Fast forward to the Google Summit. It was an amazing time of growth, comradery, and learning with other educators from this state and beyond! Despite my lack of sleep and need to catch up on grading, I am so glad I went. Here are some of my key reflections and learnings:
It was so inspiring to be surrounded by people who were continually learning and seeking to grow in their craft. There was an environment of continuous iteration and change, and optimism for that change! So often, in education, the word "change" brings about eye rolls, sighs, and resistance. Regardless of how we react, change is coming, and will continue to come. While it is prudent to run ideas past a critical eye of what's best for students, it was refreshing to be around a community who is striving to embrace change, rather than run from it.
I was exposed to so many cool ideas and teaching "hacks", and was reminded of how powerful we can collectively be together! And the best part? Just as we talk about in our classrooms, there was no "sage on a stage" mentality. Sharing resources, accepting feedback, and building knowledge collaboratively was the norm. I wish that were the case everywhere! Some of my personal favorites were BadgeU by Daniel Sharpe & all kinds of thoughts about blogging by Chris Moore.
Connect, Share and Collaborate!
I know I have written before about how I have really grown in confidence as a teacher and a teacher leader this past year, and this was yet another step down that path. Often, I struggle to figure out where I fit in professionally. I teach music, but my vision of a successful music class expands beyond the traditional performance model that is held by many of my colleagues. I love dabbling in educational technology, but I wonder if people will really take a music teacher seriously - my classroom looks so different to begin with! Over the weekend, I felt so validated in the way I am combining my subject area with technology, and several people encouraged me to present at a future event. Right now, that sounds like the most nerve-wracking experience - I will stand up in front of kids all day, but speaking in front of adults is another story - but it's planted a seed in the back of my mind. Maybe I do belong here. Maybe there is a place for me in this edtech world. Maybe I need to stop hiding behind my curtain of being "just" a music teacher or "just" dabbling in technology and confidently share my ideas!
The closing keynote, by Sandra Chow, was based on a song one of my favorite musicals, "Alone in the Universe" from Seussical the Musical [insert music teacher geeking out here]. As I listen to the words of this song, the need for friendship and fellow dreamers resonates so strongly with me! But, in order to reach out and find each other, both Jojo and Horton had to take a risk and put themselves out there with some pretty big thinks. I want to continue to think and dream about how to improve education for our students, AND to share those thoughts with my colleagues and PLN!