curriculum. I remember reading McIntosh last July while BLC was happening (in both his blog and a skype backchannel), and he wrote some outstanding material about Resnick’s contribution, which focused on keeping the term “play” relevant throughout all grade levels, not just preschool/kindergarten. I wondered if Ewan would be able to top it from back then, but he has shown me even more, taking it to a higher level for me. If you do not read Ewan McIntosh, you should. Ewan, you are a ROCK STAR in the field of education for me, forging a new way to think about learning.
Like brothers and sisters
I am still processing all that I learned today, and trying to collect my pictures. I’ll share them as soon as I get them. Pat (aka Loonyhiker) sent me one we had taken together today (but it’s not available under creative commons.). It was nice to group up with so many in my PLN, like Ewan, Jakes, Chris Craft, MaryAnn Sansonetti, Julia Davis, Pat, Heather Loy, and others. We had a great time today, and oddly enough each session I attended had me sitting with or by several from this group. I guess we all think a little bit alike, though that would make sense if we are truly a PLN. When I first arrived after meeting up with Pat, I followed Chris Craft into the auditorium, where we saw David Jakes and Ewan McIntosh. Ewan hopped down from the stage, greeted me warmly by calling me by my Twitter name, and then firmly planted a kiss on each of my cheeks. He exclaimed, “You look just like your avatar picture!” That’s the beauty of a PLN—we all feel some kind of brotherly/sisterly connection. These people are not strangers at all. They frequently mirror my thoughts and extend my thinking/learning.
P.S. I did sit right in the front row as I vowed yesterday! Best, I had David Jakes on my left, and Chris Craft on my right! What more could a girl ask for? Brilliance all around. Oh no, I guess I really am some sort of edtech groupie. Pictures to come, I promise.