This weekend, almost 20,000 New Jersey Educators assembled in Atlantic City for the annual NJEA Convention. For the 7th year in a row, I had the opportunity to be a presenter at the NJEA Convention and share my passions for educational technology to a few hundred teachers who stopped by the TeacherCast booth.
Out of all of the conferences and PD sessions that I do each year, the NJEA Convention is my absolute favorite of them all, not just because of the history I have for the NJEA, or the history that the convention will forever have with the birth of the EduTriplets, but because for the last 7 years, it has been a playground for me to create a mini-conference of my own where I get to make the schedule, the curriculum, and have the awesome opportunity to not only teach but entertain and interact with so many great educators … many of whom have become family to me over the years.
2019 NJEA Wrap-UP
This year was just a little bit different and a little bit extra special. This is the first NJEA Convention where I felt like I was coming home. My current school is no longer in the great state of New Jersey and that was something that I was proud to talk about during each of my sessions. This is why it was just a little more special.
I have been a proud New Jersey Educator for the last 18 years. During that time, I served New Jersey families as both a Music Educator and a Technology Coach. By taking on these roles, I always was in a position of working with others. Whether it be working with students to help them in other classes as a music teacher, or helping buildings as a tech coach, all of the things that I have been teaching through my PD classes have been through other teachers eyes, or in most cases “in theory” … meaning, it was something I believed in, but never was actually putting it into practice for myself.
But this year was just different.
For the first time in 18 years, I was able to stand up and share MY story and present work that MY students have been doing in MY classroom. Where the PD session topics were similar to what I have presented in the past, the fact that I was, for the first time, speaking about the accomplishments of MY students, it just felt pretty awesome.
During 8 sessions on Thursday and 6 sessions on Friday, I was excited to present on topics I love sharing and having the opportunity to showcase work that was being produced by students I have the privilege of working with each day.
It was also pretty awesome to have teachers come up to me who have seen me present over the last several years mention that I was a much more energetic presenter this year than in the past. If it wasn't too obvious, I am really enjoying my new adventures as a Middle School teacher and look forward to sharing more of my student's adventures with everyone.
A Review of the Conference
Each year, the NJEA Convention gets bigger and better. However, sad to say, I haven't been able to actually get out of the booth and walk around much of the last few years due to being a busy presenter, this year offered teachers several opportunities for professional growth and fellowship.
My wife brought the EduTriplets to the conference and together we celebrated their 6 year birthday. I can't believe that the kids are now 6 years old. Many of those in my sessions remembered to come up to me and ask how they were doing. One of my favorite memories of this year was when the kids ran into my booth to give me hugs.
The story of how the Triplets came into this world is a pretty amazing one that I had an opportunity to speak about a few years back.
Session Resources, Links, and More
This year, I decided to take some risks with my sessions. In the past, I stuck to the sessions that I knew would draw a crowd and would get the booth noticed by those passing by. To do things just a bit different this year, I added sessions having to do with becoming an Entrepreneur, and even worked one of my favorite sessions into the schedule on creating a Broadcasting Studio. (again, something I was proud to talk about based on my current position as a Broadcast Journalism teacher) To my surprise, my new sessions were just as packed as the Google sessions.
Here are my session links and resources in case you missed the sessions.
- Together, we will dissect the art of slide-building and reimagine it as still frames that give students the ability to create the cinematic world of their dreams.
- Learn how to build an effective Instructional Technology Coaching Program but also walk away with the tools and strategies needed to create a winning EdTech Integration Plan.
- We will discuss podcasting from the inside out. Learn how to record, edit, publish, and implement audio and video podcasts in your classrooms today!
- Learn how your ideas can be turned into a money-making educational business to set yourself up for financial stability. Topics include Finding Your Niche Topic, Creating Content, Building a Website, Email Marketing, Social Media, and much more.
- You will learn about equipment, video capturing, audio mixing, content editing, and the process of live streaming your classroom with the world!
- We will explore the “new” Google Sites and learn how it can seamlessly blend with Google Classroom and other G Suite apps to create an amazing digital classroom for students of all ages.
Stop … Drop … and GET ORGANIZED!
- We will look at Drive, Gmail, Google Classroom and help you not only get digitally organized but help you learn how to use these applications to create innovative lessons with your students.
I Bet You Didn't Know Google Could Do That!
- Bring Your Google Questions And Have Them Answered Today!
Special Thank You's
The ability to share my passions with so many educators this week and for the last 8 years doesn't just happen overnight. For this reason, I want to take a quick moment to thank the following people and organizations for supporting me.
- NJEA: Thank you for believing in TeacherCast and working with me for the last 8 years to allow me the freedom to create a dynamic curriculum each year for our New Jersey educators.
- Norwalk: Thank you for the opportunity to continue my professional learning and having the opportunity to be dynamic both in the classroom and out of it.
- New Jersey Educators: Thank you for supporting the TeacherCast booth for so many years. Many of you were in attendance for multiple (and multiple) sessions. You supported me, you brought me lunch, and you helped to spread the word of the booth to others to make this year extremely special. THANK YOU!
- Family: Without saying … I couldn't do this without my wife and EduTriplets.
Would You Like Dynamic Professional Development At Your Conference?
If you are looking for a dynamic speaker with a ton of topics to choose from, or if you are interested in a presenter for your school district, please feel free to reach out and say hello. All of my sessions are custom designed for each occasion and come complete with online courses and additional resources for long-lasting learning for all staff members.
Until next year's NJEA Convention … Keep up the great work in your classrooms, and continue sharing your passions .. with your students.