Sunday, January 21, 2018

Taking the EdTechFamily show on the road

Last weekend, my ten-year-old and I hit the road with our "If You Give a Kid a Camera" presentation. There were moments of awesomeness, to be sure. Perhaps one of those includes a moment of great disappointment for Connor as a first-time presenter.

We packed up after school on Friday, January 12 and hit the road, traveling south on Highway 99 to reach another part of the Great Central Valley. We started by meeting four educators for dinner at a Pho restaurant in Visalia. This gave Connor the opportunity to meet some folks I knew from previous educational encounters. The four: @edcampOSjr (the one and only, Ed Campos), @CoriOrlando1 (the fabulous Cori Orlando), @dustin772 (Dustin Ellis, who I beat out by moments to win a fun competition at CUE last year), and @DougieFreshTech (Denise Douglas, who always makes me feel welcome, and like me was enjoying Pho for the Phirst time). They welcomed Connor into the fold and seemed to put him at ease ahead of the big day to follow. Back at our hotel room, we set up our Chromebooks and sat across from each other as we made some final edits and went through what we felt would be the best presentation style for this event.

Saturday morning, we woke up, saddled up, and headed out for the Tulare County Office of Education TechRodeo. We were scheduled to present during the second session which gave us a chance to settle in and gave Connor the opportunity to become more familiar with how one day education events operated. We grabbed some breakfast and coffee, networked a little bit, and then headed over to the gym for the keynote address. We stuck together for the first session and checked out Ed Campos' 360 Math ideas. We headed to our assigned room for the second session and got things set up for our presentation. Connor was anxious, excited, and ready to roll. He handed out stickers, as all good presenters seem to do (he definitely picked up on some things from my previous experiences and from the start of the day). He welcomed our one attendee. We had a couple of other people pass through and check things out throughout the hour, but I could see the disappointment in his eyes, I sensed what he felt, and I felt a great sense of pride as I watched him continue through the presentation, share his ideas, and answer questions. This kid nailed it. Later, we talked about how he was feeling. He got a great pep talk from Kyle Anderson aka @AndersonEdTech over lunch and then Connor was ready to continue through the rest of the day. I pointed out to him one very important thing. When we first started developing "If You Give a Kid a Camera," we did it in anticipation of presenting a special CUE Rockstar event designed for parents/homeschool families and independent study educators. The one person we had attend our session had recently transitioned into a role working with independent study students and expressed to me that we gave her some ideas for her role as an educator and hearing ideas from Connor gave her something to try with her grandson, as well. I was again reminded of the story of the starfish. Our presentation mattered because we positively affected an educator. Bonus: she was exactly the type of educator we had in mind when we first drew up the concept behind this. That became a huge take-away for Connor.

We bounced around some during the third session and checked out a few different things, including yearbook layout ideas from students, robotics and coding, and Google Hangouts (a personal favorite tool of mine and Connor's). Then, something huge happened. For the fourth and final session of the day, I headed into a session I was excited about with Jeremiah Ruesch @mathkaveli where I could get some new ideas for my math instruction. Connor decided to go out on his own. He went to explore Google's "secret menu" with @JoeMarquez70 (Joe Marquez). This sparked something new and even more wonderful in my co-presenter. He set up a blog and started writing. He started looking even more into the future.

At the end of the day, we headed downtown to meet up with a few of the educator folks with whom we had just spent a great day of learning. I had a chance to have some good debriefing time with them and noticed that Connor did the same. He continued to get new ideas and brainstorm for the future. He arrived home later that night, sat down at his Chromebook, and started developing a presentation of his own for a future TechRodeo event.

My big TechRodeo takeaways:
1) Students make incredible presenters both in full session presentations and in poster sessions
2) Educators are typically welcoming and encouraging individuals and this day was no different
3) My heart is full of gratitude for the way my ten-year-old was welcomed, encouraged, supported, and inspired

We expect to have a new podcast ready very soon and we are looking forward to presenting together again at ETC! at Stanislaus State on on February 24. I will also present "Technology as the Swiss-Army Knife of Education," one of my favorites to present. We make up two-thirds of the EdTechFamily and love sharing our ideas with others.

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