Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#DEN18: A Full Day of Fun! (Part 3)

Yesterday was a FULL day of tourist fun! My mom & I slept in (jetlag!), but then hit many of the sights in the city (and ran into many friends along the way)! Warning: this post is a little bit of a photo dump :-).

We started at the tourist center to get our bearings, but quickly went to Nyhavn, which was so cute and picturesque! The colors were both bright and blended together so well. It was a bit chilly right on the water, and all of the restaurants with outdoor seating had blankets on each chair outside - a brilliant idea! It was nice to stroll around a bit and see this iconic place. Leaving here, we ran into some other #DEN18 friends who were on a similar tourist route to us :-).

After that, we hopped on the bus (yay public transportation!) to to to The Little Mermaid statue. It is small, but popular. I was glad that I had been forewarned that it was a bit anticlimactic, because there's not much to do there besides see it, but I was still glad we went.

Back on the bus and to Rosenborg Castle - can't visit Europe without a good castle, right? We were able to inside this one, and see the massive amounts of precious metals, jewels, tapestries, and symbols of wealth. Apart from being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it all, I was fascinated by the intricate detail of all of the art (paintings, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, etc). So much work was put into all of it, and it has been preserved for 300-400 years! That's pretty amazing to think about.

After this, my picture-taking went downhill, as it started getting dark outside (and I don't have a cool new Pixel with amazing night camera features). We again ran into #DEN18 friends and walked around the King's Gardens a bit, explored Torvehallerne (a market), and eventually made it back to the hotel. After a quick chance to sit down & rearrange everything, my mom was nice enough to come with me and drop me off at my new place with #DEN18 roomies! To get there, we decided to try the Metro, which was quick and easy.

Once here, it was so much fun meeting everyone and chatting and getting to know each other after only communicating online! We ended up meeting up with more people who arrived here a day early for dinner & drinks and staying out late (well, late for me, anyway). It's amazing how a group from all over the world can connect so quickly. That's the power of a #PLN!

Today, the Academy starts for real - it's already been a trip to remember and I can't wait for more! My biggest struggle right now is knowing I need to pace myself over the next three days. I want to jump in and fully engage, but I could burn myself out very quickly if I'm not careful. I'm trying to find the balance between diving in and saving a little bit of energy right now, but it's hard when surrounded by so many awesome people and so much fun!

#DEN18: Made it to Copenhagen! (Part 2)

Well, friends, since I last blogged, I have had what feels like one long, extended day with travel. Two plane rides, three airports, a train, and lots of walking + one loooooooong night of sleep (yay jetlag) have me here and ready to go!

Our travels included a layover in London for breakfast. Yum!

It gets dark early here, so I didn't get to see much of the city by daylight yesterday, but I did capture this picture from our hotel room. It rained on and off all afternoon and evening, but that didn't seem to bother the bikers that were everywhere! We also noticed that very few people had umbrellas - did that immediately identify us as tourists? :-)

 It was so much fun to meet up with some other members of the #DEN18 crew for dinner (thanks, @jlubinksy, for organizing)! I didn't get pics of all of the food, but it was delicious!

It was also so much fun to see/meet friends who I will be spending the next several days with! There's always this interesting moment when you meet somebody for the first time who you have interacted with online - it's like you know each other, but you are "meeting" for the first time - but that moment quickly passed and it didn't take long before we were all having great conversations over dinner :-).

As we walked home, we caught a couple of streets with beautiful lights up. It feels like Christmas decorations are already up here!

I crashed hard at night and slept for 10-11 hours, but hopefully that means I'm over jetlag now? Today will be a full day of tourist-ing before the academy starts tomorrow!

Thanks for following along in my adventure :-)! I love hearing from friends back home, and I love it even more when I hear from some of you saying that you might want to apply for #GoogleEI in the future - all I can say is, you absolutely should!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#DEN18: The Adventure Begins (Part 1)

Yesterday morning, I grabbed my bags and headed out to the airport, ready for an adventure! After applying, getting accepted, and weeks of planning & prepping, it was finally time to travel to Copenhagen for #DEN18.

In some ways, it is surreal. I can't believe I'm here. In other ways, it feels like my life got a lot busier as soon as I applied this round (thanks, new job!), and I haven't had the time or energy or brainpower to focus on it as much as I would like to. I have loved all of the community building that has happened pre-academy, but I feel like I was just barely able to fit it in between other responsibilities. One of the things I am the most excited about for these three days is the chance to dive in, to be fully present, and to focus!

Of course, I'm not there yet. Stop 1 in my travels: Visiting my sister and seeing her show ("You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown") and then checking out this cathedral where she will be performing "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" later this year. Beautiful! We may or may not have sang a little bit in there to hear the acoustics - even with just two of us, it was ringing like crazy!

We enjoyed some good family time, as my whole family was here, and that will continue today. I've also appreciated the chance to rest, sleep in, read a book, and do some other things that have been missing in my life recently with the wave of busyness. It's nice to be on vacation :-). This evening, my mom & I will board the plane for the long flight across the ocean to start the second stage of this adventure!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Roads We Travel...

This weekend always makes me reflect, because it was a Colorado #EdTechTeam Summit that started me on my ed tech journey! For previous blog posts, read about my my first summit, how they've changed my life, my nervousness about presenting for the first time, takeaways from last year, the fun I had in Aspen in the spring, and the growth I saw after Colorado Springs in the summer.

So here I am, coming off of another great #EdTechTeam Summit. I always love the energy, positivity, enthusiasm, and learning at these events! It feels very different from typical PD, which sometimes equates to being told to show up, sit down, and listen to someone for hours. Here are a few reflections:

1. It's fun making friends, near and far! 

After attending several CO ed-techy events, you start to realize that there's a certain group of people you see over and over again. We are ed tech PD junkies. It's always fun to connect with these friends at these events and catch up!

At the same time, I meet people from CO or all over who I have interacted with on Twitter, and it's always awesome to see each other IRL and chat for a bit. And then there are the friends of friends, because it's a small world. Connections galore!

2. Sometimes, your authentic audience ends up right in your room.

Today, in a #BreakoutEDU session I was leading, one of the teachers in the room asked if I had written the game "Sneaky Snow Snatcher" (newsflash: the answer is yes, my sister and I co-wrote it). She shared that she had played it with her students last year...in Illinois! Another teacher in the room had also played it with her students.

At lunch, another teacher tracked me down to tell me that she had attended my #BreakoutEDU session at the Aspen Summit in the spring, was inspired and got some boxes, and has been using it at her school.

When you put yourself and your ideas out there, they travel! I don't think we often get to see the results, but it's so special when we see follow-up from when we are bold enough to present a session or share a resource.

3. It's all in the family!

Once again, I had a blast co-presenting with my brother. There's certainly a bond we share, both being in education, and the fact that we know each other so well personally makes presenting together pretty smooth as well. Plus, it's just fun to get to work on professional projects together. It was a throwback to high school, where we got along well and took a class together, and were asked all the time if we were dating or what (nope, s-i-b-l-i-n-g-s). Between writing #BreakoutEDU games with my sister and presenting with my brother, I'm so thankful that my family is awesome and that we share some of the same interests!

As we enter the month of November, I am acutely aware that I have much to be thankful for, not the least of which is events to connect, learn, and grow, both professionally and personally!

How have you connected and what have you learned recently?