Three firsts were the highlight of the conference for me. For the first time ever, my colleagues and I live blogged the conference to our peers at The Creek and to participants. (Of course, live took new meaning because the hotel didn't offer free wireless connections, so we hurdled the obstacle by writing in Word and pasting in blogger during the evening.) Our learning leaders didn’t have to wait for us to return to share information, rather they simply logged on and got the updates-- in far more detail than they would have received if we hadn’t mutually blogged the conference. In fact, one of our learning leaders back in Jacksonville made 22 comments on Live from the Creek—she definitely deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar!
Also a first, during our Chets Creek Virtual Tour, we (with the outstanding technical assistance of the Schultz Center for Teaching and Leadership) video conferenced a live lesson from Mrs. Mallon’s Kindergarten Classroom in Jacksonville, Florida to the session in Hollywood, California. The “Virtual” label in the title came alive with this session and had the conference a buzz. Afterall, educators in this school design from across our nation observed a Writers' Workshop lesson where the teacher taught kindergarteners to self-assess their work based on a rubric, and where another colleague, Mrs. Alvarado, toured them through the classroom during work period! Then, the conference participants got to interact live with the teachers in Jacksonville and ask them questions about their practice and classroom. I sat in awe as this unfolded and dialogue from the audience indicated that they, like me, where envisioning new possibilities.