Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Only #ISTE2015 Post You Need to Read

I thought it would be a good time to send out a post on #ISTE2015 for all of the first time attendees out there. I've done others in years past, (Star Wars ISTE Guide, 10 Things I Hate About You ISTE 2011ISTE 2012 Guide)There are plenty of great resources out there, but I wanted to share with all of you the tips that have worked for me over the past 5 events I have attended.

1. Wear comfortable shoes

You will be walking al lover the place every day. You will be walking to sessions and places to eat. You will be going up and down stairs and rushing to the bathroom. If you have a nice pair of shoes you want to show off during the night, back them in your bag and take them out for the dance party. Comfort is key as you rush from one session to the next.

2. Bring the power

No matter what you might think, you will need your charger at some point during the day. You will need to plug into an outlet and recharger your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Do not be the awkward person asking to borrow another person's charger during a session. Have it with your and ready to plug in at the nearest outlet. 

3. Sitting in Sessions

Find the seat closest to an outlet so you can charge your devices while you are learning a think or two. 

4. Stay Hydrated

Lots and lots of water will be good for you as you move around all day. You might not feel it during the day, but it will hit hard when you decide to have a good time with your friends in the evening. Buy a water bottle and fill it up throughout the day. You need to stay hydrated if you are going to keep your brain going. 

5. Eat

Do not skip your meals during the day. Make the time to eat breakfast and have a nice lunch. Dinners are a time for friends to get together and hang out. Lunches are always hectic because sessions are running all the time. These might be more of a fast paced snack than a full meal. Make sure you save time to eat. 

6. Stop in the hallways

Make sure you take the time to stop and engage people outside of the sessions. These are the places where the best conversations can take place. Meet the people you have followed online all year face to face. Share a few laughs about stuff that has nothing to do with technology or education. Be funny, be silly, but most importantly, be you. 

7. Have a good time

Have a very good time at #ISTE2015. It is your chance to share with others and learn from others, but you should have a good time. Avoid the drama and just hangout with friends, attend a few sessions, visit the vendors, find me and say hello, and just be you. You will have a blast. 

8. Find +Kyle Pace (@KylePace) and give him a hug

Tell him Nick sent you. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

No Thank You Needed

I was telling a friend that a student thanked me for a good year and for making them like English for the first time. It was a nice moment in a long year that really meant something to me. My friend asked me if it bothered me that more students do not thank me. It was such a weird question. I really don't think about it, but here are some thoughts I shared with them.

I never signed up to teach for the thank you. Not just from students, but admins as well. This is a not a job where people can thrive on thank you. The look on a student's face when they finally understand something is worth more than any thank you they could offer. 

They thank yous I have received over the years are beautiful and are something I hold dear. I think we could all thank people more than we do for the nice things that happen every day. Maybe it's sad that I do not expect thanks for what I do every day for students. I just never got into teaching for the thanks. I got into teaching to maker a difference. I can do that without the thanks, but when I do get them, they are stored in a special place so I can revisit them when times are tough.

Take a moment and thank someone who is awesome. It will make their day.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why TEDx Matters

On Saturday, 17 students from Grosse Pointe South High School are going to get up on stage in front of 100 members of the community and hundreds more on the livestream to share something that matters to them. 

TEDxGrossePointeSouthHS is one of hundreds of TEDx events that take place all over the world. Most people have seen the Talks that feature celebrities sharing interesting stories and the ones that go viral around the world. That can be great, but that is not what TEDx is about. 

TEDx gives all people an equal chance to be heard. Everyone has a voice on the TEDx stage. This fact is why TEDx matters. My students have access to the same stage as everyone else. I want my students to feel like their voice matters and TEDx allows them to share what matters to them. They do not have to feel marginalized because they are teens. 

20 Time is at the heart of this event, but the students that want to speak at TEDx choose to take the extra step and share something that matters to them to everyone. 20 Time did not go exactly as planned and some might think it should be shut down as an ineffective of reaching students. Watching my students prepare for the event as organizers and speakers shows me why 20 Time matters and what TEDx can bring out of students.

I'm so proud of the students who have worked hard this year to speak at TEDxGPSHS. They are one reason why I teach.

If you would like to watch this year's event, check out the livestream at 1PM EST Saturday June 6. 

If you are interested in TED-Ed Club to your school, check out this link.

           TEDxGPSHS 2014