Tomorrow is my one year #edtechchat anniversary! One year ago, on June 3, I participated, nervously, in my first #edtechchat. Good gracious... should I answer any questions? Other people might answer me! What should I do then?!?
Fortunately, I was greeted warmly during my first #edtechchat by Scott McLeod (@mcleod), the guest moderator. Encouragement and advice from Alex Podchaski (@ajpodchaski) and Susan Bearden (@s_bearden) helped me feel welcomed and all the awkwardness melted away. During that hour I finally understood the power of the hashtag by actually using one! An "ah-ha" moment, for sure.
The warm welcome coupled with my desire to learn more about educational technology drove me to participate in almost every #edtechchat during the past year. I learned about so many things! Sometimes I lurked or only asked questions because I had no idea what on earth they were talking about! I clicked on links and had zillions of tabs open by 9:00. I'd spend the next hour reading through all those resources, filing some away in Evernote for future reference.
Without even realizing it, everything I learned led to me to become determined to make some changes at my school. (My assistant principal said there was no stopping me!) It was impossible for my elementary students to create and get their work off of the shared iPads. Photo transfer apps that were supposed to be easy to use were not. As their art teacher, this drove me absolutely crazy! Student iPad use was SO limited, I was thinking they should just use them as paperweights! Or as worksheets. Yeah, drill and practice has a purpose, but I had learned through my connections on #edtechchat that students needed to create with technology, not just fill in the blanks. When I realized that no one in my school had heard of SAMR, I just had to push things in the right direction! I found some more appropriate apps for student creation and got them installed. My students are finally able to use Dropbox to get their work off the iPads instantly so it can be shared. And, next year, all teachers and older students in my district will have their own GoogleDrive accounts. Yeah!
#Edtechchat led to discovering edcamps, which led to meeting some of the co-founders of the chat. Sharon Plante (@iplante) and I met at #edcampNYC. I discovered she grew up around the corner from where I currently live and attended the elementary school where I work. Small world! I was also able to meet Alex and Tom Murray (@thomascmurray) at #edcampnj. And I'm planning on meeting the other two co-founders, Susan and Katrina Stevens (@KatrinaStevens1) at ISTE later this month. I cannot thank all of them enough for seeing the need and starting the chat.
I have connected with and learned from so many different educators on Twitter in the last year, but I have to say, #Edtechchat propelled me into the Twitter-verse and helped me to help my students. What a difference a year makes!