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Catching up…

Last Monday, I spent the day at home with the kiddos playing in the snow.  Then I headed to Raleigh on Tuesday for the NCTIES 2009 Conference.  I’m a new board member for NCTIES, so I had a completely different experience this year compared to previous years when I was just an attendee and presenter.  My main role during the conference was to document the conference with photos (right up my alley!) and publish a daily conference newsletter.

After coming home exhausted on Friday, I realized that I was fairly disconnected while I was at the conference.  Don’t get me wrong- the conference was great and I loved networking with educators about 21st century learning.  But, I was so busy each day that I rarely had time to check my various email accounts, my Google Reader account, or post on my websites.

So, now I’m back at work trying to catch up.  I’m realizing that I am so connected every day to my own personal learning network that it only takes a short time before I feel like I’ve fallen behind.   Very, very far behind.

In times like this, I find myself trying to prioritize the influx of new information.  Delete this email… add this one to my task list… read the RSS feeds that are essential… post about this week’s trainings… share this idea…

Isn’t this the same skill we need to be teaching our students?  The amount of new information posted online THIS YEAR is the equivalent of over half a million Libraries of Congress.   Our students have to be able to identify and evaluate new information constantly.  Determining how to weed through this information will be essential for our students to be successful in this information world.

As a side note…

For my NCTIES post-conference newsletter, I decided to create a Wordle.  I took all of the titles and descriptions from the pre-conference and concurrent sessions, pasted them into the Wordle text area, and created the design below.  The more frequent the word, the more prominently it is displayed in the Wordle design.ncties wordle

This conference is specifically about technology in education.  However, it’s interesting to note that technology isn’t the most common word used in the titles and descriptions of the sessions offered.  Instead, students and learning are the most frequent words found in the topics presented. Twenty-first century classrooms need 21st century tools and educators.  But, it isn’t about the technology.

It’s about students and learning…