This Wednesday, July 30th and Thursday, July 31st my district is hosting “TechnoPalooza.” Three years ago it was a in-district choice menu Professional Development focused on Educational Technology Integration. Last year it grew within the district in popularity and was open for other districts to attend as well.
This year the planners led by Karla Burkholder (@techiequeen), NISD Director of Instructional Technnology (which includes the NISD Instructional Technology Team I am a part) decided to go BIG or go home. We opened up for presenters beyond the keynote from all over, invited attendees from all over, and brought in vendors. On top of that, there is a staggered schedule of presentations, choose your own session menu (via app designed by our very own Rory Peacock, Northwest ISD Coordinator for Instructional Technology) and choose your own lunch hour and lunch via Fort Worth Food Trucks.
I am not just a participant this year. I have been given the privilege of presenting 5 different sessions. How does one go from not being a session presenter to 5, you ask? Well, that is for another time and another post… but briefly it has to do with Twitter, my PLN, my mentors and “What’s Obvious to You…” video by Derek Sivers.
Aside from that and being amazed at the offerings for learning, there are a few things I am even more excited about. The amazing presentations coming from my team and the campuses I support. From my team consisting of Charles Cooper (@Thrasymachus), Cara Carter (@caracarter1), Brittany Horn (@Brit_Horn), Ashley Chapman (@AshChapman3), Rene Egle (@ReneEgle) and previously mentioned, Rory Peacock (@rorypeacock) there are over 10 presentations just from our team.
In addition to our Instructional Technology Team are the Northwest ISD teacher leaders that are presenting. Many of these teachers I have worked with over the past year or learned about their innovative approaches through our district Tuesday night chat #nisdNOV8. Their commitment to great instruction, student learning and technology integration make them the perfect presenters for an event like TechnoPalooza. A special HT (Hat Tip) goes out to Nicole Wallis, Kristin Dougherty, Christie Crocker, GailAnne Smith, Penny Rosen, Sara Thomasson, Christa Pospisil (Popsicle :-)), Melissa Griffith, Rebecca Redman, Donna Thompson, Sue Fitzgerald, Hayley Sample, Nicole Covarelli, and Shelly Stringer for their risk taking in the classroom, transparency, collaborative spirit and enthusiastic willingness to present. I am beyond excited so many are presenting at TechnoPalooza. So sad that I cannot be at each and every one of their presentations to cheer for them and learn from them. The choice offered from this group is staggeringly amazing. Sessions vary from using Technology and Trash to Create Musical Instruments and Music to using several technology tools to create a platform via the BookCreator App to publish student written stories (see recent blog post from our IT team’s “Making IT Click” showcase).
In addition to all this, there is an even more personally exciting aspect to TechnoPalooza. Through the power of Twitter I have met some amazing people along the way. The only shortcoming to Twitter is that the people I meet globally, I don’t know how I can possibly meet them all face to face. So when I do, I am like a 6 year old on Christmas morning. At TechnoPalooza I will have the great privilege of meeting co-cooridinator/moderator of #MTedchat Crista Anderson (@cristama) and Revdel representative, Jason Rincker (@JD_Rincker) which I now, because of our connections via Twitter consider as friends. She will be presenting on Wednesday about harnessing the power of Twitter for connecting and learning. With Jason’s assistance, she will also present on Thursday about ways to utilize and target school communication as effectively as possible.