Wow! Has it really been 4 months since I last posted? I know I have said this so many times before but I really struggle to blog during the school year because they are so many other things going on (like PD, grading, ummmm oh and TEACHING)! Rather than fill this post with excuse, or worse yet, promises to do better...I am just going to jump right back in and see where it leads. I am going to warn you...I just started grad school so that may cut into my blogging a little this summer, but I may schedule a few weekly posts and go with it!
So, today began my first full week of summer break. Last week I finished up school stuff on Monday and then spent 3 days at the Upstate Technology Conference (UTC) here in Greenville. This year I presented on two different topics: Using Google in the Classroom and Starting a Primary Technology Club (I really should have blogged about that last year, but I was a little busy STARTING A TECHNLOGY CLUB!!). If you would like to see my Google Slide presentations form either session, comment below with your email address and I will send you the link. This is absolutely the best technology conferences ever. And it is FREE. I would love to be heading to Atlanta to ISTE14 in a few weeks with a bunch of my other bloggy pals but I don't have an extra $400 for the conference fee. So back to UTC. Tons and tons of sessions on everything Technology related. This year there was no keynote speaker but that was not a bad thing because it gave extra time for more sessions. This year they also had a new opportunity called "Unconference" loosely modeled off of Edcamp but they were just 1 hour breakout sessions. While it didn't really meet my expectations as a true "EdCamp" type experience--what it did was allow me to re-connect with members of my Profession Learning Network (PLN) and even add a few members. Many members of my PLN were presenting at this conference, so it gave us all an opportunity to cheer each other on, all while learning some new tricks. I have to say, if you are in the NC-SC-GA area, you really need to try and attend this conference next year.
Now more about my PLN. A few years ago, at UTC, I attended a session on building your PLN. The platform they suggested was Twitter but I already had a personal Twitter account so I created a professional Twitter Account (I wanted to keep it separate form my personal one because it is always best not to be shouting my love of all things Justin Timberlake, OITNB and the Red Sox among my professional colleagues!!! AWKWARD! Can you have a PLN without Twitter--absolutely...you probably already have one thought whatever social media you are currently using, whether it is Blogging, Facebook or Instagram. The point it, to connect, learn and share. And when you get the opportunity to meet face to face with these people who have your back online...it is an indescribable experience.
During a session at UTC, there were several of my PLN members in a session with me, and the presenter was also a member of my PLN. We were all tweeting nuggets of wisdom during the presentation, and all you could hear was the notification "dings" going off on our phones, laptops and iPads! It was our way of supporting our friend and showing our excitement of being all together!
Here is a selfie of my PLN! They are awesome! Just AWESOME!