Reflecting on Reflection, Learning, Connecting, and More #ITECIA

Two days after ITEC my head is still processing all the good that comes from ITEC. Each year I spend countless hours stressing over my materials, slides, presentations, and more. In the end none of this matters as much as the connections and being present with educators.

Don’t get me wrong, I care deeply about running quality sessions as well as attending quality sessions. I view my chance to lead sessions as a way for me to produce a quality lesson plan. Can I still deliver a lesson that is engaging where the audience walks away with solid ideas, expansion of their thinking, and motivation to learn more? That is the reason I share. It challenges me. It stresses me out. It pushes me out of my comfort zone.

It allows me to grow as a person.

As I drove home from Des Moines(the second time) I drove in silence for a good hour. I allowed my brain to process. No music, no notes, no tech. Just me and my thoughts.

It is tough. It reminds me of the Twenty One Pilots song, Car Radio

Sometimes quiet is violent
I find it hard to hide it
My pride is no longer inside
It’s on my sleeve
My skin will scream reminding me of
Who I killed inside my dream
I hate this car that I’m driving
There’s no hiding for me
I’m forced to deal with what I feel
There is no distraction to mask what is real
I could pull the steering wheel
I have these thoughts, so often I ought
To replace that slot with what I once bought
‘Cause somebody stole my car radio
And now I just sit in silence
While I was driving I reflected on what I learned. I was able to be mesmerized by Pernille Ripp during her early 8 am session. Her demeanor and candid talk spoke to me. I am so impressed by all that she does while still being in the classroom changing lives. She really is the real deal. Her ingite talk was just as powerful and really had me stop and pause about perspective in life and learning.
I reflected on the message of George Couros during his keynote that was amazing as well. I was talking with him via Voxer just before while driving into town as part of the #IMMOOC Voxer group where we were having powerful conversations. I was already being challenged by him before I actually saw him in person and keynote. The beauty of technology has now leveraged the playing field for connecting. His message spoke to me several times and helped ignite a flame back in my soul to continue to push for necessary change in education despite the stumbling blocks that lay ahead.
I reflected on a session I lead on the first day that I was not satisfied with personally. I felt like it was not as good as I had thought it would be. It was not the great feeling I had hoped for and it sucked my energy right out of me. I learned how to bounce back and get back to my A game for the second day of presenting. As people we stumble and we must reflect, recognize, and own the moment. Listening to George reminded me to get back up and try again. All will be okay.
I reflected on the importance of sharing. So often we think that what we know everyone else already knows. Time and time again I picked up a new idea from someone and hopefully others learned from me. We can no longer assume that we don’t have value to share. Someone can benefit greatly from our experiences and insights.
I reflected on my personal goals. I developed over 200 pages of typed words for guidebooks for my sessions, created over 500 slides between the workshop and sessions, and built out some new web pages. A bit overboard perhaps, but I wanted to develop resources that have a lasting impact. 50 – 110 minutes is not a long time. I wanted to ignite the curiosity and then provide enough help for people to go back and do. I also wanted to force myself to begin to my ideas down into the written word. So hard. So incredibly hard
I reflected on my next steps. I challenged others to go back and move into action. I did the same. I had to transition straight to teaching and leading as I had to get a podcast ready for students before the newspaper ran an article. Talk about tight deadlines. But to work with an educator that challenges how we teach and how kids can learn is exciting.
Because of that awesome joy of kids creating quality work I stayed up late Wednesday night build a new podcast on YouTube, Speedgeeking with Coffeechug
In 2014 I challenged myself at ITEC to create an Iowa Educator Voxer group and to be honest this has probably been one of the most powerful PLN groups to challenge my thinking, keep me grounded in reality, and forcing me to really think through my ideas. Over the summer it sort of died down a bit where I thought about closing it down completely.
After seeing so many wonderful people at ITEC I want to get it back up and running. There are some of you already involved, but we want to get new voices and more voices engaged in the conversation. Reach out to me to join and maybe this link will work as well. This is open to all educators not just ones from Iowa.
Finally, I want to say thank you. As I reflect on it all I cannot help but be amazed by what educators are doing. You are awesome. You are a source of motivation to so many. I encourage you all to keep sharing, to keep experimenting, and asking What If?
I promise that next year I will be rocking super duper awesome bowties BOTH days and will bring my A game both days as well. In the meantime we must stay connected and continue to support and learn from one another.
Reflections, Links, and Resources

And in the end, maybe driving in silence is a good thing because I was able to sit back and appreciate the opportunity my school gave me in coming to ITEC. Now I have the pleasure to come back to Bettendorf and share what I learned and continue to push my thinking and learning.

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