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Friday, January 27, 2017

My Game Changers from FETC

Coming to FETC for the first time has been a major highlight of my edtech career. Being surrounded by great educational minds and both growing relationships and learning is one of my favorite things to do. I love how this conference is set up on tracks and how it actually has helped me realize just how much I think about where education is going and how I can best support it.


As I think about what I've learned to bring back to Chattanooga, Tennessee I'm feeling passionate about these things specifically:

1. Having the honor to attend the Future of IT Summit for two days prior to the opening keynote was an awesome opportunity. I attended a panel discussion on procurement of technology and the CIO of the Tennessee Department of Education was there. As he spoke on the way Tennessee works to leverage pricing for all districts no matter how big or small I thought "too bad that doesn't include private schools." Afterwards we met and he told me it does. I can't wait to get back home and contact him to see if this will benefit us at CCS. 1 hour in to being at the event and I learned about this- what could be a game changer for us.

2. As I walked the expo floor I saw two or three different options for throwable  microphone balls. Having a student in our elementary school with cochlear implants, this could be a game changer for her in hearing her fellow students in the classroom.

3. On a regular basis at our school there is a lot of talk about whether note-taking on devices is a good thing. When one of the Vice Presidents of Microsoft shared their white papers on digital inking I got excited to read the research. I have no idea what it says yet because I haven't had the chance to read it but research in this area could be helpful in changing some mindsets.  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/education/educators/digital-ink/download-whitepaper/default.aspx

4. Since going 1:1 I have struggled with the fact that the administrators at our school have not necessarily been equipped to know what to look for in terms of digital learning in their walk thrus. Listening to Steven Anderson share about the new ISTE admin standards and what a walk thru should look like made me want to scream "Yes! This!" And the beauty of it all is that he has shared his presentation with us all so I can come back to school and share it with our administrators. This concept has been working in my head for months but he just took the prep work out of my hands. This can be both a game changer for our admin in that they will feel more equipped and our teachers in that they will know what is expected.

5. Having the opportunity to present with Greg Bagby is always a pleasure. Talking afterwards with some of the 200 educators that attended our session was a personal game changer for me. Hearing how others relate to what you've shared or wanting to share something with you is a beautiful thing. It both affirms and grows me. It also reminds me that I am fortunate to be doing that which I am passionate about in life. Not everyone has that luxury.

These aren't all the things I've learned by any stretch. I go back home today with an edtech toolbox full of new ideas. I'm thankful for this opportunity to grow relationships and myself. I'm thankful to have spent the last few days surrounded by likeminded thinkers...to listen, reflect, disagree, and/or embrace new ideas.

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