In May this year I was extremely lucky to be awarded the Victorian Education Excellence Awards- Primary Teacher of the Year by the DEECD. I am still so humbled by the accolade and am so grateful for what I have been able to accomplish in my relatively short career. This month marks only my fifth year as a teacher. The best thing about the last five years is that I have never stopped learning. I am never satisfied with only knowing so much, I always want to find out more and ultimately be better. I work hard and often get told by friends, family and colleagues that I do ‘too much’, but when you love what you do, is there ever enough? When listening to Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin speak in San Francisco, he spoke about this notion of ‘Life’s Work’, being something that you love and are passionate about- something you would probably do without getting paid to do it and that’s how I feel about my job. To me it isn’t really a ‘job’, it is my ‘life’s work’.
Thanks to my award, last month I was able to travel to the United States to undertake professional development with the view of investigating mobile learning and Evernote. I was able to attend two conferences, the first being Mobile Learning Experience in Tucson, Arizona and the second being the third annual Evernote Conference in San Francisco. During my trip, I also visited four different schools in three different states.
I kept a blog about my travels, the conferences, announcements and school visits which you can read here- http://americanadventure.postach.io/
On my return to Melbourne, I was asked by some friends what was my favourite part of the trip, with the expected answer supposed to be a city or a landmark- one of the amazing sites I was able to see. But that wasn’t my answer. My answer was #EC2013- the Evernote Conference. Don’t get me wrong, #Mobile2013 was AMAZING and I met so many wonderful educators and I learnt so much about mobile learning and already have so many ideas to take back to my school. But #EC2013 was by far the best. I was able to meet fellow Evernote Ambassadors, connect with people from Evernote who I had only previously had virtual correspondence with, meet Evernote’s CEO Phil Libin, meet MC Hammer and the best bit was being able to get excited about a product I love- with people who love it as much as me.
The Ambassador group at #EC2013
Evernote CEO Phil Libin
Myself and fellow Ambassadors with MC Hammer
At #EC2013 someone asked me what Evernote did for me as a teacher. My answer was simple. Evernote makes me a better teacher. Many people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes with a teacher, all the paperwork, data and assessment- the managerial stuff. What Evernote does for me is alleviates all of the ‘behind the scenes’ pressure. I don’t spend hours marking books or stress over writing detailed, personalised school reports. I don’t have piles of student work samples floating around my classroom, my car or my house, I don’t have folders and folders of assessment records. I never take student books home. I am more timely with feedback, I rarely forget anything, I am a checkbox crazy lady. I am, for maybe the first time in my life- organised. Because of Evernote- instead of spending my valuable time on all that ‘stuff’ I am able to spend more time on what counts- my students.
Some other highlights of my trip-
- Finally reading ‘Teach Like a Pirate’ by Dave Burgess
- Evernote announcing a partnership with 3M- making Post-It notes digital
- #Mobile 2013 and all of the amazing people I met
- Visiting a variety of very different schools
- Learning from other teachers
- The new Evernote and Adonit stylus- Jot Script
- Making connections
- Postach.io winning the Evernote DevCup
- Having so many new ideas to take back to my school