I could write 1,000 blog posts about the different things I learned at ISTE, but I am going to write about what I found to be my favorite...player 2
So, this is my garage. No I am not kidding, I have 11 stand up arcade machines right in my home that I can play whenever I wish (I don't even need quarters). You're probably wondering why this is important. What does this have to do with teaching or learning? My whole life I have been playing older video games. They may not be old for everyone, I realize, but for me they have always been "old school". I am talking about original Nintendo games, Super Nintendo Games, and stand up arcade machines. Side note: Galaga is the best arcade machine ever! Again, about this time, you probably are thinking that this has nothing to do with education. I promise I am getting there. When I think about what these "old school" games all have in common, I think about levels. The majority of these games have the goal of progressing through levels in order to reach a final destiny or boss, usually some dinosaur-turtle hybrid creature with a funny name. As the levels progress they become increasingly more difficult, and require new skill sets in order to level up. See I am getting there! I have been wanting to start a blog for a while, but I never thought I had anything to write about. Then I started to think about these games and their levels and how that relates to being a teacher and a learner. A blog was born! This is my journey of leveling up. I don't know what the final level will be, and to be honest I hope there isn't one. I never want to stop reaching higher levels. Besides, Bowser would be terrifying in real life!
For the past four years, I have been a classroom teacher in 3rd and 4th grade. I learned a ton teaching in my first 4 years. However, I always felt that I could be more for my students, that I could push them to be more, to make change in their world. Beginning in August, I will be starting my journey as a k-8 gifted teacher. I am starting at level 1 and ready to take on the obstacles ahead of me. This previous week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 ISTE conference in Denver, CO. Holy Moly! I could write 1,000 blog posts about the different things I learned at ISTE, but I am going to write about what I found to be my favorite...player 2
There I go with the video game references again! What could I possibly mean by player 2? You know how in the Super Mario games you have a multitude of characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi? I like to think of the people I met at ISTE as being kind of like those characters. Sure, you can finish the game with 1 player, but its more beneficial and far more fun to include them all. Progressing through the different levels becomes easier, because these different characters each have their own talents and skills to bring to the table. Certain levels require certain skill sets that different characters possess. In the big game of education there are so many levels, and each level requires the talents of skills of the amazing people around you. I have been working pretty hard to grow my PLN lately, but I have been for the most part limited to educators from around Kansas City. My player choices were limited, until ISTE 2016! The amount of amazing educators, students and innovators I had the pleasure of meeting during this conference experience cannot be summed up in this blog. I couldn't do it justice, but I do want to say that the power of a growing PLN is the ultimate power-up ability. We are talking the flying raccoon suit from Super Mario 3 big! My ability to level up my teaching is owed to this community of people working to transform learning for students all over the world. It truly is amazing how far we can progress together.
Let me leave you with a few cheat codes if you will:
TIYGT- Twitter is your greatest tool
GOOYB-Get out of your bubble
DIFAMSAP-Devour information from as many sources as possible
CWPFOYC-Connect with people outside your community
RTHFLUYL-Remember to have fun leveling up your life
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Taylor Beckwith | ESSD Bright Ideas | Cross-posted from Level Up Teach
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