Alright, I’ve been home from DENSI 2014 for a week now. I’ll be honest, I have spent most of that week decompressing from DENSI at the beach, hanging out with friends and reading trashy beach novels. But I’ve also spent a good part of that time reflecting on my time spent with my new DEN family. DENSI 2014 was truly the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in 16 years of teaching. I kept hearing it would be amazing, but until you have been there is no way you can understand the sense of community and level of sharing, positive energy, excitement, enthusiasm and I’ll say it… LOVE. Everyone there loves their job, loves the students they affect, loves to learn and loves to share with the DEN community. As I stated in my reflection at our unclosing ceremony, as a newbie, I was totally overwhelmed, but I learned SOOOOO much. I learned that even though I am a somewhat techy person at my site, there is so much more that I don’t know and that we don’t do. So much more for me to learn, so many more opportunities to bring new things and ideas to our students. But most importantly, I learned that it’s ok that I didn’t learn everything. There is no way a newbie, or anyone for that matter can begin to scratch the surface of the amount of knowledge that is present in one room of these amazing educators. But I learned that I have resources now, I have ideas now, I have things I want to try now. And when I struggle with these new ideas, I have this incredible resource of 150 people to go to. I know if I need help or I have a question, I can tweet, or post on Edmodo, or Facebook, or email, or call (or any of the other 43 ways I can get in touch with my DEN friends), and I KNOW someone out there has the answer, and is willing to take the time to help me, and answer my questions.
My amazing team leader, Nancy Sharoff caught me on Thursday when my brain was on full overload and I was truly feeling that I didn’t belong there, and that I had nothing to offer. I am always a “giver” at my site and even within my district frequently. During my week at DENSI, I was clearly a “taker” and I took as much in as my brain could handle. But this sat awkwardly with me and made me feel uncomfortable at first. I didn’t feel like I had anything to add to anyone’s conversation, and that everyone was more expert than I. Nancy reminded me that I was chosen to be there for a reason, and that I did have things I could contribute. So, I committed to myself that I would share as much as I could when I returned, and work really hard this year, to spread the DEN love. I’ve been working through my notes and experimenting on things like Prezi, Kahoot, Symbaloo, Padlet, Aurasma, and more. I’ve got a list of things to discuss with my principal next week to begin my PD with the staff at my site and around the district. As part of commitment to spread the DEN love, I am excited to say I will be working to help plan DENapalooza Anaheim on September 13. I can’t wait to get together with my southern California DEN family and work to make that day amazing for everyone who attends. If we can make it 1/10 as awesome as DENSI, I will consider it a success!
I’d also like to throw out some DEN love to all my suite mates in 1106… Linda, Laura, Susanne, Gina and Ana. Miss you girls, hope to see and talk to you all soon. Let’s Glide!
Here I am at Discovery Educators Network Summer Institute 2014 (DENSI) in Nashville, Tennessee. I am at a point where I am so overwhelmed that I feel like I am now more stupid than when I got here. I’m sure that after some reflection time at home, all this will sink in and all the amazing things that I learned will sink in. Rafranz is helping us newbies set up our first blog, and here I am! Stay tuned for more beginner blogs.