Whenever I go to these conferences, I contemplate my journey to being a District Technology Director. From a BS in Psychology and Communication; to a return to school later to finish the hours I needed to teach; to ten years in high school classrooms teaching English, speech, and computer classes; to enough frustration in my computer lab that I taught myself to fix computers and run a basic network.
With the exception of one week long workshop on Novell networking of all things and a few conferences with snippets of learning here and there, no one has offered me PD on how to be a computer teacher, to integrate technology, or to do the tasks of a Technology Director. Many years ago I saw a need in my students, in my classroom, and in my school; and I looked for the personal opportunities to learn what I needed to know.
My point is that I just don't understand teachers who use the excuse that they've never been given enough professional development to integrate technology effectively. Really? With social media and access to the Internet, there is just no excuse for not learning what you need to know to integrate technology. None!
I don't have a special EdTech gene that magically got me here. I'm just a teacher who saw the value of technology for learning and who saw the value of Twitter and other social media for networking with those who know way more than I do. Paraphrasing what Kevin Honeycutt said yesterday: I am smart, but all of you together are brilliant - One firefly is a speck of light, but a jar full of fireflies will light up the night.
I just don't buy the no PD argument. Nor do I buy the "I don't have time" argument. If you have the needs of your students at the forefront of your thinking, then you will learn this stuff and do it. The resources are at your fingertips.
Contemplate deep down what your expectations are for your students. Then contemplate your own learning journey - your own behavior. Are you taking responsibility for and modeling lifelong learning, or are you waiting for someone else to hold your hand and choose your direction for you?
You are the educational expert. Learn what you need to know. You can do it. I did. Get your students connecting globally, solving real world problems, creating, and publishing. Do it today!
And by the way, if you need my help, SLCSD teachers, all you need to do is ask.