It started with a Facebook message….39 DEN friends wishing each other luck…. Hoping and waiting for the weekly release of DENSI 2012 picks while sharing how we could not wait to see each other. One message lead to the next and soon a google doc was born, a date and place chosen to get our own little DEN Fix! Destination Chicago. Although most everyone wanted to meet for our mini DENSI Pre-Con, as schedules go, only some of us could make it happen. On March 29, twelve DEN Sisters from across the nation reunited in Chicago, IL to spend 3 nights together, enjoying the city and each other’s company. Four days of tech and DEN sharing was a refreshing charge to get us through the rest of the school year…..and the remaining wait for the DENSI 2012 announcement.
Although we arrived late Friday evening, we stayed up until 2 AM, sharing how to use Discovery Education resources within the Rover app while being advised on Ikea funiture choices.
Much of our late night dinner was focused on motivating teachers and students to become more active as 21st Cent. Learners through DE and how to navigate the different obstacles we encounter. We were 7 : Liz, Gina, Katie, Trace, Jan, Margie & Peg. Poor Amy had her flight cancelled so she arrived with Emma & Wendy who drove in from MI, on Sat AM. We took on the city streets, braving the wind, heading to Old Towne for 2 shows of “Second City”. Thank Goodness we had Liz W. to help us efficiently navigate the city! She empowered us to use our time together wisely, using the city transit without losing anyone!
Being the Dedicated DEN Sisters we are, we shared geocaching stories and ideas. Once Genny arrived from the PA DOD Sunday morning, we headed out to experience the Science Museum and Mythbusters exhibit! What a great interactive display with a clear educational motive, helping people understand the scientific method and real world connections through testing myths! We all plan to return with our kids to enjoy this exhibit again! There is Great learning and fun for the whole family!
After the Museum of Science and Industry, we headed back to the hotel for more iPad sharing, surfing each other ‘s wikis and resources! Genny even held a raffle with tickets and prizes! We had DENnis Grice join in through FaceTime, and the “draw something app marathon” continued!
On Monday Morning, we had our final mission: visit the Discovery Office in Chicago.
We put on our walking shoes and headed out to the Office. Security was off-balance, but persisted to gain us access. We were thrilled that Mike Bryant was in the building! Mike gave us a tour, introducing us to all the hard working, behind the scenes people, who make the Discovery Education product so great!
Now, I can’t possibly share everything we learned, but here are a few lessons we can share:
1. IKEA supplies furniture to the hotel… Be gentle!
2. If you forget your smart phone when traveling, it was probably a gift from God.
3. There is no way to stop room 105 except pure exhaustion.
4. The safest iPads have iBallz.
5. Always have a DEN buddy in the City! They catch you when you fall, pick up your wallet when you leave it on the bus, buy tickets on credit knowing you will pay them back, watch your back when you enter establishments
6. Always carry your phone charger.
7. Bus routes matter!
8. Chad L can’t draw… and blames it on his kids!
9. Former school administrators become floor managers at Second City
10. When on a stair case, Shift Left!
11. You can never sing Happy Birthday too much to a DEN Star!
12. Not every establishment in Chicago is meant for women!
13. Steve Dembo has no sticky-notes or tape in his office.
14. Discovery Streaming has audiobooks for Hunger Games!
But most importantly, DEN Friends are always willing to share and help each other! Discovery Education has created a healthy atmosphere of support through constant modeling of professional development and innovative educational approach. The energy and excitement we share for motivating kids to love learning in the 21st Century never fades! Our little “DENSI PreCon” was a great fix! Now we wait for the Real thing with all our DEN Friends! Hope to see you all in MT!