Sunday, June 12, 2016

Full Circle: A Year Full of Change

Birdville ISD Digital Learning Team 2015-16
 As I have been working on my sessions for the Texas ASCD ignite Conference, my thoughts have been returning to a year ago when I attended this conference. The ignite Conference was my very first educational technology conference, and it was also when I accepted a new position as a digital learning specialist. I actually took the call from the woman in HR between sessions at the Irving Convention Center. My new duty days and my new salary were explained to me as I tried to contain my excitement outside one of the junior ballrooms. 
     I spent the three days of the conference with my new team of digital learning specialists and the executive director. I attended my first Kasey Bell session, and I soaked up all of the learning at the sessions from the dazed perspective of an absolute novice to the scene of edtech. I left the conference with many great ideas, but I also left with the sickening realization of how much I did not know about the world of edtech. Thankfully, I had a full month to start "cramming" for my new position by following the edtech greats on Twitter and through blogs. 
      My year was whirlwind of change and growth for me, personally and professionally. My two teenagers kept me busy with new schools, a broken arm, constant rehearsals/shows, and practices/games. We sold a house; bought a new house, and moved twice...before Christmas. At work, I quickly acclimated to my campus assignments, two middle and two high schools. I prepared trainings for campuses and district conferences. I presented at the service center and at TXGoo, and I attended my very first TCEA Convention in February. I worked with my district's grant team to win a Raising Blended Learners grant from Raise Your Hand Texas, and I have been helping prepare teachers for blended learning in our district.
      Now, a full year later, I am preparing to present three sessions at the conference where I started it all. So much has happened since I sat in the seats at this conference that it almost seems like it has been much longer than one year. The year of experience has brought me the confidence I lacked when I left the conference last year, though the feeling of "I-still-have-so-much-to-learn" lingers and is possibly what I have come to love so much about the world of digital learning. So as I prepare my three sessions, I am thrilled that they are all on one day, so that I have two full uninterrupted days to learn from others again. As much as things change, some things stay the same.