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This past week was homecoming week on our campus and with that brings “dress up day”.  One day was movie characters and several staff members dressed up like super heroes.   After morning devotions, I noticed one teacher (who had a jacket on) ask another teacher to help her show her cape and together they pulled the cape out from behind the jacket.

Then this morning, as reading through tweets before heading to church, I noticed an avatar that consisted of a fact shot with a red cape proudly flowing behind.

And that — is what is prompting this post….

Because I think I hide my cape way too much — and wonder if you do the same thing.

Just this past week, I hid my cape when —

  1. In a meeting, where I should have boldly spoken up about the vision of tech on our campus, I remained silent.
  2. When people twittered or posted about the O.R.E.O. project, I did not retweet their tweets.
  3.  I declined a speaking engagement because right now I am terrified of flying.   (sad but true)

I have gotten a very nice reputation on twitter, at conferences, etc of not self-promoting.

But ….. am I concealing my super power just to be modest?

I don’t want to be perceived “ever” as an in-your-face promoting kind of person — but I also think many times I stay quiet when I need to speak up.

To be honest, I am in awe of those who know how to market themselves.   Who get noticed for every single little thing they do — who’s names are dropped so frequently — who are recognized not only by their online community but also their own campus for being a leader.

Yet, to be honest — I am the one who continually hides my cape.

And, to be honest — I don’t think I am the only one who continually hides their cape.

And what is holding us back —
is it pride?
is it fear?

is it ………………………………?   feel free to fill in the blank.

What keeps us (me) from sharing what WE do know?  For being proud of our accomplishments?  For sharing out our classrooms and what our remarkable students are creating?   For saying “I am making a difference in education and here is how”!!

I am struggling with this right now……………….
I know there is a balance — but at this moment, I am not seeing how.

Thank you for listening.



Keynote Reflections

I can vividly remember Steve Dembo walking up to me, as I was chatting with Pernille Ripp and Diana Laufenberg at ICE in February and asking if he could chat with me for a few minutes about business.

I can vividly remember Steve talking to me about the Virtual Conference in April and finally realizing he invited me to be the closing keynote.

I can vividly remember working on my presentation for the next two months.

But — smiles, the entire keynote presentation on April 20th from noon to 1 PM (California time) is a blur.

Luckily I had a lot of friends who had listened in — and gave critiques later….and grins — there is a video recording (sighs) —   🙂

But I still am rolling it around in my head.

I had 3 goals in mind.

#1 — I wanted to be Jen.
I had a script – but I did not wish to be scripted.  I knew my content and had the words nearby just in case I got flustered or started to “squirrel”.

#2 — I wanted to remind educators in the room NOT to lose connections with other educators on their campus.
This was so important to me — they need us, we need them….and labeling them unapproachable does harm for both parties.

#3 — I wanted to encourage others to try new things.
Hmmm — I am not sure if I shared anything “BRAND” new to the group I was presenting to.   The extension ideas for Mystery Skype seemed to go over well as well as the Google Doc of Connecting Opportunities — where over 80 teachers are saying “Yes, I want to Connect”!!

So, all in all — I think I met my personal goals.

What I would do next time —
a.  Not give unnecessary information
…..smiles, the reason I don’t participate in #CAEDCHAT on Sunday nights is that I am with friends and we watch Amazing Race.   I have rule that when I am with friends, all devices are off — so that is why I do not participate in #CAEDCHAT — but smiles, that will change in 5 or 6 weeks when Amazing Race is over — (but I did not need to mention Amazing Race in my session)

b.  Have another computer to watch the chat.
I had asked my pal, Dennis Grice, to come and help with the keynote and he watched the chat.  In hindsight, I am sad I was not watching the chat — and next time, I think I need to be able to present & be conscious of the back-channel.
PS:   If you liked the look of the prezi — BIG THANKS to Dennis who tinkered with it that morning and made it look so so nice.

c.  Have more qualitative data.   
I can tell you with 100% certainty how important it is to connect with your fellow teachers & staff.  I can assure you that We (many of us) are building a huge chasm between us (the tech users) and them (the non) — which is harming our students.   I can promise you that relationship and working together WILL make a difference on our campuses…
But I need to back that up with proven statistics rather than just my personal thoughts.

I would love to hear your thoughts — if you were listening in on Saturday.
And if you were not a part — but might want to see what it was all about — here is the link to EVERYTHING!

Also, I forgot to mention in the keynote but included in the presentation notes are links to 16 blog posts which were influential in my growing of this keynote!   ENJOY!


Unexpected at ISTE12

I just returned from the ISTE12 conference in San Diego — and this is the FIRST of several posts I will share about this experience.

As always, the conference was grand — but there were some special moments — some unexpected moments — some being in the RIGHT PLACE at the right time moments….and I thought I would share them first.

1.  I was excited to hear Sir Ken…so I got into line 2 hours BEFORE he was to speak.    As I waited, a lady with a walkie talkie was entering the room and I said, “Can I follow you in?” and she said, “If you volunteer as a paper helper (putting ads on the chairs) we will let you mark you spots first.”  So I ran upstairs, signed up to be a volunteer, and ran back downstairs to help lay papers.   After only 5 minutes of volunteering, all the volunteers were called over — we were done — and we were told we could mark our seats.   I asked the lady if I still could, since I only had helped for 5 minutes and she said “Of course”….and that is how I ended up 4 rows from Sir Ken.

2.  For the second day of the DEN event — on Saturday — I decided to try something totally different and host the O.R.E.O. project with grownups and then turn it into a digital story activity.   At first they were hesitant — and then they FLEW with ideas.   Some people came back to say it was their FAVORITE session of the entire day.

3.  During the O.R.E.O. project, I was informed that oreos are now kosher — and during that conversation, I was also informed that oreos have palm oil in them.    Jump forward to the final keynote….with Dr. Willie Smits – and a little bit more info about palm oil — the O.R.E.O. project will change this year.   I am still working out the details — but because one comment on Saturday, many comments on Wednesday — there will be a difference in the O.R.E.O. project.

4.  FOUR separate times….having a car came in handy.   I was blessed to have Dean Mantz and Dean Shareski in my car, Jon Becker, Ben Grey, and David Jakes in my car, Lee Kolbert in my car, and Carolyn Foote in my car — for 20 minutes or more.  Unexpected but extremely grand.

5.  I had spent Saturday at the DEN event — and had not been able to attend the Edublogger Con.  But as soon as DEN was over, I dashed over to see everyone.   Hugs began — and I saw MANY MANY people I enjoy being with.   I saw Maria Knee and wandered over to say Hello and just before I hugged her, I glanced to the right — and there was SHARON PETERS.   I had not known she had come in from Africa.   Sharon and I had been the two original founders of Women of the Web.

6.  On the way to meet friend on Coronado — I got lost and ended up at the Naval Air Station North Island – where they took my drivers license and made me wait for clearance.   I met 2 of the nicest Navy guys — sadly not Maverick or Goose — but do now have a story of getting lost on Coronado — that I am sure will expand with details as I get older.   🙂

7.  On Sunday, I posted out a tweet that I was heading over to Balboa Park and had space in the car.  Christine responded and I picked her up about 90 minutes later.   Not only did we have a nice walk around the park — but I found out that SHE loves theater as much as I do….and I finally got to chat about WICKED with someone who understood.

I am sure this list will grow as my week of ISTE12 and DEN become more coherent as my mind shuffles through all the memories….

so consider this — just a start.


Words I hope NOT to hear at ISTE

As I get ready to present in the next few days — I take the time to look over my notes and make sure I am wise with my word choices.

And I am gearing myself up as I prepare to listen to what others have to say.

And these are the words I hope NOT to hear at ISTE.

When we standardize teaching into one-size-must-fit-all then we might as well let robots teach our kids.
There is NOT one solution nor ONE 100% only way.
Make a suggestion of what worked for you……..but please don’t say EVERYONE or ALL.  That is dictatorship and not at all healthy for our students.
And feel free to add MUST to this list too.

Hate this — I mean really what are you trying to say?
I am unsure how or why “being inflexible” really worked into the EdTech vocabulary — but it needs to be removed or be explained more precisely.

Really??   it is 2012….so this is a fact we kinda know now.
And truly — never in all my growing up did a teacher every shake their head and exclaim “oh, I need to be a better 20th century teacher”.   It was an unspoken fact they knew they needed to be a better teacher — at any time period”.

If you feel you have “arrived” to the point of expertdom then please snuggle deep into your recliner and close your eyes.
Anyone who claims they are an expert has just pretty much proclaimed they are no longer a learner.
Tell me you are struggling, tell me you understand something but are still working out some of the kinks, tell me you learn every day.
If you tell me you are an expert….it will make me sad.

First of all — labeling is just wrong.
Secondly — we are all learners — so lets just all admit we are newbies and move on.
And digital native — nope.  Our kids were born in a world of technology but kids were not born with mice, stylus or devices in their hands.   It is a learning curve for all of us.

I wrote about this before ( and still feel the same.  The Grand Canyon is amazing, a star filled sky is amazing, new life is amazing…..a project, an idea, a gadget is productive, useful, helpful, and effective.  But amazing?  Not.

The exhibit hall is already on my mind — it both scares me and exhilarates me.   And if you are vendor and reading this — let me come to you — if I am interested, I will wander over.
But don’t tell me that my campus MUST HAVE something.   Because I can tell you, we don’t.   And please don’t show me how something works — but let me play with it.   And and and — please answer a direct question with a direct answer…..if I ask you HOW MUCH DOES IT COST — please tell me.    If you tell me someone will contact me, I will walk away.

Hmm — that is my list so far —
I am sure it will grow.

What are some words YOU hope not to hear at ISTE.