Technology Integration! ONWARD! No! Wait! What?

After attending the 2nd Annual SLATE 2011 Conference (#slate2011 hashtag in Twitter) in Wisconsin this past week, I’ve been mulling over this post.  SLATE stands for School Leaders Advancing Technology Education.  Anytime I attend a professional development opportunity, I always want to come away with my “Big Three”: 1) Something I can use immediately when I get back, 2) Something I can sit on and development within the next month, and 3) Something I can spend the next six months developing and then put it to use.  Anytime along this BIG THREE journey, I’m constantly looking for relevant learning to share with my students as well as my colleagues.

Well, let’s just say my cup overflowith…

It was handy not being a Twitter virgin because the connectivity and networking that took place was overwhelming and popped up everywhere in every venue during the conference…even the World’s Away Lounge, where I attended my first “tweet up,” meeting people I have had the privilege of following on Twitter.  A face-to-face with folks like Tammy Lind (@TamiL17), Curt Rees (@WiscPrincipal), Beth Lisowski (@MrsLGrade3) and John Pederson (@ijohnpederson) brought my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter to life.  Sidenote:  I was a little bummed I didn’t get to meet Jessica Johnson (@PrincipalJ), as I have relied heavily on her multiple valuable tidbits on Twitter.  Next time, Jess!

Returning to the “real world” Thursday was the door slamming in the face effect.  Students needed me.  Papers needed grading. Meetings needed attending.  Sleep needed replenishing.

I had handouts and Google Docs and links and resources galore; call me Santa.  However, little did I expect the reactions I got.  I expected everyone as uncontrollably giddy as I was. Some were; some weren’t.  You know the feeling.  You undoubtedly know the gamut of reactions I got upon my triumphant return.

In honor of two things: their reactions and the #pencilchat back channel that recently went viral, I took it upon myself to pay homage.

Whenever something new comes barreling down the road at us, we have a few options to react.  A perfect analogy is A Day at the Swimming Pool:

  • Some patrons jump right in without concern for the water temps or depths.  Some patrons dip their toes in the water, checking it out first and watching others test the waters. Some stand by the poolside in their towels and need a little encouragement that the water is safe, clean and perfect for swimming. And there are some who flat-out refuse to get wet, dip their toes, or anything because they can’t swim, don’t want to learn, or are leaving the pool soon and don’t want to get wet.

When it comes to technology integration in the classroom, many of us are venturing into uncharted waters.  It can be a little scary, but it’s not going anywhere but forward.  If we give each other a chance to learn and grow together, the positive impact on student engagement and achievement is collectively rewarding.

Keep the Tech Faith!

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