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  1. Sarah Edson said:

    In 1999, I worked for a start-up company in Boston called, “The Global High School Community.” Our platform gave schools a web presence and connected teachers, students, classrooms, teams, clubs, and school newspapers in a way they hadn’t been before. I saw for the first time the opportunities that arose from creating online communities and connections. English teachers shared that formerly apathetic student writers became incredibly motivated when they learned that one of their newspaper articles had been “wired” and featured on another school news site. Student activity organizations that otherwise may have felt isolated could click on a map and connect with students and advisers who shared their interests. The same occurred with teachers and students in all kinds of classes.

    I was one year out of college when I worked for this company, and I realized then that the Web, with its capacity to connect, was going to be a game-changer for education. Forgive the awful analogy, but it was like I saw a big wave coming, and I decided I want to ride it rather than let it crash down on me. That start-up company, like so many, did not endure the dot-com boom, but the potential it illustrated stays with me and continues to impact my vision for teaching and learning today.

  2. Mark said:

    I grew up in the industrial neighborhood of Chicago. I went to all kinds of day camps, summer camps and loved getting outside with Boy Scouts. I moved 5 hours away when it came time for college and attended Southern Illinois University. I was out and about any time I could. When I graduated, I fell into an opportunity to be a professional camp director: a dream come true. I did that for 18 years.

    The time came that every employee dreads: a major change in leadership. The new person over me was terrible. I endured (survived? gathered battle scars? pick a word) two years of just torture. I had two choices: move up and out of the organization I loved to someplace else, or change careers. I had considered teaching because I loved doing that at the camp. I chose the first, went to Florida for a year. It did not take me long to realize, I made the mistake. I knew then, I belonged back with the kids, not in administration. I started the process to become a teacher and moved back to NC.

    For the first few years, I was good, but no where what I would call great. I did things I knew how to do, but lacked how to ‘walk and talk like the kids needed.’ I have enjoyed technology and am not afraid to try and ASK for help.

    Last summer, I attended DENsi in Montana. I was overloaded by the technology and the way teachers were seamlessly blending this technology in their lessons. I frankly was very discouraged in the skills I lacked, the toys I lacked and felt out of place. It did not take long for some people to notice that. I was taken outside to the bar and an angel with the patience of Job walked me though how to upload pictures to flicker, upload a video to youtube, to record my very first video, a voice note, etc.

    Last summer, for the first time, I felt like this group was not about competition, not about ‘my toys and go get your own’, not about self promotion. I knew, this group was what was going to get me through the challenges I was going to have this year.

    My Ah Ha! moment was by an unknown angel that grabbed me and showed me the DEN cared.

  3. Peg Hartwig said:

    I have always pushed to stay on the cutting edge of mathematics. By attending workshops and conferences, I was integrating technology more than most educators around me, using graphing calculators and CBL equipment in tandem with interactive white boards. I would take advantage of web resources as necessary. In 2010′ I was chosen as a Siemen’s STEM Fellow and my perspective of 21st C education accelerated like never before; a true realization of how powerful and imperative tech integration had become. I also realized how truly Isolated my colleagues and I were, due to budget and time restrictions that we had worked within for so long.

    Because of my Fellowship, I was offered a 1 year subscription to DEN and Discovery Resources. I realized how educators who were active in the DEN were proactive problem solvers, working together to effectively integrate technology to enhance learning.

    As an educator, my last 3 years have been the most valued, as I continued to learn and share my trials and successes with the DEN community who supports me and continues to share like no other professional learning community I am associated with.

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