This past January I attended the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong. It changed me. I always considered myself a “connected” educator. Ha! I was mistaken. I was definitely an educator who loved technology and used it, daily. Yet, I was the farthest I could be from being a connected educator. Aside from using technology with the students in class, I was missing a big component in my professional life, connectivity to other educators that shared the same passion for teaching and learning. I had a Twitter account. I hardly ever used it. I didn’t really get why Twitter mattered. I had blogs, yes thats plural blogs, but rarely posted. I have had many different kinds of class websites but used them inefficiently most of time.
I have been an educator for over 15 years. Most of that time was spent as a classroom teacher who relied on the school district to provide the technology I needed for classroom use. School districts have big budgets and make large purchases for district wide implementation: SMART boards, teacher laptops, SchoolFusion, Moodle, Galileo, comprehensive textbook adoptions with tech support, etc. I had so much at my fingertips. It really limited me. Why? Because I was bound to district policy. Each time the district changed technology policies, equipment, or access to websites, I had to leave everything behind that I had started, and once again jumped on the latest bandwagon. I didn’t have any ownership over any of the technology being implemented.
This past year I took a leap of faith and became an international educator. I still have access to some great tech toys like a SMART board, iPads, and MacBooks. We are an Apple school. What changed? My current school doesn’t really require use of any one particular technology, website, or software. They don’t micromanage how the technology is implemented. I have a lot of freedom. At first this new found academic freedom was daunting. I felt lost. I was so accustomed to having so much of my tech practice dictated by administration. A huge shift has been the use of social media in the classroom. Back home, teachers are not encouraged to Tweet or post student work publicly. I was shocked that not only was that ok here… it was encouraged! Slowly, I’ve started embracing YouTube and Twitter as part of my teaching practice.
The 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong allowed me to see how social media is connecting educators, students, classrooms, globally. I had not felt that invigorated by PD in a long time. After the conference, I started Tweeting. I started to build a connection to individuals and companies that have a passion for ed tech just like me. On a daily basis I get amazing, creative ideas about ed tech implementation in the classroom. I also connect with top notch teachers world wide. This connectivity has caused a great paradigm shift in my practice and thinking. I don’t think locally any more. I am part of global teaching community. I am not limited by district boundaries. My classroom walls have fallen and the world is now part of teaching and learning for both my students and myself.
Welcome to TeachRemix… mixing innovation and technology to achieve what before was not possible.
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