Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It's been a while since I've posted on my blog, which always carries with it a dose of guilt. The longer I am away from the virtual pad and pen, the harder it is to return. I'm certain that is why English teachers across the nation will dust off the old "What I did last Summer" essay. It's an easy topic to approach (having to do with both personal experience and recent memory), it can easily fall into several organizational strategies (chronological, most to least, comparison), and it is universal (in that we all experienced "Summer" in one form or another).

So this is me forcing myself back into the writing habit.

I spent my Summer doing what many of my colleagues do: I learned new things and prepared for the year to come. I began my Summer by putting in some extra hours, preparing for our annual EVSC eRevolution Conference, which was part of the Indiana Department of Education's Summer of eLearning. I've already written about the Summer of eLearning in an earlier post, but I would like to add that our conference went very well, as did the other Summer of eLearning conferences that I attended. The IDOE did an awesome job documenting the learning through their eLearning Pulse blog, and you can also get a sense of this initiative via this video:

The eRevolution played host to over 800 attendees from more than 100 school districts, universities and other organizations. We offered more than 200 sessions over two days around a diverse collection of topics. We also were able to bring the talents of Eric Sheninger, Yong Zhao, Adam Bellow, Leslie Fisher and Meg Ormiston to Evansville. What a gift to have had the chance to learn with so many passionate educators. We plan to host our 6th eRevolution on July 9 and 10, 2014, so if you've never been to an eRevolution, I hope you will consider attending next year.

I finally caught up with Twitter-Hero Shelly Terrell!
Not only did I help organize our conference, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at three other Summer of eLearning conferences: the Greater Clark County Connections conference, the PCSC eQuip conference, and the Digital Shift Conference. I had such a great time traveling our state and meeting so many fellow educators. I also got the opportunity to meet and catch up with a few members of my Twitter PLN including Dean Shareski, George and Alec Couros, Timothy Gwynn, Nick Provenzano, Kyle Pace, Shelly Terrell, Jeff Bradbury, and Tom Whitby. Overall, I was reminded of the power of my personal learning network of of their influence over my learning.

I have to say that one of the biggest highlights of the Summer of eLearning was getting to see one of our own EVSC students keynote at the Greater Clark conference. If you haven't seen it already, I hope you will check this out:

Me with fellow SEA, Kyle Pace
I also had the opportunity to stay among the ranks of the Sony Education Ambassadors which grew in numbers through a second on-boarding at ISTE this Summer. Sadly, I wasn't able to catch up with my fellow SEA's at ISTE due to other plans, but I did get to catch up with them virtually. I am still very proud to be a member of this group, and the content that they are contributing to the educational technology conversation continues to affirm for me Sony's commitment to educators. I'm personally grateful to Sony for their support at our conference this year:

I encourage you to check out the Sony Education Ambassador website. you can also find links to my SEA posts on my Sony Post Page.

Of course, I also had plenty of opportunities to hang out with my friends and family throughout the Summer. Highlights for me included a trip to St. Pete Beach with my family, a week in New Orleans with my wife and our friends, a camping trip with the kids, and lots of family celebrations including birthdays and the announcement of a new niece or nephew on the way. My band had a few gigs, and I had a couple of opportunities to head to the drive-in for a double feature. Life is good.

All in all it was a full Summer. I read some great books, learned some new tricks, and had enough time to dream about and begin planning for this new academic year. I told my wife recently that I couldn't wait to get back to work. I do better with the structure of a work week. It means that I have an opportunity to put my ideas into action and to bang the rust off of skills I haven't used during the break, like the writing habits I mentioned earlier.

I hope everyone had a fulfilling and inspiring Summer, and I hope you are returning to your work with the same sense of possibility and purpose that I feel.

The Playground Advocate is back at recess. Tell your friends:)

photo credit: Mike Licht, via photopin cc

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