It's the Same Everywhere!

Last week, I attended an incredible conference - The K-12 Technology Summit sponsored by Craig Michaels. This year it was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at a beautiful resort. It's an all expense paid trip, and a very valuable experience. The premise is simple - vendors paid to come to this event (which covers the cost of us lowly educators to attend). During the two and a half days, the attendees all signed up for 30 minute sit-down dialogs with about a dozen various vendors.

The idea is brilliant. Most of us attend conferences fairly regularly. But, we rarely have the opportunity to really talk to vendors. The exhibit halls are overwhelming and noisy and, while it's a great way to gather some information, really deep dialogue doesn't happen. When you're able to sit down one-to-one with a vendor to really investigate what their product has to offer, you sometimes find a fit that you didn't know existed. It was a very pleasant and beneficial experience.

But that's not the premise for the theme of today's blog. When I looked at the list of attendees going to this K-12 Technology Summit, I was incredibly intimidated. Attendees included Chief Information Officers from district like Los Angeles, Miami-Dade, and New York City. These are some HUGE districts with millions of students. I'm just little Dr. Rios from Fort Sam Houston ISD - a tiny district of only 1400 students. I thought that I would be wildly out of place. But, when we all got together we discovered that, regardless of our size, we are all facing the same challenges, and we are all celebrating the same successes.

It's common stuff like...
  • Where can we get the funding for technology?
  • How can we find time to deliver quality staff development for teachers?
  • How will we evaluate the effectiveness of the technologies being used in the classroom?
  • How can we create engaging lessons for kids and tap into the incredible potential that our digital natives bring to the table?
When we sat around and talked, there were no large districts or small districts. There were no egos at the table. It was simply passionate educators talking to other passionate educators about how to make life better for students and teachers. I never felt out of place. These were fantastic people. At the end of the conference, I was re-energized by their passion, dedication, and love of technology in education.

Next year's conference will be in Palm Springs. I hope to get another invitation. They've also added a K-12 Facilities Summit and are adding a K-12 Curriculum Summit. Be on the lookout and if you score an invitation, GO!

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