In July, I made a last minute decision to take a trip. I had no idea where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, or whom I wanted to meet; I just wanted to get away from my house in Langley and explore someplace new. After much deliberation, my finger landed on San Francisco - a city that boasts history, beauty, and an enriched culture, and a region that gives a curious tourist like me much to do.
I contacted a few Twitter friends on the matter and the trip turned into something much more than a simple getaway - it turned into an experience of a lifetime. Life-changing even, or so I tell people who ask. Immediately upon hearing that, the listener’s thought is spurred: “How exactly was it life-changing?” Well, here’s what made it life-changing for me:
People I knew only through the series of tubes that is the Internet – talented and dedicated educators whom I held the utmost respect for – offered the most jaw-dropping hospitality I’ve ever experienced... Welcome to Hotel California! They opened their doors for me, toured me around, drove me and my infamous suitcase where we needed to go, and introduced me to a world that I hadn’t imagined possible before. I got to talk edtech with leaders in the field day after day, meet with app developers, and explore the campuses of edtech giants such as Google and Apple. I attended CUE Rock Star Teacher Camp where I had the pleasure of assisting Drew Minock with his mini keynote presentation on Augmented Reality and met even more amazing people who I will undoubtedly continue to work with in the future.
So how is that life-changing exactly? Because my online connections became real. They turned into people that I can now confidently call my friends, and ones I will continue to work with on future educational projects.
David Malone, Alice Keeler, and Diane Darrow are now more than superstars behind a Twitter handle. Sharing the experience of touring Google and Apple with them was priceless. These people are just honest-to-goodness kind people who all have their own inspiring impact on education, and happened to include me on their journey!
David and his family opened their home to me and made me feel like one of their own. The hospitality of this amazing family is unmatched. Seriously. Oh, and be sure to check out his iTunesU course. Reading assessment game-changer.
Alice is easily one of the most fiery and passionate educators I’ve ever met. From “lively device debater” to life coach, I seriously started to take notes. Then again, I didn’t really have to take notes because it’s ALL on her awesome blog.
Diane holds a special spot in my heart. She is funny, engaging, and she LOVES kids. She is knowledgeable and will not hesitate to offer her advice on classroom ideas – of which she has many that engage higher order skills. And playing Android action figures with her on the ride back from Apple/Google wasn’t bad, either.
Lisa Highfill is seriously the nicest human being on the planet – I could sit and talk with her for hours about edtech tools and classroom models that turn us into giddy geeks. Efficient workflow strategies for the win!
Diane Main was a treat - she is hilarious. Our trip to Santa Cruz with the international MERIT attendees will not soon be forgotten… And neither will #spatula jokes.
Drew – or as I more endearingly referred to him, “Michigan” - and I explored the city for days together seeing the sights and meeting app developers. He NEVER stops working for those who are curious, but he is very professional and has so many awesome ideas for classroom applications with software. I am excited to continue working with Drew and his class in the upcoming school year on some global collaboration projects. And if you don’t know about his site, be sure to remedy that and click there NOW.
Sam Patterson and Wokka Patue swiftly became a normal sight in my days, providing endless laughs and bringing oodles of fun into the Rock Star conference. The live #patue chat was a blast, too!
Carrie Gehringer, my #patue buddy, was insanely fun to hang out with on the fantail of the USS Hornet. She brings a laid-back, cool-cat attitude that we all need in our lives.
Scott Inman was a riot, from finding cream cheese from breakfast in his pockets late in the evening to clunking down his “bag of tricks” on the fantail. He was also nice enough to give Drew and I a ride to the BART after Rock Star was over. Amazing guy.
Erin Lunde, the girl who just happened to sit next to Drew and I in our first session at CUE Rock Star, won MVP for staying on the boat after hours despite her commitments. Give her a follow – she WILL get excited.
And finally, Jon Corippo, the master mind, or as he calls himself “the baby daddy, “ behind CUE Rock Star, was incredibly generous and flexible in the way he ran the conference, making it into the experience that fit the people that were there. He made it possible for all of us “crazy teachers” to connect with ease through this conference model. I’m SO excited to return again next year to the Bay Area Rock Star conference.
I am so honoured (yes, the Canadian way) to have spent time with these eduawesome people, among many more who I met on my trip. Life-changing? Yes...