Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Local PD

Slice of Life Challenge, Day 12

Frustrated does not begin to cover how I am feeling.  I had to make a call last night, actually several calls, as the weather reports for the ironically named storm Vulcan (seriously, who names a blizzard after the Roman god of fire?!) projected me driving through somewhere between eight inches to a foot of snow in what many news sources are anticipating as the worst driving conditions of the winter. And I was already a little anxious at making the 14 hour drive with my two little boys without a second driver to help.  So I made the calls.  I will not be presenting at the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (#MACUL14) conference in Grand Rapids tomorrow.

I was slated to do a short presentation on connecting young writers with authentic audiences using 2.0 tools.  My presentation weaves in some of my own action research on using elements of Connected Learning in my high school English classroom. I articulate a model I came up with for creating connected writing assignments, and then share an example from my classroom of students completing a 20% time research project.  In fact, my presentation for MACUL was based on the same one I was asked to do for the Pennsylvania GAFE Summit a few weeks ago but which also was cancelled as they restructured the session offerings for a smaller audience.  So, my last two presentations, two that I was very much looking forward to, didn't happen.

So I'm frustrated.  And not with the weather or with conference organizers.  I am frustrated with myself.  This is the first time in quite a few years that I have put myself out there by applying to present at conferences.  I love conferences.  I am energized attending sessions, madly scribbling down ideas and jotting down links. And what I have learned at NCTE, PCTELA, EduCon, and EDCamp conferences has not just inspired me but has changed my work in significant ways. However, I'm not sure why I am waiting for an invitation or a conference to share my work. I love presenting (seriously, ask me to present for absolutely anything, and I'll jump on that opportunity) because it is an opportunity to meet other connected educators.  But I have a whole community to teachers in my own school also eager to learn from one another.  Instead of wishing for more opportunities to learn and share with my fellow district teachers, I need to find more ways to make that happen.  How can we create local professional development that is as energizing as the conferences we volunteer to attend and present at?

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