Friday, July 07, 2006

A NECC experience

I've attended numerous sessions; got alot of tips and websites to checkout, and have had a chance to see what others are doing in their classrooms. The message throughout, is the same. Our students have grown up in a digital world. Their world is cell phones,text messaging, instant messaging, blogging (My Space),mp3 players (iPods), etc. They are accustomed to instanteous answers information, and music. We, as educators need to prepare them for their world, --not the ones WE are familiar with. We need to become comfortable in using the technology that is available to us, (and which students choose to use) now to help them interpret the world around them in acceptable forms. We must step out of our comfort zones to lead our students.

Which brings me to last night. I decided to venture out on the trolley system to go to "Old Town San Diego". The concierge at the hotel said to get on the trolley going west. He didn't say you couldn't pay cash and needed tokens. In the beginning, I was too fearful to put money in the token machine, because I couldnt' figure out how the darned thing worked. After braving this new frontier, and receiving the tokens (Finally), the trolley we were supposed to take wasn't showing up. The 15 minute wait turned into a 45 minute one. Finally, someone told me that the name on the trolley is always the name of the very last destination. I finally got on and transferred to another station to pick up yet another trolley to take me to "Old Town." I guess the point of this whole story, is, I was somewhat fearful of this new venture. Especially the transfer point of trolleys because it seemed like a scary place to be--(There was a policeman with this huge mean-looking German Shepherd, patrolling the area)And, it appeared that you might not want to linger too long there. Yet, on the way back, I met a girl from Australia, who couldn't have been more than 22 who was backpacking alone across the world. She'd taken a year off of work to see the world. Monday she was heading back home. She'd been all over Europe, she'd just come from Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. How brave, I thought!! I asked if she'd had any scary moments, and she laughed. She stated, "Well, a couple of days ago I lost my toothbrush and toothpaste, and I wondered if I'd be able to purchase another that day!". That was the extent of her fear during her entire years adventure!! I also was sitting on the trolley with 4 people from another country. I think they were from Brazil. They were speaking in their native language to each other, but their English was flawless!! I was impressed with them as well. None of the four could have been older than 21!! They looked very young. They were trying to get to Tijuana, Mexico.

Here were young people within my midst who weren't afraid of boundaries, new surroundings, new experiences. They were embracing life, and living within the world--not merely existing!! Perhaps we need to let loose a little, not be afraid of new things, or making mistakes.

The picture you see is that of my new Australian friend!

To the left is a Flickr Badge of digital camera pics I took at the conference, as well as the look of relief on my pets' face that I had finally come back home!!


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