Sunday, March 20, 2016

CUE 2016!

I don't know where to start with CUE 2016. This is the first conference where I've actually looked forward to the social events, and these were the defining events for me this year. As an introvert, conferences are intimidating when I have to talk to and be around so many people all day, so all I want to do after the sessions is go back to my hotel and read and sleep. CUE was different--I was so excited to meet and connect with many of my Twitter friends in real life!

Rewinding a bit: I attended EdCamp Sillicon Valley on February 27th, which was one of the first times I had actively sought out Twitter friends in real life (including the one and only Justin Birckbichler, my EduRoadTrip co-host, FlyHighFri co-creator, Teach20s co-creator, and bestie). Then, last weekend, I presented at a GAFE Summit in Pomona, CA. Walking in the first day, Ari Flewelling was the only person I had actually met in real life. By the end of the day, I had dozens of new friends, and really felt like part of the larger edtech community.

Doug Robertson, one of
Fluffy's first fans

Why was I walking around with a unicorn at CUE?
Did you see me walking around with my unicorn? Here's the back story: Last Sunday night I co-modded #CAedchat with Ryan Archer and I mis-read Craig Yen's tweet about the uncon--it looked like unicorn! Since people kept tagging me in pictures of unicorns, I had to buy one to bring to CUE with me. Fluffy is my unicorn, and you can find her on Twitter (@imsofluffyyyy). She and I vlogged throughout the whole conference which was an entirely new and different experience for me. For an introvert like me, this was an excellent conversation starter!





My CUE Adventures
#CAedchat LIVE!
All this positive momentum carried me into the CUE Conference in Palm Springs. There were so many people I looked forward to meeting and seeing, both in sessions and at the meet-ups. On Thursday, I went to the #CAedchat LIVE! chat and session. I missed it last year because I was presenting at the same time, so this year was much anticipated. Usually I'd resist a session where we have to actually talk to each other (I'm an introvert, remember), but this was an engaging and thought-provoking discussion. We were in groups for 5-10, and discussed the question first before tweeting out our replies. And, of course, I got to hang out with THE Craig Yen!

Unconference tweet-up
Immediately after that, I headed over to Ari's tweet-up for all the chats. That was another chat and tweet experience, this time in the unconference (unicorn!) space. This one was a bit louder than CAedchat, but I spending time with people who push my brain to think differently is well worth it

Thursday night is one of my favorite parts of CUE each year. Alicia Johal, my conference buddy and teacher friend, and I go to the Thursday night street fair every year to walk around, peruse the different vendors, and ultimately find some dessert.

BreakoutEDU with Ari!

Friday was filled with some great sessions, productive learning, #FlyHighFri lunch meet-up, presenting on Genius Bar, participating in another live chat with the #TOSAchat crew, running BreakoutEDU in the unconference space, then two more great socials in the evening. Big thanks to Ari (again, because she is beyond awesome!) for organizing the BreakoutEDU games on Friday afternoon. I love watching teachers and kids play Breakout for the first time and seeing the critical thinking and problem solving in action (read my blog about my first experience with BreakoutEDU).

Friday evening, I hung out with my incredible friends and colleagues at the San Diego CUE affiliate social. This was my first major CUE event as an SDCUE Board Member! I loved the opportunity to meet teachers from other areas of San Diego, and learn about their innovative ideas and projects. After the SDCUE social, I walked over to the GEG SoCal meet-up. After my incredible experience at the LA County GAFE Summit last weekend, I was so excited to meet even more great people.

More Ari love! 
Saturday morning, I presented at 8:30 with Alicia, I attended a session, wandered the exhibit halls with Ari and Dan Bennett, relaxed and ate lunch, then presented my final session at 1:30. The only bummer part of my day is that I lost my MacBook charger. It was plugged in for my 8:30 session, but when I was cleaning up, I took what I thought was my charger--turned out to be not my charger and a newer Mac charger that doesn't work with my laptop :( I left the charger at the Hard Rock lost & found, if anyone lost theirs.

My 3rd year at CUE was above and beyond what I expected, and I can't wait for next year!

Overall, here are my CUE 2016 takeaways, mostly about myself:
- I have the capability to be a lot more social than I think. Being a social butterfly can be fun!
Some of my awesome new stickers!
Time for a new laptop so I can display them all! 
- Sometimes it's ok to not go to a session, and instead sit at a table and have a deep conversation with a few people.
- There are a lot of amazing teachers with great ideas, and I'm one of them. I have to be my biggest cheerleader.
- The learning isn't going to stop now. I'm excited to be part of a few new Voxer groups, connected with more cool people on Twitter, and even a few potential meet-ups or Google Hangouts in the future.
- Stickers!! So many stickers!!

What are my next steps?
- After spring break, I'm going to work with my Genius Bar leaders to revamp our club. Need to
make it more student-driven.
- I've experimented with gamification in my 7th grade science classes, and now it's time to upgrade from the Beta version.
- More GAFE Summits (Imperial Valley in April!), CUE Rockstar Vista, and ISTE!

Want the tl;dr? Watch my vlog with Fluffy the Unicorn -- click here for the vlog!

3 comments:

  1. This makes me want to sign up for CUE2017 right now. I'm going to be going to ISTE too. We'll have to meet up!

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    Replies
    1. You definitely should come to CUE17! If you're near norcal, then Fall CUE is lots of fun too. See you at ISTE :)

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  2. Thanks for all the love Mari. It's been so much fun getting to know you and I'm so glad I'm your friend. I love your takeways and next steps. I can't wait to see what you and your students create.

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