Monday, July 29, 2013

Journal #1 from @tgwynn

Hello, friends! Tim here and I'm excited to check in on the blog and share my thoughts with you. I'm a little behind, but trying to catch up. Nick did a great job of embedding our first podcast and keynote below in his first post, so make sure you check those out.

The #Edutour is off to a great start and I am incredibly excited that Nick invited me along for this adventure. We started in Indiana where we delivered the Keynote address at the Greater Clark Connected Conference. Keeping with the theme of the #EduTour, we focused on sharing the story of how we became connected educators and how it has helped us both become better at our jobs and better serve our staff and students. I'll admit I was incredibly nervous, but once we got in the zone and just shared our story things began to flow. We received some positive words from the attendees as well as many that followed the live stream. The best part is hearing that many were inspired to get better connected and could see how social media can play a key role in that. (Success!) I also had the pleasure to meet so many great educators from the area and connect. Brett Clark did an amazing job at putting the conference together.

The next day we made the long drive to Kansas City, MO to continue the tour and meet up with educators from MO and KS. The Pit Stop in KC was a huge success. It is always incredibly encouraging to see educators take time to come connect and talk education on their own time. I had the pleasure to speak with people on the topics of eLearning as well as how to get started with tech integration in the classroom. I love how teachers are always looking to do what is best for their kids, even if that means stepping outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes we have to live what we ask of our students.

I will leave you here, but please check out the first two podcasts on our thoughts, insight, and some comedic relieve. Podcast #1 is right here and you can check out podcast #2 at this link. Time for a day of awesome and learning in the Mile High City.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

#EduTour Journal 2 from Nick #EdChat

I'm really excited to talk about our first PitStop in KC. Like edcampDetroit, I had no idea who was actually going to show up and what was actually going to happen if and when people arrived. Thanks to +Kyle Pace, the event was a huge success. Here is a pic from +Laura Gilchrist that I love.

Here is another one of me still talking about something. It might have been my rant on evaluations, Kelly cheating on Zack with Jeff or testing. Thanks Dr. Ken Corum.

Here is another great shot of everyone just chatting about education and their lives. 

I loved seeing everyone get together, have a few drinks and just share stories. Some of my favorite conversations were about teacher evaluations and I was able to hear from admins and teachers on the issue. We also had conversations about staff morale and what teachers really want from their admins day to day.

I really want to thank all of the great educators that drove near and far to this meet-up to talk shop on a Saturday afternoon. It was such a pleasure to meet you and I learned a few things as well. MO and KS are in good hands with educators like you. I hope I am lucky enough to come through KC again because I know I will have good friends around me.

The PitStop was a huge success in my opinion and I cannot wait to meet all of the people from Denver. KC treated us very well and even gave us amazing weather for the day. I was nervous on how this trip was going to unfold, but I'm just excited because I think it can only get better from here.

We will be doing a new podcast tonight and hope to have it for all of you on Monday. Not sure if we can match the awesomeness of Tony Danza, but we had some great radio listening on the way up that ties into our topic of PD for the day.

Here is the link to the first podcast if you missed it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

#EduTour Journal 1 from @TheNerdyTeacher

Good morning everyone! Nick here to share a few thoughts on the #EduTour so far.

We have a podcast that really covers what we did in more detail if you would much rather listen to us talk for 35 minutes instead of reading for a few minutes.

The Keynote was a blast and I think it went really well. Thanks for all of the awesome feedback from all of you that watched and cheered us on. 

I was so pumped after it was over. I was able to meet some very cool teachers that were very eager to learn some new things and bring them to their classroom next week. My Evernote session and Digital Tools to Support Reading and Writing session went very well and I had some great questions from passionate learners. #GCCC13 was an amazing conference put together by Brett Clark. Kudos to him for all of the hard work that went into the event. I hope I have a chance to come back next year. 

The food has been really good too. You can follow my food journal on Evernote Food. Great Pizza in Jeffersonville, amazing BBQ in St. Louis and fine food at the ballpark in KC. I am looking forward to some great meals as we continue across this great country. 

Today, I will be heading out to interview people about education today. I will be using my Livescribe Sky pen to record the interviews in the notebook and in the cloud in Evernote. I have some basic questions about education and their thoughts on how it was, is and could be. I have never been the type to walk up to strangers and talk to them, but it really is the only way to get the insight I am looking. The EduTour really counts on the thoughts of these people. I can't wait until I have notebook filled with information that I can put together for an awesome e-book.

The KC PitStop is tonight and I am really looking forward to getting together with some great KC educators to talk some shop, swap some stories and see what I can learn. There will be some great swag from ScanSnap and Doxie at this event, so come on out if you haven't decided yet. 

Tim and I have been doing a great job taking pictures and documenting this adventure, so please follow us on these social media sites to stay informed. We are doing great giveaways on the road and you could win a 1 year membership to SimpleK12 or 1 month premium membership to Evernote. Follow us and respond to are crazy games for a chance to win. You can also join our Remind101 group to get first tips on when the contest will begin ahead of everyone else. 

Twitter: @TheEduTour
YouTube: The EduTour
Facebook: The EduTour
Instagram: The EduTour
FourSquare: The EduTour
Flickr: The Edu Tour

Thanks again for all of your support so far. Please share this with your friends and send us a message when you get a chance. It gets lonely on the road during our 9 hour drives. :-)

The view during my morning run in KC. #EduTour <NP>

Friday, July 19, 2013

#EduTour PitStops are Confirmed! #EdChat

We are so excited to announce that all of our PitStops have been confirmed!

We have narrowed it down to three locations for some great conversations and connections.

Our first stop is in Kansas City where the great +Kyle Pace has helped us organize the PitStop at The Cashew on Saturday July 27 from 4-6pm. Kyle and company are ready to show the EduBros a good time KC style. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I would bet it has something to do with hugs and BBQ. If you want to join us for this PitStop and possibly get some awesome swag from our sponsors, follow this link.

Next, we will be making a PitStop in Denver. Actually, we will be in Lone Tree which is outside of Colorado. Special thanks to +Kelly Tenkely and +Michelle Baldwin for making this PitStop possible. We couldn't do it without their hard work and dedication to all things awesome. We will be meeting at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant on Monday July 29 from 4-6pm. Afterwards, we expect to hit the town with all of our next connections and experience Colorado "Denver style". Again, we are not sure what that means, but I heard something about Rocky Mountain Oysters and we love seafood, so I know it is going to be a good time. If you want to join the fun, follow this link and grab a spot.

Finally, we will be making our way to San Francisco, with stops in Provo, UT and Reno, NV, for our final PitStop of the EduTour. We are honored to have our sponsor, Study Blue, host us at their offices on Saturday August 3 from 4-6pm. We are excited to share all of our crazy adventures not documented in our blog posts, and podcasts with all of the amazing people of the Bay Area. We plan to visit Alcatraz while there and we will do our best not to compare the prison to testing in the educational system. We have placed the over/under at 12. If you want to join the fun in SF, please follow this link.

Thanks again for all of your support and please check out our awesome sponsors on the right to show your support for them supporting teachers.

You will be able to follow our crazy adventures across the country through various social media outlets. Check out our "Follow Us" page here for all of the tools we will be using.

Also, will be featuring posts on the awesome tools we are using while driving west. Check them out to see how you might incorporate these tools in your life/classroom.

Thanks for being awesome everyone!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Gearing up! #EduTour #EdChat

Tim and I are very excited for the EduTour. We spent some time at ISTE talking about the things we want to do and are very geeked at the possibilities that are ahead of us. I wanted to share some of the things we plan to do and the tools we plan to use to make it possible.

The one tool that is going to be used heavily for the EduTour is Evernote and their products. I know I am the Education Ambassador so it sounds like I have to use Evernote for everything, but Evernote has made planning smooth and will make the trip easier when it comes to remembering everything. Evernote will be used to keep track of people we meet on the road. Using Evernote Hello will allow us to take a snapshot, enter in their contact info and save the location of where we met. It is the best way to keep track of the hundreds of people we will be encountering. I have used it at conferences before and it has worked great.

Another fun Evernote tool we will be using is Evernote Food. Tim and I like a good meal and we want to share with everyone out there where we eat and what we eat. One our site we will provide a public link to the food Tim and I eat as we travel the country. We will take suggestions on Twitter and try to experience local delicacies while we head west. This is a fun way for us to share a little of what we are experiencing during the #EduTour. Look for those links on the site as we get closer to go time.

During the trip, I plan on interviewing many different people about education. My hope is to chat with as many non-educators as possible. I am afraid that meeting so many people will cause my brain to be a little out of it, so I really need to take good notes and there is no better tool for hand written note-taking and playback than the Livescribe Sky Pen. I can get the questions down and just record what the people have to say about education. Better yet, these notes will be saved directly to Evernote when I have a wifi connection. As long as I connect the pen to wifi, my notes will be safe in the cloud. It has been awesome int he classroom, so I can't wait to see what Livescribe is going to offer me on the road.

I would like to thank our other sponsors Doxie, IdeaPaint, Simple K12, Griffin and Fujitsu for donating goodies to those that meet up with us at our PitStops during the tour. We will announce the locations of PitStops when they are finalized in the next week or so. We would not be able to take this trip without there support. Please check out their sites to say thanks for their efforts.

We plan on using Social Media all over the place and have already set up various accounts that you can follow. We are on Twitter and Facebook, but that is not the only place to follow us. We are also on Flickr, Instagram, YouTube and Foursquare. Tim and I plan on doing plenty of Google Hangouts, podcasts and other goodies along the way, so join us in the silliness.

Lastly, I wanted to try using Remind 101 for this trip. There will be many people all over the country that want to follow the adventures of Tim and Nick during the EduTour but might not know when to look for updates or tune in for a Google Hangout. So, I have created a Remind 101 group just for the EduTour. Here are the directions,
(734) 237-1277

Sign up if you are interested in getting updates on the EduTour as we drive across the country. We promise not to spam and we double promise not to send anything out after bedtime.

Tim and I are really looking forward to hitting the road and we know we can learn some amazing things from the educators we meet in this great country. If you live in or around Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake City or San Francisco, we hope you will make some time to come out and share your thoughts on education with us. If you do not live around those cities, please follow us on the Internet and I promise you will not be disappointed.

See you on the road,

Nick and Tim

Friday, April 5, 2013

The #EduTour13

Back in December, I had this crazy idea about driving across the country to hear what people have to say about the current state of education. I didn't want to hear from politicians that do not have anything to do with education or the education pundits that make their rounds on the Sunday shows. I wanted to hear from the parent who sends their kids to school every day. The recent college grad who has something valuable to say about the education they received. I wanted to hear from the people that we do not get to hear.

I thought I would write that post and move on with my life. Like most of my crazy ideas, they will not go away unless I completely dive into them. I spent some time figuring out how I would get from one place to the other and how much the entire thing would cost. I was shocked to see that this trip was actually very possible.

I reached out to some people I have worked with over the years and I am excited to announce the the #EduTour13 is happening! It would not be possible without the help from my sponsors. Evernote, SimpleK12, Doxie, Livescribe, Fujitsu, IdeaPaint and many more to come. They are behind this venture because they support teachers who are passionate about education.

Next up on the to do list was getting a navigator for this trip. Who else better to accompany me across the country than my #EduBro Tim Gwynn. I am pretty sure I had Tim at "Hello"when I called him. We are going to be having tons of fun meeting people from all across the country.

It happens to work out perfectly because Tim and I will be doing a Keynote at the Greater Clark Connected Conference on July 25th. We are excited to talk about the value of being a connected educators. Not only for ourselves, but the students in our classrooms and schools. It makes perfect sense to launch the #EduTour13 from this conference. After the conference, we are heading west where we will be ending in San Francisco.

Here is our itinerary for the #EduTour13

Thursday July 25th

This is the day of the Keynote where we will be launching the #EduTour. I will be doing sessions on Evernote and their partners. This will also be the first meet up and live podcast for the #EduTour.

Friday July 26 - Saturday July 27

Indiana to Kansas City

We leave Indiana Friday morning and make the drive to KC. Saturday night we will have a meet-up with any and all educators to hang out, chat education, technology and all things related. 

Sunday July 28 - Monday July 29

We leave KC and drive across this great country to Denver. We will have another meet-up Monday night for all of those educators interested in getting together and having a conversation.

Tuesday July 30 - Wednesday July 31

We will leave Denver and head Salt Lake City. Wednesday night will be another meet-up for educators that are passionate to learn about the things Tim and I have done in our school with technology and just chat about important educational topics we are all facing. 

Thursday August 1 - Saturday August 3

We head out Thursday for San Francisco where we will take Friday to rest our weary eyes and prepare for amazing conversations in San Francisco on Saturday. 

Tim and I are very excited about these meet-ups, but we will need the help from our tweeps. If you want to help organize the meet-up in your town when we drive through, stay tuned for a Google Doc where you can sign up and we will get back to you. 

You can follow us on Twitter (@TheEduTour), use the #EduTour13 tag to collect your thoughts and we will have a Facebook page as well. Tim and I will be doing podcasts, vlogcasts and I'm sure we will create another type of "cast" along the way. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and we can't wait to get on the road.