Or any EdTech Conference!

Late last month I received word I had been selected to attend the Google Teacher Academy in London, England. Needless to say I was quite surprised when I received my email from the Google Academy Team! I had applied one time before when the academy was held in San Antonio, but I failed to make the cut. Since that time, my school district, Midlothian ISD, has afforded me many opportunities to expand my edtech knowledge and share my learning. But applying this time was even more of a long shot because this particular academy was billed as an international one. Because the application process required a video submission, I really decided it was just too much work with only three days to the submission deadline, but the prodding of my daughter-in-law got me to formulating a video storyboard. As my storyboard developed, the more compelled I became to actually create it. Fortunately, my co-teacher's daughter was available for the last minute voice-over, I already had pictures and video from our TCEA presentation in February, so compilation of the video only took a couple of hours and my last minute submission was complete! You can view my video submission below.
With one week to go, time is counting down until I board the plane for London. Having been selected to attend the 2012 Google Teacher Academy in London April 4th, I decided to do a little prep to ensure I maximize my opportunities for this incredible experience. While I was attending SXSWedu in Austin earlier this month, I stumbled upon a great blog post that gave attendees tips for making the most of that unique edtech conference. While I have been unable to locate that particular post, there were several tips I particularly remember as being applicable to most any edtech conference...so I am going to recap from memory and incorporate some of my own.

Tips for Maximizing Your Learning:

1. Investigate! Don't wait until you arrive to see what's on the agenda. Do your homework, come prepared, and be ready to hit the ground running. You don't want to waste any time...it's the most precious commodity!
2. Network, network, network! Tap into the broader EdTech community. This is not the time to stand back or be intimidated. Rich sources of information are all around; zero in on it. Expand your perspectives by learning from those around you who have different roles, come from different backgrounds/locations, AND be willing to share what you bring to the table.
3. Develop relationships! This is a fabulous opportunity to collaborate in order to move ideas/information forward...disrupt the status quo. Challenge yourself to keep an open mind and soak everything in so that you truly can become the agent for change you wish to see take place.
4. Exploit the opportunity! Share out through Twitter, blogs, notes...it's not just about you! Many are anxiously awaiting the information, so take as many people with you along this journey.
5. Don't forget to say thank you! There are many who have had a part in making this happen for me and I want to thank everyone!...to Carol for your encouragement, to Robyn for introducing me to Jana who is graciously providing her London flat, to Maddie for her incredible voice-over, to my students for continually supporting my crazy ideas and experiments in attempting to seamlessly integrate technology into our curriculum, to the MISD Curriculum & Instruction Department along with the FSMS admin and Social Studies department for supporting all my edtech craziness!

Look out London...you are about to be invaded by 50 educators from around the world who are ready to take on the world...powered by Google!
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