edcamp Louisiana

So this has been in the works for quite a few months, but we are now at the point where we have a venue and can really start pushing out the word — we’re having edcamp Louisiana!!!

I’m very excited to work with Valerie BurtonPaula Naugle, Brian Mull, and Carl Gaines in organizing this awesome event, which is the first of its kind in Louisiana! The big event is going down on July 9th at the University of New Orleans (we have a date AND a venue!).

Paula has posted about edcamp Louisiana here, and Valerie has posted here. So of course I needed to do the same!

I just finished our flier, which I created using Comic Life. Check it out:

Interested in attending? Know someone from Louisiana who you think would love to attend? Go here to register!

YAY YAY YAY!!!

On my mind:

My brain is full of thoughts today, but I need to get them out. This post will be random and maybe a little scattered, so heads up.

I’ve been completely occupied with my Google Apps push. We would benefit from technology changes in my school (we are above average but there’s room for growth), and my teachers have been very on board with this idea. I’m really trying to be realistic about this. Being realistic isn’t my natural state of mind, so I’ve really been trying to approach this from every possible angle. I had a really good discussion with my district tech guy, who is great about engaging in conversation with me about this type of thing and willing to take the time to talk it out/explain things to me when needed.

The biggest issue that I’ve foreseen is the email issue. I’ve been thinking that launching Docs first and going from there would be the best route. I don’t want us to prematurely go all in, have things get rocky, and have everyone bail on the idea. I know that no matter what, there are going to be problems — students will push the limits and take advantage, trying to get away with as much as they can. That’s just what middle schoolers do. We would have to set the guidelines, stick with them, and enforce them. But we all know that’s much easier said than done.

In my mind, it all boils down to teaching the kids to be smart online. We give them too much credit because they get out there (fearlessly) and figure things out — they are not computer/Internet experts, not by a long shot. Obviously it is our job to teach them necessary content and skills. But the world is changing. We’ve got to teach them to be effective users, synthesizers, and creators of information. Do this by integrating it in with core content — duh. But once again, easier said than done. A major shift has to happen. I get upset when I feel like we are selling our students short, when I know that they aren’t being equipped with the important tools and skills that they need. I don’t know how or when a major change is going to go down, but if a change in the fundamental ways we “do school” doesn’t happen, I’m afraid of what type of citizens schools will produce.

Being someone who things about this so much, wants positive change so bad, there are days that I could make myself crazy over it all. I know where I want to see my school, I see schools who are there, but the actual task in creating a movement to bring about change is overwhelming. Where do you start? What’s the priority? How do you get others to overcome the fear to see what could be?

That’s the current state of my brain. And now the sun is setting, so it’s time to unplug and take the next 24 hours to recharge.

A Time for Rest

I’ve enjoyed a wonderful week off school this week – gotta love Mardi Gras and south Louisiana!

I needed some time to chill, and that’s exactly what I did. After a great visit from my precious nieces, I spent the rest of the week at the beach! I was able to do some reading — Dead is the New Black, My Secret Hollywood Life, Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites, Crank, and Marked. These are all the first books of series that my students are devouring, so I’ve been needing to read them for myself. I see the appeal of all of them, good stuff indeed!

I also read (listened to, actually) Seth Godin’s Poke the Box, which was awesome! I’m ready to go back to school next week and START SOMETHING! Part of the problem I’ve had in the past is that I get burned out and distracted when I take on a new idea. I’ve got to find some balance, which has always been a struggle of mine. I need to start taking a step back from my techie obsession to participate in my personal life. After reading about the Sabbath Manifesto, I thought I would give this plan a shot. I’ve set up my guidelines (no computer, no social media, no texting, phone calls only under 5 minutes, no watching junk TV shows). I survived my first 24 hours, and I’m quite proud of myself. I’ll post again about this after a few weeks if things go well!