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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

It's hard to believe, but today our Shelby County students and teachers begin a new school year!  And whether you are an educator just starting, already started, or start next week, I wish you the best and most productive and joyous 36 weeks ahead.

Did you have a good summer?  Did you travel and rejuvenate yourself?  On the personal side, my family and I visited friends in Ontario, Canada, not far from Toronto and Niagara Falls.  Among our stops was the Waterloo Region Museum.  Although the museum itself had interesting exhibits, it was its Doon Heritage Village that truly was a memorable experience.  Strolling through a replica of a 1914 Waterloo town, complete with curators in period costumes who share what life was like a century ago, made me realize the power of immersive educational experiences in real time and in real spaces.

That's not to be too dismissive of the virtual educational possibilities of Pokemon Go, Google Expeditions or the new VR Nearpod "field trips," but authentic role playing is hard to beat!

On the professional side, I was fortunate to once again be a part of the planning and organizing of EdCampKY in July.  We had three firsts:

  • We held it at an elementary school.
  • Shelby County was the host -- or more specifically, Southside Elementary.
  • We had a theme: Star Wars!
The EdCampKY went wonderfully, as always because of the attendees.  Special thanks to the 501st Legion, who put in an appearance that helped raise money for charity and gave me the opportunity to take a picture with a stormtrooper!  (One item can now be crossed off my bucket list.)

Last but not is very exciting to see how nearby districts are launching their own Chromebook and GAFE initiatives.  In the last few weeks, I was fortunate and flattered to be asked to facilitate some start of school PD with Scott and Trimble Counties.  We at Shelby consider it opportunities to become learning partners with other districts and grow together in the digital conversion of classrooms to come.

So wherever you are in your edtech journey, remember: take risks, fail forward with purpose, and dare to transform your teaching this year!

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