Monday, July 4, 2011

Some Post ISTE11 Musings - with more to come

It is always interesting to me to see the buzz build the closer the ISTE conference gets. Then I am at EBC11 and the conference has started and then all of a sudden it is over. Time goes by so quickly once the conference gets started. Yet, there is so much to absorb that I will be pouring over the ISTE website to look at videos of different presentations and keynotes over and over again to try to absorb even more. Of course there is always the #ISTE11 hashtag to take me to other areas of learning as well.

There is never just one take away from this conference because there is always so much to learn to try and do things better. To listen to people and how they make things happen at their schools or districts and to try and figure out how to tweak that to make it happen in my own. So many ways and so many ideas. It almost becomes overwhelming. Overwhelming until I remember one simple thing - it is about the kids.

Many of the discussions that I had during my time in Philly and the ISTE 2011 conference kept bringing me back to the idea of relationship. Relationship with admin, faculty, staff and students. Along with the idea of relationship, we have to TRUST for that relationship to grow. In order to trust we have to let go of some of the things that get us where we are today and part of that letting go is the death grip on ego. Trusting our students allows us to open our networks. Trusting our faculties and staffs to be the professionals they truly are allows us to be about what they need to teach and our students need to learn.

Relationship is so very important in all we do, that this conference continues to be an important encounter for us all. Trust yourself to learn something new with each and every encounter you have even if it is a social encounter, trust that the presentation may well have something you need to hear or know and if not then quietly and respectfully move to another one. Trust that being quiet allows you to hear from someone else, trust that you are here for a reason and you make a difference. Trust that thought you have that has been marinating in your mid is useful and needs to be put out htere. Trust that the feedback you get is important and valuable and not a personal attack.

Thank you to all the people I met for the first time face to face and my sincere apologies to those I missed. Thank you for the time you spent sharing and caring and most especially for the work you do each and every day. You all continue to teach me a lot and for that I am truly thankful and I hope to continue to learn more from you each and every day.

So much to learn and so little time.

I Like to Drive

As a young boy growing up I always looked forward to vacation and the ride we would take to wherever. The big station wagon and the road newly being constructed on the way to San Antonio or the west Texas heat on the way to New Mexico. Either way we were going to see relatives and we got to travel. No ipods, no TV's built into cars or dvd players for that matter. Merely a book, non-tinted windows and the incessant cries of "are we there yet" or "how much longer" from any of my 4 other brothers and sisters or myself.

The landscape seemd to go on forever, games in the car helped to pass the time and yet as I grew older I couldn't wait to be able to fly wherever I wanted to go. I could get there quicker and see more, do more and not waste time. I could look out the window of the plane and see all of the land at once.

However, last year my wife and I decided to drive to NECC/ISTE. See the country again for a change. Relax in the car. So we packed not only our things but some from our friends as well since we were going to meet them at the same place. New Mexico, Colorado, Estes Park, Denver, the ISTE Mansion, Amarillo and home again. 10 days. Lots of sites and new place to rediscover.

This year with Philadelphia being the goal, we went through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, the Smoky Mountains, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania and on the way back we added Tennessee and Arkansas to the list of states. The ISTE Mansion aptly renamed the ISTE Row House was the destination for yet another ISTE Conference. With some of the same folks a memorable trip was had yet again.

I was aksed if I didn't like to fly and I would have to say the answer is no. The joy of the road is a simple one - we have a beautiful country. We also have a great deal of freedom to move about the country. No matter what the politicians decide, we are living a great life with wonderful freedoms and abilities. The cool thing about traveling in that manner is that with the available technology, we can look up anything we see and decide if we want to go and explore more. We have that freedom.

Today as we celebrate the birth of our nation, know that we have all been placed in this time and this place for a reason. But along with that, we have many wonderful men and women that have fought and defended the right we have to move about the country whether by plane, train or automobile. My prayers on this day will be for all the men and women who are put in harm's way and for their families who also have sacrificed much. Be safe out there, come home soon and I will continue to pray for peace. Thank you all for that you continue to do day after day and for all those who have gone before you.

So much to learn and so little time.