Challenge To Follow Learning Passions: #ISTE12 Reflections
I concluded the hardest, yet most successful, year in my career. As a change agent and life long learner, I can honestly say that the energy and quality of professionalism at #ISTE12 renewed my commitment and beliefs in the direction we are heading to revolutionize learning approaches and opportunities for all students around the world. Students are hungry to learn and yearn for challenging approaches. The conference led me to the realization that the time for radical changes in approaches is now. Access to mobile technologies is providing an opportunity for all learners to have access to the best content and libraries in the world. How are we providing nutritional content? Why do so many educators not have passionate feelings towards their content areas? How can we best help educators and leaders find that spark that is missing in so many classrooms and campuses? So many classrooms employ learning strategies similar to Stand and Deliver. Engagement is decreasing, but students are curious and demand more from daily integration approaches. It is essential that leaders model these approaches both virtually and online. The quality and rigor of communication in both environments must be increased. One of the best sessions, was led by my colleague Sandra Wozniak. Sandra’s SCAN session captured the essence of how model classrooms can best engage students. Much focus during professional development tends to be directed towards integration tools instead of processes. Often teachers are told what to do, but are rarely shown how during trainings.
As I have seen throughout the year, the amount of technologies and products are numerous and overwhelming. However, how many products really capture the power of passion? It was refreshing to see so many students in the exhibit hall at the Teacher Tools station. It was so impressive to see a CEO playing with students and demonstrating his passion for learning. The time to build a community of learners is now.
I experienced this feeling during STEAM camp this month with Dublin ISD colleagues, Tom Chambers, and Sandra Wozniak. Students were so excited to learn and daily came to school with an eager smile. The realization that others would appreciate their productions strongly motivated the entire group. Our community showcase, RYSS and DISD traveling art exhibition, NASA ISTE poster sessions, playground session, and Sandra’s SCAN session brought it all home to me. The ending keynote speaker shared about passion based learning and challenged us all to continue to Think Global and Act Local. Flying home on the plane, I felt a real and rare feeling of peace. Sharing our experiences with the world was a very powerful and overwhelming experience. Knowing that so many all over the planet will take productions and ideas from our students was overwhelming to me. Six months ago I was ready to change occupations, but today I am so grateful for this school year and experience. Change agents also need to renew. Thank you #ISTE for helping me realize that my life’s calling is still education.