CUE Hangover!!! That’s what Jody Green (@peerlessgreen) and Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) referred to the sharp contrast that happens after leaving the awesomeness that is CUE National. I must say that I agree with them wholeheartedly as I sit here three days later, my mind still reeling from all the learning that took place in Palm Springs. Intoxicating as the learning was, I also know it is sometimes effervescent and so this blog is intended to capture some of my reflections I want to carry with me through the year, and beyond.
Even though, #CUE16 offered some amazing sessions, for me it was more the people I connected with then the sessions themselves. In no particular order here are the people, topics, and sessions that hit me the most.
The unconference room was definitely one of the most inspiring rooms of CUE. Between @EdtechAri’s #tweetup with #TOSACHAT and #connectedtl, Mario Kart on the wall, and the awesome tweeps hanging out, my head was spinning, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. One my favorite conversations in the unconference room was with Dan Bennett (@dabennett7). As a TOSA, offering engaging and learner centered PD is a goal I strive for like a Mario for Princess Peach. Dan shared his self guided PD which engages teachers in interesting content, while Dan differentiates and helps on an individual level (https://goo.gl/KgYCIT). Besides sharing awesome content, Dan schooled me on a few new Google short cuts and tips. We also had some interesting conversations about teaching theme through Star Wars and other multimedia. Scaffolding difficult concepts in text through multimedia is definitely high in the midichlorian count, and made the unconference room a place of improvisational awesomeness.
Now let me just say that, constructing flying sharks doesn’t seem like a whole lot of learning, but when you are doing it with the likes of Bill Selak (@billselak) with Jon Corippo (@jcorippo) popping up, you never know what is going to happen. Bill’s enthusiasm and patience are infectious as he reminded me of the patienceand kindness we must have for our learners. And a little confidence can go a long way. I went from a shark newb to a shark “expert” in a matter of hours thanks to Bill. (https://goo.gl/m7vwUP) On the other side of the coin, Corippo’s sauciness mixed with perseverance and fortitude are always inspiring. Jon said something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter who gets the credit as long as it get’s done.” These attributes are a must for any successful teacher or leader. No one would have ever though all of this was the product of some hot air, a few balloons, and some great interactions.
TOSA with Mimosa’s
Perhaps, my favorite actual session was the session dubbed “TOSA with Mimosa’s.” The session was actually called TOSA and Tech Leaders Collaborate to Revolutionize Learning put on in a joint effort by Campbell & Union School Districts. They shared some of their vision in moving the system forward with strategic plans, awesome PD, and top-notch collaboration. The panel consisted of Lindsey Blass (@LindseyBlass1), Genevieve Pacada (@PacadaVision), MaryFran Lynch (@mflynch), Heather Haggerty (@HeatherHaggerty), and Andrew Schwab (@anotherschwab). Not only were their resources stellar (https://goo.gl/hrRBN5 & goo.gl/bxpJha) , they used today’s meet as a backchannel to engage the audience answering questions both orally and in the chat as well. The session cooked up some high octane dendrites on moving forward with a strategic plan with take aways I can bring back to my district in an effort of excellence.
Podcasting and Beyond
“Podcasting is in its renaissance period,” at least according to Ryan O’Donnell (@creativeedtech) & Brian Briggs (@bribriggs). Brian and Ryan had a high energy sessions called “Podcasting and Beyond” Now through their proxy, I have been introduced to some awesome podcasting dudes like the Bassett Brothers, Jon Samuelson, and Brett Warner (https://goo.gl/CpobFd). Podcasting has been one of my fascinations for a while. I do a low budget gig on Youtube called Coach’s Corner, which I am converting to podcasting. After CUE, I left with some awesome podcasts in my pocket. The first one I am digesting is “TOSA’s Talking Tech” with Tom & Mike (https://goo.gl/ekjK4R). This podcast was music to my ears, and made me wonder about trying to do a podcast for my district to supplement my weekly Edtech Newsletter. Like Brian Briggs, I am not sure writing is my greatest strength, but I do certainly love to talk. :/ Techlandia and EdTech TV are the next ones on my list. Here is a great list of some ear tingling podcast that Ryan O’Donnell recommends. Beyond, listening to these awesome podcasts. I am more motivated to keep moving forward with my own, podcast. There is just this pesky thing called time that keeps me from moving forward.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
Now just like our schools and classrooms have expanded beyond the four walls, so has the CUE conference. My pocket pals keep my company on Twitter and Voxer, and the CUE16 hashtag keeps driving me forward. With this in mind, my last great session took place on the plane ride home. I was lucky enough to sit next to Lindsay Blass (@LindseyBlass1) and Cate Tolnai (@CateTolnai) on the plane ride home. Our discussion wondered around a bit from being #bettertogether, and finally wound up on the topic of servant leadership. It seems like a bit of an oxymoran, but it gave me some food for thought. How do we meet the needs of our stakeholders? What task is too small for us? It came down to the fact that a little bit of caring can go a long way. It also made me rethink the ways I approach some of the tasks I had before. Instead of getting grumping when I have to do some possible “techretary” (@EdTechAri) work for an admin, I should rethink my strategy; I should take time to work with the secretary to make my life and my possible admin’s life easier. Approaching the people I work with and for with an attitude or servant leadership will be something, I take back into my work.
So finally almost three weeks later, I have finished documenting my reflection. CUE is still in my blood and the midichlorians whirling around in my blood. A few more shout outs need to be made before I finished. Some of the other bright spots on my CUE adventure need to be highlighted like our first #TOSAchat presentation (https://goo.gl/0ppQTU) and Saved by #connectedTL with Mr. Belding Karaoke(https://goo.gl/ttUlxj). These tweeps are certainly awesome and awesome better together. Those were definitely some good times, as was EdSurge social event with Molly Levitt (@Molly_Levitt) and Mary Jo Madda (@MJMadda ). They put on a intimate social event connecting some cool cat peeps. Finally the people from the #alisalstrong team were above extraordinary in their passion and energy. Our district sent down a large team, and seeing their inspiration overflowed my cup for sure.
So with that I look forward to the next awesome event. Thanks for joining me in my journey. I would love to hear your bright spots from the adventure that is #CUE16.