I had a lot of time to reflect on PETE&C on the 7 hour drive back from Hershey on Tuesday (it's only a 3.5 hour drive when it's not blizzard-ing on the turnpike!), but it's taken me until today to synthesize it all. 2008 proved to be a different experience than '07. Last year, I went to PETE&C with the goal of taking in as much new information as I could--and I did. I came back slightly overwhelmed with new ideas, tools, and attempted to try them all during the past 12 months. My goals for '08 were to build a stronger network, grow as a professional and take more of an active role in the conference.
My online network came alive in Hershey last weekend. Meeting my Twitter contacts face to face was amazing. We would pass each other in the hallways and introduce ourselves by our Twitter names first. I was also lucky to spend time with those who contribute to my professional development and are role models for me, like having dinner with Joyce Valenza, hanging out with Jen Dorman, "wii-ing" with the DEN crew, debriefings with Steve Dembo (and his family!) and even got to have lunch with David Pogue. I learned so much even through our casual conversations!
I was also able to spend time with Chris Stengel, my Director of Technology and Justin Meyers, the Coordinator of Business Technology in Mt. Lebanon. It's refreshing to know that we share the same vision for our district--that students will develop as 21st century citizens and be smart, safe users of technology. Chris and I presented our Administrator 2.0 Academy was actually(which pretty intimidating to present at this conference) and 3 hours after we got home, Justin had created a Twitter-ish application for our in-network blogs after I told him how cool they were! They are so talented!
I do plan on using a few of the tools I learned about last weekend (like Blabberize, Skype and some digital storytelling apps) but I came back a better professional. I don't know why it insists on snowing every year so we miss the last day of sessions, but I'm already yearning for next year! I said it last year and I'll say it again... PETE&C is like my mothership calling me home!