Monday, September 29, 2008

Sweet Home, Alabama: At Home with AETA

Today I've had the distinct pleasure of attending the 9th annual Alabama Educational Technology Association symposium/conference in Perdido Beach. What a wonderful spot for exploring new ideas, techniques, and resources for integrating technology! I arrived here late in the afternoon yesterday and was greeted by a wonderful confluence of pleasant Gulf Coast breezes, a lovely sunset, and amiable AETA members. The folks here have an friendly organization that is genuinely excited about welcoming everyone who is interested in making education worthwhile for students. Being around these folks is like wandering around at a family reunion. That’s how it felt to me last night as I sat down to dine with the gracious men and women who power this organization. I think AETA President Davis Brock captured the mood best when he said, “We’re family here.”

After spending a day with the people who comprise AETA it was easy for me to understand exactly what Davis was talking about. AETA really is like a family. Everywhere I went today, men and women greeted me as if I were a long-lost cousin they were dying to see. I felt welcomed, like I belonged. Amidst the fun, food, and fellowship, I made many new friends today and learned so many new ways to integrate technology. For example, I spent a very productive session absorbing ideas from Elizabeth Sessions who has a killer wiki called Tech Tools for Teaching Reading that Language Arts teachers will love. This is how a conference ought to feel. I hope Davis and his pals will allow me to return next year.

I also had a blast sharing ideas and resources with the AETA attendees who kindly spent two hours with me during my presentation. Despite having only 120 minutes to impart some useful tools and techniques for learning, we delved into all manner of topics, things like...

I can only hope that the participants found something useful from my ramblings. Maybe they did. I do know one thing for certain: I couldn't have done a thing without all the help I got from some amazing wonderful people. The first person is my good pal Joe Strickland who originally helped me compile and refine the content for my presentation when I first delivered it all at NECC 2008. Joe, a teacher's teacher and valued friend, tirelessly allows me to pitch my crazy ideas and helps me polish them up to a brilliant shine. I also appreciated the kind assistance of the Technology in Motion (TIM) Program's very own Robert Mayben from the In-Service Education Center at the University of Alabama and his associate Megan. Without their hard work and help I'd have been hopelessly lost. These two angels tirelessly assembled a hardy network, loaded software, and maintained a smoothly running lab of twenty or more laptops. Thank you, my friends! I owe all of you big time.

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1 comment:

Rob M of TiM said...

It was a pleasure to meet you, and a privilege to sit in on your presentation on Monday. Hopefully, you will be able to make it to our state conference in June. Also, for your readers, Meggin is more than my associate, she is my wonderful wife! Thanks for all of the great resources!

Robert Mayben
UA Technology in Motion