Sunday, July 28, 2013

Discovery Educators Network Summer Institute -- DENSI 2013

Last week, I spent 6 days at the Discovery Educators Network Summer Institute at the University of Vermont. I heard talks, attended workshops and seminars, and networked with 150 educators from the U.S. and Canada. DENSI 2013 not only educated me, it changed me. Here's how:

Before attending DENSI 2013, I saw my classroom as devoid of any technology. Sure, I had a netbook, a document camera, and a projector, but that wasn’t REAL technology. Without an interactive whiteboard and iPads, I could only dream of infusing technology into my teaching. So in pursuit of that vision, I applied to DENSI. Maybe I did not have the techno-gadgets, but surely I could learn about them and find out what I needed to move my classroom into the 21st Century.

As the DENSI 2013 Edmodo group came to life, I found out DENSI 2013 was going to be chock full of educators who were NOT like me. They had gadgets galore, and they knew how to use them. In fact, they even knew how to write grants to get the stuff! So my vision changed: I would go to DENSI, find out what gadgets I needed, and write the grants to get them!

Then I attended DENSI 2013, and I had a DEN-piphany. DENSI was like putting on a pair of glasses that corrected my techno-shortsightedness. I learned about amazing websites and apps I could use in my room right now. I attended Conni Mulligan’s workshop on Digital Storytelling and learned enough techniques to keep my English Language Learners busy practicing scripts all year long. I learned that it is not about what I do NOT have; it is all about using what I do have to the fullest.

Attending DENSI 2013 did something I did not envision: It changed me. Before DENSI 2013, I was a techno-teacher-wannabe. Now, I am a techno-teacher-gonnabe. Thanks DENSI 2013.