Give #DENthanks and Share Your Story

This is the time of year when people share things they are thankful for.  In the DEN, we are thankful for all of you – the fantastic educators who love to share, collaborate, and learn from each other.  Working with you over the years has been wonderful and the DEN wouldn’t be what it is without you.  There are over 5,000 STARs in the DEN and we know the community has grown over the years because people have been sharing with their colleagues and showing how great the community really is.

With that in mind, we’d love to hear your DEN story of thanks.  Is there a person who got you started with the DEN?  Did some of your colleagues drag you along and now you’ll never go back?  Is there a great story about how you became more involved?  It’s time to give a big THANKS to those that have helped you.

Post it to your blog, Tweet it #DENthanks, or just email the person. Then tell us about it.

We’ve created a brief form for you to use to give thanks and tell your #DENthanks story.  We’ll be sharing these on the DEN blogs and can’t wait to hear how so many wonderful educators got involved in the DEN.


I would like to take a little time and tell you MY DEN story and give thanks to 3 people……

It all started at NECC 2008 in San Antonio.  I was venturing to this incredible conference on my own, but knew of a few people I’d met online via Twitter.  I was looking forward to meeting many of my new online friends, but didn’t know the conference would be the beginning of an incredible journey (yes, that sounds goofy).  Teryl Magee was one teacher I was looking forward to meeting since our classes had communicated via Skype earlier in the year.  We met at the Blogger’s Cafe and began talking.  We were just chatting when one of her friends from Tennessee showed up, Tim Childers.  Teryl introduced us and we talked for a while.  A little later, they introduced me to Tom Turner, one of their friends from Florida. I wasn’t aware of the DEN at this time, even though I did have some experience using Discovery Education.  They started talking about the DEN precon event they were attending and since I had no idea what they were talking about, they started sharing information about the DEN and telling me I should join.  The next thing I knew, I was signing up to become a STAR.  They walked me through the application process and I was on my way.  Throughout the conference, they introduced me to a ton of people, many involved with Discovery and the DEN, one being Lee Kolbert.  I (kind of) remember an evening of fun at Howl at the Moon with Teryl, Anne Truger, and Tom’s bald headed buddy, Scott Meech.  I know there were more people there (I think Steve Dembo) that I’m forgetting, so I apologize if you remember the night more than I do.  Tom put the wheels in motion for me to meet Rachel Yurk, the Wisconsin LC Chair.  After meeting Rachel, I joined the Wisconsin LC and got even more involved.  Everyone I met that week at NECC through the 3 T’s (Teryl, Tim, and Tom) was awesome and I just knew there was a place for me in the DEN.

I still consider each one a friend.  Teryl and I have spoken quite a bit through the years and have seen each other at various conferences and DEN events.  Tim and I were roommates for DENSI in Boston.  I visited Tom for a bit when my family and I were on vacation in Florida.  With that being said, these three get my THANK YOU.  Over the years, I’ve become a better teacher because of my involvement in the DEN and have met so many awesome people.  I doubt this would have happened if it wasn’t for the three of them.  Little did I know the journey would continue with a job working for Discovery and the DEN.

Thanks Teryl, Tim, and Tom!  I owe you.


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  1. Anne Truger said:

    I had absolutely no idea what the DEN was. I had been following this guy’s podcast, @teach42. I was so excited to hear that Teach42, also known as Steve Dembo was actually going to present at the ICE Conference where I was presenting! Later that evening I was walking through the pool area where Discovery was throwing an event. I was invited in to have a seat. Steve came over and sat at my table, I was awestruck. My jaw fell on the floor even more when he dragged over a videocamera and asked to record me! He told me I needed to be a STAR this was the year that STARs were born! I also have to throw BIG THANKS out to Lori Abrahams, Charlene Chausis and Dick Marchessault, all of whom reached out and encouraged me to become a STAR. I have never regretted it and have grown in amazing ways since joining this incredible family. I give thanks every day for my DEN Family.

    Happy Thanksgiving All
    ~Anne Truger

  2. Molly Hay said:

    I was at a district staff meeting when Matt Monjan invited me to attend the DENSI2011 in San Diego. This experience was a life changing experience for me. I met some amazing people, developed new friends, and learned an amazing amount of new information. The amount of resources available to educators through Discovery Education is unbelievable. Every day I use something connected to DEN. I am THANKFUL for Matt getting me hooked and I am THANKFUL for the DEN Family. Happy Thanksgiving-Gobble, Gobble
    Molly Hay

  3. Elaine Plybon said:

    I’m sure there are some who have older stories than mine, but my story began in January, 2006, when I was invited to attend a Day of Discovery in Fort Worth. Back then, there were no DEN STARs and to become a member of the DEN meant an application very similar to the one STARs have to submit now. We even had to submit an example of something we had created that integrated technology in our classroom. Mine was a webquest! LOL. Anyway, I wasn’t in the DEN when I attended the DoD and I was so impressed that most of the presenters were actually teachers, and DEN members. I was sitting in a session where a DEN member was presenting on how easy it was to set up a few Palms (remember those?) with books that had been downloaded from unitedstreaming (now DE streaming). She was so enthusiastic and confident and I remember wondering if I could ever be like her – wondered if Discovery would ever let me be in the DEN and whether I might ever be like her and present at a DoD. Filled out my application to become a DEN member as soon as I got home and have loved every moment of my DEN experience since then. (And Chad, I remember seeing you at NECC 2008 and introducing myself “Hi, I’m glad2be on Twitter” – you said “me too” and walked off – changed my Twitter handle as soon as I got home from that conference, LOL)

  4. Chad Lehman said:

    Elaine and Molly, if you can, share these via the form we shared in the blog post. We’d love to have these stories all in one place.

    Elaine, I’m sorry for that response. I guess I can’t make that first impression again. 🙂

  5. Lori Abrahams said:

    I was an early adopter and user of the United Streaming subscription before Discovery took it over. I remember attending a function in New Orleans with Joe Brennan at NECC and then when DEN evolved Joe said you really should apply! So I did. So I guess I was one of the original DEN STARS. Then someone told me to check into Second LIfe and Steve Dembo then suggested a DEN in SL. The rest is history! Many good years spent with many wonderful educators in DEN in SL ( I miss those times, but really need to concentrate on my First Life ) and DEN IL at Days of Discovery, Summer Institutes, ICE, ISTE, twitter, edmodo, Facebook now! DEN is a place to learn and laugh and network. Thank you to everyone in my DEN family.

  6. Jodie Hardenbrook said:

    Emily Waters hooked me up with training a year ago this fall and it was fantastic. That week in Maryland totally changed my teaching career. Getting picked to go to DENSI 2012 in Montana was the best thing I have done. There are too many people to thank …

    I met so many wonderful inspirational teachers in Montana but extra thanks go to Anne Truger and Cheryl Woolwine and Conni Mulligan for bring the best mentors and roommates a person could ask for.

    Fourteen months ago I was the only licensed science teacher at a small charter school with little to work with. No money for much development. Now I am part of the leadership council with thousands of resources available from my DEN Family.

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