Experiencing NECC for the first time this year was amazing. The presentations were top notch, the keynotes thought-provoking, and there seemed to be a million new products that I would love to have in my building. To top it all off, I got to be around the rock stars of the edtech world: Kathy Shrock, Hall Davidson, David Warlick, Vicki Davis, and Steve Dembo. Now after attending the Discovery Education National Institute, it made me realize what was missing from NECC: true collaboration.
We barely got settled in your seats, before we were grouped by regions to re-create the Discovery boom de yada commercial. Being creative wasn't much of a challenge with tech experts, art gurus, and a music teacher that brought these boom sticks. Probably the biggest challenge was to park our egos to really work together. I have to say it was nice to be a team member than the one in charge or doing the project by myself (a common occurance in my school). I got to work my language arts to rhyme, photo skills, and material collection skills.
I got to join breakout sessions on topics that I already had experience in like podcasting and digital storytelling, but it was the discussions that made it worthwhile. Now I have plans to teach digital storytelling with more flexible story design and hopefully a podcasting booth in the back of the room. There is even more excitement at the prospect of adding movie making to my course with supportive materials from AFI.
It has been five days since we parted Discovery Place, but the collaboration has not stopped. The Plurk discussions have allowed us to share ideas and support one another as we try to bring school staffs into web 2.0. It is good to know I am not alone in this battle.
School update: For those following my struggle to bring the school I work at into the 21st century, there is some good news. My principal finally tried the ning and is willing to give it a try next year. A big wOOt! The plans are underway to dedicate the first Professional Development day of the school year to technology sessions. While this will be a lot of work, I think it will be worth it.