I have attended the last five Colorado Google Summits and each year I think to myself I’ll just take a year off. But then I look at the schedule of keynote speakers and presenters and quickly realize I need to go. Not because I have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but because I see opportunities. Opportunities to make me a better teacher librarian, to help me as a teacher leader in my school, to build my PLN, to empower students, and to grow as a professional educator.
One of the best parts of the EdTechTeam Google Summit is that I get to personalize my learning as a teacher librarian and actually choose which sessions I attend. One of the most difficult parts of teaching has been sitting through meaningless professional development that someone else has decided for me. Going through the Google Summit schedule of presentations is exciting because I find myself wanting to attend more than one session scheduled at the same time. One of the things I liked about the schedule this year, was that there were encore presentations available on the second day. This is great too because when I’m attending the summit with other teachers from my building, we talk over lunch to let each other know to go to the encore session. This is so valuable for us to further our professional development by building relationships through collaboration. This opens the possibility for me to work with the classroom teacher on an idea we came up with or found at the Google Summit. As a teacher librarian who continuously looks for ways to get into the classrooms, I appreciate the time given in between sessions for me to connect with other teachers about ideas and plans moving forward.
Another opportunity the EdTechTeam Google Summit provides me is the chance to emerge as a teacher leader in my school. More than once after attending the Google Summit on a Saturday and Sunday, I have then returned to school on Monday to a staff PD day where I shared some of what I learned with the staff at my school. This allows me time with staff to share ideas that spark a collaborative relationship based on trust. They see me as a valuable resource with ideas and someone who is willing to share. Because I have shared with staff what I have learned, as many as ten other teachers in my building have signed up and attended the CO Google Summit, and not one of them said it wasn’t worth it. This is awesome as it pushes teachers to do new things and it has contributed to a culture of learning in our building. Every year I attend the summit I have added to my personal learning network. I learn from presenters and follow them on Twitter. This, I think, has made the biggest impact on my professional growth as an educator. Connecting on social media not only with presenters but EdTechTeam has been extremely valuable to me.
Finally, the most important part of attending the Colorado EdTechTeam Google Summit each year is that my students benefit. I find ways to shift my thinking to offer new and better opportunities for my students. Every year I have attended, I find ways to empower students through ideas on how to get them creating more and having more choice in their learning. This year, I’m excited to try Sketchnoting with students after attending Sylvia Duckworth’s presentation. Her session on using Bitmoji to have students create comics was another highlight for me. Not only am I a fan of her, but this is something I can offer my students to get them creating.
While the summit is exhausting in a good way because my brain is on overload, I quickly learned that I don’t have to do it all. I take lots of notes over the two days of the summit and commit to one thing I want to do immediately. Then over the rest of the year, I go back to find ideas I also want to try when it’s right. It never fails, every year just when I start to feel tired and like I need a break, I make the choice to attend the Colorado Google Summit. It completely refreshes me and gets me fired up to try new things. I leave each day of the Summit feeling so inspired and even more passionate about my job. The energy at the Summit is truly amazing. From the music playing in rooms before the sessions begin, to the friendly competition at the Demo Slam, to the constant conversations in the hallways, and the learning that continues beyond that one weekend, the CO Google Summit is by far some of the best professional development I have had in my 22 years of teaching. Yes, I have attended the last five Colorado Google Summits and all of them were worth it!
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