Tuesday, August 11, 2009

JPPSS Technology Institute - Day 1

All of the teachers, paras, nurses, couselors, etc. of the Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) are taking part in an historic professional development inititive today and tomorrow at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Louisiana. Our superintendent, Dr. Diane Roussel, along with the JPPSS technology department headed by chief technology officer, Dr. Mabel Moore, have pulled together a technology conference to rival the likes of NECC. The National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) which is hosted by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is held annually. The venue for NECC was Washington, D.C. this year and I was fortunate enough to have attended it also.

Planning for the two-day JPPSS event began last school year and continued over the summer. Presentators and keynote speakers were gathered, presentations schedules were created, sponsors were lined up and all of the logistics were worked out by the many people involved. I can only image the long hours and personal scarifices that were made to plan and carry out an event like this.

Today began with all of us gathered together in Hall J of the convention center to be greeted by our superintendent. I could feel the pride she has for our school system and was greatly touched as she got chocked up at several points during her speech. She was followed by C.H. "Sonny" Savoie, president of the Natioanal School Board Association, Tony Wagner, author and co-director of the Change Leadership Group, and Supriya Jindal, First Lady of Louisiana and a graduate of the JPPSS. Then the audience attended the breakout sessions. These included workshops, lab sessions, and a presentation by Alan November, senior partner and founder of November Learning.

I was very active all day posting updates of the day's events to Twitter (Do a Twitter search for JPPSS to see all the things I learned today), growing my PLN (personal learning network) and expanding my knowledge of ways to integrate technology into my classroom. I overheard many excited teachers saying that they couldn't wait to try out all of the "cool" things they were learning. We left the convention center tired but renewed and looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Thank you to Dr. Diane Roussel and everyone who made today a wonderful success and we'll see you tomorrow. As a way to show our gratitude for this wonderful experience, I had some of the teachers at my school create this VoiceThread.