A New Beginning

Filed Under ("newbie project", ISTE 10) by on July 7, 2010 and tagged , , ,

This is a long overdue yet much needed post.  Attending ISTE in Denver this year has really opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I have been inspired and have experienced things that would not have been possible without the Newbie Project.

I don’t even think I could adequately express in words the gratitude I feel towards everyone that made this experience possible.  Turning my thoughts into words is something that I struggle with (which is another reason this post is long overdue).  I’m always trying to make sure I don’t “cheapen” how I feel with overused phrases that sound generic.

First and foremost I would like to thank Beth Still the founder of the Newbie Project.  She has been extremely patient with me throughout the entire year.  At times, my questions would not stop (especially about flying since I have never flown before attending ISTE) to the times when she needed my input and I was slow to respond because my classroom workload was overwhelming and demanded much of my attention.  Beth not only put an immense amount of her personal time into promoting and raising money for this project, but she put a lot of her energy into the planning process as well.  Beth is very dedicated and passionate about improving education.  The countless hours she put into the Newbie Project as well as reaching out and helping others in her PLN just amazes me.  Beth has been a great mentor – pushing me beyond my comfort level and challenging me throughout the year.  She has supported me in my feeble attempt at blogging to testing out new web tools and projects with my students.  I would not have grown professionally as much as I have this year if it were not for her.  Beth provided me with an opportunity that I will be forever grateful for.  Thank you Beth.

To everyone in my PLN, as well as my friends and family that provided financial and moral support I thank you!  My experience at ISTE was wonderfully chaotic and amazing.  I would also like to apologize if I met you at ISTE and did not thank you in person.  I think I was in a daze half the time and overwhelmed (with lots of new ideas) to the point where I was not always thinking clearly.  In retrospect I wish I had taken Beth’s advice and planned out more of the sessions I wanted to attend which would have helped alleviate that problem (Yes, Beth I know – you told me so).  I still can’t believe that a bunch of people I barely knew (at the time) made donations to send someone like me to ISTE – all I can say is WOW, I am one lucky guy!  Not only lucky to be able to go to ISTE but also lucky to be a part of a network of educators that truly care about teaching, learning, and most importantly, the kids.  I have learned so much from all of you!

In one sense I am sad the Newbie Project has come to an end for me and I wish I was still interacting with my PLN face to face in Denver but at the same time I see this as a new beginning.  I have already began dreaming up new projects for my students next year and I hope to keep my PLN updated on how they turn out in hopes that I can give back at least a little of what I have received.  This has been one awesome journey for me which would not have been possible without the help of Beth Still and my PLN – THANK YOU!


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7 Responses to “A New Beginning”

  1.   Colette Cassinelli Says:

    So happy to have been part of the sponsorship of the ISTE Newbie project. It was so great to meet you and see your enthusiasm. I hope all “newbies” everywhere follow your lead and jump in!

  2.   Beth Still Says:

    Jason-Thank you so much for your kind words, but you got something wrong. I was not so much your mentor as you were mine. Over the last year I have learned so much from you. I learned two very important lessons from you. The first thing you taught me was how to work with people. I know that sounds silly, but I was so accustomed to working alone and in isolation until you came along. I truly enjoyed every project we worked on together. Nothing challenged me to think outside the box like the Newbie videos for ISTE. Thank you for your patience during that time. I know I was a basket case. I hope you will never be more than a click away.

    The second thing you taught me was that family has to come before anything else. I know that, but you MODEL it. I cannot count the times I needed something right away and you would put me off because you had something planned. The thought that would go through my mind was “Doesn’t he have any idea how important this is?!?” Blog posts, interviews, and all of the other things were definitely not as important as spending time with family. You taught me that it is OK to slow down and unplug.

    I really think that while I worked hard to organize the project I want to emphasize it would be meaningless without our PLN. THEY are the ones who made sure you got to Denver.

    Thank you for a great year Schrage. I hope you continue to work on the PD project you were so passionate about last year. Don’t let the hurdles stop you in your tracks. I’d love to see you follow up with Lee and Teryl regarding DEN. Don’t ever stop learning and sharing.

    One last question……any ideas for what we should present on in Philly? I have some ideas! Wanna hear ‘em?

  3.   Mr. Schrage Says:

    Colette – I enjoyed meeting you as well – your excitement and enthusiasm is contagious! I look forward to learning from/with you!

  4.   Michael Wacker Says:

    Jason, your excitement and transparency are inspirational to a lot of us teachers! None of us are “experts”(even those of us who pontificate, rant, or ramble and like to hear ourselves talk) and I for one was inspired by your humility and ability to ask tough questions around relevance, learning, and pedagogy. While it seems that much of the focus can become tool based, I like that you see the big picture and are always looking to include more of your peers (specifically in your school) into the conversation. Thanks for the conversations and connection, I look forward to more in the future!

  5.   monika hardy Says:

    so nice to meet you Jason. can’t wait to read or see some of the cool projects you have planned.

    you and Beth were very good role models for me. i liked see how connected you are. how you really are helping each other.

  6.   Mr. Schrage Says:

    Monika – I also enjoyed meeting you in Denver! I’m really interested in how things turn out with your program. Do you have a blog or website where I can learn more? You have so many great ideas! One of the ideas that I’m hoping to implement is to have my kids teach a unit/topic online to other students. :)

    PS – For fun maybe I can have some of my students run a workshop on “table tennis skills & strategies”

  7.   Mr. Schrage Says:

    Michael – I’m still kicking myself for not getting the chance to chat with you at ISTE. Thanks again for the kind words and helping me to implement some of my ideas over the past year.


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