Thursday, March 28, 2013

EdCampOmaha Recap

This past weekend I attended EdCampOmaha.  If you haven’t been to an EdCamp, you need to go.  I will most certainly be going back next March, and I will be attending EdCampCentralNE this fall!  I will also be pestering people to go with me as it is a great experience.  I WILL EVEN DRIVE!!!!!!!!!

First, a big THANK YOU to Josh Allen (@j_allen) and Krisina Peters (@mrskmpeters) for organizing EdCampOmaha.  It was truly a unique experience, and for me one that I will never forget and don’t want to, as it was full of learning and networking.

All started with a sign up on four white boards for sessions.  If you wanted to “present”, you are more of a moderator, you signed up for one of sixteen sessions.  Then it was time to participate.  PARTICIPATION is the name of the game!  Those that “present” are more moderator than presenter, someone to get the conversation going and keep it going.  I like the fact that if you don’t like the session you are in, get up and go to another one.  As I heard several times, “Vote with your feet”.  No one will be upset or get mad; it is your choice of where you want to be.

It was also fun getting to meet people that I know through twitter face-to-face, some for the first time.  The names are to numerous to mention, but you know who you are.  If I didn’t get to talk to you, I hope to see you at NETA or someplace else along the way.  Also getting to meet and start following new people on twitter.  There was a board that everyone wrote their “Twitter Handel” on so you knew who was there and who to follow if you didn’t already (not a complete list but close).  Most everyone, at least by the end of the day was following everyone else.

My point of this post is the following: GO TO AN EDCAMP!!!!!!!  It is FREE, and you will enjoy the day.  It isn’t like a regular conference you may attend.  You need to be flexible and spontaneous.  Get out of you comfort zone and take a chance you will have fun.   If I am going, remember this as well, I WILL DRIVE!!!!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What’s Your Twitterosophy? - Guest Blog

This weeks blog, even though a little late, comes from Cynthia Stogdill.  She is the Librarian and Technology Integration Specialist at Lakeview Community Schools.

“Given a limit of 140 characters, people consistently reaffirm that creativity is a renewable resource.”  - @biz

First off, a huge shout out and thank you to Otis Pierce, @odiep77 and #rockstar, for inviting me to guest blog on the ESU7 Tech Blog. I did my little happy dance when he invited me to share some of my thoughts with all of you. I am truly honored and humbled.

Professional development seems to be one of the big topics of discussion in education.  It’s kicked around at the lunch table, conference room table, and board meeting table in terms of budget and time.  Admittedly, while attending conferences and workshops is an incredible way to recharge and inspire ourselves for our students, the cost of travel and time away from our students is also a consideration. Additionally, the glow of inspiration often fades as we get back into the school routine. For some, including myself, we are the singleton in terms of content area, and that, my friends, can be a lonely place to be when things get crazy.

Connecting with our colleagues is crucial to perfecting our craft as educators and bringing the best to our students everyday. Note...I said everyday. On a daily basis, we need some way to connect with people we trust, who support us, and who share ideas that we haven’t even considered. Enter the Twitterverse. Twitter has become a place for educators to find and design their own meaningful professional learning network (PLN) in their own time and space.  It is a place where every idea has worth and there is always a helpful string of suggestions about where to go or who to contact if you have a problem. ("   It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the resources available to us as educators, and Twitter is a way to harness some that information when and where you need it. Additionally, it’s a place to develop professional connections when it’s time to think about making a change. Twitter is truly a powerful tool in the educator’s toolbox...did I mention it’s FREE?

One of my Twitter colleagues is a librarian from the East Coast, Sara Kelley-Mudie.   We’ve never met personally, but we’ve exchanged well wishes, safe travels, and professional ideas over the last two years. She’s an amazing, gifted librarian, and I would never have had an opportunity to visit with her without Twitter. Her most recent blog post on connectivity relates how our connections to each other enhance & model collaboration to our students.  We are the example they see in terms of the 21st century thought process. Our connectivity to others and digital citizenship are the measure our students will use going forward. Brad Currie, one of the creators of #satchat, a national education chat, commented on his blog most effectively on how the Twitter network has changed the national principals’ conference dynamic. Participants were able to keep up with every session through Twitter hashtags and there was an amazing energy flowing from the sharing of so many ideas and resources because so many people already had connections through Twitter.

Twitter has changed me as an educator in ways that I would never imagined. I have had the good fortune to share ideas with the movers and shakers in my own professional content area as well as other dynamic educators across Nebraska and the nation. I’m honored to be a part of the growing PLN in Nebraska through #nebedchat, a Twitter conversation each Wednesday evening.  I moderated a chat last October on “Books and Inspirations.” The books and blog posts were coming from every direction and we ended the hour with a full list of inspirational and professional resources for educators at any level including a drop in by Dr. Todd Whitaker (another happy dance moment). The ideas shared through this network have infused my teaching with dynamic and engaging strategies.  

My life is full, just as yours may be, and I find that often the reservoir is running low. My place in the Twittersphere has provided me with inspiration, knowledge, and humor in a way that fits seamlessly into my world as a school librarian connecting to readers, movers, educators &
PLN to gently shake the world. What is your Twitterosophy?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Summer Tech

For those of you in ESU7 that cannot go to NETA, there is an alternative at the end of May.  The NNNC Summer Technology Institute is two great, fun filled days of technology at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk.  The dates for this year’s rendition are May 29th and 30th, so mark your calendars and plan on attending.

This year Meg Ormiston will be our Keynote Speaker and will also have some breakout sessions.  Planning is continuing on other presentations, and if you are interested in presenting there is still time to submit your proposal.  We are accepting all types of presentations, even ones that involve students.  Students and presenters even have their own prize drawings.  Students can win iTunes gift cards, as can presenters.  The big presenter gift is a 16GB iPad mini.  There is also a mini in for the participant drawings along with iTunes gift cards.

Registration is now open, all you need to do is visit the STI website.  The website will be updated with the schedule once it is finalized, so check back regularly for update.

See you in May.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Coming up in a couple of weeks, March 23rd to be exact is a wonderfulf FREE professional development opportunity, EdCampOmaha.  This will be my first time at an EdCamp of any type, but from what I have heard, read, and seen it is a valuable learning experience.

The idea behind EdCamp is FREE, unscripted professional development.  It is in the form of an un-conference, sessions for the day are set that morning during the registration time.  No pre-planning on your part, just show up and decide what you want to go to.  It is just a conference of breakout sessions, no specific keynote session. 

This is exciting to me for several reasons.  I am usually a structured person, here are the sessions I want to go to and I will go to them.  This will make me think on my toes and take advantage of various opportunities for discussions that may arise.  Also, if I feel like “leading” a session I can.  The more you participate the more you will get out of it. 

Another reason is the networking that can be done in a short amount of time.  I will get to meet people I know from Twitter face to face for the first time.  I will also meet new people that I can add to my Twitter PLN and increase my knowledge and professional development opportunities.

If you are not able to go, you can follow along all day on Twitter.  If you are going to follow along on Twitter the hashtag will be #EdCampOmaha.  If you are interested in going or need more information see the EdCampOmaha website.  Registration is FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Follow EdCampOmaha on Twitter: @EdCampOmaha