Typically I start a blog post from the beginning of an event to the end. This blog post, however, will start from the end and work backwards because the inspiration I received from an 82 year old woman is where my post will begin.
I found my seat on the airplane and closed my eyes prepared to reflect on the TCEA conference, the amazing teachers I met, and all of the ed tech tools I planned on bringing back to my students. I sat only a minute with my eyes closed, when I heard a soft tap as a stylus hit the floor. I opened my eyes, picked up the stylus, and handed it to the older woman sitting next to me. She thanked me and said I was a lifesaver because at 82 her hands shake when she tries to type on her smartphone. I smiled and thought what an awesome ending to an edtech conference. Then I looked over and saw her reading a Reader’s Digest (which I didn’t even know still existed) and taking notes on her smartphone about what she was reading. I was amazed, shocked, and happy all at the same time. This was a perfect example of generations colliding and a great example of how technology is a tool for learning in the year 2017.
I spent my flight talking to this amazingly tech savvy older women and found out that her name is Grace and she was traveling by herself to visit her great grandaughter who will be getting married soon. She is very up to date on politics and said she couldn’t imagine living without a smartphone in the year 2017… which made me smile to hear that statement from someone who has lived on this Earth for 82 years.
Which now brings me to our students and the amazing TCEA conference. Whenever I decide to submit a proposal to a conference or attend a conference I always think of our students. Not just my students but all students. What do I have to share that will inspire a student? What can I bring back that can inspire my own students? When those questions pertain to TCEA the answer is A LOT!
TCEA was an amazing experience for me. I had the opportunity to learn from so many educators from around the world. I learned new tech tools, I gained new friends who have already scheduled to Skype in with my students, and I shared my love with Skype with so many educators. One educator named Max, is a teacher from China who is living in the US for 6 months. He attended our presentation because he had never thought about using Skype with students and wanted to find out more about it. He said he has learned so many things while being in America and his wish is to be able to show students what he has learned and now he knows Skype can open the window and let his students peak into his experience. After our session he emailed me and said, “I was so impressed with your fascinating session- The Secrets of Skype! I had never thought that Skype could be used that way! You guys are passionate and professional educators! Looking forward to learning more from you! Much appreciated!”
I will admit there are times where I think I need to take a break and slow down but then I meet someone like Max and I think of his students. If it wasn’t for our session Max’s students might not have been able to “see” what their teacher was able to see. They might not have been able to experience a difference culture then what they see each day. Thinking of his students makes me smile and reminds me why I do what I do each day.