Skip to main content

Having an Impact: ISTE 2018

Wow! I cannot believe it. Two weeks from now I will be traveling to Chicago. I am lucky enough to be attending ISTE for the second year in a row and wait for it... PRESENTING for the second year as well. Now let me be honest here... I am only presenting one poster session, but come on, this is ISTE for goodness sake! A poster means 3 hours of sharing ideas with like-minded educators who, in most cases, understand my crazy ideas.

Jenny and I at FETC in 2017
My journey to ISTE really started about three years ago when a friend and colleague of mine, Jenny, asked if I would be interested in presenting with her at a tech conference in Orlando, Florida. For the last four years we have collaborated on a really cool project called Our First Grade Gardens, a cross-curricular project that includes the use of augmented reality to put students inside of their painting (for more on that go to Jenny’s blog), and Jenny thought we should share our idea with a larger audience. Of course my answer was, "Sure!" Her next question was, "Have you ever been to ISTE?" and then we were off to the races. Now we have taken our presentation to FETC, ISTE and a modified version to the National Science Teacher Association's conference (NSTA). Teachers from all over the world have learned about our project and share how inspired they were.

Macy's Teacher of the Year Gala, 2016
I used to be content just focusing on the impact I was having on my students in my classroom, between my four walls. Then, in 2016, I was honored to represent my school and the Florida Atlantic University School District as the Macy's District Teacher of the Year. It was a humbling experience, being in a room with 72 District Teachers of the Year, 72 of the top educators in the state of Florida. We learned from each other, listened to experts, and even had the chance to weigh in on Florida Education through a brainstorming session with FL Governor Rick Scott. I also had the opportunity to take part in the Florida Lead Teacher Network for profession development, provided by the Florida Department of Education. Through this PD, they made us realize that we needed to have a more global outlook. Imagine the impact we could have on the world of education if we were teacher leaders and reached "beyond our classroom walls". Anyway, I didn't realize it right away, but this PD changed me. Over the last two years, I really have tried to find ways to cause some change, to make learning a little more engaging for students not just in my class, but also my grade level, my school, and surrounding districts.

Jenny's invitation to present with her made me realize that what I do can have a larger impact. These state, national, and international conferences are allowing me to share ideas and hopefully inspire some educators to go outside of their comfort zones and to try something new. As Jenny and I prepare for another ISTE poster session, I am counting my blessings for the opportunities I have been granted and hope that when my time is up in the profession, I will have cause a ripple in the ocean that is education.


Popular posts from this blog

Another January Means Another FETC

For the last few Januarys, I have been lucky enough to attend the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). This was my fourth year attending, and thanks to my colleague, Jenny O'Sullivan , who pushed me to submit proposals with her, it was my third year as a presenter. Each time I present it feels like the first time, yet I am getting more and more comfortable doing it. This year’s presentation was a big one for me. I was able to present my first 2-hour workshop. These sessions cost extra money for attendees to attend so the pressure was on. We presented our Green Screen + AR session, and this time we walked everyone through the process of duplicating our First Grade Garden project. Overall it went well, but I am looking forward to our next opportunity to present it. There are definitely things we will tweak to make the presentation better. I think my favorite part of presenting this topic is the reaction we get when we show the final "product." When we

Diving In

OK... I did it. After multiple "nudges" by friends, family, and colleagues, I have decided to take the plunge into blogging. I am nervous to say the least, but here I am. I guess I should begin with an introduction. My name is Cara Pavek. First and foremost, I am a wife and mother. My little girl is a super sassy six-year-old. She keeps my husband and I on our toes. I'm currently teaching first grade at Florida Atlantic University's lab school, A.D. Henderson University school. I am entering into my 18th year of teaching and find myself still trying to figure out what kind of teacher I want to be... this year. Yep. I am THAT teacher. You know - the one who is never content with the status quo. The one always trying new things. The one who would rather struggle and/or even fail sometimes rather than do the same thing year after year. I love what I do and over the last few years, I have found this new passion - using technology to increase student engagement and m

G-Suite + Seesaw = Visible Learning at its Best!

Visible Learning ... This buzzword has been front and center for a few years now. What does it mean to you?  For me, visible learning is being able to see what my kids are learning on their journey to mastery . 18 years ago when I started teaching, I struggled to REALLY see what my students were mastering in the classroom. Multiple choice tests, cut & paste worksheets, there weren't many options. The best way back then to know if your students were proficient in something was the one-on-one demonstration of mastery, but I finding the time to assess each student individually one at a time was extremely tough, especially with 36 students and no assistant. Then came the technology, and today, we almost have TOO many options to choose from to make kids' learning visible.  I wanted to share two of the tech tools that have transformed my classroom, especially when it comes to making learning visible. For the last few years, I have used Seesaw in my first grade classroom