Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Real 3D...No Glasses Required

This summer has been a hectic one for me....exciting, but hectic. I have been busy travelling to conferences and participating in activities to promote my new book, "Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?" As I'm preparing to travel to D.C. for the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards Conference, I am looking forward to many things: getting to speak with our congressmen about the importance of National Board Certification and education in Alabama, networking sessions to make new connections, learning new things to add to my educational knowledge, my presentation on Empowering Students, and a book signing. However, what I am most looking forward to would be getting to meet the people that I've been working with for over three years now.

People not involved in technology like twitter, blogs, Skype, or Second Life, think it's a bit strange that you have friends that you've never met. One person tweeted at the beginning of the ISTE conference whether they thought that face to face conferences would eventually become a thing of the past. That really got me to thinking. Would it? As I continued to ponder that thought, I had the opportunity to meet, for the first time, face to face, with five of the other seven teachers involved in the collaborative project where our students collaboratively publish The Coast to Coast Chronicles.

We made the time in our busy ISTE schedules to meet and chat over lunch. As we talked and brainstormed ideas for the next year, I kept thinking, "What an amazing group of women. They're smart, and funny, and compassionate." I loved just listening and watching their mannerisms and inflections. Of course, I already knew much of this from our planning times via Skype, TodaysMeet, and emails, but after meeting them those previous meetings seemed so two-dimensional. What was missing was that depth that you only get from face-to-face interactions.

Now don't get me opens up all kinds of worlds, connections, and collaborations, but sometimes I think we get so caught up on the possibilities, we lose sight of how important it is to make those personal face-to face connections. We need to keep that in mind when we are offering opportunities to our students. Technology does open up an infinite amount of opportunities for them and us, but nothing can replace actually touching a snake, receiving a pat on the back, or getting a high five when success is achieved.

So as we beginning planning for next year and we include all of our great collaborations made possible with technology, let's remember that our students also need a that three-dimensional, hands-on experiences that only we can provide for them.

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