As I look back over my journey in education, it is clear that EdTechTeam Summits have played a huge role in my growth and development. In many ways, they feel like signposts that mark different parts of my career!
Two years ago…
My first real exposure to the educational technology world was through my brother, who is a math and computer science teacher. Ironically, the EdTechTeam Summit that he attended was hosted by my school district, but I had looked at the price and decided that it wasn’t realistic for me to go. Shortly after the summit, over the Thanksgiving holiday, he shared some of the cool things he had learned! More than anything, I remember him setting up the BreakoutEDU game “Time Warp” for my family and letting us play. The more I listened to him share his experience, the more determined I was to attend next year, no matter what the price was.
I really look back at this experience as one that jump-started my professional learning. As I explored some of the tools and tips my brother passed on, I joined Twitter and began building my PLN, and my eyes were opened to the whole world of people, resources, and ideas that were out there! I was drawn to the free-sharing nature of the ed tech community and happily joined in Twitter chats, Voxer groups, and the blogging world.
One year ago…
I signed up to go to my first educational technology conference ever. I was so excited! I spent time researching the sessions beforehand and was delighted (and intimidated) to find that some of the people I had interacted with on Twitter were actually going to be there – in person! I remember a friend asking me if I was presenting. I don’t remember exactly how I answered, but inside, my mind was screaming, “NO WAY, the presenters are real experts, there is no way I could ever be good enough to present at an event like this!” That weekend, I drank in the keynotes and the sessions, and the summit gave me yet another jolt of energy and enthusiasm as I continued on my ed tech journey.
Over the next year, a lot happened in my career. My excitement for ed tech continued to grow and build, I was given the opportunity to be a summer school principal for the first time, and, at the end of the school year, I accepted a new position with the educational technology team in my district. It is amazing how I came to be here – just a couple of years ago, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything but teaching music. It is a testament to the learning opportunities that are available to educators these days that I was able to learn so much and even change my career path in just a few short years!
I knew I would be attending the Colorado Summit again, and enjoyed seeing some of the back-end planning that came with hosting it. As the time approached, I kept having the feeling that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and lead some sessions, so I took a deep breath, put together some resources, and submitted my proposals. They were accepted – what seemed impossible a year ago was suddenly my reality! When the weekend came, I was, again, beyond excited. I couldn’t wait to meet new friends and share and learn together, and this summit did not disappoint! I walked away feeling energized, but more than that, I had found a new confidence in knowing that you don’t have to be an expert to share – we are all learning together.
What will this next year bring? I don’t know, but I am confident that I will continue growing, learning, and sharing, and we will see where that leads! I am so grateful for the people who put so much effort into bringing these opportunities to educators all over the world, and for how the EdTechTeam Summits have affected my life. If you haven’t ever attended one, I would encourage you to GO! It is definitely worth it!
Aubrey is an Educational Technology Specialist in Boulder Valley School District. She began her career as a music teacher for 1st-12th grades, focusing on student leadership and relationship building through technology integration. In addition to teaching music, she has worked as an elementary classroom teacher and principal for the summer learning program. Aubrey is a Google Certified Educator and a BreakoutEDU Authorized Trainer, and is excited to continue to explore the wonderful world of educational technology! Aubrey blogs at blog.msayeh.com & can be found on Twitter at @ms_a_yeh.
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