Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seize the Moment and Network

Mid April marks another Leadership 3.0 Symposium conference and another opportunity to learn how others are integrating technology into their schools.  I flew in late the night before the conference and before going to sleep I checked the symposium website for check-in times.  On the home page of the site there were blurbs about sessions that were a "must see".  I noticed that one of the advertised sessions was being presented by the keynote speaker on the main day of the conference.  Having attended the conference for the last four years the keynote speakers chosen by Lead 3.0 have always been top notch and this years was also a high school principal.  

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Eric Sheninger (the Keynote) was the presenter of my first morning session on "The Power of Personal Learning Networks".  His presentation, in the very short three and a half hours, ranged from free apps to synthesize information to the power of Twitter as a communication tool.  He talked about blogging as a professional, using Pintrest for more than just fashion and recipes, the nuts and bolts of how to create a professional learning network.  It was the best three and a half hours I had spent on my own professional development in a long time.  I stayed after a few minutes to send him an email requesting some follow-up information and he said he would send it later that day. Lunch was being served and I was in need of some nutrition before my next session.

My afternoon session was struggling to hold my attention and the thought of three and a half hours wasted was not appealing.  My head was still spinning from my morning presentation and I could not force myself to listen any longer.  As I left the session checking my email Eric had responded with the information he had promised.  Completely out of character for me, I responded with a request to meet with him and "pick his brain".  Within minutes of my request we were set to meet in the lobby.  What I learned in that lobby and later at the dinner table with my other two colleagues who joined the conversation has forever changed the way I think about education and leadership.  

I have begun to build my own Personal Learning Network.  Though it is in its infancy stage it is growing everyday.  As Eric said in his morning session, he uses his PLN to connect himself with smart people.  Here is my attempt to connect you with one of the smart people I know in my PLN (A PLN Quick Start Guide).  I have started a blog, as you have noticed by this post and have started a Twitter account for my school @PajaroValleyHS and invited parents to join.  I met with our teacher leadership team today and discussed professional learning networks and how we need to inspire other teachers to develop their own.  I started reading Drive by Daniel Pink, using Zite, Pintrest, EdWeb, Delicious, Chrome Extensions, Tweetdeck, Twitter, Blogger, and started the conversation with teachers at my site on how to take control of their professional development.

I can't stop talking to others about my last week. I can't stop reading and searching and reading some more.  I am addicted to the information I am able to find on any topic I want to know about.  In this short amount of time I feel I have become so much more efficient and focused on the road ahead.  I would like to publicly (as publicly as my first blog post can be) thank Eric Sheninger for his time and dedication to the education world and for taking the time to talk to me.  This is the beginning of great things to come for the students and teachers of Pajaro Valley High School and I can't wait to Learn, Lead and Share.  The story is just beginning...