What a difference a year makes! This was my second year attending the Annual CUE Conference. CUE, which stands for Computer Using Educators, hosts an amazing conference each year in Palm Springs, CA. Imagine being surrounded by hundreds, and thousands (4,000 this year) of like minded educators. The amount of knowledge flowing around the conference is mind boggling.
So you’re probably thinking, “What does all that have to do with a year ago?” Well, last year when I went, I knew few people and met even less. To be honest, I knew only the people I went with, and met exactly ZERO people. This year…It was a completely different story. I knew tons of people, and met with just as many more. Last year I had around 20 Twitter followers; this year I have over 230 — and growing. Last year all that I had planned were sessions and 1 dinner. This year, session to attend, sessions to help, 2 dinners, 1 Coffee CUE event and 1 ‘tweet up’ for #caedchat were planned. Needless to say, I was a very busy educator this year.
I was able to meet up with some fellow Google Teacher Academy, Mountain View attendees, meet several Google Certified Teachers for the first time, and other really innovative educators. I was also able to meet some of my ‘Heros’ in the teaching world, it was sort of like meeting a celebrity for me! Connections are key to growing and developing as an educator. Without those connections, I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am today. I am inspired by these people that I only speak to online. While speaking to one of my ‘Heros’, Lisa Highfill, I told her that she makes me a better teacher. Her ideas are great. They make me want to be in her classroom. Most importantly, she inspires me to do more, be better, and step up my game. Please check her out, she does some great things in her classroom. Another one of my ‘Heros’ is Linda Yollis. That woman ROCKS!
All the presenters I saw were fantastic! There were so many that I wanted to see, there just weren’t enough of me to go to all the sessions I wanted to. That’s where having friends helps. When going with a group, just split up and share your notes. This year, like last, we created a Google Folder which was shared by all of us. So whatever session we went to, we took notes and put it in the shared folder. Now we have notes and links for all of us to check out.
Finally, no conference would be complete without the vendors. There were so many great products and give aways. I was able to leave with books related to Common Core for a friend and myself. When talking about vendors, I can’t leave out OtterBox! Lisa Flint, who was the representative there, hooked me up. OtterBox has a good reputation for quality products. Knowing this, I stopped by to chat with them. While chatting with Lisa, I mentioned that our school has Generation 1 iPads, and that we really don’t have protective cases. She generously offered to give us OtterBox cases for all our iPads! Her generosity doesn’t stop there, she also gave me an iPad case for my personal iPad 3 and my iPhone. Seriously, when I say that OtterBox is the best, I’m not playing around.
All in all it was a great conference. Will things change even more in the coming year for me? I’m hoping so. I have started presenting, about technology, locally, and am hoping to expand that to Fall CUE and Annual CUE 2014, and many points in between!