Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Tech Sherpas go to Texas

I love my job. 

And one of the best parts of being a teacher is being able to provide experiences for students they otherwise wouldn't get. This week I had the opportunity to bring two of my Tech Sherpas to the Texas Computer Educator Association Conference in Austin. 




Events like this are such huge experiences for my students, (who had never flown before) and it's not just presenting. I've always felt that public speaking is like juggling. You can't read a book or watch a video on how to do it well, you have to actually DO it! Again and again and again, making mistakes perhaps, but getting a little better each time. And the way for our students to get better at it is for as authentic a setting you can get for them. 

One of the analogies I like to share about the benefit of bringing kids at conferences comes from Douglas Edwards' book, I'm Feeling Lucky. Edwards was Google's 59th employee and in the book he talks about his interview with one of Google's founders, Sergey Brin. Near the end of the interview, Sergey informed Edwards, "I'm going to give you five minutes, when I come back, I want you to explain to me something complicated that I don't already know." Brin explained later that he asks because if an interview otherwise goes poorly the time wasn't a total loss since he'd learned something new. I feel the same about having students present. In addition to whatever the attendees get from a presentation, the time is doubly valuable as a learning experience for the students. 

None of this trip would have be possible without the amazing support of Tech Smith and a HUGE thank you to Monica Martinez from TCEA for inviting us!