I just left the NY/NJ Google Apps Summit and had a very interesting conversation with Samantha Morra and a few of our Passaic City Public Schools Technology Coordinators about how it sometimes feels like how Cinderella must have felt the day after attending her Ball when returning to work and school the day after attending an event like this.
Things go back to normal and high-level conversations and discussions about educational best-practices take a back-seat to replacing ink and toner, resetting email passwords, and helping with PowerTeacher and Gradebook. While each of these requests are important and must be answered, that “next day after the ball” feeling does not have to happen, at least not entirely. To keep the positive vibes going, I have found collaborating with colleagues to implement the concepts from the conference as the best way to keep the ball moving, and I have the following three concrete recommendations:
1. Get together with other teachers, coaches, or administrators frequently, make a plan, and execute. To further this, I have learned based on the experience of our own Technology Coordinators in Passaic at the middle and high school that working in isolation as our PreK-6 coaches do limits our effectiveness. As a result, next year I am going to arrange for Elementary Tech Coordinators to work in groups at a few locations a minimum of one (1) day per week to collaborate, plan, submit the post-classroom observation forms, etc. Consider this a ‘modified’ Google 20% time.
2. Continue to develop your Personalized PLN’s (or PPLN as we in Passaic have named it) with conversations on Twitter and other social media. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned this year by following and interacting with educators online.
3. Put your thoughts down and publish! One of our high school Technology Coordinators, Mary Howard, just this weekend created her own personal WordPress blog, published her first entry on “Flattery“, announced it to the world on Twitter, and started a new Twitter chat at #celebrateED. This is in addition to #Techpass Corner Blog documenting our 1to1 journey managed by own LMS and PHS Tech Coordinators featuring a great recent entry by Michael Grant sharing what we are doing.
I too could do more to model this and launched this blog directly as a result to put my thoughts down on ‘paper’.
Finally, to combat the post-conference “Cinderella after the Ball” Blues, three of my take-homes are to continue to collaborate online and in-person with many of the educators who I both follow and interact with on Twitter, many of whom I met for the first-time in person and connect with Joel Handler and the folks at the Hillsborough Public Schools, my alma mater, who are doing some amazing things with their 1:1 Chromebook initiative, and of course work with our amazing @PassaicSchools team!
Thanks and keep that “Cinderella AT the Ball” feeling going!